The details emerging about Nidal Hasan, who authorities say is responsible for the worst mass killing on a US Army base, paint a picture of a man torn by contradictory loyalties. Hasan was a lifelong Muslim, an imam at his mosque said, but not an extremist. He had served 8 years in the military, and told his parents that it was “his life”—but also fought hard to avoid deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, even offering to repay his medical training.
Hasan once said that “Muslims should stand up and fight against the aggressor,” a former colleague tells the Washington Post, adding that Hasan would frequently argue with soldiers who supported the Iraq war. As a psychiatrist, Hasan had returning soldiers at Walter Reed and Fort Hood describe “on a daily basis the horrors they saw over there,” a cousin said. “He was mortified by the idea of having to deploy.”