WASHINGTON - Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan warned a roomful of senior Army physicians two years ago that to avoid "adverse events," the military should allow Muslim soldiers to be released as conscientious objectors instead of making them fight in wars against other Muslims.
As a senior-year psychiatric resident at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Hasan was supposed to make a presentation on any medical topic as a culminating exercise of the residency program.
Instead, in late June 2007, he stood before his supervisors and about 25 other mental-health staff members and lectured on Islam, suicide bombers, and threats the military could encounter from Muslims conflicted about fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, both Muslim countries, according to a copy of the presentation obtained by the Washington Post.
"It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims," he said in the presentation.
"It was really strange," said one staff member who attended the presentation and spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation of Hasan. "The senior doctors looked really upset."
These medical presentations occurred each Wednesday afternoon, and other students had lectured on new medications and treatment of specific mental illnesses.
An Army spokesman said last night he was unaware of the presentation, and a Walter Reed spokesman declined to comment.
It is unclear whether anyone in attendance reported the briefing to counterintelligence or law enforcement authorities whose job it is to identify threats from within the military ranks.
From 2003, Hasan spent six years at Walter Reed as an intern, resident, and fellow.
He was transferred to Fort Hood as a practicing psychiatrist in July this year and was set to leave soon for Afghanistan. According to a relative, he had asked not to be deployed. It is not known whether he ever sought conscientious-objector status.
The title of Hasan's 50-slide PowerPoint presentation was "The Koranic World View As It Relates to Muslims in the U.S. Military."
Hasan's presentation lasted about an hour. If typical procedures were followed, his adviser would have supervised the development of his project, said people familiar with the practice.
The final page, labeled "Recommendation," contained only one suggestion: