MEMRI Special Dispatch | No. 2713 |December 23, 2009
Jihad & Terrorism Threat Monitor Project
On Al-Jazeera.net - First Interview with U.S.-Born Yemen-Based Imam Anwar
Al-'Awlaki on Major Hasan and the Fort Hood Shooting: Nidal [Hasan]
Contacted Me a Year Ago
In an interview posted on Aljazeera.net, conducted by Abd Al-Ilah Heidar
Shane' in San'a, Yemen, the U.S.-born Yemen-based imam Anwar Al-'Awlaki said
that Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan had contacted him a year ago.
Almost as soon as it was posted on Aljazeera.net, the interview with
Al-Awlaki about his relationship with Hasan was reposted by numerous Jihadi
websites on their forums, accompanied by praise for both Al-Awlaki and Major
Hasan. On the Al-Falluja forum, one of the biggest jihadi forums, many
members praised Abd Al-Ilah Shane', who is also a forum member, and asked
that Allah heal Major Hasan and give him patience.
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Following are excerpts from the interview report on Aljazeera.net:
"While the American president was declaring that the threat to the national
security of his country comes from out of the borders of [America], and
particularly from Afghanistan and Pakistan at present and Yemen and Somalia
in the future – at that time, Major Nidal Hasan of the American army, a
Muslim of Palestinian origin, was planning to kill American officers and
soldiers inside the world's biggest U.S. military base, Fort Hood.
"Nidal Hasan was planning [to carry out] the biggest operation inside the
United States after September 11, 2001, and he [did indeed] carry it out, on
November 5, and it brought about the killing of 13 officers and soldiers and
the wounding of more than 30.
"Before carrying out the operation, Major Nidal was in touch with Sheikh
Anwar Al-'Awlaqi, an American of Yemenite origin, and asked him about the
religious legitimacy of the [planned] operation and about his role as a
Muslim in the American army.
"Anwar Al-'Awlaqi, whose cassettes sold over five million copies in the U.S.
and the West, according to the distribution company, did not stop addressing
his audience in the West via his website, and via the forums in which he was
giving his lectures and answering questions directly. Nidal Hasan may have
been one of the interested followers of Sheikh Al-'Awlaqi over the computer
screens, and may have been one of those influenced by him. This emerges from
his own description in one of his messages, saying to Sheikh Al-'Awlaqi:
'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
Following are excerpts from the Aljazeera.net interview with Al-'Awlaqi:
Question: "What is your connection with Nidal Hasan, and when did it begin?"
Answer: "Nidal Hasan prayed at my mosque when I was imam at the Dar Al-Hijra
Q: "When was your first meeting?"
A: "About nine years ago, when I was imam of the Dar Al-Hijra mosque in the
capital Washington, a mosque which is one of the biggest Islamic centers in
Q: "[There are] reports that there was more than that."
A: "Brother Nidal used to contact me via email last year, until the middle
of this year."
Q: "When did the correspondence with Nidal begin?"
A: "I got the first message from Nidal on December 17, 2008."
Q: "Who initiated the correspondence, you or him?"
A: "He initiated the correspondence with me."
Q: "What did the correspondence contain?"
A: "He was asking about killing American soldiers and officers. [He asked]
whether this is a religiously legitimate act or not."
Q: "So he asked you that question about a year before the operation was
A: "Yes. And I wondered how the American security agencies, who claim to be
able to read car license plate numbers from space, everywhere in the world,
I wondered how [they did not reveal this]."
Q: "What did Nidal want from you in his messages?"
A: "Naturally, as I told you, the first message was asking for an edict
regarding the [possibility] of a Muslim soldier killing his colleagues who
serve with him in the American army. In other messages, Nidal was clarifying
his position regarding the killing of Israeli civilians. He was in support
of this, and in his messages he 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 transfer some funds to us [and by
this] participate in charitable activities."
Q: "There are other indications to your connections with Nidal, one of which
is that you blessed what he did three days after he did it."
A: "My support to the operation was because the operation that brother Nidal
carried out was a courageous one, and I endeavored to explain my position
regarding what happened because many Islamic organizations and preachers in
the West condemned the operation. So it was necessary for me [to raise] a
voice that is [myself] connected to the Muslims in America and the West,
while at the same time is independent and explains the truth regarding what
Nidal did, especially since the media tried to connect him to me from the
Q: "Why did you bless Nidal Hasan's act?"
A: "Because Nidal's target was a military target inside America, and there
is no question about this. Then, also, those members of the military [i.e.
the victims] were not regular soldiers; rather they were prepared and
preparing themselves to go to battle and to kill downtrodden Muslims and to
commit crimes in Afghanistan."....
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