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Major Nidal Hasan's Beard
by Lloyd Billingsley
This week military judge Gregory Gross barred Major Nidal Malik Hasan from appearing in court because he has refused to shave a beard he reportedly grew as a badge of his deep Islamic faith. The beard, judge Gross said, was a violation of Army policy. As it happens, so were Hasan's actions in November of 2009 at Fort Hood, Texas.
As one of the early press accounts noted, Major Hassan packed a revolver and an FN Herstal pistol, and stuffed the cargo pockets of his camouflage pants full of 20-round ammunition clips. Then he opened fire on U.S. Army soldiers while shouting "Allahu akbar," or "Allah is great." In a matter of minutes Hassan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist trained to help soldiers deal with the horrors of war, had killed thirteen and wounded thirty.
He was methodical, aiming carefully at those seeking cover. Kimberly Munley, a police officer married to a Fort Hood soldier, saw Major Hasan chasing a wounded soldier across a courtyard and opened fire on Hasan. He returned fire and hit her twice, but one of her shots nailed Hasan in the chest and took him down. Munley survived the attack but 13 others did not.
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