By Michelle Boorstein
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 6, 2009 11:43 AM
Muslim American organizations hurried Friday to condemn the shootings at Fort Hood, saying they have already begun receiving some hate mail and emphasizing that there are thousands of Muslims serving in the armed forces.
Officials from the Islamic Society of North America, the American Muslim Armed Forces and Veterans Affairs Council and Imam Mohamed Magid of the large Northern Virginia mosque ADAMS (All Dulles Area Muslim Society) among others held a news conference Friday, urging Americans to view the shooter as a criminal individual, not a representative of Islam.
"As with Timothy McVeigh, the sniper, we focused on the person, not their religion. You wouldn't take a Christian or a Jewish soldier who did something like this and look at other Christians and Jews and say, 'Can we trust them?' " said Qaseem Uqdah, a Marine and executive director of the Muslim veterans council. "It's ludicrous."
Magid announced his group would be collecting donations from Muslim Americans for the victims of the shootings. He said the groups were trying to emphasize that Islam doesn't condone random violence. "You do this, you go to hell. You don't go to paradise."
Asked whether other Muslim Americans could identify with the shooter's apparent anxiety about being deployed to Afghanistan, Magid said "if you look at who has refused to go [to Afghanistan and Iraq], you'll find not only Muslims. And you will find thousands of Muslim Americans fighting."
The leaders said there had already been some hateful e-mails and calls, including one Thursday night to the Michigan branch of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee that said, "We know where you are, you have nowhere to hide."