Sunday, November 8, 2009

Nidal Malik Hasan and the "Sudden Jihad Syndrome"

As the tragic events at Fort Hood unfolded, the phrase “Sudden Jihad Syndrome” popped into mind.

I encountered the phrase a few years ago doing research on school shootings and random acts of violence.

It was coined by Daniel Pipes after 9/11 to describe, or explain, a series of seemingly random, otherwise inexplicable acts of terror committed by male Muslims.

Examples include an Egyptian Muslin from Irvine, California who drove up to LAX on July 4, 2002 and started shooting up the El Al counter at the airport, killing two.

The Trolley Square Mall shooter in Salt Lake City on February 12, 2007 was a Bosnian immigrant.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina mowed down UNC students with his car on March 3, 2007.

The Jewish Federation office in Seattle was attacked on July 8, 2006.

Let us also not forget the D.C. Sniper, the subway bombers in London and the murderous doctors in London.

Many more examples exist, but that doesn’t tell us much.

Almost all random acts of violence are committed by males. Female shooters are a rarity.

I do not believe that a “mutant Muslim gene” triggers random acts of terror in men anymore than a similar gene triggers the “Going Postal syndrome.”

I do not believe that Allah points his finger at a Muslin, and whispers: "It's time."

I do not believe that Islam inculcates a religious need to commit random acts of violence.

Nor do I believe that the Arab, or Mideast Culture (Persians are not Arabs) instills random acts of violence.

Unlike some gang initiations, I do not believe that a convert to Islam must prove himself by taking an infidel’s life.

The phrase itself is inherently derogative. This unique use of a slur ignores all other types of random acts of violence, except for the original ‘Going Postal.”

For example, some law students have committed random acts of violence, but no one coined the “Paper Chase Syndrome” or “Kingsfield Syndrome.”

A 15 year old Native American went on a killing spree in March 2005, slaying his grandparents and then shooting up the reservation’s high school. No one labeled it “Redman’s Revenge.”

A few extremist environmentalists engage in eco-terrorism, but that is no more characteristic of environmentalists than to tar all pro-life advocates with the extremists who kill abortion doctors.

A few Asian-Americans, including Seung-Hui Sho at Virginia Tech, have engaged in these tragic acts, but we don’t calumny all Asians, such as reviving the despicable racist epithet “Yellow Peril.”

I believe that in a country of 38 million and a world of 6 billion humans, some psychopaths exist. Some event causes them to snap.

Something in their warped mind tells them that perhaps, just perhaps, they can justify the carnage by attributing it to a higher calling, such as Allah Akbar or the Palestinian Cause. These killers are not driven to violence by Islam.

Some of these crazed assailants are engaging in public acts of suicide. Investigations often discover underlying issues, such as economic problems, which the perpetrator is unable to resolve.

I recognize that Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran pose a mortal risk to Israel and engage in state sponsored terrorism, but that is not the "Sudden Jihad Syndrome."

I’m simply not worried that the Muslim students in my classes will take me out some day.

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