The Crescent Report

November 6, 2009

MAS FREEDOM JOINS NATION’S AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN CONDEMNATION OF ATTACK AT FORT HOOD

Filed under: Muslim Americans — Imam Mahdi Bray @ 5:24 pm

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: MAS Freedom National
Mahdi Bray, Executive Director
Email: mahdi.bray AT masfreedom.org
Office: (202) 552-7414
Cell: (202) 421-3623

MAS FREEDOM JOINS NATION’S AMERICAN MUSLIM COMMUNITY IN CONDEMNATION OF ATTACK AT FORT HOOD

Calls for Effective Mental Health Care and Eradication of Hate Renewed

WASHINGTON, DC  (MASNET) Nov. 6, 2009 – MAS Freedom (MASF), on behalf of and as the civic and human rights advocacy entity of the Muslim American Society (MAS), joins the chorus of American Muslim voices nationwide in condemnation of the tragic attack perpetrated against U.S. military personnel at the Soldier Readiness Processing Center at Fort Hood, Texas, where soldiers preparing to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan, leaving 13 persons dead and 30 wounded on November 5, 2009.

“As an organization and as Muslim American’s, we stand in condemnation of Thursday’s assault in the strongest terms possible,” echoed MAS Freedom Executive Director, Mahdi Bray Thursday evening at a press conference in Washington, D.C.

“Let us be cautious, however, in drawing conclusions based on the ethnicity of the perpetrator of this tragic incident. A full investigation, is, of course, underway; however, as in any case, the perpetuation of negativity in such instances often unwittingly serves as an equally unnecessary exacerbation of the atmosphere of hate, violence and Islamophia under which the Muslim community already exists,” stated MAS Freedom Executive Director Mahdi Bray.

Bray added, “Indeed this is a national tragedy and our American family is in mourning. Like any family in a time of crisis and tragedy, we will not turn on each other, but rather, toward each other as a source of strength and comfort.”

Nidal Malik Hasan, a 39-year-old Muslim, Virginia-born Army major and psychiatrist, set to be deployed to Iraq, is reported to be responsible for the worst mass killing on a U.S. military base; the second shooting incident in recent history at the base this year.

Another shooting incident occurred at Fort Hood on September 8, 2008. Specialist Jody Michael Wirawan, 22, of Eagle River, Alabama, who was scheduled to be discharged, fatally shot 1st Lieutenant Robert Bartlett Fletcher, 24, of Jensen Beach, Florida. When police arrived, Wirawan turned his gun on himself and died on the scene.

An emerging profile indicates that Major Hasan, who, prior to being transferred to Fort Hood six-years ago, served and did his psychiatric internship at Washington’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center, may, himself, have suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Major Hasan, whose family members have stated endured name-calling and harassment about his Muslim faith for years, is further described as a ‘mostly very quiet’, devoutly religious person, often seen attending prayers at a local mosque in uniform, while stationed in Washington. Retired Army Col. Terry Lee, is reported to have stated that Major Hasan never spoke ill of the military or his country, however, he had expressed hopes that President Barack Obama would pull troops out of Afghanistan and Iraq and that Major Hasan had been proactively vocal in his opposition to the wars, in addition to having sought legal counsel in working to detach himself from the military.

MAS Freedom continues to urge and support its ongoing call for an end to the wars and deployments that have led to numerous severe mental health problems among U.S. soldiers, including mental depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, violence against spouses and family members, in addition to suicide; illnesses that reportedly affect some 20 percent of the troops returning from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.

According to Pentagon figures, Fort Hood has the highest suicide rate over any Army base in the country, with 75 soldiers taking their own lives since 2003. An additional 32 Fort Hood soldiers have reportedly attempted, but thankfully failed, to take their own lives.

The San Antonio News-Express reported last August that the number of suicides at Fort Hood ‘has been 26 per 100,000 people from 2006 to 2008, far above the civilian rate of 14.06 per 100,000’. The report further states that in addition to Fort Hood, Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Fort Bragg, North Carolina collectively logged 125 suicides in the same period, for a total of 183 since 2003.

MAS Freedom North Carolina Director Khalilah Sabra stated, “Most soldiers are aware of combat stress reactions from their training and from Army education campaigns. Reportedly, over 70 percent of soldiers have complained of war-related stress and have sought help for serious problems. These emotional health issues are intensified by long and multiple deployments in places that witness death and the violence of constant combat.”

MAS Freedom further calls on our nation’s Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama, to step-up efforts to insure more effective mental healthcare for soldiers experiencing chronic stress and mental instability as the ongoing campaign for health care reform continues.

Fort Hood commander Lieutenant General Bob Cone, has confirmed that contrary to earlier reports, Major Hasan was not fatally wounded in the incident and is currently in custody and in stable condition.

Also previously reported as being fatally wounded, was a civilian police woman and first responder on the scene, who has received surgical treatment for her injuries and is in stable condition.

A ceremony to honor the dead will take place at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware where the bodies have been taken for autopsies.

“As American Muslims we join our fellow citizens in offering both prayers for the victims and sincere condolences to the families of those killed or injured,” stated Bray.

For additional information about MAS Freedom activities, visit www.masfreedom.org or www.masnet.org. Inquiries can also be made by contacting MAS Freedom at (202) 552-7414, (703) 642-6165 or 1-888-627-8471 or sending an email to: info @ masfreedom.org.

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MAS Freedom (MASF) is a civic and human rights advocacy entity and sister organization of the Muslim American Society (MAS), the largest Muslim, grassroots, charitable, religious, social, cultural, civic and educational organization in America – with 55 chapters in 35 states.
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MAS Freedom
1325 G Street NW, Suite 500
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 552-7414
or (703) 642-6165
Toll Free: 1-(888)-627-8471
Fax: (703) 998-6526
MASF on the Web
Contact MASF by Email
TO DONATE CLICK HERE

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