But with his professional colleagues he often sounded like a radical extremest. Did he never express such sentiments to his Muslim brethren?
Stunned Muslims were trying to understand Friday why a normally soft-spoken Army officer who served on his local mosque's charity committee allegedly fatally shot 13 people at the sprawling Fort Hood military base in Texas.
Officials at the copper-domed Muslim Community Center in Silver Spring — where Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, a psychiatrist, attended daily evening and Friday noon services — said he was a quiet, devout man whom few of the 250 members knew.
"I cannot believe it was him," said Dr. Asif Qadri, a cardiologist who works at a medical clinic at the mosque. "He never expressed his views on politics or religion."
Pressed further by TV and radio crews that jostled for space in the mosque's community hall, he said Maj. Hasan helped administer the mosque's "zakat," or charity fund. But he was not a recluse, as the media were portraying him.
"He was very soft-spoken, gentle and helpful," Dr. Qadri said. "He didn't sound like a recluse. He was a very happy and pleasant person."
What seems clear is that there is something about Islam that makes some of its followers homicidal. The members need to do a better job of noticing those traits and tell authorities about those who pose a danger to others and themselves.