Former U.S. Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Sunday called last week’s shooting at Fort Hood “the worst terrorist act carried out on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
Mukasey made his remarks in a little noticed speech to military families at a Veterans Day ceremony in central Pennsylvania. Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan is suspected of opening fire at the Texas military base last Thursday in an attack that killed 13 and wounded 30.
The former Attorney General criticized the New York Times and government officials for appearing to rule out the possibility that Hasan’s shooting spree was directed or inspired by any terrorist group. Mukasey told the military families that al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden has sought to create a “leaderless jihad” that promotes solo attacks, according to The Patriot-News newspaper.
“In that respect, there certainly are very close links to terrorism,” Mukasey said in the Sunday speech. “In that respect, this is, in fact, the worst terrorist act carried out on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.”
Mukasey, who is now a partner at the Debevoise & Plimpton law firm in New York, wasn’t available for comment on Monday.
Hasan was vocal about his opposition as a Muslim to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and had once worshiped at a Northern Virginia mosque with ties to radical Islam. But The New York Times on Nov. 7 published an article with the headline, “Little Evidence of Terror Plot in Base Killings.”
Instead, the Times and other news organizations have focused on the psychological strains associated with military service, depicting Hasan, an Army psychiatrist about to be deployed to Afghanistan, as having snapped under pressure. Today, however, The Associated Press and The Washington Post reported that federal authorities are looking into Hasan’s ties to an al-Qaeda linked imam.
Anwar al-Aulaqi, a former preacher at the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., praised Hasan on his personal blog today as a “hero” for opening fire on U.S. service members. Hasan worshiped at the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in 2001, when Aulaqi was its spiritual leader. Aulaqi, who now lives in Yemen, also counseled two of the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers in the months before they hijacked airplanes and crashed them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Federal authorities have said they suspect Aulaqi has been involved in plotting al-Qaeda attacks.
Mukasey, a former federal judge, presided over the 1995 trial of the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who led a precursor organization to al-Qaeda in Brooklyn in the 1990s. Rahman was tied to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and later convicted of a plot to blow up New York City landmarks.
On Sunday he told the military families that Hasan didn’t need to have formal ties to a foreign terrorist organization to have carried out a terrorist attack. ”To tell us to believe that someone has to have a membership card in al-Qaida or any other organization in order for them to act as a terrorist, and in order for us to call what he does an act of terrorism, is to tell us to refuse to look facts in the face, and to refuse to believe what we see and hear with our own eyes and ears,” Mukasey said, according to The Patriot-News.
Posted in News | 14 Comments »
Update: The New York Times reports that a joint terrorism task force knew of 10 to 20 communications between Hasan and Awlaki. Read our update here.
The al Qaeda-linked former imam of a prominent Northern Virginia mosque today praised Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan as a hero. ”How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done?” Anwar al-Awlaki wrote in a posting on his personal blog.
Awlaki is the American-born former spiritual leader of the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., which has long been under law enforcement scrutiny for suspected ties to radical Islam. Aulaqi counseled two of the Sept. 11, 2001 hijackers in the months before they carried out the attacks on New York and Washington. He later moved to Yemen, where he conducted on-line propaganda campaigns on al-Qaeda’s behalf, U.S. authorities have said. The U.S. also suspects Aulaqi helped plot al-Qaeda attacks, according to this February 2008 article in The Washington Post.
The Washington Post and The Associated Press reported last night that federal investigators are examining links between Hasan and Awlaki, who was the imam at Dar al-Hijrah in 2001, a time when Hasan and his family attended the mosque. The funeral of Hasan’s mother, Hanan, was held at the mosque on May 31 2001.
Former Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey on Sunday called the attacks at Fort Hood “the worst terrorist act carried out on U.S. soil since Sept. 11, 2001.” He made the remarks in an address to military families at an early Veterans Day ceremony in central Pennsylvania, according to a local newspaper.
Awlaki wrote on his blog:
“Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people,” wrote al-Aulaqi, who now lives in Yemen since leaving the U.S. in 2002. “This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn’t exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier.”
Full blog post reprinted below:
Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn’t exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The US is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam. Its army is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest through its stooges.
Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the US army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.
The heroic act of brother Nidal also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community. Increasingly they are being cornered into taking stances that would either make them betray Islam or betray their nation. Many amongst them are choosing the former. The Muslim organizations in America came out in a pitiful chorus condemning Nidal’s operation.
The fact that fighting against the US army is an Islamic duty today cannot be disputed. No scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can defy the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right -rather the duty- to fight against American tyranny. Nidal has killed soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to kill Muslims. The American Muslims who condemned his actions have committed treason against the Muslim Ummah and have fallen into hypocrisy.
Allah(swt) says: Give tidings to the hypocrites that there is for them a painful punishment –
Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely. (al-Nisa 136-137)
The inconsistency of being a Muslim today and living in America and the West in general reveals the wisdom behind the opinions that call for migration from the West. It is becoming more and more difficult to hold on to Islam in an environment that is becoming more hostile towards Muslims.
May Allah grant our brother Nidal patience, perseverance and steadfastness and we ask Allah to accept from him his great heroic act. Ameen