JERUSALEM (JTA) — An American-born imam in an article on his Web site called the alleged Fort Hood shooter a "hero."
Anwar Al-Awlaki, who preached in 2001 at the Dar al Hijrah Islamic Center in Falls Church, Va., where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan attended religious services with his family, praised the alleged shooter Monday, according to a report from The Middle East Media Research Institute.
Awlaki now lives in Yemen.
Two of the 9/11 attackers reportedly prayed at the same mosque as Hasan.
"Nidal Hasan 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," Awlaki wrote. "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 U.S. soldier.
"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 U.S. army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal."
Some 13 soldiers were killed and dozens wounded in the Nov. 5 attack at a medical clinic on the Army base in Texas. Hasan, 39, is an Army psychiatrist there.