More from the wonderful world of Islam. Remember, this was the go-to imam that the media went to (the "moderate" imam) for things Islam right after 911.
Devout Muslim Awlaki also provided succor and Islamic spiritual guidance to the Fort Hood jihadi, the Christmas balls bomber, and the Times Square deadly car bomber -- and that's what we know of.
"Al Qaeda" arabic translation of centcom or head quarters. The armed military wing of Islam.
CAIRO (AP) — An American-Yemeni cleric whose Internet sermons are believed to have helped inspire attacks on the U.S. has advocated the killing of American civilians in an al-Qaida video released Sunday.
Anwar al-Awlaki has been singled out by U.S. officials as a key terrorist threat and has reportedly been added to the CIA's list of targets for assassination despite his American citizenship. He is of particular concern because he is one of the few English-speaking radical clerics able to explain to young Muslims in America and other Western countries the philosophy of violent jihad.
The U.S.-born al-Awlaki moved to Yemen in 2004 and is in hiding there after being linked to the suspects in the November shooting at an Army base in Fort Hood, Texas, and the December attempt to blow up a U.S. jetliner bound for Detroit.
"Those who might be killed in a plane are merely a drop of water in a sea," he said in the video in response to a question about Muslim groups that disapproved of the airliner plot because it targeted civilians.
Al-Awlaki used the 45-minute video to justify civilian deaths — and encourage them — by accusing the United States of intentionally killing a million Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.
American civilians are to blame, he said, because "the American people, in general, are taking part in this and they elected this administration and they are financing the war."
The video was produced by the media arm of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, though the exact nature of al-Awlaki's ties with the group and possible direct role in it are unclear. The U.S. says he is an active participant in the group, though members of his tribe have denied that.
For its part, al-Qaida appears to be trying to make use of his recruiting power by putting him in its videos. Its media arm said Sunday's video was its first interview with the cleric.
In the months before the Fort Hood shooting, which killed 13 people, al-Awlaki exchanged e-mails with the alleged attacker, U.S. Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan. Hasan initiated the contacts, drawn by al-Awlaki's Internet sermons, and approached him for religious advice.
Yemen's government says al-Awlaki is also suspected of contacts with Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused in the failed attempt to blow up the Detroit-bound airliner on Christmas Day. Abdulmutallab traveled to Yemen late last year, and U.S. investigators say he told them that he received training and his bomb from Yemen's al-Qaida offshoot.
In Sunday's video, al-Awlaki praised both men and referred to them as his "students."
Speaking of Hasan, the cleric said, "What he did was heroic and great. ... I ask every Muslim serving in the U.S. Army to follow suit."
Al-Awlaki appears in the video wearing a white Yemeni robe, turban and with a traditional jambiyah dagger tucked into his waistband.
The 38-year-old al-Awlaki spent years in the U.S. as a student.