Jihad came once again to American soil on Monday, when an American convert to Islam, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, began shooting at soldiers who were standing outside the Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Muhammad murdered Pvt. William Long, 23, and gravely wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula, 18.
Muhammad was charged with capital murder and – in a departure from authorities’ practically reflexive dismissal of terrorism as a factor in virtually any act of violence by a Muslim -- sixteen counts of committing a terrorist act. Rather curiously, Muhammad has entered a not guilty plea, despite a prosecutor’s report that he had admitted shooting Private Long, and explained that he had done so “because of what they had done to Muslims in the past.” Little Rock Police Chief Stuart Thomas said of Muhammad’s act: “We believe that it’s associated with his disagreement over the military operations.”
Apparently “they” were the United States, and Muhammad considered this random shooting of two innocent young men to be an act of defensive jihad against a force he believed to be making war against the global Islamic community. Muhammad seems to have driven up to the Army-Navy Career Center intending to kill as many American military personnel as he could. Deputy Prosecutor Scott Duncan said that Muhammad openly admitted that he “would have killed more soldiers had they been in the parking lot.”
According to a well-informed source, Carlos Leon “Corey” Bledsoe, who changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad after he converted to Islam, is from Memphis, Tennessee. He was a student at Tennessee State University, where he majored in business. After becoming a Muslim in 2004 at the age of 19, he quit college and embarked upon a path that ultimately led him to Yemen, where another American convert to Islam, John Walker Lindh, learned Arabic and Islam before moving on to Afghanistan, where he fought alongside the Taliban and Al-Qaeda against American troops before his capture in 2002.
Muhammad went to Yemen hoping to study with a jihadist imam, Yahya Hajoori. It is not clear at this point whether he actually studied directly with Hajoori, or with one of his students. Interestingly enough, he apparently traveled to Yemen on a Somali passport, and was jailed for a time in Yemen for doing so. In light of the recent involvement of Somali immigrants to the United States in the jihad in Somalia, it is significant that Muhammad would have this passport. Apparently this and more about Muhammad did not escape the notice of American law enforcement officials: when he returned to the U.S. from Yemen, the Joint Terrorism Task Force began to investigate him. Unfortunately, he appears to have been able to stay at least one step ahead of investigators.
Meanwhile, the mainstream media and the U.S. government have given this murder very little attention. After the murder of abortionist George Tiller last week, Barack Obama expressed his sorrow and indignation, and Attorney General Eric Holder ordered U.S. Marshals to protect abortion clinic. But so far Obama has said nothing about the murder of Private William Long, and no one has made any move to protect military recruitment centers. And NBC was sadly typical in breezing past Muhammad’s motive for committing this murder, and failing to mention his religion at all. During coverage of the murder on the Today show last Tuesday, NBC’s Ann Curry said nothing about the jihad doctrine or about Muhammad’s religion at all, failed to mention his trip to Yemen, and explained the murders by saying only that Muhammad was “upset with the military.” She acknowledged that he had “political and religious motives,” but didn’t mention what his religion was – nor did she give his name. By contrast, according to Newsbusters, “both ABC and CBS mentioned the conversion and the Yemen trip.”
Some analysts have opined that Muhammad was committing what has been described as “sudden jihad syndrome” – that is, something made him snap, and his murder was unpremeditated. However, Fox News reported Tuesday night that Muhammad was not acting alone. His act was part of a larger jihad plot to attack military personnel.
This was certainly not be the first act of jihad violence on American soil, or anything approaching the most deadly. But given the inadequacies of the response of the government and the mainstream media, it will almost certainly not be the last.