Texas terror suspect planned mosque attack, officials say

April 4, 2014

 

Robert James Talbot Jr. considered himself a revolutionary seeking to create a different society by robbing an armored car, killing police and even blazing a bloody path though a service at a mosque where he would shoot men, women and children at prayer, officials said.

Talbot was ordered held without bond Wednesday at a hearing in Houston, Angela Dodge, a spokeswoman for Kenneth Magidson, the U.S. attorney for the southern district of Texas, said in an email. Talbot, 38, of Katy, Texas, was arrested last week, but government terror experts gave new details at Tuesday’s hearing on what they said were his plans.

When Talbot was taken into custody, prosecutors released documents outlining what they said was his effort to recruit five or six like-minded individuals “to blow up government buildings, rob banks and kill law enforcement officers. Talbot created a Facebook page titled “American Insurgent Movement,” the complaint alleged.

His goal as stated on Facebook, according to the complaint, was to create a “a Pre-Constitutionalist Community … [for] those who seek True patriotism and are looking for absolute Freedom by doing the Will of God. Who want to restore America Pre-Constitutionally and look forward to stopping the Regime with action by bloodshed.”

The complaint alleges that in a March 15 Facebook post, Talbot said: “In a few weeks me and my team are goin active for Operation Liberty…I will not be able to post no more. We will be the revolution, things will happen nation wide or in the states. They will call us many names and spin things around on media. Just remember we fight to stop Marxism, liberalism, Central banking Cartels and the New World Order.”

FBI special agent Renee Cline testified at the hearing that Talbot “wanted to go to a mosque on Friday and take women, children, men and shoot them,” according to the Houston Chronicle. Cline added that Talbot planned to hit the mosque during a prayer session when the most people would be there.

Los Angeles Times: http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-texas-terror-suspect-mosque-attack-20140402,0,2322303.story#axzz2yE3oOxsF

Targeted Islamic outreach to Hispanics achieving results

February 28, 2014

 

PEARLAND, Texas (RNS) Carlos Lopez works in the United States to earn money and send it back home to his family in Mexico. But he sends back something else, too: pamphlets and personal testimonies about his new faith.

On Dec. 22, 2013, Lopez took the “shahada” — the profession of the Islamic faith — and joined the ranks of what the American Muslim Council estimates is a 200,000 strong Hispanic Muslim community across the U.S.

Unlike previous generations of Hispanic Muslims who were attracted to the faith by their own spiritual explorations, Lopez and many others like him are converting as a result of targeted Islamic outreach efforts.

This new form of Islamic “da’wah,” or outreach, aims to translate being Muslim into the Spanish cultural and linguistic vernacular.

“To reach Hispanics, we have to be practical,” said Imam Daniel Abdullah Hernandez who teaches an Islam in Spanish course in Pearland, Texas, where Lopez converted. “Islam is practical, it’s social, it’s very easy to translate it into Hispanic culture, and it’s even easier to communicate it in the Spanish language.”

According to the Pew Research Center, just 4 percent of Muslim Americans are of Hispanic ancestry, though one of 10 native-born U.S. Muslims are Hispanic. “The American Mosque 2011″ report said the number of Latino converts has been steadily increasing since 2000, more so than any other racial or ethnic group.

As they convert, many face ostracism from their families who are predominantly Christian, often Catholic, and feel the converts are abandoning their Hispanic identity. Likewise, many Hispanic Muslims do not find a ready welcome in masjids that are largely made up of Middle Eastern, North African, South East Asian and African-American Muslims.

Islam In Spanish is not the first organization to focus its efforts on reaching Hispanics. Another group, the Latino American Dawah Organization, existed before it and paved the way.

Shafiq Alvarado helped found LADO, which offers help and support to new Hispanic Muslims. Born into a Catholic family and of Dominican ancestry, Alvarado converted when he was 25 through the efforts of Allianza Islamica (Islamic Alliance) in New York City.

“People who become Muslims inevitably become ambassadors for Islam,” said Alvarado. “Hispanic Muslims are not sitting on the sidelines; they learn Arabic, the Quran, Islamic jurisprudence, and many other things to take that knowledge and give it back to their communities, their families,” he said.

