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God Is Great!Posted Friday, November 13, 2009, at 12:09 PM
It has been reported that Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was about to be deployed to a combat zone overseas. Hasan attacked his fellow soldiers at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where troops waited to see doctors as they prepared to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan -- or return from combat. Armed with two pistols, he shot more than 40 people over a period of ten minutes before military police and civilian police officers responded. He was wounded by a civilian policewoman, who was injured in the exchange. Lt. Gen. Robert Cone said that witnesses heard Hasan exclaim "Allahu Akbar!" before opening fire. The phrase means "God is great!" in Arabic.
Because Hasan was a Muslim some will argue whether he was a terrorist or not, regardless, he was a murderer. In a seemingly senseless and brutal assault he killed sons, a daughter, fathers, husbands and a mother-to-be. I use the term "seemingly senseless" because to most American's minds these individuals who were killed and wounded should be lauded as heroes for their desire to serve this nation. However, to the mind of Major Hasan, this was a right thing to do according to his extremist religious indoctrination.
Hasan was not forced to join the military, he did so on his own freewill. Over the course of time he began to view his fellow soldiers not as brothers, but enemies against his fellow Muslims. He felt that American Muslims could not morally justify fighting with the United State Armed Forces against fellow Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Koran teaches (4:93) that those who kill fellow Muslims will be punished in hell. However it also states that it forbidden to kill except in the case of a just cause. Apparently he viewed the war unjustifiable but many American Muslims see it as honorable and justifiable.
In a presentation that he gave to other officers in June of 2007 he talked of the Islamic term "jihad". Jihad has two primary understandings, the first is an individuals striving toward perfection which is called the greater jihad and the second is a Muslim holy war against unbelievers which is called the lesser jihad. When Hasan yelled "Allah Akbar" he apparently believed that his jihad was justifiable but the truth is that he lost the greater jihad within himself.
Many have used religion as a means to justify killing and war. I wish that Major Hasan would have seen the greatness of God through the eyes of love rather than the eyes of hatred. If he would have strived for inner perfection he would have found that it is a lifetime struggle and then there would not be the need to pursue killing other people.
I fear the backlash against Muslims in our nation. I personally have friends who are Muslims that use their gifts and abilities to help people rather than hurt. Some are in the medical field and give their lives to heal in a community where most who are non-Muslims. While we differ in our faiths, and even passionately disagree, we still are bound by the moral and spiritual obligation to love one another. It is love that wins the war of the greater jihad, our own hearts.
I to believe that God is Great. I also believe that all the commandments of God are found in two verses that Jesus taught, "love the Lord your God with all your heart" and "love your neighbor as yourself". I wish that Major Hasan would have won the greater jihad; instead he ultimately lost and hurt his crusade more than he knows. May our Great God comfort all those who felt the sting of death and the pain of hatred.
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Phil Warren is a local pastor and has lived in the Dexter community for the last 12 years. He has six children and four grandchildren and his wife Cindy is a local teacher. He enjoys photography, reading, writing and golf. He also loves coaching in the local park leagues. Phil spent his early years growing up in the hills near Wappapello Lake. He moved to Granite City, IL. during his grade school years. Phil worked 13 years at McDonnell Douglas Aircraft in St. Louis and has pastored since 1986. He also served in the U.S. Army as a military policeman and was stationed at Ft. Campbell KY. and Seoul, Korea. He attended college at SIUE and Oakland City College.