Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Arkansas terrorist killing

A 23-year-old Little Rock Muslim man, Abdul Hakim Mujahid Muhammad, has been arrested and charged in the murder Monday of an Army recruiter, Pvt. William Long. Another recruiter who worked with him, Quinton Ezeagwula, was wounded in the attack. In addition to murder, he is charged with 15 counts of terrorism: Muslim convert pleads not guilty in killing of soldier by Kate Linthicum Los Angeles Times 06/03/09.

According to an A********* P**** wire service report:

A joint FBI-Homeland Security intelligence assessment obtained by The Associated Press said officers found maps to Jewish organizations, a child care center, a Baptist church, a post office and military recruiting centers in the southeastern U.S. and New York and Philadelphia.

Abdulhakim Muhammad, 23, of Little Rock told investigators he wanted to "kill as many people in the Army as he could" and had the weapons to do so, police said. Muhammed pleaded not guilty to Monday's deadly shooting in a suburban Little Rock shopping center. Authorities said he targeted soldiers "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past."

In documents released Tuesday, authorities said they recovered Molotov cocktails, three guns and ammunition from Abdulhakim Muhammad's truck after the attack Monday in a suburban Little Rock shopping center.
Linthicum's report raises an interesting question about the nature of his faith in Islam:

Muhammad, who was known previously as Carlos Bledsoe, acted alone and was not part of a larger plot, said Cassandra Davis, a spokeswoman for the Little Rock Police Department. She said Muhammad previously lived in Memphis, Tenn., and Nashville and had recently moved to Little Rock.

Iftikhar Pathan, the president of the Islamic Center of Little Rock, said Muhammad had never worshiped at the center's mosque.

"This man who claims to be a Muslim has never been seen in our Islamic center," Pathan said.
Another "lone nut"? Time will tell. At least in the case of Muslim terrorism, the national press don't automatically default to the "lone nut" assumption so his Muslim ties are more likely to be reported than in the case of Christian terrorists or secular-minded far-right terrorists.

At this point, it's not entirely clear what Muhammad's possible motive may have been. And, as always in the early days of these cases, we have to remember that being accused means just that, accused, although the information needed for a reasonable factual assumption in a news event like this is not the same as having legal proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

The initial profile being leaked by the authorities and spread by the press suggests that the suspect may have been heavily influenced by Islamist political thinking of some kind. Arkansas CW reports in Suspect in court Tuesday 06/03/09:

Here are a few of the excerpts from Little Rock homicide detective Tommy Hudson's report:

  • "Mr. Muhammad stated that he was mad at the US Military"
  • "Mr. Muhammad stated he fired several rounds at the soldiers with the intent to kill them" from arrest report released this morning
  • "Mr. Muhammad further stated that he would have killed more soldiers if they had been on the parking lot."
Despite that seeming confession, Muhammad pleaded not guilty at his arraignment.

Jacob Quinn Sanders in Wanted to kill more, suspect tells LR police by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette 06/03/09 gives us an account of munitions seized from the suspect's truck:

Investigators seized more than 500 rounds of ammunition and three guns from the truck that police found Muhammad driving within 15 minutes after the shooting.

According to an inventory list that police submitted to the court, Muhammad had a Lorcin .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun in his waistband loaded with eight bullets as well as 24 more rounds of .380-caliber ammunition in his pants pocket. He wore a green utility belt with room for eight ammunition magazines, though he used only two. He had 13 quick-reload strips of 7.62mm ammunition - 129 rounds total - while the other held 20 Remington .22-caliber rounds.

In addition to the handgun, police seized an SKS 7.62mm rifle and a Mossberg International .22-caliber rifle with a scope and a laser sight. They also found a full-length white laboratory coat, a golf score card, "green crystals," a napkin, an umbrella and another CD with markings in Arabic. They found, too, a blue container of "unknown liquid" and a copy of the Tri-State Defender, a newspaper published in Memphis with a primarily black audience.
I notice that Sanders does not list the Molotov cocktails mentioned in the A********* P**** report.

Based on information from law-enforcement, the press is reporting that Muhammad had once traveled to Yemen on a Somali passport. The local authorities are saying that they are convinced he acted along, but who knows what that report means at this point?

Sanders' report also has an interesting tidbit on the suspect's religion:

According to a petition that Muhammad filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court in April, shortly after he moved to Little Rock, he was not fully satisfied with the name change.

Filed on April 23, Muhammad asked the court to grant him another name change, this time to something closer to his birth name: Abdul-Hakim Bledsoe. In the petition, he wrote that he wanted to drop the "Mujahid" and the "Muhammad" from his name in favor of "Bledsoe" for "religious reasons."
Dave Neiwert observes that Now the right-wingers want to blame military-recruiter slayings on liberals 06/02/09. I have have to wonder, do our Republican zealots really think that Muslim terrorists are some kind of "liberals"?


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