The confusing life of Naveed Haq

ece835b1 7f7f 457b 9af4 c74813f6f90e smallNaveed Haq was anything but an Islamic radical. He was a recently baptized convert to Christianity, and he expressed interest in Mormonism. His father, on the other hand, is a leader in the Muslim American community in Richland, Wash. It’s fair to say that the entire story line of a crazed Islamic radical shooting up a Jewish organization has been turned on its head.

This sad incident is clearly the work of a confused — possibly bipolar — individual.

I’m still trying to figure out how I missed this story in my post this morning, but thanks to Mollie, who sent me the link, consider this an update to what has become a horrifically sad and complicated story that digs into a variety of religious traditions. Here is the Seattle Post-Intelligencer‘s Scott Guiterrez:

Last winter, Haq began attending a weekly men’s group meeting at the home of a men’s ministry leader with the Word of Faith Center, a non-denominational, evangelical church in Kennewick. The group’s leader, Albert Montelongo, said Haq started studying the Bible. In December, he was baptized by Montelongo. The ceremony brought tears to Haq’s eyes, Montelongo said.

He said Haq appeared to accept his new faith, though he knew that he would be offending his own family and its deeply rooted culture. His father, Mian Haq, was among the founders of the Islamic Center of the Tri-Cities in Richland, a place of worship for about 300 Muslims.

Montelongo said Haq seemed passionate and often boasted about his education. But he seemed depressed by the tension that had grown between him and his family. And Montelongo said Haq talked about suffering from bipolar disorder, but that he seemed to improve in how he coped with anger.

Whatever suggestions the initial reporting on this tragic incident gave us that this crime was instigated by some form of Islamic radicalism need explaining. It’s fairly well established that Haq shouted about Israel during the rampage and said that he was a Muslim American. But since we know he abandoned Islam, we can’t really call him an Islamic radical anymore.

His association with the nondenominational evangelical church is also interesting and deserves a very close look by journalists covering this incident. Why did he convert? How did his family react? Did their reaction trigger anything in him? Why did he fail to stick it out with the group? At any point did he revert to Islam?

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  • Michael Rew

    This story is beginning to sound like John Walker Lindh, the so-called American Taliban. This story also illustrates the everyday danger all of us could face from personally branded radical Islam, the lone gunman (or knifer, in the case of Theo van Gogh’s slaying in Holland).

  • Michael

    But since we know he abandoned Islam, we can’t really call him an Islamic radical anymore.

    So is he a Christian radical?

  • Maureen

    It sounds like he decided to revert to Islam good and hard, since he described himself as a “Muslim American”. Whether or not he did this under the influence of his mental problems, I don’t know. But he certainly seemed to have gone jihadi.

    That’s one way to resolve tension between the separate cultures within you, I guess. But I wish he’d just watched The Jazz Singer instead.

  • T Shaw

    Just a note on Washington geography- The Tri Cities and Richland, Washington is not in the Seattle area. The Tri Cities-Richland, Pasco and Kennewic are in the southeast part of the state, not Seattle which is in the western part of the state. Please check your source that his father is a leader in the Seattle Muslim community. I think he is a leader in the Tri Cities Muslim community. Thanks.

  • dpulliam

    Good point T Shaw. Thanks for catching that.

  • Mujahideen

    He is definatly not jihadi buddy, Killing innocent….not part of Muslim Fighter Agenda…he’s definatly not Jihadi……Mujahideen that faught against soviet atheist are real Jihadi’s, who kicked out sovietis and now in the process of kicking out nasty fudge packing fagets afganistan and Iraq. Peace……Muslim who kill innocent does not represent Islam in any way or shape….He may be muslim, chirstian, atheist, jew and terroris. But don’t make your own add these radical, extremist infront of these peace full religion…………………If anybody wants to fight, he should go to the battle field not suburbs……he should have just cause…….he should be either resisting oppressor, eniemes envading your land.

  • Michael Rew

    Mujahideen wrote:
    “If anybody wants to fight, he should go to the battle field not suburbs.”

    Tell that to Hezbollah, who launch rockets from Lebanese suburbs at Israeli suburbs.

  • Polymathy

    Some of you people are just down right mentally retarded. The Seattle Shooter is clearly AN EVANGELICAL CHRISTIAN who likes to expose himself to little girls in the mall.

    Yet, even when this comes to light you are still desperately trying to brand him as some kind of crazy Muslim. Why don’t you just make a template for news agencies to use that automatically inserts the word “Muslim” when reporting any crime. So the headlines will read “Ken Lay guilty of Enron MUSLIM Scandal”, “Britney Spears MUSLIM Drops Baby”, “Nick Lachey Heartbroken Over MUSLIM Jessica Simpson”, etc.

  • dpulliam

    In response to several comments, I guess you could call this guy a Christian radical, but I’m not exactly sure what is radical about him. He seems more like a crazy guy who needs help. He did claim to be a Muslim during the shootings, so his “radical” actions were not done in the name of Christianity, but he also does not seem to be a Muslim at all, so it’s difficult to pin the “Muslim radical” label on him. I say we avoid trying to pigeon hole this guy into a certain term because all that’s doing is trying to get his sad actions to serve a political purpose.

  • Andrea Harris

    Hm. So I guess the 9/11 terrorists weren’t really Muslims, because they went to see strippers and drink the night before they drove planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? It seems to me I’ve heard this argument before.

    No doubt he’s crazy. You could say all the Muslim terrorists and the people who support them have mental problems that would keep the psychatrists working overtime for a thousand years. As for his “conversion” to Christianity, it could have been sincere at the time. But he seems to have had his doubts, and the day he picked up his gun and headed to the Jewish center, he seems to have made up his mind.

  • Joan O.

    Does anyone know what kind of special “treatment” will come about because this is labeled a “Hate Crime?”

  • Dave Munger

    Are you people telling me Mormonism isn’t essentially the same as Islam? They should both be called “An angel handed me a book that says only the parts of the Bible that glorify the race I happen to belong to are true, but the original of the book is gone now and no one else saw it except my Canadian girlfriend” – ism.