US military urged to act over extremists in its ranks

BBCNEWS.. Two leading US senators have urged the Pentagon to take steps to combat the threat of Islamist extremism within the ranks of the US military.

The senators called for educating military personnel about the “warning signs of extremism”.

The recommendation came in the wake of the Fort Hood shootings in Texas during which an Army major killed 13 people.

Maj Nidal Hasan, a psychiatrist at the base, has been charged with murder and attempted murder.

The 39-year-old American-born Muslim will be tried in a military court but it has not yet been confirmed whether military authorities are seeking the death penalty in this case.

The Pentagon is due to release its own internal review of the incident.

Increasing trust

Senator Joe Lieberman and Senator Susan Collins wrote to US Defence Secretary Robert Gates at the end of their investigation into the 5 November incident at Fort Hood.

The US military should train soldiers “from enlisted personnel to commanders” to recognise and report “the warning signs of violent Islamist extremism”, they said.

“Efforts by DoD [US defence department] to educate its personnel concerning what violent Islamist extremism is and what the warning signs of such extremism are – as distinguished from the practice of the Islamic faith – will increase trust between the thousands of Muslim-Americans serving honourably and their colleagues,” they wrote.

They said current procedures for dealing with such cases were not satisfactory but did not specify what the warning signs would be.

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