Egyptians, Islamic leaders, condemn US military shooting, fear the future

Egyptians, Islamic leaders, condemn US military shooting, fear the future

CAIRO: Egyptian Islamic leaders have condemned the shooting of American troops at Fort Hood after speculation that Maj. Nidal Hassan had links to radical Muslim leaders in the United States. Prominent Egyptian Grand Mufti Ali Goma’a wrote in the Washington Post that he “was shocked as any sensible human being was when I learned about the senseless, appalling and cowardly act of violence in Fort Hood.

“This horrific attack is a complete violation of Islamic law and norms and the perpetrator is no way representative of the Muslim people or the religion of Islam,” Goma’a said combating the rising tide of conservative leanings in the US that have called on the military to watch closer Muslim members of the Armed Forces.

The Army psychiatrist is believed to have acted alone despite repeated communications — intercepted by authorities — with a “radical” Islamic leader abroad, U.S. officials said Monday. The FBI will conduct an internal review to see whether it mishandled early information about the man accused in the bloody rampage that killed 13 people and wounded 29.

“God upholds the sanctity of life as a universal principle. ‘And do not kill one another, for God is indeed merciful unto you’ says the Qur’an (4:29). Islam views murder as both a crime punishable by law in this world and as major sin punishable in the afterlife as well. Prophet Mohammad said, ‘The first cases to be decided among the people on the Day of Judgment will be those of blood-shed’,” the leading Egyptian cleric said.

In Egypt, the mood has yet to completely delve into the situation, but worries are high that the shooting will have negative effects on the region and Muslims as a whole.

Egyptian journalist Manal Abdel Salam told Bikya Masr that she is frustrated and even angry that the officer did what he did, saying that as a Muslim he should know better.

“This kind of killing is only going to create more tension between America and Arabs. It is not like things have been smooth for us in recent years. I hope this does not mean the US will make it even harder for us to travel to America, but I think this will happen as part of Obama’s attempts to appease Republicans,” the journalist believes. “We need more cultural contact between us and them if we are to get beyond these kind of things.”

The US military has been quick to say that conclusions over the shooting should not be taken lightly, telling reporters over the weekend that the media should not jump to conclusions before a full investigation into the event can be conducted.

“I think the speculation could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers. And what happened at Fort Hood was a tragedy, but I believe it would be an even greater tragedy if our diversity becomes a casualty here,” Casey said.

On Egypt’s street, local sheikhs have thought little of the event, saying it is simply an incident between Americans. One sheikh in Cairo said that he believes the shooting has nothing to do with religion.

“What happened was between soldiers who have had to deal with war and violence. What do they expect? This blaming the violence on his religion seems crazy and stupid. Christians kill people too, so why is it that when a Muslim man does this, it is about his religion?” Sheikh Mohamed Omar said.

For now, Egyptians and Arabs alike are watching closely the developments, but fears are already beginning to run high that the military base attack could have detrimental effects on the relationship between America and the Arab world.