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Another Islamist Soldier Turns Terrorist in Texas

U.S. Army Private First Class Nasser Jason Abdo, 21, first made the news last August when, arguing that his Islamic faith contradicts serving in the American military, he filed for conscientious objector (C.O.) status. Referring to current American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Abdo asserted that a Muslim “is not allowed to participate in an Islamicly unjust war. Any Muslim who knows his religion … should not participate in the U.S. military.” Further, he wrote: “I cannot be a soldier in the US Army and continue to remain true to Islam.”

Simultaneously, Abdo made anti-American statements during Pashto language class and listed the Council on American-Islamic Relations, or CAIR, on his Facebook page as one of his “activities and interests.” He announced an intent, on leaving the army, to combat “Islamophobia” and “to show Muslims how we can lead our lives. And to try and put a good positive spin out there that Islam is a good, peaceful religion. We’re not all terrorists, you know?”

On May 13, 2011, Abdo won C.O. status. But that same day, due to an investigation prompted by his anti-American statements, he faced an Article 32 hearing (the military equivalent of a grand jury) for downloading 34 child pornography pictures on his government-issued computer. Abdo vowed to fight this charge and impugned the army’s motives (“It has been nearly 10 months since the investigation started and I am only now being charged with child pornography when my C.O. claim is approved. I think that all sounds pretty fishy”).

On June 15, the

Nasser Abdo in 2010, when he was giving interviews about his filing as a conscientious objector.

Article 32 hearing recommended Abdo be court-martialed for the illegal pornography. On July 4, he went AWOL (absent without leave) from the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. On July 27, he turned up at Guns Galore, a munitions shop in Killeen, Texas, near Ft. Hood, where he bought weapons, ammunition, and bomb-making materials. He also purchased a uniform with Ft. Hood patches from a military surplus store.

When the police arrested him later that day, an FBI press release recounts, “Abdo was in possession of a .40 caliber handgun, ammunition, an article [from Inspire, Al-Qaeda’s English-language magazine] entitled ‘Make a bomb in the kitchen of your Mom,’ as well as bomb-making components, including six bottles of smokeless gunpowder, shotgun shells, shotgun pellets, two clocks, two spools of auto wire, an electric drill and two pressure cookers.” Those materials in Abdo’s possession corresponded precisely to the “ingredients” listed in the Inspire magazine article on bomb-making.

The article that guided Abdo's bomb making.

Abdo admitted to the FBI that he “planned to assemble two bombs in the hotel room using gun powder and shrapnel packed into pressure cookers to detonate inside an unspecified restaurant frequented by soldiers from Fort Hood.”

What were his motives?

Two stand out: he confessed planning to kill soldiers to “get even” with the military, presumably because of the court martial. But his larger goal was Islamist. He spouted off about “Islamophobia,” commended CAIR, made anti-American statements, and declared he could not kill fellow Muslims. His backpack contained what one law enforcement official called “Islamic extremist literature.” Guns Galore is the same store where Maj. Nidal Hasan bought the weapons he used to kill 14 at Ft. Hood in November 2009. In court, Abdo yelled out “Nidal Hasan – Fort Hood 2009” and “Anwar al-Awlaki” (Hasan’s Al-Qaeda spiritual guide). He also screamed “Abeer al-Janabi – Iraq 2006,” the name of a girl gang-raped and murdered that year by U.S. soldiers.

This case highlights a profound issue: Is Islam incompatible with serving in the U.S. government? Abdo’s C.O. claim and his would-be terrorism in opposite but complementary ways argue for their incompatibility. The U.S. Army tacitly accepted his point on granting him C.O. status,, a decision perhaps influenced by repeated Muslim attacks on the U.S. military, including Sgt. Hasan Akbar‘s fragging attack in Kuwait, Hasan‘s Ft. Hood rampage, and Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad‘s assault on a military recruiting center in Arkansas.

This Abdo-army consensus has vast implications for Islam in America, suggesting that Muslims cannot be loyal citizens and constitute a fifth column. I disagree: Muslims can be patriotic Americans and exemplary soldiers. That said, the Abdo case once again points to the need for additional scrutiny of Muslims, whether serving in government or boarding aircraft. It’s unfortunate, it’s distasteful, but the common security demands no less.


Daniel Pipes is director of the Middle East Forum and Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.  (This article courtesy of the Middle East Forum.)


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  • I was living in a rooming house in inner-city Seattle many years ago, where I met a young Muslim man. He was Moroccan and lived in France. He had come to the U.S. to find work in the restaurant business. As the months went by, he unsuccessfully tried to find a job in many different restaurants in Seattle.

    He was an observant Muslim, but I remember he used to go to my Catholic parish often to pray, saying that “God is everywhere.” When Ramadan came he followed the fasting requirements to the letter, even though he was taking a long plane trip and wouldn’t be able to drink water. I remember thinking, if most Catholics were this faithful, we’d have taken over the world by now through our example.

