A U.S.-born Muslim cleric urges Muslims in the United States Army to kill their comrades in arms before they take part in military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Anwar al-Awlaki, wanted in Yemen “dead or alive” by the U.S., released a videotape of an interview with him on Sunday, including the incendiary comments. He is a leader in the Yemeni wing of Al-Qaeda, and is wanted by both Yemeni and U.S. authorities.
Awlaki, born in New Mexico in 1971, praised the actions of Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist who murdered 13 people at the Fort Hood army base in Texas six months ago. "What Nidal Hassan did was heroic... and I call on all Muslims serving in the US army to follow his path," Awlaqi said in Al Qaeda-released footage carried by the US monitoring group SITE.
"Nidal was my student,” Awlaki said. “I'm proud of Nidal Hasan and this was a heroic act… Who can object to what he did? He killed soldiers on their way to Iraq and Afghanistan… If the situation remains, we will see new Nidal Hasans appearing.”
“These American soldiers on their way to Afghanistan and Iraq, we will kill them,” Awlaki exhorted.
When the interviewer asked if killing American soldiers might negatively affect Muslims in the United States, Awlaki responded abruptly: "Is protecting the reputation of Muslims in America more important than bombs dropping on millions of Muslims elsewhere?”
Awlaki is suspected of having been in email contact with Hasan, as well as involvement in the December attempt to blow up an American jetliner bound for Detroit.Ignorance and Poverty? Not Here
Contrary to the school that says terrorism is born of poverty and ignorance, Awlaki’s father Nasser earned a master's degree in agricultural economics at New Mexico State University in 1971, received a doctorate at the University of Nebraska, and worked at the University of Minnesota from 1975 to 1977. The family returned to Yemen in 1978, where Nasser served as Agriculture Minister and as president of Sanaa University.