US president Barack Obama joined calls from across America for calm amid fears of a backlash in the wake of the shooting spree by a Muslim soldier at the Fort Hood that left 13 dead.
“I would caution against jumping to conclusions until we get all the facts,” Obama said.
The risk of a witchhunt rose on Saturday when the commander at the Fort Hood base, Lieutenant-General Robert Cone, disclosed that wounded soldiers said Hasan had shouted “Allahu Akbar (God is greatest)” before opening fire on soldiers at the Texas base.
Muslims across the country were also shocked and angry.
“A lot of us work hard for this country, to make America a better place,” said Muqtedar Khan, a progressive Muslim scholar who has just given US congressional testimony on foreign policy in Afghanistan before Thursday’s attack.
“And this one nut like Major Hasan comes along, and in one crazy episode of a few seconds he undermines these years of hard work we are doing to make American Muslims part of the mainstream in the community,” he said.
“This is one of those moments where we have to sit and pray that most Americans will come out stronger, more united, and more tolerant,” said Hussam Ayloush, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Southern California, who noted that Muslim organizations have received dozens of death threats and hostile e-mails.