I join with millions of people of faith in this great nation and around the world in extending condolences to the families of the victims of the recent tragic shootings at the US military base in Fort Hood, Texas. I offer prayers for the wounded for a full recovery both physically and spiritually. Any sane or faithful individual of any faith would condemn this tragic act of violence against unsuspecting men and women in uniform*.
While accepting the fact that Major Nidal Malik Hassan practiced the Islamic faith I am offering no justification for this ungodly, heinous and cowardly act of violence. While we grieve as a nation, let us not forget that the estimated 20,0000 Muslims men and women who are honorably serving their country in the US military**. The military courts will ultimately determine the fate of Major Hassan. If the events of November 5th 2009 are as they seem, Major Hassan will no doubt be found guilty in a military not federal court.
We must take a moment realize that this is the second shooting in the last twelve months at Fort Hood and that no matter the verdict or the punishment the lives that have been taken will never be replaced, the damage done to the wounded, physically and emotionally, may never be fully repaired, and that in the aftermath of this incident of fratricide will result in the loss of trust and an increase in the sense of fear and vulnerability among our nations armed forces into the future.
In many countries if this crime had been committed by ONE member of a tribe, ethnic or religious group against another it would result in escalating social tension, rioting or even genocide, but not in the United States of America. As Americans, we must continue to hold fast to our many faiths and values, continuing to strive toward healing as a nation and as a beacon hope to an increasingly polarized and violent world.