NPR logo Fort Hood Shootings Raise Questions About Conflicted Faith


Fort Hood Shootings Raise Questions About Conflicted Faith

Army Maj. Dawud Agbere, who is a Muslim, prays at a mosque outside Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas on Monday. Paul Sakuma/AP hide caption

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Paul Sakuma/AP

I have a word or two about our shows this week and what we have planned for Monday.

Tell Me More has done its fair share of coverage of Maj. Nidal Hasan. Hasan has been charged with 13 counts of murder in the recent mass shooting at the Fort Hood Army post in Texas. He could face the death penalty if convicted.

Let me tell you a not so secret - secret. I support the death penalty, but not for Hasan. He should live.

Hasan is the difficult lesson that the Army shouldn't forget.

It has been reported — and disputed by the Army — that Hasan wanted out of the military. He was conflicted about his obligation to the Army and his allegiance to people who looked like him and worshiped as he did. Today in our Faith Matters conversation, Michel talked with Tariq Ramadan, professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University. Ramadan believes that Muslims are often asked unfairly where their loyalties lie. According to him, "that's a meaningless question" because all citizens have multiple identities and everything in life depends on context. And, the bottom-line, explained Ramadan, is that this is not a story about a Muslim committing a crime, but about someone who had a psychological problem. He also said the Army should have let Hasan exit the Military.

Now, President Obama has ordered an "inventory of all intelligence" in U.S. government files related to Hasan, to be completed at the end of November. It seems the president wants to know if, and how, this tragedy could have been avoided. John Brennan, assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism, will oversee the review. And Members of Congress are talking about launching their own investigations.

We'll continue to report on this story. As details unfold, please let us know what you think.

Next week on Tell Me More:

NPR's West Africa Correspondent Ofeibea Quist Arcton discusses the most complex and challenging stories she's covered in 2009. Ofeibea has been all over Africa — from Guinea to Senegal, from Nigeria to Ghana. Join us on Monday to hear all about her travels.

Have a good weekend.