FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — An Army appeals court will hear arguments Thursday about an issue that has indefinitely postponed the murder trial for the suspect in the worst mass shooting on a U.S. military installation: his beard.What about murdering innocents, including a pregnant woman? If this is what he thinks about growing beards, he would have done so years ago and not even bothered to join the army to begin with. His repulsive defenses ring hollow considering the violent crime he committed.
Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, charged in the 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood in Texas, has appealed the trial judge’s order that he will be forcibly shaved before his court-martial unless he shaves himself. Maj. Hasan, a psychiatrist, argues that the order violates his religious rights.
The American-born Muslim has said he grew a beard because his faith requires it and that he believes dying without a beard is a sin.
The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals at Fort Belvoir in Virginia will hear oral arguments. The court also will hear from government attorneys who have said that forcibly shaving Maj. Hasan would not violate his religious rights and that the judge has the authority to enforce the Army rule prohibiting beards. [...]And their concerns are entirely legitimate. Religion cannot serve as a defense for someone who murders innocent people, and depending on the severity of a criminal offense, religious "privileges" should not be considered for them. As an example of a case where I believe no religious privileges should apply, let's take these cases of child abuse in the Haredi community in NYC. That the Satmar community, if any, opposed reporting them to authorities, is atrocious enough. But that aside, let's say that any offender of allegedly religious background suddenly grew a beard prior to the arraignment. I would not be against forcibly shaving his beard if a clear identification were need on the part of the witnesses, and the defendants should not try to hide behind Judaism - not even twisted versions - in an attempt to duck the law. The same goes for monsters like the murderer of Leiby Kletzky, whose name is Levi Aron, and should've received the death sentence for his repugnant crime. Whether or not the monster is observantly religious, if he didn't have a beard at the time he was on the loose, then if there's witnesses who could identify him, they should have a clear path for doing so, and the defendant cannot plead religious sensitivity in defense of a beard he can grow back after being slammed into a cold, dank cell post-trial.
The U.S. Army Court of Criminal Appeals said it also will consider whether the trial judge should be removed from Maj. Hasan’s case. Defense attorneys claim that the judge, Col. Gregory Gross, exceeded his authority by issuing the shaving order. His attorneys also want the court to overturn the six contempt of court rulings issued against Maj. Hasan for having a beard at pretrial hearings this summer, when he first showed up in court with facial hair.
Col. Gross has said that Maj. Hasan’s beard is a disruption and that defense attorneys have not proved that he is growing it for sincere religious reasons. Army prosecutors claim that Maj. Hasan grew the beard just before the trial was to start so that witnesses would not be able to identify him in court.
So even Malik Hasan cannot and should not be allowed to pervert the justice system with his pathetic defenses that he must grow a beard when he didn't do so before.