Fort Hood Shooter Was Concerned About Fighting Muslims


hasan1The Army psychiatrist suspected of going on a shooting rampage at Fort Hood recently asked for advice on what he should tell fellow soldiers concerned about fighting Muslims in Iraq or Afghanistan, a local Muslim leader said today.

Osman Danquah, co-founder of the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, said he spoke with the suspected shooter, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, after two services in late summer. During the conversations, Danquah said Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated any plans for violence.

But during their second conversation, Hasan seemed almost incoherent, Danquah said.

“But what if a person gets in and feels that it’s just not right?” Danquah recalled Hasan asking him.

“I told him, ‘There’s something wrong with you,”‘ Danquah told The Associated Press during an interview at Fort Hood today. “I didn’t get the feeling he was talking for himself, but something just didn’t seem right.”

But Danquah was sufficiently troubled that he recommended the center reject Hasan’s request to become a lay Muslim leader at Fort Hood.

Authorities have accused Hasan of opening fire on fellow soldiers on Thursday at Fort Hood, in a stream of gunfire that left 13 people dead and more than two dozen wounded in the worst mass shooting on a military facility in the U.S. At the start of the attack, Hasan reportedly jumped up on a desk and shouted “Allahu akbar!” – Arabic for “God is great!” Hasan was seriously wounded by police and is being treated in a military hospital.

The military has said he was scheduled to deploy to Afghanistan, but family members suggested he was trying avoid serving overseas.

Hasan’s relatives who live in the Palestinian territories have said they had heard from family members that Hasan felt mistreated in the Army as a Muslim.

“He told (them) that as a Muslim committed to his prayers he was discriminated against and not treated as is fitting for an officer and American,” said Mohammed Malik Hasan, 24, a cousin, told the AP from his home on the outskirts of Ramallah, a Palestinian city north of Yerushalayim. “He hired a lawyer to get him a discharge.”

Danquah said his conversations with Hasan occurred following two religious services sometime before Ramadan, the Islamic holy month that started in late August. He said the soldier, who transferred to Fort Hood from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in July, regularly attended services at the Killeen, Texas, community center in his uniform.

During his talks with Hasan, Danquah said he told him that Muslims were fighting each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Palestinian territories and that American soldiers with objections to serving overseas had recourse to voice such concerns.

Danquah said Hasan had also asked questions about community center members but he didn’t think Hasan was looking for accomplices.

It was not immediately clear if Danquah had informed the Army about his concerns.

“As a Muslim, you come into a community and the way you integrate normally – I didn’t see that kind of integration,” he said.

{Winnipeg Free Press/Noam Newscenter}