Hasan Asked Cleric When Jihad Was OK

'I can't wait to join you' in the afterlife, accused shooter wrote in email
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 20, 2009 12:36 PM CST
Imam Anwar al-Awlaki is seen in Yemen in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Muhammad ud-Deen, File)

(Newser) – Before he allegedly opened fire at Fort Hood, Nidal Hasan told a radical Islamic cleric that he couldn’t wait to drink nonalcoholic wine with him in the afterlife, according to one US official. Hasan exchanged 18 emails with Anwar al-Awlaki, who authorities believe is an al-Qaeda recruiter. In them, he asks when jihad is appropriate, and whether it’s OK to kill innocents in a suicide attack.

“It sounds like code words,” says one military analyst. “That he’s actually either offering himself up or that he’s already crossed that line in his own mind.” Born in the US but based in Yemen, Awlaki has been in hiding since the shooting. ABC News showed the emails to a Yemeni journalist, who concluded that Hasan was “almost a member of al-Qaeda.”