"Going Postal" vs. "Going Muslim"


Excerpts from an interesting interesting piece (entitled "Going Muslim") by Tunku Varadarajan, a professor at NYU's Stern Business School and a fellow at Stanford's Hoover Institution, and an executive editor for opinions at Forbes:

"Going postal" is a piquant American phrase that describes the phenomenon of violent rage in which a worker--archetypically a postal worker--"snaps" and guns down his colleagues.

As the enormity of the actions of Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan sinks in, we must ask whether we are confronting a new phenomenon of violent rage, one we might dub--disconcertingly--"Going Muslim." This phrase would describe the turn of events where a seemingly integrated Muslim-American--a friendly donut vendor in New York, say, or an officer in the U.S. Army at Fort Hood--discards his apparent integration into American society and elects to vindicate his religion in an act of messianic violence against his fellow Americans. This would appear to be what happened in the case of Maj. Hasan.

The difference between "going postal," in the conventional sense, and "going Muslim," in the sense that I suggest, is that there would not necessarily be a psychological "snapping" point in the case of the imminently violent Muslim; instead, there could be a calculated discarding of camouflage--the camouflage of integration--in an act of revelatory catharsis.....

....This being America, we will insist on going a long way to preserve the appearance of equality, and that is no bad thing in terms of moral principle. But like all values, the appearance of equality is not infinite in its appeal--especially if it flies in the face of common sense and self-preservation. A short time after the shootings at Fort Hood, President Obama asked us not to jump to conclusions. To many Americans, this was a grating request.....

This is the same mindset that led the FBI to deny the possibility that the Fort Hood massacre was linked to terrorism even before they could have had any idea that was the case. We don't have to be paranoid about Arab males; we just have to avoid the opposite: Being fearful of coming across as Islamophobic, and thereby failing to look straight at a situation.

This is part of a larger--and too-hot-to-touch--American problem, which is the privileging of religion, and its frequent exemption from rules of normal discourse. Muslims may be more extreme because their religion is founded on bellicose conquest, a contempt for infidels and an obligation for piety that is more extensive than in other schemes. President Obama was as craven as a community college diversity vice-president when he said that no one should jump to conclusions. Everyone did, and he lost credibility with people who cannot stand civic piety in the face of the murderous kind.

....Let the first lesson of the Hasan atrocity be this: The U.S. Army has to be a PC-free zone. Our democracy and our way of life depend on it.
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