The lead lawyer for Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan said Monday that he believes the Army is violating Hasan's religious rights because it prohibited him from praying from the Quran in Arabic with a relative.
Attorney John P. Galligan said he learned that police guarding Hasan at Brooke Army Medical Center cut short a phone conversation Hasan was having with one of his brothers on Friday because Hasan was not speaking in English.
“Police at the hospital refused to let him pray, in Arabic, from the Quran with his brother,” Galligan said. “I think it's illegal and a violation of his religious rights.”I only have two words for Major Hasan اللعنة المشددةwhich I am told is the Arabic equivalent of Tough Sh*t.
Hasan practices Islam, a religion whose followers hold that Jumu'ah (Friday) prayers are one of its most strongly affirmed duties.
His command, the Army's III Corps at Fort Hood in Killeen, has imposed pretrial restrictions on him, including a requirement that he speak only in English with visitors or those he talks to on the phone unless an Army-approved translator is present. Messages seeking comment were left Monday for III Corps officials. The calls and e-mails were not returned.Hasan better understand he is not in a civilian court (unless the POTUS moves him). He not only committed an act of terror but he betrayed his fellow soldiers, that is not looked upon very nicely by military authorities. Even in the US Military, sometimes Political Correctness gets passed over for logic.
Such a restriction would be unusual in the civilian criminal justice system, but not so in the military system, according to those familiar with it. In the civilian world, inmates have successfully challenged religious limitations imposed by jails and prisons.
In the military system, Hasan's command may have considered that he is a threat based on his previous actions. The day of the shootings, the Army has said, some witnesses claimed that an armed Hasan got on a table and yelled “God is great” in Arabic before or as he opened fire on troops and others in the Soldier Readiness Center at Fort Hood. Some have also said Hasan, a military psychiatrist for Army troops, did not want to deploy to Afghanistan with his unit because he did not want to kill other Muslims.
That backdrop, some argue, provides justification for the military to severely restrict his activities for security reasons.
“He's under military control,” said Jeffrey Addicott, a former Judge Advocate General's Corps officer for 20 years, who now heads the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary's University School of Law. “They can put reasonable restrictions on his movements and activities. The question is what is reasonable. In light of the fact that he is clearly influenced by radical jihad, in my opinion, it's entirely reasonable to limit his spoken activities to English.”
English is Hasan's primary language, and he learned Arabic later in life, according to news accounts. Addicott argued that because Arabic is not Hasan's primary language and there may not be Arabic-speaking guards available, the military is justified in its restrictions.
Hasan's Article 32 hearing, which is similar to a grand jury or probable cause hearing in the civilian system, is expected to take place early in 2010. Some congressional leaders, in the meantime, have said they will postpone hearings looking into what intelligence terrorism task forces knew about Hasan until after the Army's investigation is complete.