The Washington Post last week arranged for a Yemeni journalist to speak with Anwar Aulaqi, the Yemen-based radical Muslim cleric who ministered to Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan while they both lived in the Washington, D.C., area and who continued an e-mail correspondence with him later. According to the Post, the pair exchanged a dozen or so e-mails, but Aulaqi says he never tried to pressure or demand that Hasan use force on American soldiers. After the fact, Aulaqi praised the massacre on his blog, and he explained this further in the interview. “I blessed the act because it was against a military target,” he said. “And the soldiers who were killed were not normal soldiers, but those who were trained and prepared to go to Afghanistan and Iraq.”
From the Post:
Aulaqi described Hasan as a man who took his Muslim faith seriously, and who was eager to understand how to interpret Islamic sharia law. In the e-mails, Hasan appeared to question U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and often used “evidence from sharia that what America was doing should be confronted,” the cleric told [the Yemeni journalist, Abdulelah Hider Shaea]. “So Nidal was providing evidence to Anwar, not vice versa,” said Shaea. “Anwar felt, after seeing Nidal’s e-mails, that [Hasan] had wide knowledge of sharia law.”
When asked whether he mentioned Fort Hood as a potential target in his two or three response e-mails to Hasan, Aulaqi would not comment.
Cleric says he was confidant to Hasan [WP]
Related: The Times today has a good rundown of the intense legal challenges Hasan’s defense team will face.