Actions of a 21-year old Muslim soldier and earlier interviews are indicative of confusion regarding the tenets of the faith and the interpretations by some of its followers.
Private Naser Abdo, an AWOL soldier stationed in North Carolina, is in custody in Texas after purchasing arms and bomb materials for an attack on Fort Hood. The Texas installation was the site of an attack in 2009 that left 13 dead.
Earlier this year Abdo was granted conscientious objector status after contending his Muslim beliefs would not allow him to fight. When he joined the Army, he said religion was not an issue.
“I was under the impression that I could serve both the U.S. Army and my God simultaneously,” he said. Abdo later began to rethink his situation. “Islam is a much more peaceful and tolerant religion than it is an aggressive religion.”
FBI agents on Wednesday found firearms, gunpowder, and bomb-making components in his motel room, according to FBI spokesman Erik Vasys.
The Army says Abdo was AWOL after being charged in June with possession of child pornography.
Earlier he had refused to be deployed to Afghanistan. “I don’t believe that Islam allows me to operate in any kind of warfare at all, including the U.S. military and any war it partakes in,” said Abdo.
A Killeen, Texas gun dealer called authorities after Abdo made several purchases, including uniforms with Fort Hood insignia. The dealer became suspicious over questions Abdo asked regarding the gunpowder and its properties. The FBI says enough materials were found in Abdo’s room to build two bombs, which he apparently intended to use in warfare against US troops stationed at Fort Hood.
The police chief in Killeen says Abdo admitted he intended to attack his fellow soldiers.
A military court earlier this year recommended Abdo’s separation from the Army.