Monday, November 09, 2009

Why Nidal Hasan Did It...

On Counterterrorism Blog, Evan Kohlmann quotes from sermons of the Yemeni-American imam tied to Al Qaeda--whom the FBI suspiciously released to flee to Yemen shortly after 9/11:
One of the key questions for investigators who are now looking into potential links between radical Yemeni-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki and the accused perpetrator of the massacre at Ft. Hood, Maj. Malik Nidal Hasan, is understanding to what degree al-Awlaki's extreme sermons may have influenced Hasan's actions. Toward that end, they should be keeping an especially close eye out for one such al-Awlaki sermon in particular--"Constants on the Path of Jihad"--which itself is based upon an Arabic-language text penned by the founder of Al-Qaida's network in Saudi Arabia, Yousef al-Ayyiri. In order to bring al-Ayyiri's words to an English-speaking audience, al-Awlaki dedicated a lengthy lecture to his work--a lecture that over time has become the "virtual bible" for lone wolf Muslim extremists. In "Constants", al-Awlaki argues:

“Jihad does not end with the disappearance of a person. Jihad must continue regardless because it does not depend on any particular leader or individual… Jihad does not depend on any particular land. It is global. When the Muslim is in his land, he performs jihad… No borders or barriers stop it. The message cannot be conveyed without jihad. If a particular people or nation is classified as… ‘the people of war’ in the Shariah, that classification applies to them all over the earth. Islam cannot be customized to suit the conditions where you are, for instance Europe.”

According to Awlaki, al-Ayyiri also instructed that “victory” cannot be limited to mere “military victories” alone, and should also include “sacrifice. The Mujahid sacrificing ‘his self’ and his wealth is victory. Victory of your idea, your religion. If you die for your religion, your death will spread the da`wa… Allah chooses Shuhada (martyrs) from amongst the believers. This is a victory.”

It is thus perhaps little surprise that Anwar al-Awlaki's name and his sermon on "Constants on the Path of Jihad" seem to surface in every single homegrown terrorism investigation, whether in the U.S., the U.K., Canada, or beyond. For a sense of what role Awlaki and his message play in these cases, take for instance the New Jersey-based conspirators behind the attempted terror plot at Ft. Dix...