Officials said the review would focus on the exact number of Muslims in
the U.S. military, which has encouraged such enrollment. The Defense
Department reported 3,409 Muslims on active military duty as of April 2008,
but officials said the number could be at least three times higher.
"We believe there are many more Muslims who when recruited did
not list their religion," an official said. "Some of these people simply
wanted to avoid harassment; others might have had a sinister agenda."
last decade, the military has intensified its recruitment of Arabic-, Farsi-
and Pashtun-speaking soldiers for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, Middle East Newsline reported.
Officials said the Pentagon has been receiving reports of Muslim
soldiers who expressed opposition to the U.S. military campaigns in
Afghanistan and Iraq. They said the opposition was encouraged by Islamic
clerics as well as Muslim officers such as Hasan, who warned Muslims against
In 2003, U.S. Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar, said to have opposed the U.S.
invasion of Iraq, killed two officers and injured 14 others in a grenade
attack. Akbar, a convert to Islam, was sentenced to death.
Officials said the U.S. military has sought to shield Muslims from
retaliation in Afghanistan and Iraq. In many cases, they said, Muslim
were ordered to use fake family names to prevent reprisals against their
Some in Congress have called for clear guidelines on allowing soldiers
to express political views in the military. They said Hasan's pro-jihad
views were tolerated by officers concerned over charges of discrimination.
"I want to say very quickly we don't know enough to say now, but there
are very, very strong warning signs here that Dr. Hasan had become an
Islamist extremist and, therefore, that this was a terrorist act," Sen.
Joseph Liberman, a Connecticut independent and chairman of the Senate
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said.
Lieberman said his committee would investigate the Hasan shooting,
particularly the motive for the attack. He said a focus would be whether the
U.S. Army ignored warning signs that Hasan was heading for an attack.
Officials acknowledged that Hasan underwent an investigation in April
2009 on suspicion that he had adopted Al Qaida doctrine of holy war against
the West. They said Hasan was suspected of trying to contact Al Qaida via
"I am intending to begin a congressional investigation of my homeland
security committee into what were the motives, what were the motives of
Hasan in carrying out this brutal mass murder and to ask whether the army
missed warning signs that should have led them to essentially discharge
him," Lieberman said.
"If Hasan was showing signs, saying to people that he
had become an Islamist extremist, the U.S. Army has to have zero tolerance.
He should have been gone."