Monday, August 8, 2011

Muhammad Ali and Major Nidal Hassan

Muhammad Ali and Major Malik Nidal Hassan are both Muslims who refused to serve in a war that they objected to. Unlike Major Nidal, Ali did not say, "I am a Muslim and I reject to be deployed to an Islamic country" (although he also did not say, "Send me to Israel to see what kind of soldier I am"). This is what Ali said: "I will not disgrace my religion, my people, or myself by becoming a tool to enslave people who are fighting for their own justice and equality." Also unlike Major Nidal, Ali did not pick up a gun and randomly shoot at his comrades. He did not kill or wound dozens of people.

At the time that Ali refused to serve in the Vietnam War (1969), I was only a child in Afghanistan, perhaps a second-grader. But Ali's rejection to be deployed was such big news even in my little town of Kabul that, to this day, I remember it like it was yesterday. Even at that young age, and thousands of miles away, I remember feeling like I was standing shoulder to shoulder with Ali in America, or even as if I was suddenly becoming his follower. I was even more proud when, even as he was stripped of his championship title and lost his boxing license, Ali still stood his ground firmly without wavering an inch. Isn't this what an excellent and compassionate human being is all about? I know Ali became a boxing champion in the ring, but Ali as a legend, Ali as an icon—that was born outside the ring. Even now, decades later, as a Muslim, as an Afghan, as an Afghan American, as a human being, I am deeply proud of Ali. I share this pride with millions of people across the world. Despite race or color, blacks, whites, Chinese, Russians, Japanese and all other races share this human pride with Ali. As a human being that moment is one of the highlights of the better side of our human history. As an American, what Ali did was and remains one of the brightest highlights of our proud American history.

Quite to the contrary, as a Muslim, as an Afghan, as an Afghan American, and as a human being, I am ashamed of Major Nidal. Not only am I ashamed but I am outraged for what he did and as an American. I am still bleeding from his terrible deeds. The only people that support Major Nidal are people like Bin Laden, the Taliban, ISI, and other extremists.

By rejecting deployment in Afghanistan, Major Nidal did nothing at all to help the poor Afghan people. By refusing to go there, his actions only served to support the opium growers, the drug dealers, and people like Bin Laden and the Taliban—those who are responsible for killing close to one million innocent Afghans, all of them Muslims. According to witnesses, as Major Nidal was shooting at his comrades, killing and wounding them, he was shouting "Allahu Akbar." (God is Great). This is what Muslims are supposed to shout when they kill a non–Muslim—that is, when we believe that such an act is part of our holy duty (Jihad). But that is not limited to the killing of non-Muslims, because once one allows himself to take another human being's life, then one can find reasons to take other people's lives, too.

This is what has been happening in our Islamic world for the last 1400 years. Of course for misguided, sick people like Major Nidal who live in Muslim countries, killing Muslims is always easier because they tend not to be protected by their local and state governments. What I mean by that is, fortunately Major Nidal 's rampage was stopped quickly, but in Afghanistan it has been for 30 years that people like Major Nidal have been on one rampage after another, and for those 30 years the non-stop killing has taken the lives of close to 2 million innocent people.

Why do I hate it when I hear of murderers shouting "Allahu Akbar?" Because for the last 30 years, when people like Major Nidal killed innocent Afghans (all Muslims) they shouted "Allahu Akbar." In 1992 when Gulbuddin Hekmatyar (the most notorious Mujahedeen leader) was shelling Kabul with hundreds of missiles a day, every day (for months), each time his thugs fired a missile, they shouted "Allahu Akbar." Deplorably, I think we Muslims are the only people on the face of the Earth who continually kill people in the name of God. Please don't tell me that Major Nidal's killing spree has nothing to do with Islam.

I have recently published, in English, my book of 600 pages all about Islam. What Major Nidal did has everything to do with Islam. It is certainly not the version that Muhammad Ali learned, but sadly, it is the version that Bin Laden, the Taliban, and hundreds of thousands of other Muslims have apparently learned, are learning, and are teaching. Major Nidal was a sick psychiatrist who was infected with a deadly germ that I call IEG (the Islamic Extremism Germ). This disease can be treated in its early stages, and the best thing we can do is to vaccinate young Muslims and prevent their minds from being infected. The best and most inexpensive way to deal with this disease of the mind is to give IEG more importance than global warming. I am outraged that the US government has spent over one trillion dollars in eight years to fight in Iraq and Afghanistan without a significant result, but it did not spend one hundred million a year to vaccinate millions of people in the Islamic world, specifically in Afghanistan, to prevent this disease.

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