Simply put; murder is murder and has no religion whatsoever.
If murder cannot be a religious act, then religion could not have been a significant motivation for the act. Iftikhar completely fails to show that religion cannot be a motivator of murder, or even that it wasn't a motivator in Maj. Hasan's single case.
He starts off suggesting that the Quran forbids the taking of human life:
Most of the world's 1.57 billion Muslims know that the Holy Quran states quite clearly that, "Anyone who kills a human being ... it shall be as though he has killed all of mankind. ... If anyone saves a life, it shall be as though he has saved the lives of all of mankind."
Cherry-picking verses from a holy book is something Christians are notorious for, but its equally useless for the Quran. There are plenty of verses I could choose to paint a completely different picture. In fact, the verse he cites (Sura 5:32), with the context he conveniently omitted, has a different interpretation:
Because of this, we decreed for the Children of Israel that anyone who murders any person who had not committed murder or horrendous crimes, it shall be as if he murdered all the people. And anyone who spares a life, it shall be as if he spared the lives of all the people. Our messengers went to them with clear proofs and revelations, but most of them, after all this, are still transgressing.
And considering what counts as a "horrendous crime" (just take a look at the examples from the Skeptic's Annotated Quran for an idea), this does not prevent fundamentalist Muslims from killing most non-Muslims.
But it doesn't even matter what the Quran actually says. There are a significant number of Muslims who admittedly commit murder because they believe they will be rewarded in heaven, specifically because of their religion. Most Muslims, however, believe that their religion forbids it. Regardless of what the Quran actually says, you cannot claim that either group's motivations are something other than their religious beliefs. Their beliefs are mutually incompatible, and yet both are motivated by primarily by them.
Iftikhar is committing a No True Scotsman fallacy here. Because his and many others' view of Islam is as a religion of peace, No TRUE Muslim could be motivated by their religion to commit murder. But of course, this making the definition of a Muslim include someone who holds this belief. Iftikhar is assuming his conclusion in his argument, rather than proving it.
Iftikhar continues by criticizing the conservative media for playing up the fact that Maj. Hasan was a Muslim:
True to form, many conservative media pundits wasted little time in pointing to reports that Hasan had said "Allahu Akbar" (Arabic for "God is great") at the start of his murderous rampage. News coverage continuously showed the looping convenience store black-and-white videotape footage of Hasan wearing traditional white Islamic garb.
I agree with him here; the media's overplaying of Hasan's religion sends the message that being a Muslim is a warning sign, that we should be wary of anyone who practices Islam. Its prejudicial, and the media should stick to the facts at hand, rather than focus on a specific character trait which may or may not have been a factor in the crime. However, he goes on to say something that I can't imagine anyone would actually believe:
First of all, someone simply saying "Allahu Akbar" while committing an act of mass murder no more makes their criminal act "Islamic" than a Christian uttering the "Hail Mary" while murdering an abortion medical provider, or someone chanting "Onward, Christian Soldiers" while bombing a gay nightclub, would make their act "Christian" in nature.
This is bordering on absurd. Is he really suggesting that bombing an abortion clinic or a gay nightclub isn't religiously motivated? What other motivations for these actions are there? Many Christians have made it very clear that their faith is the overwhelming reason behind their position against abortion and homosexuality. Similarly, there is a venerable history of Muslims who have made it clear that it is a duty to kill infidels, and its quite possible that Maj. Hasan holds similar beliefs.
I understand that a Muslim saying "Allahu Akbar" or a Christian saying "Hail Mary" is not necessarily proof that their crime was religiously motivated. There are other explanations. For example, perhaps a religious person would pray before committing a crime in order to ask forgiveness in advance, knowing his actions are wrong and not condoned by their faith. But without other evidence, the most likely explanation is that faith motivated the actions.
Iftikhar then quotes Professor Juan Cole of the University of Michigan:
"One most certainly does insult Muslims by tying their religion to movements such as terrorism or fascism. Muslims perceive a double standard in this regard: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols would never be called 'Christian terrorists' even though they were in close contact with the Christian Identity Movement. No one would speak of Christo-fascism or Judeo-fascism as the Republican[s] ... speak of Islam-o-fascism. ... [Many people also] point out that [it was] persons of Christian heritage [who] invented fascism, not Muslims."
I absolutely agree that there is double-standard in this country. We are willing to call Muslim extremists "terrorists", while we shy away from the word when it appears that a Christian's religious ideals motivated their crime. There absolutely are Christo-fascist groups of people in the U.S., and more should be done to point out the fact that their beliefs are chiefly motivated by their religion.
But the point is not that either all terrorists are motivated by religion or none of them are. The fact is there are a variety of reasons why people commit heinous crimes. That does not mean we should shy away from the fact that some use religion as a justification for them. It doesn't matter who invented fascism and what religion they were. Each fascist group has their own motivations, some religious, some not. Our euphemistic language designed to shy away from blaming religion is harmful, because it makes us less able to combat extremism effectively.
Iftikhar goes on to make a suggestion to the U.S. military:
Thus, with thousands of patriotic American Muslim women and men proudly serving in our United States Army in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, perhaps it would behoove our army leaders to consider sending a strong message of American unity by appointing an American Muslim to be a part of the prosecution team against Hasan.
This would help show that the mass murders allegedly committed by Hasan have nothing to do with the teachings of our religion.
It would show nothing of the sort. It would show that, just as in every other religion, there are good and bad. There are those who have religious faith and act morally and justly, and others who use it to justify atrocities. In Islam, and other religions, the majority of believers fall into the first category. But we must not deny that the second does exist, and is significant. Pretending that religion does not motivate these people is denying the real problem, and will hurt everyone, believers and nonbelievers alike.