    Eventually, after months of not finding work, he concluded that he needed to go back to France because he was running from God and trying to get away from his past there (I don’t know what that was). So he did the honorable thing and went back to face reality.

    He had no money and a one-way plane ticket was about $300. I had some money in the bank so I told him I would buy his car (which didn’t run) for $300, and I took him to the travel agent to get a plane ticket. He left for Paris, and I think I got a postcard after a while, and that was the last I heard of him.

    When he left he gave me his prayer rug. I was honored to have it. I had been given a good example of faithfulness and integrity, and I always think of my friend whenever I am tempted to get angry at Muslims.

    That was a long time ago, and the world has changed a lot since then. But I think the impulse to be radical is a fallen human one, and not specifically a Muslim one. Look at the Norwegian shooter, an ostensible Christian. If there is something about Islam that makes its adherents susceptible to radicalism, it is their choice and not a foreordained conclusion.

  • Sir: if we are to qualify that crazy coward as a Christian on the basis of his declaration to be one, shouldn’t we qualify anyone to be anything on the same basis?

    I have met many, many Muslims in my country of origin, here in the US in diverse parts of the country, and also in Europe. While I met some normal individuals who do not pose any apparent threat to anyone I must say–and I can name many names–that a sizable number of them were primitive people, prejudiced to boot, prone to verbal and non-verbal violence, obsessed with ridiculously stupid details about their belief. Once I witnessed in astonishment how a number of young university students and their professor discussed some episode in the life of Mohammed in which he apparently prophesied about someone going to heaven for taking care of a cat; the “theological” consequences of that for cats, owners of cats and so forth. Not exactly comparable an after dinner conversation about St. Augustine.

    Should we call that Norwegian nut a Christian then we could also own the brutal executors of Edmund Campion, or the IRA: all of them in their beastly glory. We could make saints of every deranged rapist, mutilator, and cannibal who even walked in a Christian church in his life. What are you talking about? Are you saying that this man by the simple device of calling himself a Christian IS actually a Christian like John Paul II or Albert Schweitzer? Please!

    Then you present that exceptional, natural, good man you met once long ago and put it as a sampler of what Muslims are? My sampler of a Muslim will forever remain that 12 year old boy who walked into our class on the first day of the Six Day War and declared joyously “We have invaded Israel, we will keep all the gold and **expletive** all the women.” Among the other members of my class was Saul, my Jewish neighbor and friend whose parents were survivors of the Holocaust in Poland. You can imagine his feelings hearing that idiotic statement yelled in a classroom.

    No doubt there are many good Muslims (like there are good Eskimos, Buddhists, librarians, Franc-Masons, and plumbers) who are naturally good but if they followed the tenets of their religion “to a tee” they should be engaged in violent warfare against us. And there are many violent warring “Christians” also but if THEY followed the teachings of Christ “to a tee” they would be saints engaged in the ways of peace and charity.

    Obviously we need to meditate about that difference and leave the soviet-style political correctness surrounding us for another day.

  • Carlos, whoa! I was telling a story about something that happened 15+ years ago, how this fellow helped me remember that Muslims are human beings too, and then I went on to say: “If there is something about Islam that makes its adherents susceptible to radicalism, it is their choice and not a foreordained conclusion.”

    That’s hardly a whitewash; in fact, cowardly Muslims are all the more culpable that their behavior is their choice. In fact, I think there IS something about Islam that radicalizes; it has to do with the fact that in their system, God does not sacrifice himself for us. Instead he is an authoritarian giving orders.

    I think we need to take our comments down a couple of notches if we can’t even tell a good story.

    • PH: I agree. Yet if one really follows Mohammed’s teachings the end product will not look that your friend. The Koran is very explicit in that respect.

      I was upset when the legacy media presented the Norwegian nut as a Christian, a variation of their previous and trite “Hitler was a Christian” theme. They try to see history as a contest of purity in which they pick and choose the “players” they want to own. They jump on Mahatma Gandhi and other fakes like him but they don’t own Stalin or Mao. Yet we get to own Hitler and Ivan the Terrible because someone sprinkled baptismal water on them so now we are all heartless assassins and right wing nuts, “guns and religion” people as our fearless leader so aptly qualified us.

      I took your comment to be one of those self-bashing comments I am hearing so often lately. And I am also personally taken aback by the cowardice of people like K.C. Dermody and others of that ilk that go around with a baseball bat hitting Sarah Palin and Christianity but totally forget female slavery, unilateral male divorce, clitoral mutilation, and other niceties that the “religion of peace” inflicts on those under their control.

      No one within that system (perhaps Salman Rushdie?) has noticed that their god does not do any killing himself in spite of being supposedly almighty. But that would be ‘reasoning’ which is streng verboten in the Islamic system.