Concern for Muslim U.S. soldiers 'real'

Nov. 8, 2009 at 3:04 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. Army chief says there are "real concerns" about a backlash toward Muslim U.S. soldiers following last week's mass shooting at Fort Hood, Texas.

"Anecdotal evidence" emerging about the background of the suspected shooter, 39-year-old Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, have led some to worry about the safety of other Muslims serving in the armed forces, and "I think those concerns are real," Army Chief of Staff Gen. William Casey told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

"I will tell you ... that they're, they're fueled partially, at least, by the speculation about -- based on anecdotal evidence that people are presenting," Casey said on the program. "I think we have to be very careful with that. Our diversity not only in our Army, but in our country, is a strength. And as horrific as this tragedy was, if our diversity becomes a casualty, I think that's worse."

Hasan, accused of killing 13 fellow military members at Fort Hood, has been taken off a ventilator, the Army said Saturday. He remains in intensive care at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, Fort Hood spokesman Col. John Rossi told reporters.

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