Muslim Army major was behind shootings at Fort Hood

A gunman opened fire today on US soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, the largest US military base in America. Initial reports indicate the attack took place at a readiness center where soldiers prepare to deploy overseas. According to initial reports, 11 people have been killed, and more than 30 have been wounded. The attack was carried out by a soldier named Major Nidal Malik Hassan. Two other suspects were arrested for involvement in the attacks; initial reports indicate the men are US soldiers. Sources report that the shooter was a psychiatrist and that his nickname was “Abduwali.”

The Pentagon is urging the media not to speculate on the motive for the attack. ABC News’ Brian Ross described Major Hassan as a recent convert to Islam. Given that the attack took place at a center where troops go to prepare for deployment to Iraq and was committed by a soldier who is a recent convert to Islam, the obvious assumption could be made that this was some form of an Islamist terror attack. Time, and the two suspected accomplices, if they were indeed involved in the attack, will tell.

Daveed Gartenstein Ross, a Long War Journal/Threat Matrix contributor and the Director of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Center for Terrorism Research, said this about the attack:

One important aspect of this case will be assessing whether Major Malik Hassan and his accomplices were acting out of religio-political motivations, or whether there was another cause to the shooting. In Asan Akbar’s 2003 grenade attack on fellow soldiers, he was very upfront about why he did it. Until the motivation is known, we won’t know if this was an act of terrorism; but if it was terrorism, understanding the process of radicalization that they went through will be critical.

Daveed is an expert on the radicalization process, you can read his recent radicalization study here.

Some notes on the attack:

• Initial attacks, which began at about 1:30, appear to have taken place place near the Howze Theater and the Development Center, where US soldiers line up to prepare for deployments. Other clashes were reported near the PX and a softball field.

• Major Hassan, the shooter, was killed; two other soldiers thought to be involved in the attack have been captured. The identities of the two suspects have not been disclosed.

• The gunman apparently used two handguns.

• The base is under lockdown.

• About 500 soldiers have been assigned to support law enforcement.

• Fort Hood has about 65,000 soldiers.

Correction:

Given the quick pace of this story, there are bound to be errors in the initial reports. Family members said that Hassan was not a convert to Islam, but in fact was born into Islam, is of Jordanian descent, and was raised in the US.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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6 Comments

  • sc says:

    He was NOT killed, and you are the only site that states that he was working with two other men.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    sc, He was initially reported killed, but that changed. First reports are often wrong. Two men were in custody but were released. I was careful to call them suspects throughout. See:
    Two other suspects were arrested for involvement in the attacks…
    Time, and the two suspected accomplices, if they were indeed involved in the attack, will tell.
    …two other soldiers thought to be involved in the attack have been captured…
    And this was not the only other site to report two soldier were detained as suspected accomplices. That was reported on all of the major news sites, as well as CNN and FOX.
    I followed up the initial reports, which is what this was, with a later report, here:
    //www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2009/11/muslim_army_major_be.php

  • Ahmad Tariq says:

    I wonder why your post has to UNDERLINE that he was a Muslim. Gives your blog a sharp tinge against Muslims. Not a good idea to do specially when the U.S. has millions of Muslim Americans.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Because the information is pertinent, especially given recent information that has come to light. At the outset of the report, when the major’s name was released, every news network did contortions to try and think of a reason why Major Hasan conducted the shooting, while deliberately ignoring the obvious – that he likely was a radical Islamist. We don’t beat around the bush here.
    It is laughable that you might consider the site anti-Muslim. Clearly you are passing through. I suggest reading a bit. If you confuse anti-Islamist terrorist with anti-Muslim, that is your problem, not mine.

  • Ahmad Tariq says:

    Well I have been following your blog, which is why it’s on my bookmarks now.
    This is going to be a very long debate, but just felt like clarifying that there are other Muslims who are not terrorists, so just saying a terrorist killed US Army men would certainly send a message without harming interests of other Muslims in US and around the world, hence no negative externality of neutral reporting.
    Post 9/11 situation led to attacks by fellow Americans on their fellow innocent Muslims and Sikhs (who had long beards) in the U.S. who were affected by media’s branding of terrorists as Muslims or Islamic terrorists.
    In the end, would compliment the work you are doing, and I like your analysis personally. At the same time, it would be cooler if you could send an email for any reply that follows a person’s particular comment, would get to know that way that a comment came up after the particular comment. Thanks.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Ahmad Tariq,
    I am a firm believe that a small, violent group has hijacked the name of Islam and is doing a major disservice to Muslims worldwide. I have entrusted my very life to Muslims – I have conducted several embeds with the Iraqi Army and Police (Fallujah Police and Iraqi Army in 2006; Iraqi Army in Khaladiyah in 2007; Sons of Iraq in Southern Baghdad in 2007; Iraqi Army in Mosul in 2008). In fact, as much as I enjoy going out with US and Western troops, I would rather go with the trainers for Iraqi and Afghan forces. They are the real front line in this war; the future lies with them.
    Hopefully I don’t need to go further than that….
    There have thankfully been remarkably few attacks on Muslims here after 9/11. I don’t believe this had anything to do with media reporting and everything to do with the ignorance of those who carried out the attack.
    I hope to implement an improved comments system that is more responsive to the readers in the future. Given our limited resources, we have to address one issue at a time.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis