Saturday, November 07, 2009

Eye-Rolling Alert ::: At mosque attended by suspect, anger and mourning

I don't call this paper the Austin UnAmerican Statement for nothin'.

It's a barf-fest:

KILLEEN — Sgt. Fahad Kamal attended prayer services at the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen on Friday just as he has frequently since arriving at Fort Hood seven months ago.

This day, though, the 26-year-old medic, who served in Afghanistan from January 2007 to April 2008, wore his uniform. This day, the devout Muslim from Houston was seeking to strike a far different image than that of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, who is accused of shooting 43 people at Fort Hood on Thursday.

Kamal said he had come to the mosque from a gloomy base, where "soldiers aren't really talking about the shootings because we're trying to move on."

He said his first reaction to the news of shootings was "angry embarrassment," and his concerns echoed those of others in the Central Texas Muslim community, who arrived at services in a somber mood.

"I hope people don't make themselves believe that religion has anything to do with what happened," Kamal said.

Kamal is one of about 40 members of Killeen's close-knit Muslim community. When he arrived to pray at the one-story red brick mosque just off Texas 195 on Fort Hood Street, he and dozens of others quietly dodged a crowd of reporters on the otherwise calm stretch of road.

The 40-minute prayer service included a moment of silence and a passionate condemnation of the shootings from Dr. Manzoor Farooqi, president of the mosque, who called the action a "shameless attack."

Farooqi, who has led the mosque for 12 years, said that he knew Hasan from Ramadan observances but that he had not known him very well.

"When I saw him on television, I thought, 'I can't believe he'd do such a stupid thing,' to be frank," Farooqi said.

"The shootings are devastating and tragic," said Danquah Osman, who is treasurer of the mosque and a liaison between the mosque and Fort Hood. Osman, who has lived in Killeen since 1976, said he served in the Army as a first sergeant for 22 years.

"We're supposed to care for each other in the military," Osman said. "Those victims could have been my sons."

Abdulkarim Hulwe, 45, a retired Army veteran who said he talked to Hasan frequently, said Hasan struck him as a devout but quiet Muslim who tended to go to work early and sometimes prayed at the mosque before work. He said he last saw Hasan at 6:15 a.m. Thursday.

"He just appeared to be an outstanding soldier. He ... always seemed to be on his best behavior," Hulwe said.

As Austin Imam Islam Mossaad said Thursday, when news of the shooting spread, Muslims in Central Texas all hoped that the gunman did not share their faith. But when members of Killeen's Islamic community learned that Hasan had been among them for prayers at Ramadan a couple of months ago, they said it deepened their anxiety that his actions could have a lasting effect on their peace-loving community.

"Islam promotes peace and equality, and violence has nothing to do with that," Kamal said. "I hope that people won't start stereotyping, since that's what people tend to do."

Note that they themselves stereotyped... they were hoping the killer wouldn't turn out to be a Muslim. Why would they even have that thought?

Editor's Note: We have disabled commenting on this story because of repeated abuse of our commenting policy related to the Ft. Hood shooting.

More like... we have disabled commenting because we're tired of having our pansy-ass article ridiculed.

At mosque attended by suspect, anger and mourning

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