Supporter Of Accused Ft. Hood Shooter Led Local Mosque
Last Updated: 1288 days ago
10News learned a Muslim leader who praised the actions of a man accused in the Fort Hood shootings last week has ties to the San Diego area.Before moving to Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki earned his master's degree in education leadership at San Diego State University. He also served as an imam at a local mosque where two hijackers involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks prayed.Edgar Hopida with San Diego's Council on American-Islamic Relations can't believe the man who taught him about the Islamic faith and led countless prayer sessions at a La Mesa-area mosque is the same man who called Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan a hero and a man of conscience."He was a respected imam here," said Hopida.ABC learned that Hasan, suspected of killing 13 people in Fort Hood last week, had been in contact with Awlaki."From his work here, it was nothing but positive in San Diego. This is a big surprise to the U.S. and San Diego Muslim community," said Hopida.Hopida said he never heard his former Muslim cleric Awlaki talk about hatred for Americans or extremist views."It's disturbing for someone to say he's a hero when he's attacked innocent people," said Hopida.Awlaki's Web site, which promotes violence against Americans, stated he earned his master's degree in educational leadership at SDSU. He left Southern California to become an imam in Virginia.On Monday, leaders at the Virginia mosque spoke out against Awlaki's comments."We therefore openly denounce the statements of Awlaki as were posted on his Web site," said Imam Johari Abdul-Malik, of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center.