SAN ANTONIO -

The delay in the court-martial trial of Army Major Nidal Hasan over his refusal to shave his beard is drawing criticism from terrorism experts.

Hasan claims his beard is an expression of his religious beliefs.

The Army says it is in violation of military policies and has refused to allow him to enter a plea in the case until he appears in court clean-shaven.

The trial has been placed on hold while an appeals court attempts to resolve the matter.

“We are, in my opinion, acting like little old ladies,” said Professor Jeffrey Addicott, the director of the Center for Terrorism Law at St. Mary’s University. “Every delay the defense wants, we’re giving it to them."

He said the delay, based on Hasan’s refusal to shave his beard, “Clearly puts him in control."

Addicott said that if -- and when -- the trial begins, he expects more delays based on Hasan’s behavior.

“He will start screaming and yelling in court that 'Allah is great' and 'I’m doing this in the name of Allah,'” Addicott said.

Hasan is accused of premeditated murder in the deaths of 13 people during a shooting spree at Fort Hood in November 2009.

If he is convicted, he faces the death penalty.