Ark. GOP calls statements by 2 Republican candidates about Muslims, blacks ‘offensive’

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Arkansas Republicans tried to distance themselves Saturday from a Republican state representative’s assertion that slavery was a “blessing in disguise” and a Republican state House candidate who advocates deporting all Muslims.

The claims were made in books written, respectively, by Rep. Jon Hubbard of Jonesboro and House candidate Charlie Fuqua of Batesville. Those books received attention on Internet news sites Friday.

On Saturday, state GOP Chairman Doyle Webb called the books “highly offensive.” And U.S. Rep. Rick Crawford, a Republican who represents northeast Arkansas, called the writings “divisive and racially inflammatory.”

Hubbard wrote in his 2009 self-published book, “Letters To The Editor: Confessions Of A Frustrated Conservative,” that “the institution of slavery that the black race has long believed to be an abomination upon its people may actually have been a blessing in disguise.” He also wrote that African-Americans were better off than they would have been had they not been captured and shipped to the United States.

Fuqua, who served in the Arkansas House from 1996 to 1998, wrote there is “no solution to the Muslim problem short of expelling all followers of the religion from the United States,” in his 2012 book, titled “God’s Law.”

Man who shot soldiers takes plea deal

LITTLE ROCK — A man who confessed to shooting two soldiers outside a military recruiting station in Arkansas struck a plea deal with prosecutors Monday to avoid the death penalty.

Abdulhakim Muhammad pleaded guilty in the middle of his trial to capital murder and attempted capital murder charges. Pulaski County Judge Herbert Wright then sentenced Muhammad to life in prison without parole for capital murder, with 11 more life sentences for the remaining charges against him plus an additional 180 years in prison.

He confessed to the shootings in phone calls to the Associated Press. He also admitted the crimes to the judge overseeing his case and to authorities. Muhammad said he was acting in retribution for the deaths of Muslims in U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Man charged with killing soldier at Ark. recruiting office says he wanted to start terror cell

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The man accused of fatally shooting a soldier outside a military recruiting station in Little Rock in 2009 now says he wanted to start a terrorist cell in the U.S., but a prosecutor brushed off the claims Saturday as “just ridiculous.”

In his latest letter to the court, Abdulhakim Muhammad told Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright that he wanted to return to the U.S. from Yemen to start his own terror group. Muhammad was deported from Yemen in early 2009, after being in prison in the Middle Eastern country for immigration violations.

Muhammad was born in Memphis, Tenn., as Carlos Bledsoe, but changed his name after converting to Islam.
He is charged with capital murder and attempted capital murder in the June 2009 shootings that killed Army Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula. The letter, first reported by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, focuses on Muhammad’s argument that his case should be tried in federal court.

Muhammad has told the AP in telephone interviews from jail that the shooting was revenge for American killings of Muslims and that he does not believe he is guilty.

Man accused in soldier’s death granted trial delay

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A judge has granted a delay in the murder trial of Abdulhakim (ahb-DOOL’ hah-KEEM’) Muhammad, the man who says his impulse to avenge the death of Muslims at American hands led him to kill a soldier at a Little Rock military recruiting center.