Person of Interest

Hasan's Radical Imam

As authorities dig into Fort Hood gunman Nidal Malik Hasan's past, one name keeps coming up: Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical imam Hasan worshipped under in 2001, who first fell under FBI scrutiny as a "spiritual adviser" to two 9/11 attackers—and who was born in America. The Times of London reports that al-Awlaki, who now lives in Yemen, was born in New Mexico to Yemeni parents. He served as an imam in Denver and San Diego before landing in the Falls Church, Virginia, mosque that Hasan and the 9/11 hijackers attended. Al-Awlaki praised Hasan as "a hero" in his blog after the Fort Hood shootings, calling him "a man of conscience who could not bear the contradiction of being a Muslim and fighting against his own people." Al-Awlaki has raised eyebrows outside of the U.S., too: Yemen held him for more than a year as part of a "secret investigation" in 2006, and British authorities banned him from addressing, by video, an East London mosque this year. The radical Islamist holds a degree in civil engineering from Colorado State and a master's in education from San Diego State.