At the Northern Virginia mosque where Anwar al-Aulaqi once preached, the news of his killing ripped open a wound that congregants wish would heal.
For a decade, Dar al-Hijrah has been haunted by its association with Aulaqi, who was the imam at the Falls Church mosque on Sept. 11, 2001, but had yet to publicly embrace the anti-American extremism that would make him a target of U.S. drones.
Imam Shaker Elsayed acknowledged Aulaqi’s death at a crowded Friday afternoon prayer service. “May Allah give him mercy,” the imam told dozens of worshipers, noting that “when anyone leaves this life . . . their judgment is reserved by Allah.”
Those who killed Aulaqi, Elsayed added, “need to equally prepare for that moment” when they also will be judged by Allah.
They stressed that when Aulaqi preached at Dar al-Hijrah 10 years ago, he “was known for his interfaith outreach, civic engagement and tolerance in the Northern Virginia community.” It wasn’t until he left the United States and was allegedly tortured by Yemeni authorities, the statement said, that he began preaching violence and encouraging “impressionable American Muslims to attack their own country. With his death, Al-Awlaki will no longer be able to spread his hate speech over the internet to our youth.”
A U.S.-born radical Yemeni cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, linked to previous attacks on the U.S. called for Muslims around world to kill Americans in a new video message posted on radical websites Monday. In the 23-minute Arabic language message entitled “Make it known and clear to mankind,” al-Awlaki said that for Americans and Muslims it was “either us or them.”
Born in New Mexico, al-Awlaki has used his website and English-language sermons to encourage Muslims around the world to kill U.S. troops in Iraq and has been tied by U.S. intelligence to the 9/11 hijackers, underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, as well as Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, the Army psychiatrist accused of killing 13 people in November at Fort Hood, Texas.
“Don’t consult with anybody in killing the Americans, fighting the devil doesn’t require consultation or prayers seeking divine guidance. They are the party of the devils,” he said. “We are two opposites who will never come together.” Al-Awlaki also attacked rulers in the Arab world, particularly Yemen, describing them as corrupt and he called on religious scholars to declare them “non-Muslims” for betraying the Muslim people.
The Obama Administration has authorized the killing of Anwar al-Awlaki. Al-Awlaki is an American Muslim who is believed to be living in Yemen encouraging and recruiting for attacks against the US. Al-Awlaki has been linked to the 9/11 hijackers as well as Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian who unsuccessfully tried to explode himself in a flight to Detroit on Christmas Day. Al-Awlaki has been also linked by US intelligence to Major Nidal Hasan, the Army psychiatrist who killed 13 people last November at Fort Hood. He is now added to the CIA target list
Major Hasan, now paralyzed, will have his first court hearing from his hospital room this weekend. It will determine whether to place him in jail or leave him in the hospital pre-trial.
A democratic senator also claims there may be additional emails between Hasan and radical imam Anwar Al-Awlaki that were intercepted by the government. He claims they could have alerted law enforcement and potentially prevented the incident.