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Questions surround Ft. Hood shooting's suspected gunman

Nov. 11, 2009

In the aftermath of Thursday's shooting, a large degree of information, some accurate, some not has come out about the Muslim roots of Major Nidal Malik Hassan, whose actions claimed the lives of 13 on the post. Neighbors and acquaintances spoke of his Islamic faith, and some have claimed that he was taunted by others in the army because of his practice. But it's what he is purported to have yelled that attracts the attention of many. Reports say that he shouted "Alla Achbar," or "God is Great" before opening fire. Congressman John Carter, whose district includes Fort Hood, visited with a wounded soldier who said that was indeed the case.

Sgt. Zelene Charles is among the worried. She's afraid that religion may now divide people who are united by a common goal and outfit.

But many are holding off on a rush to judgment. The Muslim community both locally and across the country was quick to condemn Major Hasan's actions, and Lt. Gen. Robert Cone, commander of Ft. Hood said in a press conference that he did not believe religion was the cause of this shooting. The caution to avoid painting a large group of people with a broad brush came quickly from President Obama last week, and continued yesterday.

Representative John Carter praised the president's speech, saying that there is still a lot to sort out, and people should keep an open mind until the facts are known.

Many soldiers say that, while they're worried about their safety, it's not specifically because of Islam. Specialist Brian Hill:

And even among the rumors of religious taunting and persecution, some are reminded that their own faith should be used to help, and not to divide. Chief Christopher Royal was shot three times by Major Hassan. A Christian, Chief Royal knows what he's called to do in a situation such as this.

For KWBU News, I'm Derek Smith.

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