Bad enough when Muslim communities oppose Muslim soldiers fighting for Western governments; worse when the soldiers involved come to this same conclusion. This can lead to double-agentry, spying, and other forms of penetration; or it can lead to terrorism, as in the cases of Sgt. Hasan Akbar's fragging attack in Kuwait or Maj. Nidal Hasan's shooting spree at Ft. Hood. Alternatively, it can lead to a filing for conscientious objector status, as in the case of U.S. Army Pfc. Nasser Jason Abdo, 20, currently stationed at Fort Campbell in Kentucky.
U.S. Army Pfc. Nasser Abdo, 20, wants out of the military on the grounds that he is a Muslim.
In contrast to Abdo, Muzammil Siddiqi of Islamic Law Counsel of North America, sees no contradiction between practicing Islam and serving as a soldier. "I don't see that, from the Islamic point of view, there is any problem with that. There are a lot of good Muslims who are serving in the U.S. Army and a lot of other places."
On leaving the army, by the way, Abdo plans to spend his life combating "Islamophobia." "I want to use my experience 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?"
Comment: This contrast between callow and savvy Islamists brings to mind the 1996 case of the National Basketball Association's Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf who refused to stand for the American anthem but was slapped down by his elders. Lawful Islamists must play the game that the Shari'a is compatible with the constitution; not to do opens a Pandora's Box of trouble for Muslims. (Aug. 31, 2010)
Sep. 2, 2010 update: More quotes from Abdo:
I was more faithful to God before I joined the military and that's what kind of stirred me. Military duties have really consumed every part of my day and did not allow me time to involve myself with the Islamic community to maintain what duties I felt that I owed God. This is really what made me come to the conclusion that I'm not ready to die. ... I knew that if I went to Afghanistan and, God forbid, something were to happen, that my faith was so weak that I wouldn't be admitted into heaven. … The conclusion I came to is that I can't participate in the U.S. military, including any war it's involved in or any war it will be involved in in the future.
Abdo interviewed by Al-Jazeera on Aug. 21, 2010.
Abdo interviewed by Al-Jazeera on Aug. 21, 2010.
Comments: (1) Allowing Abdo this status implies U.S. government endorsement that being Muslim and a loyal American are incompatible. This has portentous implications.
(2) Islamists and pornography – why does this theme – as well as so many other immoral acts – turn up so often? As I explained a decade ago in "Islamists - not who they say they are," they are "ruthless, power-hungry operatives who cannot rightly claim the aura of piety they strenuously assert. They are less observant Moslems than they are political extremists."
June 23, 2011 update: Abdo is quoted about the conscientious objector status and child pornography issues in an article by Shaik Zakeer Hussain at IslamPolicy.com, "Nasser Abdo: Victim of America's Pornography obsession" (a curious title for an Islamist publication):
- "I don't believe I can involve myself in an army that wages war against Muslims. I don't believe I could sleep at night if I take part, in any way, in the killing of a Muslim."
- "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."
July 12, 2011 update: Retired Navy Adm. James A. Lyons, former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, takes a quite different view of the Abdo case from me: "By acceding to the dictates of Shariah, the Army has tacitly endorsed an absurd position that in effect sanctions Muslim service members to kill non-Muslims but forbids them to kill Muslims. Further, it is an unbelievable basis on which to classify them as conscientious objectors. … By granting conscientious objector status to Pfc. Abdo, the Army is tacitly accepting a key tenet of the Islamic doctrine of jihad." In contrast, I see the army not acceding to the Shari'a but rejecting it.
Nasser Abdo under arrest in Texas.
Nasser Abdo under arrest in Texas.
after making a purchase at Guns Galore in Killeen, Texas, the same ammunition store where Maj. Nidal Hasan purchased the weapons he allegedly used to gun down 13 people and wound 30 others on Nov. 5, 2009. Abdo, 21, allegedly told law enforcement he was targeting the base to "get even," according to law enforcement documents obtained by ABC News. …
When he was arrested, Abdo was in possession of large quantities of ammunition, weapons and what appeared to be the makings of a bomb, according to early accounts from law enforcement. He had also apparently purchased an Army uniform with Fort Hood patches from a local surplus store.
Of note is how Abdo came to the authorities' attention:
Local police were initially alerted to the man by the owners of Guns Galore who reported him as "suspicious." A clerk at the store, who identified himself to ABC News as Mr. [Greg] Ebert, said Abdo came to the store Wednesday afternoon looking for gunpowder and "reloading options." Ebert called the police after he said he felt "concerned with the quantity of his request and his general demeanor." "There was clearly something wrong with him," Ebert said.
Guns Galore in Killeen, Texas.
Comments: (1) Interesting that a soldier who applied for conscientious objector status in 2010, which requires him to oppose war in any form, tries to pull off a terrorist attack in 2011. See any contradiction here? Even more interesting that the army was so grossly duped by Abdo. Maybe it will tighten the conscientious objector requirements in the aftermath of this near-fiasco?
