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.
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.
19 November 2010
Demonstrations by far right groups like the English Defence League (EDL) act like recruiting sergeants for Islamic militants across Britain, the head of a regional counter terrorism unit said on Friday.
Detective Superintendent John Larkin from West Midlands police said EDL marches and counter-demonstrations often ended in violence, with evidence they end up pushing some members of the community towards radicalisation.
“In some areas, we have evidence that once they have gone … there’s fertile ground for those groups (to say) ‘this is the way white Western society sees us,'” he told BBC Radio. “And that’s a potential recruiting carrot for people and that’s what some of these radicalisers look for — they look for the vulnerability, for the hook to pull people through and when the EDL have been and done what they’ve done, they perversely leave that behind.”
He said it was especially true if high-profile demos ended in the destruction of Muslim property or violence against community members. The EDL has held numerous demonstrations and marches against what it calls Islamic extremism in Britain since the group emerged last year.
In an effort to prevent radicalization among Muslim youth, administrators of 18 mosques in the province of North Holland will attend a study week in April. Operating on the premise that youth become radicalized as a result of isolation and exposure to organizations outside of mosques, the program provides strategies for recruiting youth to mosques. During the study week participants will learn how to reinforce the social function of the mosque and make it more accessible for youth, and will also acquire skills in recognizing and dealing with radicalization should it occur.
The Swedish government have asked Swedish Secret Police (SÄPO) for a report on radical Islamism in Sweden. “There are indications coming from SÄPO”, says Minister of Integration Nyamko Sabuni, “that violent, radical Islamism is recruiting in Sweden. Even if this is not a big problem, it can have grave consequences for some individuals.”
The report is to be turned in December 15, 2010.
According to Swedish secret police (SÄPO) at least twenty Swedish-Somalis are suspected to be “radicalized”, and some of them are to been killed in action in Somalia.
Sydsvenska Dagbladet (independent liberal) reports that Swedish Somalis are worried about al-Shabab activity in country. The 28-year old who made an attack on Danish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard two weeks ago is reported to have been in Sweden together with another Danish-Somali man who was later killed in a suicide attack in Mogadishu in December 2009. Al-Shabab is suspected to have been recruiting in Sweden’s three main cities – Malmoe, Gothenburg, and Stockholm – where the largest Somali populations are to be found.
According to Göteborgsposten (liberal) the two men visited two mosques in Gothenburg last winter, and Expressen (liberal) reports a mosque in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby has been visited by representatives from the organization. Abdi Rahman Sheik Muhjadin, Imam in a “liberal Muslim” congregation on Gothenburg, says he’s not surprised that al-Shabab has been coming to Swedish mosques and as a precaution, he continues, they won’t let their children attend Qur’an school for the time being, in fear of them being misguided.
Farah Absisamad, chairman of the Swedish Somali National Union, is calling for stricter laws against terrorism to prevent al-Shabab’s activity in Sweden.
A recruiting campaign by the Dutch government aimed at attracting young workers will picture a veiled Muslim woman with the slogan “working for the government, if you think ahead”. The image is juxtaposed with a photo of a woman with a lip piercing, alongside a series of other supposedly contrasting images including a construction site and greenery.
Questioned by the VVD regarding the meaning of the advertisement, the Ministry of Internal Affairs says that the campaign illustrates issues facing the government. “This shows that there are differences in culture of young Dutch, with which as government you have to deal with,” reports Telegraaf.
A shortage of citizens willing to enlist in the US military, and issues with recruitment and retaining strategies could have contributed to the incident at Fort Hood.
The president of Somalia on Sunday denounced the recruiting of young men from Minnesota’s huge Somali community for terrorist activity in his war-ravaged homeland, and said he plans to work with the U.S. government to bring those still alive back home.
President Sheik Sharif Sheik Ahmed spoke with The Associated Press while visiting the Minneapolis area, where authorities believe as many as 20 young Somali men — possibly recruited by a vision of jihad to fight — returned to the impoverished nation over the last two years.
At least three have died in Somalia, including one who authorities believe was the first American suicide bomber. Three others have pleaded guilty in the U.S. to terror-related charges.
”We believe this is a wrong action, that these young men were wronged, they were robbed out of their life. Their parents were wronged,” Ahmed told the AP through an interpreter. ”The laws of the United States were violated. The security of Somalia was violated. So we condemn (them) without reservation.”
Italian prosecutors have accused two men, arrested last year for link to human trafficking, of being leading al Qaeda figures in Europe and involved in training militants for suicide attacks. Police in the southern Italian city of Bari said that the two men, identified as Syrian imam Bassam Ayachi and French computer engineer Raphael Gendron, played leadings roles in “communication, transmission, and propaganda” for al Qaeda. The two men were arrested in November 2008 on suspicion of trying to smuggle five illegal immigrants into Italy. However, evidence in later searches have turned up a will of a would-be suicide attacker, detailing the compensation to his family after his death. In addition, tapped conversations between the two men had reference to an attack on Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport. The two men are also suspected to have close tied to a Brussels-based al Qaeda recruiting network. A senior Belgian intelligence source said that Ayachi and Gendron were known to provide ideological support for members of the alleged Brussels terrorism network, but at this time were not suspected of having played a direct role in recruiting young European Muslims for training in Pakistan. However, communication lines and inter-country ties are being closely examined.
This recent news story is a follow-up to prior arrests an issues, and emphasizes namely two major points – that terror and security investigations are often in flux and change as information is found, and national security agencies share information, and also that much like the above story, involves deeply complicated cooperation across different national interests. Who to prosecute, how, where, and according to whose legal system becomes an important consideration for all parties involved, with the added component of an ever-evolving case.