The Fort Hood, Texas, shooting spree is a wake-up call to American Muslims, society, and the US Army, contended Mowahid Hussain Shah, at a forum on the challenges arising from WesternMuslim tensions, chaired by Professor Akbar Ahmed at American University, in the nation's capital at Washington, DC.
The three-hour interactive discussion program with bright and motivated honors students, where Mowahid was the solo speaker, centered on the Ft Hood slayings, its impact on US Muslims, and the US role in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The core consensus in the discussion was that there needs to be more substantial and sustainable connection of mainstream society with the US Muslim community.
Mowahid maintained that it was disturbing to read reports that the alleged shooter, Major Hasan, was a target of slurs from fellow soldiers despite being a US Army officer. If accurate, it did not cast a positive light on the state of discipline, command, and control being exercised within the US Army, he said.
Mowahid said the defining issue of our times shall continue to be Western-Muslim relations; therefore, US Muslims need to display greater confidence and competence in the arena of ideas. The paucity of genuine Muslim voices in the conversation of America, he said, help vested interests to paint a distorted picture.
Mowahid urged the American youth to speak up and remain alert to exploitive politicians like Senator Joe Lieberman whose utterances, in effect, put the entire Muslim community on the dock. Impressing upon the students to play their needful role, he said the power of youthful activism was vividly demonstrated at the American University campus on January 28, 2008, where for the first time Caroline Kennedy and the late Senator Edward Kennedy (at the behest of his niece) publicly endorsed Obama's bid for the Presidency, thereby renouncing the Bush/Cheney legacy.
During Q&A, the participants agreed with Mowahid that the constant pressure and demand on the Muslim community to denounce crimes which happen to be committed by Muslim individuals serve to dignify the tarnishing of the entire Muslim community when, in similar situations, similar demands are not placed on other communities.