How Did This American Terrorist Slip By?

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THE SPINE JANUARY 22, 2010

How Did This American Terrorist Slip By?

The man's name is Abdulhakim Muhammad, although it used to be Carlos Bledsoe. From his picture attached to an article on CNN.com, he looks like an African American. A native of Memphis, where presumably he converted to Islam, he had gone to Yemen for 16 months. To do what? Teach English, learn Arabic, and find himself a Muslim bride. Which he did.

Abdulhakim says he teamed up with "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula" in Yemen, from which he was deported back to America. He apparently had overstayed his Yemeni visa and was traveling on a fake Somali passport. No one knows whether any American government official questioned him on his return--even for a moment.

On June 1 last year, four months after his forced repatriation, Muhammad "used a semiautomatic rifle to gun down two soldiers--Pvt. William A. Long and Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula--while they were standing outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock," killing the first and wounding the second. Ezeagwula is a black man. A dispatch by James Dao in today's New York Times gives you the whole story.

After his arrest, Muhammad pleaded "not guilty" but accepted responsibility for the shootings. The case got almost no attention.

But, in a two-page note handwritten in pencil to the judge, dated January 12, Muhammad asked to change his plea to guilty. "I wasn't insane or post traumatic nor was I forced to do this Act," which was "justified according to Islamic Laws and the Islamic Religion. Jihad--to fight those who wage war on Islam and Muslims."

A second Dr. Hasan? Maybe. Yesterday, I posted a Spine about a report by Senator Kerry's Foreign Relations Committee staff detailing the adventures of 36 American Muslim prison converts who went on pilgrimage to Yemen--that is, on pilgrimage to Al Qaeda.

So much for those who tell us that there are no American terrorists.

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posted in: the spine, world, memphis, new york times, america, yemen, abdulhakim muhammad, carlos bledsoe, james dao, quinton ezeagwula, william a. long, al-qaeda, american government, arabian peninsula

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