 

RNS.com: http://www.religionnews.com/2014/02/28/targeted-islamic-outreach-hispanics-achieving-results

Islam in Spanish.com: http://islaminspanish.org/

LADO: http://www.latinodawah.org/

Fraternity Life, Islamic Style

February 9, 2014

 

SHORTLY BEFORE SUNUP, a dozen or so students at the University of California, San Diego, stumbled dutifully out of bed. They ironed their collared shirts, knotted their ties and piled into their cars. Their destination was the Islamic Center of San Diego, where they were to be initiated into the country’s first Muslim fraternity, Alpha Lambda Mu, named for three letters that start several chapters of the Quran: Alif Laam Meem.

Alpha Lambda Mu was founded just a year ago by Ali Mahmoud, a junior biology and sociology major at the University of Texas, Dallas, as a national fraternity for Muslim college students. Mr. Mahmoud, who is seeking university recognition and a house for his chapter, hosted the first formal rush this fall: 40 students showed up, and half were offered bids. A total of 24 members now make up the Texas chapter.

The directive is for spiritual students to have more fun, and convivial ones to incorporate more spirituality in their lives. Mr. Mahmoud’s guidebook stipulates that chapters organize events every semester. Some are to be purely social, others to teach life skills, encourage volunteer work and enrich members with Islamic culture.

Sometimes referred to as the post-9/11 generation, Muslim-American college students say they have long struggled with the prejudices and suspicions that have come with the West’s unsettled relationship with the Arab world. This has led them to explore more thoroughly their dual identity, and to strive to show the world who they are and how they want to be perceived, said Lori Peek, the author of “Behind the Backlash: Muslim Americans After 9/11.” “The formation of a fraternity represents a really thoughtful reflection on their part,” Dr. Peek said. “It moves these students out of the private sphere and into a more public space where they are effectively spanning two cultures.”

Two reports by the Gallup Center for Muslim Studies indicate that an evolution has indeed occurred. In 2009, 40 percent of Muslim Americans ages 18 to 29 said they were thriving, the lowest percentage in that age group. By 2011, 10 years after the terrorist attacks, that number had risen to 65 percent.

Only 1.4 percent of American college freshmen are Muslim, according to a Higher Education Research Institute survey in 2012, up from 0.9 percent in 2005. But with growing interest in Islam, more campuses are providing prayer spaces and cultural centers. In 1999, Georgetown became the first university to hire a full-time imam. In recent years, Yale, Princeton and Northwestern have brought in Muslim chaplains.

The Muslim Student Association, founded in 1963, is the voice of this movement and now has more than 200 affiliated chapters in the United States. It has pushed for greater awareness about Islamic culture and helps members procure scholarships and internships. The group has generated controversy as well. The chapter at the University of California, Irvine, was suspended for the 2010 fall semester after members protested a campus speech by the ambassador to Israel. And in 2012 the organization made headlines, and elicited sympathy, amid reports that the New York City Police Department had surreptitiously monitored chapters at Yale, Columbia and other East Coast campuses.

 

NY Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/09/education/edlife/greek-life-islamic-style.html?_r=0

Islamic Banks, Stuffed With Cash, Explore Partnerships in West

December 25, 2013

By Nathaniel Popper

 

A noted Muslim law scholar, Yusuf DeLorenzo, recently pored through the books of Continental Rail, a business that runs freight trains up and down the East Coast.

Along with examining the company’s financial health, Mr. DeLorenzo sought to make sure that the rail cars didn’t transport pork, tobacco or alcohol. He was brought in by American investment bankers who want to take rail cars bought by Continental Rail and package their leases into a security. The investment is being built for banks that are run according to Islamic law, which, among other things, prohibits investments in those three commodities. If the cars are acceptable, or halal, the deal will be one of the first in the United States to be completed in compliance with Islamic law.

“It’s a new territory for all of us,” said John H. Marino Jr., chief executive of Continental Rail.

The deal is a sign of how banks that comply with Islamic law are making inroads into the global banking scene and how Western businesses are working to meet the expectations of those banks. The banks can’t find enough acceptable places to park their money, many industry insiders say, so investment bankers are scurrying to assemble deals.

