Cleric: Hasan Asked About Killing SoldiersDecember 23, 2009 - 6:10 PM | by: Mike Levine
The Army psychiatrist charged with killing 13 people at Ft. Hood early last month asked a radical cleric whether killing fellow U.S. soldiers “was a religiously legitimate act or not,” the cleric said in an interview translated by the Washington-based Middle East Media Research Institute.
In an interview posted on Al Jazeera’s web site, radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki said he first received an email from Maj. Nidal Hasan on Dec. 17, 2008, and that initial email “was asking for an edict regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier [killing] colleagues who serve with him in the American army.”
Awlaki, born in the U.S. but now believed to be in Yemen, said subsequent emails “mentioned the religious justifications for targeting the Jews with missiles”
“Then there were some messages in which he asked for a way through which he could pass to us some money [and by that ] to participate in charitable activities,” Awlaki said in the interview, as translated by MEMRI.
In one other email, as described by Awlaki, Hasan wrote: “You are the only Muslim Imam who lived in America and who understands Allah’s words and knows well how to address people with a Western mentality.”
Last month law enforcement officials in the United States said the FBI and others first learned of Hasan in December of last year while keeping tabs on Awlaki.
Over several months, Hasan communicated 10 to 20 times with Awlaki, but the “general tenor” of the communications was “fairly benign” and fit with research he was conducting, one official said last month.
In the interview posted on Al Jazeera, Awlaki said he was surprised that U.S. authorities did not catch on to Hasan earlier.
“I wondered how didn’t the American security agencies who claimed that they can read numbers of car plates from space, from everywhere in the world, I wondered how” they didn’t reveal Hasan’s plans, Awlaki said, according to MEMRI.
Awlaki insisted in the interview that he did not “recruit” Hasan to kill U.S. soldiers, but Awlaki said he wishes he had “the honor of having a bigger role” than he actually did.
“I may have a role in his intellectual direction, but nothing beyond that,” Alwaki said.
Awlaki expressed hope that Hasan, charged by the military with 13 counts of pre-meditated murder and another 32 counts of attempted murder, would be executed.
“I pray to Allah to receive him in the ranks of the martyrs, since when he did what he did he was expecting to be a martyr,” Awlaki said, according to MEMRI. “If he is executed, good for him.”
The FBI could not be immediately reached for comment.