FORT HOOD, Texas - There was the classroom presentation that justified suicide bombings. Comments to colleagues about a climate of persecution faced by Muslims in the military. Conversations with a mosque leader that became incoherent.
Some who knew Nidal Malik Hasan as a student said they saw clear signs the young Army psychiatrist - who authorities say went on a shooting spree at Fort Hood that left 13 dead and 29 others wounded - had no place in the military. After arriving at Fort Hood, he was conflicted about what to tell fellow Muslim soldiers about the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, alarming an Islamic community leader from whom he sought counsel.
"I told him, 'There's something wrong with you,' " Osman Danquah, cofounder of the Islamic Community of Greater Killeen, said yesterday. "I didn't get the feeling he was talking for himself, but something just didn't seem right."
Danquah assumed the military's chain of command knew about Hasan's doubts, which had been known for more than a year to classmates in a graduate military medical program. Students complained to the faculty about Hasan's "anti-American propaganda," but said a fear of appearing discriminatory against a Muslim student kept officers from filing a formal written complaint.
"The system is not doing what it's supposed to do," said Val Finnell, who studied with Hasan from 2007 to 2008 in the master's program in public health at the military's Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. "He at least should have been confronted about these beliefs, told to cease and desist, and to shape up or ship out."
Military authorities continued yesterday to refer to Hasan as a suspect and had not said whether they planned to charge him in a military or civilian court.
In the days since authorities believe Hasan fired more than 100 rounds in a soldier processing center at Fort Hood in the worst mass shooting on a military facility in the United States, a picture has emerged of a man who was forcefully opposed to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, was trying to get out of his pending deployment to a war zone, and had struggled in his work as an Army psychiatrist.
Twice this summer, Danquah said, Hasan asked him what to tell soldiers who expressed misgivings about fighting fellow Muslims. The retired Army first sergeant and Gulf War veteran said he reminded Hasan that these soldiers had volunteered to fight, and that Muslims were fighting against each other in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Palestinian territories.
Danquah said he was so disturbed by Hasan's persistent questioning that he recommended the mosque reject Hasan's request to become a lay Muslim leader. But he never saw a need to tell anyone at the Army post, he said, because Hasan never expressed anger toward the Army or indicated plans for violence.
"If I had an inkling that he had this type of inclination or intentions, definitely I would have brought it to their attention," he said.
Both military and civilian investigators have yet to talk with Hasan, who reportedly jumped up on a desk and shouted "Allahu akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" - at the start of Thursday's attack. He was seriously wounded by police and transferred Friday to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, where officials said last night he had been taken off a ventilator but remained in intensive care. An official said earlier he was "not able to converse."