Over the last 30 years, the Islamic financial sector has grown from virtually nothing to over $1.6 trillion in assets, according to data from the Global Islamic Financial Review, an industry publication. The financial crisis has only encouraged the growth. Industry assets grew 19 percent in 2011 and 20 percent in 2012, in contrast to the less than 10 percent growth at non-Islamic banks in most of the world.

Until recently, Islamic banks have largely put their money to work in the Middle East — or, if they invested in other parts of the world, in real estate. Real estate is among the most popular investments under Islamic law, also known as Shariah, because a deal can be structured that does not require interest payments, which are prohibited by Shariah. But as the banks grow larger they are looking for new, more diverse places to put their money.

The deal with Continental Rail is attractive because the rail cars will spin off lease payments, rather than interest, and can be bought in bulk. The cars are also in the United States, which will help bring geographic diversity to the bank portfolios. The deal was brokered by a newly created team at Taylor-DeJongh, a Washington investment bank, looking to bring money from Islamic banks to the United States.

There are similar pushes around the world. A few non-Muslim African countries, including South Africa, have recently been talking about raising money using the Islamic financial instruments known as sukuk, which function much like bonds. Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain announced in late October that England planned to become the first European country to issue sukuk. The global bank Société Générale is preparing to raise money from Islamic banks in the coming months.

“There is a gap between all the money coming in to Islamic banks and the deployment of that money into real economic assets,” said Sayd Farook, the global head of Islamic finance atThomson Reuters. “A crazy amount of money has gone into their coffers and they need somewhere to invest it.”

The first modern Islamic banks were founded in the 1970s, motivated by the Quran’s ban on riba, which has been interpreted as any fixed payment charged for money lending. Islamic banks have focused instead on putting their money into real assets and property, and sharing any resulting profits from the performance of an asset. Muslim mortgages, for instance, are structured so that the bank buys the house and then sells it to the occupant slowly over time. Stocks are generally considered acceptable as long as the companies issuing the stock adhere to Islamic law; casinos, banks and weapons companies are forbidden.

Islamic banks have religious scholars, like Mr. DeLorenzo, review their operations on a regular basis. Yet some Islamic scholars have criticized the banks for straying too far from the spirit of the Quran into the speculative realms of Wall Street. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference between a Western investment and a Shariah one. For instance, an Islamic bank’s fixed-deposit account ties up a customer’s money for a set period of time, like a certificate of deposit. Instead of offering interest, the account offers a share of the profit from its investments. The “profit rate” of a one-year deposit currently is 1.9 percent at one major Middle Eastern bank.

There is a debate among Islamic scholars about what qualifies as halal. “The industry is going through soul-searching,” said Ayman A. Khaleq, a lawyer specializing in Islamic finance at the Morgan Lewis law firm in Dubai. “It’s far from settled.”

But these problems have not stopped the flood of deposits into banks like the Sharjah Islamic Bank, which is named for the city in the United Arab Emirates where it is based. The bank has 24 branches, some of which offer separate spaces for female and male customers. From 2006 to 2012, deposits there almost tripled to about $3 billion.

Muhammed Ishaq, the head of the treasury division at Sharjah, said that the bank’s problem was not attracting money, it was figuring out what to do with it. “It’s not very easy when any financing needs to be backed by some kind of asset,” Mr. Ishaq said.

Real estate has been a very popular investment in the Islamic world, but when real estate was hit hard during the 2008 financial crisis, many investors were reminded of the need for more diverse portfolios. For many banks the answer is sukuk. Like bonds, sukuk make regular payments to investors. But unlike a bond, which is a money loan, sukuk are structured as investments in hard assets that generate payments.

The amount of sukuk sold each year has grown sixfold from 2006 to 2012, to some $133 billion, according to Thomson Reuters’s Islamic financial data service, Zawya. A joint venture between Dow Chemical and Saudi Arabia’s national oil company sold a $2 billion sukuk this year to raise money for an oil complex. But this is falling far short of the demand from banks. “There are serious supply-side bottlenecks,” said Ashar Nazim, head of Ernst & Young’s Global Islamic Banking Center.