(2) I wonder if the leftist and Islamist organizations supported by Abdo – such as Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Council on American-Islamic Relations – will come under the same assault as those of us quoted by Anders Behring Breivik were this past week. Something tells me that won't happen.
(3) How ironic that Abdo first bleats about "Islamophobia" and then makes himself a reason to hate Islam. Just imagine what damage to Islam's reputation would have resulted had he succeeded in his killing spree.
July 29, 2011 update: At Abdo's first courtroom appearance, when Federal prosecutors charged him with possessing a destructive device, Abdo refused to stand as the judge entered the room, implying that he does recognize the U.S. justice system. Further, as he was taken out of the courtroom, he yelled "Iraq 2006" along with the name of an Iraqi girl raped and murdered in 2006 by a U.S. soldier, then "Nidal Hasan Fort Hood 2009." This celebration of Hasan, incidentally, contrasts with an essay Abdo wrote in November 2010 while petitioning for conscientious objector status, when he described Hasan's actions as contrary to Islam, "an act of aggression by a man and not by Islam," and "counter to what I believe in as a Muslim."
Some further quotes from Abdo's writings have become available. This is from a November 2010 essay on his becoming a "different Muslim" after basic training and being subjected to religious harassment, as reported by the Associated Press:
"Often times, during basic training the trainees would insult Islam and insult Muslims," he wrote. As a result, Abdo said he grew reclusive and stopped socializing. … "Little did I know that when I first became a Muslim that I was going to learn what Islam meant to me and what I was willing to sacrifice for it," he wrote. Abdo said life was better after he arrived at his first duty station, but that he studied Islam more closely as he neared deployment to learn "whether going to war was the right thing to do Islamically."
"I began to understand and believe that only God can give legitimacy to war and not humankind," he wrote. "That's when I realized my conscience would not allow me to deploy." His [conscientious objector] application was filed in June 2010. Abdo wrote that if it was granted, he looked forward to "rejoining the Muslim community in Dallas and spending some time on 'The path of Allah." He said he would devote days or weeks travelling to other states and sleeping in mosques to "revive the faith of the Muslim nation."
- He was born in 1990 to a Canadian Christian mother and a Palestinian Muslim father with Jordanian citizenship. He decided to become a Muslim at age 17. He grew up in the Dallas suburb of Garland.
- He became a practicing Muslim in 2007 and traveled to Dubai to attend classes in mass communication at the American University.
- He enlisted in the U.S. Army in March 2009 partly in need of a job, partly (as he wrote later) out of a sense that military service would "bring justice to those who were giving Islam a bad name."
- Joining as an infantryman, he was assigned to the First Brigade Combat Team (Rear Provisional) of the 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
- He complained about the maltreatment he received in the army, having to endure insults and threats due to his religion.
- When his brigade was deployed to Afghanistan in February 2010, Abdo stayed behind to learn Pashto, a language spoken in Afghanistan, with the plan that he would join up with the brigade in June 2010.
- He submitted for conscientious objector status on the eve of his planned deployment to Afghanistan.
- The Army's Conscientious Objector Review board denied his request for conscientious objector but the deputy assistant secretary of the Army Review Boards Agency approved it.
- On the same day, May 13, 2011, he both won the conscientious objector status and charged with possession of child pornography.
- Abdo last wrote on his Facebook page on June 21, 2011, when he announced that "after this update I will be leaving," without indicating where to.
- On July 3, 2011, Abdo tried to buy a handgun at Quantico Tactical, a gun store near Fort Campbell in Oak Grove, Kentucky. He went to the store twice that day, once to ask questions, the second time attempting to buy the firearm, but failing to because of unspecified behavior that alarmed the staff and led to his being turned down.
- The next day, he went AWOL and traveled the 800 miles from Oak Grove to Killeen by taking buses, hitchhiking, and paying for rides..
We also learn about Abdo's parents. Jamal Rateb Abdo, 53, and Carlisa Morlan, 50, married in 1989 and divorced in 1993. Nasser lived mostly with his father, first in Killeen, Texas, the home of Ft. Hood and from the mid-1990s in Garland, Texas. When Jamal moved to Garland, he registered as a sex offender. About a decade later, in 2006, he was convicted for soliciting sex (no less than 45 times) from someone he thought was a 15-year-old girl but in fact was a police officer. After serving a jail sentence, Jamal was deported to Jordan in February 2010.
As for Morlan, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that she "pleaded guilty or was convicted of three drug-related charges in 2002. She completed probation on those charges, records indicate. She also either served jail time or received probation for two theft charges and prostitution in 2001 and '02."
At his Snack Restaurant in Fuhais, near Amman, Jordan, Jamal Abdo gave an interview about his son's plight. Highlights:
Jamal Rateb Abdo, 52, father of Nasser Jason Abdo, 20.
