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Nidal Malik HASAN



The Troubled Journey of Major Hasan


Fort Hood's Fatal Afternoon
At 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 5, 2009, a man in military uniform enters one of the buildings making up the Soldier Readiness Processing Center, where hundreds of soldiers headed for Afghanistan are lined up for medical screening. Shouting "God is great" in Arabic, the man opens fire with what is believed to be an FN Herstal tactical pistol, a weapon popular with SWAT teams. Thirteen people are killed, including a woman who was three months pregnant. Walking between buildings, the assailant runs into civilian police officer Kimberley Munley and shoots her several times. As the gunman reloads, he is shot by her colleague Sergeant Mark Todd, who then cuffs him. The Texas base is in confusion for hours.
(Jeramie Sivley - U.S. Army)



Who Is Nidal Malik Hasan?
The alleged gunman is identified as Major Nidal Malik Hasan, 39, an Army psychiatrist. Beginning the day before the massacre, Hasan allegedly gave away all his possessions, including a desk lamp, air mattress, frozen vegetables and copies of the Koran. He told his imam that he was planning to visit his parents before deploying to Afghanistan. His mother and father, however, had been dead for nearly a decade.



Down Home in Virginia
Hasan's parents were Palestinians who moved to the U.S. to escape the turmoil of the West Bank in the 1960s. Nidal, the eldest of their three sons, was born and raised in Virginia. The family used to own the convenience store above and ran two restaurants in Roanoke.

(Hector Emanuel / Metro collective for Time)



An American Life
The suspect, shown here in his Roanoke high school senior yearbook, was not a devout Muslim growing up. Indeed, he seemed to be fanatical only about the Washington Redskins. Against his parents' advice, and perhaps because the military would pay for college, he enlisted in the Army after graduating from Roanoke's William Fleming High School. As he grew older and meandered into military and medical careers, he became more devout and apparently more than partial to a radical religiosity.
(Eric Brady / The Roanoke Times)



Choosing Medicine and the Army
In 1995 Hasan graduated with honors from Virginia Tech, above, with a degree in biochemistry. He quickly enlisted in the Army and was commissioned an officer two years later. He would receive his training as a doctor at the tuition-free Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md., from which he graduated in 2003.

(Hector Emanuel / Metro collective for Time)



Born-Again Muslim
In Maryland, Hasan regularly attended prayers at the Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring, where he helped at its homeless shelter. He applied to its matchmaking service to try to find himself a wife. In the application, he described himself as "quiet and reserved until more familiar with person. Funny, caring and personable." After his parents died, Hasan became even more devout. Three events occurred at about the same time: 9/11, the war in Afghanistan and the invasion of Iraq. It was roughly around this period that Hasan may have become acquainted with the charismatic Islamic cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.
(Hector Emanuel / Metro collective for Time)



Preacher and Provocateur
Al-Awlaki, born in New Mexico to Yemeni immigrant parents, presided over the Dar al-Hijrah mosque in Falls Church, Va., until about 2002. Hasan may have attended the mosque while he was in medical training. While his preaching sounded tame, al-Awlaki met with two of the 9/11 hijackers at his previous mosque in San Diego, and in April 2001, two of the 9/11 hijackers worshipped at his Virginia mosque. When Hasan's mother died in May 2001, her funeral was held there as well (his father had died in 1998). In 2002 al-Awlaki left the U.S., eventually moving to Yemen, where he runs a website that includes radical Islamists among its audience. The FBI has found a set of e-mails between al-Awlaki and Hasan from the end of 2008, apparently all of theological and pious natures.



Interning at Walter Reed
While training to be a doctor, Hasan reportedly opted for psychiatry after he fainted while witnessing a childbirth. He began interning at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in 2003. An officer who trained at about the same time remembers Hasan as being very vocal about being "a Muslim first and holding Shari'a law above the Constitution." Hasan once tried to preach against the "U.S. war against Islam" during a class on environmental health. He was also said to have been reprimanded for trying to convert patients to Islam. He argued for the right of Muslims to conscientiously object to fighting in predominantly Islamic countries like Iraq and Afghanistan.

(Hector Emanuel / Metro collective for Time)



The Texas Transfer
Hasan's behavior at Walter Reed reportedly worried some of his colleagues and superiors enough for them to wonder if he was psychotic and capable of serving in war zones. Nevertheless, he was promoted from captain to Army major in April 2008. It appears that his superiors at Walter Reed put off taking any action against him because Hasan was scheduled for transfer in the summer of 2009 to Fort Hood, Texas. There, he would live in Apartment 9 in the Casa de la Norte complex, above, in nearby Killeen. Shortly before his transfer, authorities discovered a Web posting by "NidalHasan" that compared suicide bombers with soldiers who throw themselves on grenades to save their colleagues. Relatives said Hasan was terrified of being sent to fight in Afghanistan or Iraq but had given up seeking an exemption.
(Erin Trieb)



Shopping on the Day of the Shooting
With a taqiyah capping his head and dressed in a long, Mideast-style tunic, Hasan was caught on the security monitor of a convenience store on the morning of Nov. 5. Hours later, there would be carnage in Fort Hood, and Hasan would be accused of one of the worst mass killings ever perpetrated at a U.S. military facility. After the news broke, al-Awkali released a statement cheering Hasan's apparent actions: "He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."



Heading for Court-Martial
As he recuperates from his wounds, Hasan faces the relatively speedy court-martial process, which may see him on trial as early as 120 days after his being charged. In the meantime, investigators will plow through what he has not destroyed of his belongings for clues to his actions. He shredded many of his documents but left a few enigmatic trinkets: a guide to Islamic interpretation of dreams ("a mouse could be interpreted as a shameless and licentious woman ...") and bottles of medication, including a 2001 prescription for Combivir, a drug that could reduce risk of HIV-infection 79% for health care workers exposed to blood or fluid that might contain the virus.



An undated photo shows a young Nidal Hasan.



Photographs of Maj. Nidal Hasan taken by defense attorney John Galligan with his cell phone.
Courtesy photo.



In this photo released by the Bell County Sheriffs Department, U.S. Major Nidal Hasan is shown after
being moved from Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio to the Bell County Jail in Belton,
Texas on Friday April 9, 2010. Hasan had been at the military hospital since shortly after a
Nov. 5 shooting spree at Fort Hood which left him paralyzed. He is charged with 13 counts
of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder.



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