Now there are several efforts to create more supply. The Bank of London and the Middle East was founded in London with Kuwaiti money to find these new investment opportunities. “They wanted a wider range of Islamic assets that could be originated away from the Middle East,” said Nigel Denison, the bank’s treasurer.

Yavar Moini, the former head of Islamic banking at Morgan Stanley, said he was establishing an operation in Dubai that would gather assets from around the world that can be packaged into sukuk, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac do in the United States with mortgages. Mr. Moini said that “it’s the absence of sufficient product or opportunities for Islamic investors that drives them into the conventional arena.”

In the United States there have been a few attempts at sukuk. In 2006, a Texas oil company sold a $166 million sukuk to finance oil exploration, but the company went bankrupt during the financial crisis. Then in 2009, General Electric issued a $500 million sukuk tied to aircraft leases.

Taylor-DeJongh, the 30-year old, energy-focused investment bank, is hoping to take advantage of the shortage. Ibrahim Mardam-Bey, who worked on the 2006 Texas sukuk, joined Taylor-DeJongh at the end of 2012 and has built a team of five bankers working on Islamic finance.

One deal would provide financing for private toll bridges. The other, which is further along, will bundle the rail cars managed by Continental Rail. The team has already signed a deal to buy 1,000 rail cars in Pennsylvania, and is looking to acquire 5,000 more.

Mr. Mardam-Bey said that some American businesses were hesitant to take money from Islamic banks, perhaps a byproduct of negative associations with Shariah since the Sept. 11 attacks. But in the Texas deal, and in many others, that tends to fade as the financial possibilities become clear.

“The borrower was a Texan wildcatter who couldn’t spell ‘sukuk,’ ” Mr. Mardam-Bey said. “But at the end of the day when I brought the check he didn’t care if I prayed to Allah. He just wanted the money.”

 

Dealbook/New York Times: http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2013/12/25/islamic-banks-stuffed-with-cash-explore-partnerships-in-west/?_r=0

America’s first Muslim fraternity gets ready for rush week

ALMThe Alpha Lambda Mu fraternity, known in Arabic as Alif Laam Meem, is preparing to welcome new students at the University of Texas, Dallas. The group encourages members to abstain from drinking and excessive partying. It is opening brand new chapters at four other college campuses this fall.

On college campuses across America, incoming freshman are crossing their fingers and pulling on their social networks to get noticed by their favorite fraternity or sorority.

This year, young, devout Muslim men can be frat boys too.

Alpha Lambdu Mu (ALM) is America’s first Muslim fraternity. It was founded in February by an inaugural group of 17 college students from the University of Texas, Dallas. The idea has gained some momentum and this fall, new chapters are opening up at Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California-San Diego, and the University of Central Florida.

 

Some critics are asking—is this halal? It may not seem like these two concepts can mix. Islam challenges its followers to stay away from some of the things fraternities are known for—drinking, excessive partying, one night stands after late-night clubbing. But there are also many positive benefits that come from being involved in Greek life on campus, like a sense of belonging and career connections after graduation.

 

ALM founder Ali Mahmoud wanted to bridge that gap. When a childhood friend of his expressed interest in checking out the UT Dallas Greek scene purely for its social and postgraduate business connections, Mahmoud said he couldn’t blame him.

 

Bans on court use of sharia/international law: heavily modified bills introduced in 2013, exempts contracts, Native American tribes, avoids using word “sharia”

This year’s batch of bans of sharia/international law use by state courts looks very different than those of the past several years. After criticism that a) past versions would effectively cripple businesses who have to sign international contracts and b) that bans on references to the law and court decisions of other nations would make the judicial determinations of tribal courts in the U.S. enforceable, most such bills have been completely rewritten. Specifically, most now specify the prohibition on the use of foreign law/sharia

  • applies only to a particular case type (such as family law or domestic relations)
  • does not infringe on the right to contract
  • does not apply to not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, etc.
  • does not apply to recognition or use of tribal court decisions in state courts
  • does not apply to ecclesiastical matters within a denomination

Even with these modifications, as in the past, most such bills are failing to advance in the legislatures.

