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Reactions to Fort Hood Killings

The tragedy at Fort Hood last week raised many fears among Christian political advocacy groups. For some groups the shooting provoked a fear of a Muslim "fifth column" in the military. For others groups it provoked a fear of anti-Muslim backlash in the American populace.

One plea for tolerance and restraint came from the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE). The NAE called for both prayer and "stronger relationships of understanding and reconciliation."

"A tragedy caused by the act of one individual should not be compounded by generalizing actions to a culture, ethnicity or religion," said Paul Vicalvi, executive director of the NAE Chaplains Commission. "We should be clear: The actions of this one man do not reflect the beliefs or values of the vast majority of American Muslims."

As evidence for the these values, Faith in Public life listed denouncements from prominent Islamic groups including the Islamic Society of North America, Council on American-Islamic Relations, and American Society of Muslim Advancement.

Albert Mohler discussed the complexity of balancing religious freedom and the unique demands of the military.

"The U.S. Armed Forces should make every effort to accommodate the religious beliefs and convictions of its personnel," he said. "That is what we owe to those who put their lives on the line to defend our freedoms. But they owe the entire nation—and first of all their fellow soldiers—the commitments of loyalty, obedience, respect, and protection. The military cannot accommodate any belief system that undermines those commitments."

Although Major Hasan's religious beliefs appear to have motivated his actions, Mohler said, "it is not fair to generalize Major Hasan's ...

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Fear of Muslims and Fear of Bigotry
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November 2009

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