I know I'm going to get in trouble from some of my blogger buddies for writing this post, but I'm going to write it anyway because failing to acknowlege a fact in the name of political correctness is stupid.
I also want to preface this with the fact that I know that there are over four million muslims in the United States (including some who are friends of mine) and that almost all of them are peace-loving people who absolutely do not support the use of violence as a means to achieve anything. To characterize all of them based on the actions of one, or even of several, seriously disturbed individuals is unfair and wrong.
However, I have to take issue with the whole 'loner' bit that is being kicked around about Major Nidal Malik Hasan. He is certainly a lone gunman, but there is a disturbing trend here. Just a couple of weeks ago there was a shootout in Detroit between the FBI and a group of radical muslims whose stated goal was to establish an autonomous state governed by sharia law on U.S. territory. We also recently had the case of Najibullah Zazi, accused of plotting to blow up targets in the United States. Before that we had Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who attacked army recruiters in Arkansas. There is also a parade of young men from Minneapolis and elsewhere who have apparently been moving through a pipeline to Somalia where they end up as members of al-Shabob, an Islamicist rebel group in that country.
And that's just this year. If we continued this post back a few years, there are several other American muslim individuals who have committed senseless acts of violence in the United States or against fellow Americans (John Allen Muhammed, anyone?)
Now, I absolutely do not believe that we should in any way blame the entire muslim community (many of whom have condemned and spoken out against these senseless actions,) nor do I believe that the government needs more federal spy powers-- God knows we've given them enough spy powers already and if they are doing a poor job of using the powers they have now then the answer is not to give them more power to snoop on Americans. As I said before, there are millions of American muslims and these actions have been committed by a handful, who do not appear in most cases to be part of any sort of extremist organization.
However, to deny that these kinds of violent episodes are happening too often to be considered 'random' because it is politically inconvenient to do so, is also wrong headed thinking. Clearly the whole radical Islamicist, jihadi mentality has seduced a number of Americans, either those who were raised as muslims (as Dr. Hasan was) or those who have converted to Islam (as was the case for those involved in the Detroit shootout.)
We must acknowlege it and then look at how we can work with law enforcement officials and community leaders to get a handle on why some American muslims are attracted to extreme Islamicism and then address those causes directly. And to get this kind of a dialogue working we have to be willing to be blunt about what the problem is.