What Hasan has done, regardless of his motivation, is sow fear and anxiety among millions of Muslim Americans, who have served in the years since the 9/11 terror attacks as America's secret weapon against Islamic radicalism. The prosperity and religious freedom enjoyed by Muslims in America contrasts rather well against the grinding poverty and violent oppression faced by those living under Islamist rule.
And though there are pockets of distrust, far more Americans worry that Muslims face discrimination than hold negative views of Muslims. The danger is that Hasan's despicable crime will subtly and slowly change these perceptions for the worse. Overnight, Twitter feeds and message boards pulsed with anti-Muslim anger. This kind of venting is important to a free society. But it could also be an ominous sign of tensions to come.
Well ahead of other commentators, Salam faces Hasan's religion head on and argues that Hasan made victims out of Muslim-Americans. He shows that Muslim Americans have equal reason to detest or disown Hasan as non-Muslims. "Hasan's other victims are the millions of Muslim Americans who've fully embraced American life, and who feel a profound sense of dread whenever innocent people are murdered in the name of Islam," Salam writes.