Homegrown Jihad in Arkansas and Ohio

Violent jihad returned to America last week. In a story that got little notice amid the flood of features on the murder of abortionist George Tiller, an American Muslim named Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad murdered Private William Long and gravely wounded Private Quinton Ezeagwula outside the Army-Navy Career Center in Little Rock, Arkansas. Muhammad.

Deputy Prosecutor Scott Duncan said that Muhammad openly admitted that he “would have killed more soldiers had they been in the parking lot.”

Carlos Leon “Corey” Bledsoe changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad after he converted to Islam in 2004. He then went to Yemen hoping to study with a jihadist imam, apparently traveling to Yemen on a passport from another flashpoint of the global jihad, Somalia.

When he returned to the U.S. from Yemen, the Joint Terrorism Task Force began to investigate him. Muhammad apparently had plans for a jihad larger than one that involved simply shooting up a military recruiting center: on his computer were maps to Jewish organizations and a Baptist church, as well as to a child care center, a post office and other military recruiting centers.

Investigators are now looking into evidence that before Muhammad went to Yemen, he lived for awhile in Columbus, Ohio, where he apparently attended a mosque that has a noteworthy number of connections to Muslims behaving badly. Investigative journalist Patrick Poole identifies the mosque as Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab, where Somali immigrant Nuradin Abdi worshiped before he was sentenced to ten years in prison in November 2007 for plotting, along with two other members of Masjid Omar, to blow up a shopping mall in Ohio.

One was Abdulmalek Kenyatta, a.k.a. Christopher Paul — another worshiper and, says Poole, “longtime martial arts instructor” at the Masjid Omar — who pled guilty in 2008 to joining Al-Qaeda and plotting to blow up tourist resorts and military bases. Back in 2002, Kenyatta and Abdi discussed the shopping mall plot with a third member of Masjid Omar, Iyman Faris, who is now doing twenty years for his part in an Al-Qaeda plot to take down the Brooklyn Bridge with bombs.

Muhammad’s lawyer claims that his client was “radicalized” in Yemen, but it is possible, at the very least, that the radicalization came at the Masjid Omar in Columbus, which, Poole notes, has in recent years featured speakers such as Sheikh Khalid Yasin, who has won notoriety for statements such as this one: “There’s no such thing as a Muslim having a non-Muslim friend” — which is, of course, a fairly straight rendering of a statement found twice in the Koran. Yasin is an unabashed hardliner, saying: “The Koran gives a very clear position regarding homosexuality, lesbianism and bestiality — that these are aberrations, they are immoralities and if they are tried, convicted, they are punishable by death.” Yasin has also claimed that Osama bin Laden is a “bogey man,” a “creation … in order to justify a war they call on terror but is really a terror they have put inside the people. It is a war against Islam.”

Meanwhile, last Tuesday a 20-year-old female student at Ohio State University was waiting for a bus when she was suddenly stabbed in the abdomen with a kitchen knife. According to another young woman at Ohio State, the attacker, Wael W. Kalash, had been yelling at female students in the area for some time, calling them “American sluts.”  After he stabbed the student, Kalash fled into a nearby building, where police soon caught up with him.

The building? The Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab.

How many other mosques are there like this in the United States? In 2008, the Center for Security Policy’s Mapping Sharia in America Project found that seventy-five percent of American mosques were preaching jihad. Muhammad’s attack and his possible connection to the Masjid Omar Ibn El Khattab indicates that jihad violence on American soil is still a very real possibility. As the Obama administration continues its attempts to build bridges to the Islamic world, it should not lose sight of the fact that the jihad here at home is far from over.