List of bills below the fold

Bill
Does not affect right to contract freely/contract provisions
Does not apply to corporations
Does not apply to tribal court decisions
Does not apply to ecclesiastical matters/religious orgs
Other items
Status
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
Approved by Judiciary Committee’s Civil Justice Subcommittee 2/7/13.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Rules Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In Senate (no committee).
X
Specifically uses word “sharia” Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/6/13.
X
In House States’ Rights Committee.
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/12/13.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In House Judiciary Committee.
In House (no committee).
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In Senate State Affairs Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Killed by full House 1/24/13.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Died in House Judiciary Committee.
Limited to Domestic Relations (marriage, divorce, custody, visitation, support, adoption)
Withdrawn at sponsor’s request

The Media, Religion and the 2012 Campaign for President

December 14, 2012 

A striking feature of the 2012 race for the White House – a contest that pitted the first Mormon nominee from a major party against an incumbent president whose faith had been a source of controversy four years earlier – is how little the subject of religion came up in the media. According to a new study by the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, just 1% of the campaign coverage by major news outlets (including broadcast and cable television, radio, newspaper front pages and the most popular news websites) focused on the religion of the candidates or the role of religion in the presidential election. Only 6% of the election-related stories in major news outlets contained any reference to religion.

Media attention to religion’s importance in the campaign peaked during the primaries, when several Republican candidates spoke about their Christian beliefs. The prominence of religious rhetoric in speeches by Rep. Michele Bachmann, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and others fueled speculation about whether white evangelical Protestants – who made up about one-third of all Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters in 2012 – would withhold support from Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith. Indeed, the biggest single religion-related campaign story came more than a full year before the election, when a Texas minister publicly called Mormonism a “cult.” That incident, in October 2011, generated fully 5% of all coverage of religion in the presidential campaign.

When Romney captured the GOP nomination and named Rep. Paul Ryan, a Roman Catholic, as his vice presidential running mate in August 2012, they became the first non-Protestant ticket in the Republican Party’s history. But as the primaries gave way to the general election campaign, the subject of religion subsided in the media, in part because neither Romney nor President Barack Obama made much effort to raise it. Fewer than one-in-seven religion-related stories in the campaign (13%) resulted from statements or actions by either candidate.

Rather than focusing on the religious beliefs and practices of the candidates, media coverage of religion during the 2012 campaign frequently centered on the political clout of white evangelicals and their electoral choices – a topic that accounted for 29% of religion-related coverage overall. Talking about evangelicals became a way for the media to address the question of what impact Romney’s Mormon faith could have on the race, confronting religion as a tactical “horse-race” concern.

Romney was the subject of about twice as much religion-related coverage as Obama, and 45% of all religion-related stories in the campaign took the horse-race approach, dealing with how religion might impact the vote. In all, 34% of the religion coverage focused on faith as a character issue, or mentioned it in passing as part of a candidate’s identity. There was far less coverage (16%) of how religion might impact policymaking or governance.

These are among the key findings of the new study conducted by the Project for Excellence in Journalism (PEJ) and the Pew Forum, both of which are part of the Pew Research Center. The study examined nearly 800 religion-related stories from cable television, network broadcast television, radio, newspaper front pages and the most popular news websites in the country between August 2011 and Election Day (Nov. 6, 2012). In addition, the study involved a sample of specialized religious publications and an analysis of hundreds of thousands of messages about the candidates’ faith on Twitter and Facebook; the social media analysis relied on technology developed by Crimson Hexagon. (For more details on how the study was conducted, see the Methodology.)

In the end, the basic contours of religion in U.S. politics remained unchanged in the 2012 election, according to a Pew Forum analysis of exit poll results. In particular, white evangelical Protestants voted as overwhelmingly for Romney (79%) as they did for Republican candidates John McCain in 2008 (73%) and George W. Bush in 2004 (79%). Indeed, white evangelicals voted as strongly for Romney as Mormons did (78%), according to the Pew Forum analysis of exit poll data.

