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Who Was Aaron Alexis?

He was not a Muslim, so obviously he was not a “terrorist”


An FBI evidence response team collects evidence at Building 197 at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., September 18, 2013 in this handout provided by the U.S. Navy. The mother of the gunman Aaron Alexis apologized to the victims Wednesday.       

REUTERS/Pedro A. Rodriguez

Everyone seems to be asking a single question as to who was Aaron Alexis? He was not a Muslim, so media and everyone else is not calling him a terrorist.

Aaron Alexis’ not being Muslim was news that was good for the Muslim community in United States. Every incident involving any Muslim is instantly made out to be a terrorist act, while a very unfortunate incident that ended with the deaths of 13 people inside a navy facility in the Federal capital is not called a terrorist incident simply because of the fact that the killer was not a Muslim.

Muslims continue to face profiling issues in almost every part of the US, and the incidence of harassment is increasing pretty fast in much of the US. A recent report suggested that around 29 percent of Muslim students studying in different schools and colleges in New York had faced discrimination in the recent past. Every time there is any incident of this kind, the targeting of the Muslim community goes up. So it was no surprise that while the shooting in Washington Naval yard was on, many Muslims while praying for the safety of the common people were also praying that the attacker was not a Muslim. And thankfully he was not.

Earlier this year the Associated Press published several stories on the NYPD’s clandestine spying on Muslims, bringing to the common people’s attention the open bias against the Muslim community. The AP report documented how officers infiltrated Muslim communities and spied on hundreds or perhaps thousands of totally innocent Americans at mosques, colleges, and elsewhere. These officers “put American citizens under surveillance and scrutinized where they ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because of their ethnicity,” the news agency reported, citing NYPD documents.

And to top it all off, the AP report concluded that “the New York Police Department’s secret Demographics Unit never generated a lead or triggered a terrorism investigation.” Officials of NYPD acknowledged in court testimony that this spying actually generated zero leads.

The Washington navy yard shooter Aaron Alexis, even after killing more than a dozen people, is not being called a terrorist as he was not a Muslim. He was kicked out of military service after facing a number of disciplinary issues ranging from unauthorized absences from duty, instances of insubordination and disorderly conduct, absence without leave and several failed inspections.  Divulging the details, a Navy official added that Alexis had a history of criminal record and was arrested twice in 2004 and 2010. What has surprised the officials is the fact that Alexis, despite his criminal record, got a security clearance and purchased a shotgun from northern Virginia.

There are conflicting reports about him. The shooter, who was already undergoing treatment for his mental health, had applied for a voluntary discharge from the Navy in 2011. Considering the circumstances and actions initiated against Alexis, the officials granted him an honorable discharge. Apart from the shotgun, two more weapons were found near the body of Alexis. These included a semiautomatic rifle and a pistol believed to have been snatched from the security guard whom he killed at the base.

The United States military rarely faced an attack of this kind in the recent past. Alexis, a subcontractor and former reservist stationed in Texas, fired the first round of gunshots at 8.20 am. It is believed that Alexis had used his contractor’s badge to access an entry to the base housing the US Naval sea systems command headquarters, responsible for buying, building and maintaining the US Navy’s ships, submarines and combat systems. Around 3000 people work in the establishment.


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