EXCLUSIVE: Acting as his own attorney, accused Fort Hood shooter Major Nidal Hasan has released a statement to Fox News claiming that the U.S. military is at war with his religion.
However, he does not directly address the shooting at the Texas Army Base in November 2009 that killed 13 and injured more than 30 others.
“My complicity was on behalf of a government that openly acknowledges that it would hate for the law of Almighty Allah to be the supreme law of the land," the 42-year-old Army psychiatrist said. Hasan then apparently asked if this was a war on Islam. "You bet it is," he said. "I participated in it.”
The statement, which begins “In the name of Almighty Allah, the most gracious and the most merciful, my name is Nidal Hasan, Major Nidal Hasan, and I would like to convey a message to the world,” runs more than six pages.
Hasan also says he regrets his years in the Army, claiming that his service was inconsistent with his religious beliefs. “I would like to begin by repenting to Almighty Allah and apologize to the (Mujahideen), the believers, and the innocent. I ask for their forgiveness and their prayers. I ask for their forgiveness for participating in the illegal and immoral aggression against Muslims, their religion and their lands,” he said.
Hasan also criticized U.S. policy in the Middle East toward the Palestinians.
While Hasan’s motivation for releasing the statement is unknown, Fox News has repeatedly requested an interview with him, with a specific focus on his alleged actions at the Fort Hood Readiness Center on Nov. 5, 2009.
It is believed to be the first lengthy statement by the Fort Hood suspect, whose court martial begins August 6. The judge in Hasan’s case recently ruled that he cannot argue as part of his defense that the shooting was an effort to protect Taliban leaders in Afghanistan – the so-called “defense of others” strategy.
George Stratton and his son -- who was wounded in the attack -- will both testify at the trial. Stratton told Fox News he is not surprised by the statement.
“I have all along believed Nidal Hasan to be a Muslim terrorist, so it confirms what I’ve always thought,” Stratton said. “I believe that’s exactly how he felt when he did what he did. We should take him at his word.”
Lawyer Neal Sher, who represents Fort Hood shooting victims and their families in a separate legal action, said “This is yet further confirmation of a fact that everyone knows except our government. That is, the Fort Hood shooting was a terrorist jihadi attack.”
If convicted, on 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder, Hasan faces execution or life in prison without parole.
An extended examination of his statement, and reaction to it, will be part of an upcoming Fox News special investigation scheduled to air in early August. "Fox Files: The Enemy Within," first broadcast in June 2012, was part of Fox's ongoing investigation into the Fort Hood shooting and the connection to the first American targeted for death by the CIA, Anwar al-Awalki.
Cyd Upson and Gregory Johnson contributed to this report
Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.