Inspiration

The Terrorist's Favorite Imam

After Sept. 11, Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was a go-to source for American reporters looking to understand Islam. He first condemned the attacks, but now he has become an inspiration for a handful of Muslim Americans who have attacked America. Most prominent among that group is Faisal Shahzad who tried to blow up Times Square last week. Currently, Awlaki is hiding in Yemen where he has proclaimed, "America as a whole has turned into a nation of evil." Counterterrorism officials are extremely worried about Awlaki's influence on Western Muslims. "He's a magnetic character," one C.I.A. veteran tells The New York Times. The U.S. government doesn't believe Awlaki is all talk: this year he became the first American citizen to be placed on the C.I.A.'s list of terrorists targeted for killing.