I maintain that it is too early to assert whether Hasan is or is not a ‘jihadist’ in the strict sense, but that his rapid freefall into homicidal madness would suggest that that he is a lunatic who happens to be a ‘devout’ Muslim; although in no way does that make him a victim. Al Awlaki’s spiel highlights the absence of any moral objectivity to archaic, intolerant and hateful Islamism. It raises wider questions. Is meaningful negotiation and dialogue with this craven maniac and his ilk plausible? That he is associated with British Islamist groups, such as the East London Mosque and Cage Prisoners, is a cause for concern and I hope that these groups dissociate themselves from him and his comments.
PS. A number of commenters object that I won’t condemn this murderer as a perpetrator of global jihad. I have an enormous amount of respect for Melanie Phillips but I disagree with her on this point. There is more evidence to come from this case, notably a report into the state of his mental health and capacity to reason, which will impact on court proceedings.
As I wrote on Friday, there is enough evidence to suggest (and again, I state, that this is merely a suggestion) that Major Hasan is criminally insane and that therefore his religious motivation is a secondary concern.
Equally, evidence might emerge that proves he calculated, coldly and rationally, to commit an act that was specific, not to his alleged mental disintegration, but to the global jihad currently being waged by Islamists. If that is proved then he should be condemned accordingly; but until such time, the rule of law, where it hasn’t been subverted by pernicious anti-terror legislation, insists that he be given the benefit of the doubt until a verdict can be delivered, based on available evidence. I know nothing of Texan law, or US military law, but I would be amazed if criminal insanity, temporary or permanent, was not recogonised as a mitigating factor.