by KEVIN KNODELL
Last month Major Nidal Malik Hasan opened fire on American soldiers at Fort Hood, killing 13 and wounding 30. Although the investigation is still underway, it’s become fairly clear that Hasan was motivated by his extreme Islamic views. Hasan betrayed his oaths as a doctor and as an Army officer. He betrayed the people he swore to help.
While Hasan’s name is now widely known, there’s another Arab Muslim soldier whose name is not — but should be. Four years ago this week, a Green Beret staff sergeant named Ayman Abdelrahman Taha died fighting in Iraq. Taha is just one of many American Muslims to pay the ultimate price while serving his country.
When Hasan finally goes on trial, he will face a jury of his fellow serviceman, presided over by a military judge. As this happens, America must be careful not to put the entire Arab and Muslim military communities on trial, as well. Some pundits have already called for investigations of all Arab and Muslim troops, with some going as far as calling for their discharge and barring all Muslim recruits from the service. They claim these soldiers can’t be trusted.
But most Arabs and Muslims in the military have proved their worth. Today there are around 3,500 declared Muslims serving in the U.S. military, as well as 3,500 Arabs. They serve as informal interpreters, cultural advisers and diplomats for their leaders and comrades in the field. They can gain the trust of the local populace in Muslim countries better than non-Muslims can. Far from a liability, America’s Arabs and Muslims in uniform count among our greatest assets.
For more info, check out the Association of Patriotic Arab Americans.
(Photo: via Hurryupharry.org)