- Fellow soldiers abused his son because of his Muslim identity. "They mocked him as he prayed, they cursed him and used bad language against Islam and its prophet. He reported these incidents, but nothing was done about it. Therefore, he wanted to leave the army. I always told him to be calm and to focus on his duty and he used to tell me, 'Yes, Papa'."
Comment: Curious that father and son both got into legal trouble for activities involving under-age sex.
Aug. 2, 2011 update: My article on Abdo, containing information and conclusions not found here, appeared today as "Another Islamist Soldier Turns Terrorist in Texas."
Nov. 21, 2011 update: Speaking from his jail cell to WSMV-TV in Nashville, Abdo gave his first media interview. In it, he revealed that he had originally planned to attack an unnamed high-ranking official at his home post of Fort Campbell. "On July 4, I was going to kidnap and video tape the execution of a high ranking member of my chain of command, who participated in the Afghan mission." His motive? "I felt like the only way to freedom or justice was martyrdom." More details:
Abdo said he assembled his plan and bought a cattle prod, handcuffs, and shovels, intending to capture the official and kill him on camera, but when military police learned he was visiting gun stores near Fort Campbell, Abdo said he decided to go AWOL. "They learned of my visits to a few gun shops, but I was already gone," he said. Abdo said he abandoned his supplies in a dumpster on Fort Campbell Boulevard before slipping out of town. "I still, of course, intended on going on Jihad, but my priorities had to change," said Abdo.
That's when Abdo said he planned a new attack at Fort Hood. He said he had chosen that location because just two years earlier it became the site of the worst mass shooting on a military post. … Abdo said he tried to orchestrate his own plan to blow up a restaurant and shoot soldiers at Fort Hood, an idea that ultimately brought police to his door. "Dallas police showed up at a motel where I was residing where I attempted to recruit two more individuals for jihad, who upon leaving immediately informed law enforcement, who showed up minutes later."
About the Fort Hood killer, an unrepentant Abdo had this to say: "If I could say anything to my brother Nidal Hasan, may God bless him, I would say 'Wait. I am waiting with you.'"
Comment: As WSMV notes, Abdo's story here conflicts with what police asserted on arresting him, when they credited the owner of a gun store with tipping them off.
May 4, 2012 update: Television station KCEN reports that Abdo's jailers are taking extra precautions after he claims to have "infected local law enforcement with HIV. Abdo mailed a letter to the Waco-Tribune Herald, saying he infected himself with HIV before his arrest in Killeen last July. … After an April 20th court hearing, Abdo bit through his lower lip and spat on U.S. Marshals, a move he cites in his letter to the newspaper. Abdo has also been charged with harassment of a public servant and assault on a public servant for that incident. McLennan County Sheriff Larry Lynch says he believes the letter is from Abdo, despite another inmate's name on the return address."
May 21, 2012 update: Abdo's civilian trial begins today before U.S. District Judge Walter Smith in Waco, Texas not far from Killeen. Because of his threats against law enforcement, he was made to wear an oval mask over his nose and mouth, while some nearby U.S. marshals wore goggles.
May 24, 2012 update: The jury deliberated slightly over an hour and found Abdo guilty of one count of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction; one count of attempted murder of officers or employees of the United States; two counts of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a federal crime of violence; and two counts of possession of a destructive device in furtherance of a federal crime of violence.
Also of interest, as recounted by the Austin-American Statesman :
During closing arguments, prosecutors played a series of video clips in which Abdo tells police and his mother that he intended to kill Fort Hood soldiers. In a recording of Abdo's initial confession to Killeen police in the moments after he was arrested, Abdo tells an officer: "I was planning to pull off an attack in Fort Hood, Killeen…I didn't appreciate what my unit did in Afghanistan." … A recorded jailhouse conversation showed his incredulous mother asking whether he was set up. "It's all true mom," Abdo said. "I can't wrap my head around this; there must be a reason," his mother continued. "The reason is religion mom, there is no other reason," Abdo responded.
Aug. 10, 2012 update: Abdo was sentenced by a federal judge to two consecutive life sentences plus 60 years in prison.
Abdo was completely unrepentant at the trial. From a report in the Austin-American Statesman:
Abdo, who represented himself at the sentencing hearing after dismissing his court-appointed lawyers last month, told U.S. District Judge Walter Smith that he remains committed to "jihad." ... "I don't ask the court for mercy because Allah is the one who gives me mercy." ... He said he was motivated by what he called crimes committed by the U.S. and the U.S. military against Muslims. "I have continued to answer the call of jihad and will continue to the day I am called to account for deeds," he continued.
Abdo was wearing a black and gray striped prison uniform, his ankles and wrists shackled. He was wearing a mask at the request of prosecutors. They said he had cut his lip and spit blood on three occasions at prison guards and a deputy U.S. Marshal, apparently in an attempt to infect them with HIV.
August 20, 2013 update: The U.S. 5th Circuit Court on Monday rejected an appeal by Abdo and upheld his conviction.