Mr. Green’s adherence is likely to increase scrutiny on the group, as investigators try to determine whether his beliefs played a role on Friday’s attack. The relationship between violence and the Nation of Islam has been debated since it started about 90 years ago, especially as outsiders and insiders have disagreed over its teachings.
“From the earliest times in Nation history, people have been taking these texts and saying, this is about killing white people,” said Michael Muhammad Knight, an assistant professor of religion and cultural studies at the University of Central Florida, who specializes in American Islam.
“The Nation has a very strong anti-violence discourse that goes all the way back to the beginning,” he said. “Consistently, if you look at the Nation, you don’t see the body count that white supremacist organizations have.”
In his Facebook posts, Mr. Green sometimes used apocalyptic language, suggesting he believed in an imminent end-of-world conflict. He referenced the “mother wheel,” which in Nation teachings is a spaceship that will descend on America in an apocalyptic battle, Mr. Knight explained.
In his final Facebook post on March 21, Mr. Green wrote about a “divine warning,” that these were the “last days of our world as we know it.”
Court records in Indiana, where he briefly lived, show Mr. Green had applied in December to legally change his name to Noah Zaeem Muhammad. But when he didn’t show up for a hearing in the final days of March, the proceeding was dismissed.
By then, he was back in Virginia, living with his brother. Just days later, he would drive to the Capitol.
Elizabeth Dias, Ben Decker and Robyn Sidersky contributed reporting. Jack Begg contributed research.