Not long ago, inside the quiet library of the Muslim Community Center here in Silver Spring, Maryland, a suburb of Washington, D.C., Golam Akhter, a local Bangladeshi-American civil engineer, 67, got into a fierce debate with a young Muslim doctor over how to interpret the concept of "jihad" within Islam. Akhter argued, "Jihad means an inner struggle, fighting against corruption and injustice."
The young doctor responded. "That's not a correct interpretation. Jihad means holy war. When your religion isn't safe, you have to fight for it. If someone attacks you, you must fight them. That is jihad. You can kill someone who is harming you."
The conversation would be just another theological debate, interesting but irrelevant, except that the doctor was Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, the gunman in the tragic Fort Hood rampage. After being posted to Walter Reed Hospital as a psychiatrist, Hasan called the Muslim Community Center his local mosque. It's just a short drive away from Walter Reed.