 

Investigation Looks For Muslim Bias In Texas Schools, Finds Christian Bias Instead

A bizarre chain email sent to district and school board officials in the Dallas area this October titled “IRVING ISD INDOCTRINATING ISLAM” inspired a recent investigation of “Islamic bias” in the district’s curriculum. Despite the outlandish claims, the district requested that an official from the organization that created the curriculum to respond. The results of a 72-page investigation done by the organization were not surprising: there’s a Christian bias in schools, not a Muslim one.

 

The official told the board that a bias toward Islam didn’t exist, even mentioning that “she hired a ‘very socially and fiscally conservative’ former social studies teacher who ‘watches Glenn Beck on a regular basis’ to seek out any Islamic bias in CSCOPE [the curriculum].” She “asked her to look for anything she would consider the least bit controversial.” The Dallas Morning News has the details of an investigation that mentioned “every religious reference in the CSCOPE curriculum, from kindergarten to high school”:

 

– Christianity got twice as much attention in the curriculum as any other religion. Islam was a distant second.

 

– The Red Crescent and Boston Tea Party reference mentioned in the email were nowhere in CSCOPE’s curriculum, although they may have been in the past.

 

– If there was any Islamic bias in CSCOPE it was “bias against radical Islam.”

This isn’t the first time Texas has debated the perceived presence of too much Islam in its school books. In 2010, the Texas Board of Education banned any books that “paint Islam in too favorable of a light.” The reasoning was head-scratching: “the resolution adopted Friday cites ‘politically-correct whitewashes of Islamic culture and stigmas on Christian civilization’ in current textbooks and warns that ‘more such discriminatory treatment of religion may occur as Middle Easterners buy into the US public school textbook oligopoly.’” A Texas based civil liberties advocate said at the time that “the members who voted for this resolution were solely interested in playing on fear and bigotry in order to pit Christians against Muslims.”

 

Army’s highest legal branch appoints new judge to preside over Fort Hood shooting case

FORT WORTH, Texas — The military’s highest court ousted the judge in the Fort Hood shooting case Monday and threw out his order to have the suspect’s beard forcibly shaved before his court-martial.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces ruled that Col. Gregory Gross didn’t appear impartial while presiding over the case of Maj. Nidal Hasan, who faces the death penalty if convicted in the 2009 shootings on the Texas Army post that killed 13 people and wounded more than two dozen others.

But the court said it was not ruling on whether the judge’s order violated Hasan’s religious rights. Hasan has argued that his beard is a requirement of his Muslim faith, although facial hair violates Army regulations.

In a statement issued Monday night, Fort Hood officials said proceedings in the case will resume after a new judge is appointed by the Army’s highest legal branch. That indicates Army prosecutors will not appeal this ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

An Army appeals court had upheld the shaving requirement in October. But on Monday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces said the command, not the judge, was responsible for enforcing grooming standards. The ruling said that was one example of how Gross did not appear impartial in the case.

Gross had repeatedly said Hasan’s beard was a disruption to the court proceedings, but the military appeals court ruled that there was insufficient evidence to show that his beard interfered with the hearings.

Fort Hood shooting rampage survivors, victims’ relatives want it declared terrorist attack

FORT HOOD, Texas — Nearly three years after the shooting rampage at Fort Hood, many of those affected are urging the government to declare it a terrorist attack, saying wounded soldiers and victims’ relatives otherwise won’t receive the same benefits as those in a combat zone.

About 160 people, including relatives of the 13 people killed at the Texas Army post and some of the more than two dozen wounded and their families, released a video Thursday expressing their frustration.

They say soldiers injured or killed deserve fair benefits and Purple Heart eligibility.

“The victims are being forgotten and it’s frustrating,” Kimberly Munley, one of the first two officers who arrived at the shooting scene on Nov. 5, 2009, told The Associated Press on Thursday.

Maj. Nidal Hasan, an American-born Muslim, faces the death penalty if convicted of 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder. The case is on hold as his lawyers fight the trial judge’s order that Hasan either shave his beard, which violates Army rules, or be forcibly shaved before trial.

U.S. officials have said they believe Hasan’s attack was inspired by the radical U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and that Hasan and the cleric exchanged as many as 20 emails. Al-Awlaki was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last fall.