The Media Left were already planning to ignore Republican Peter King’s congressional hearing about radical Islam when the Japan earthquake knocked the hearing out of the news. You can read the entire 109-page PDF hearing transcript here
Below are some excerpts from the hearing with my comment after each:
*Congressman King: Our next witness is Melvin Bledsoe, the father of Carlos Leon Bledsoe — also known as Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad. Melvin Bledsoe: Thank you for — thank you very much for allowing me to be — come here today and to tell the country what happened to my son. This hearing today is extremely important to begin the discussion about the issues of Islamic radicalization in America. My sincere hope: that this committee can somehow address the issue in a meaningful, productive way. First of all, I’d like to express my deepest sympathy to the family of Private William Long, and the wounded soldier Quinton Ezeagwula. I would like to talk about those complicity — complicity (sic) in (inaudible) Private Long’s murder: the Islamic radicals who programmed and trained my son Carlos to kill. I want to tell American people and the world what happened to my son… We sent him off to college at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee, in the fall of 2003. Our dream about his future ended up in a nightmare.
Carlos is my only son. He grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. My wife and I operate a tour company in Memphis, Tennessee, and Carlos started helping out with the family business at the age of 8. Loved to talk and — talk to the traveling public, and he had a lot of fun interacting with the customers. After graduating from high school, Carlos wanted to get a degree in business. We thought perhaps he would come back to Memphis to run the business and give my wife and I a early retirement. After the fall of 2005, his sophomore year in Nashville, Carlos came home that Christmas for the holiday.
We were sitting around the family room and Carlos’ only sister, Monica, and her husband and I having a normal conversation about general things in life. But at a certain point Carlos and his brother-in-law Terrell got into a heated conversation about Muslim religion. Then and later we felt like Carlos’ personality changed when we spoke about Islam. We thought maybe he had some Muslim friends and was offended by the comment. The next time Carlos came home, we saw another side of him that we didn’t see before. During that — during the night he took off all the pictures from the walls of the bedroom where he slept. He even took off the picture of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. off the wall. We asked Carlos, “What is going on with you?” He replied that he is now a new convert to Islam and that everything he does from now on will be to honor Allah.
We got very concerned why Carlos was growing up with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. picture on the wall, hung on his bedroom wall, but now he’s treating that picture as if he was nobody, Dr. King was nobody to him. We asked Carlos not to take the Dr. King picture off the wall. He took it off the wall anyway. This became a big concern to us. We went to Nashville to visit him more. We wanted to learn more about who was he hanging around with and what was really going on with Carlos.
So my wife and I thought that (inaudible) something is — something and someone is getting into his head and changes his way of thinking. It had gotten to the point we had to — no interest — he had no interest in coming home even for the holidays. All this was part of his brainwashing, changing his thinking a little bit at a time. He had a job in Nashville with some Muslims who he tells him — who tells him that Islamic law, his employer, had to let him pray certain times of the day, regardless of what was going on, on his job.
As a business owner I told Carlos it would be very difficult for employees (sic) — to do this for all his employers (sic). At this time, at the next step on his progress of radicalization, Carlos was convinced to change his name. He chose the name Abdulhakim Muhammad. At this point his culture was no longer important to him, only the Islamic culture mattered. Some Muslim leader had taken advantage of my son, but he’s not the only one being taken advantage of. This is an ongoing thing in Nashville and many other cities in America. In Nashville Carlos was captured by best describes hunters. He was manipulated and lied to.
That’s how he made his way to Yemen. Carlos was hoping to go there for a chance to cross over to Saudi Arabia and visit Mecca. He was taught that all the true Muslim must do this one time in life. He was taught that he would get — he was taught that he would get to walk on the grounds where the Prophet Mohammed walked and be able to travel the area. But these hunters had other plans for him. They set him up, to tell him that he could teach English in a British school in Aden, in the south of Yemen. The school turned out to be a front for Carlos, front, and Carlos ended up in a training camp run by terrorists. Carlos joined with the Yemeni extremists facilitated by their American counterpart in Nashville.
We have since discovered that that former imam in Nashville mosque, the Al Farooq Mosque, wrote the recommendation letter for Carlos needed to — needed to for the school in Yemen. We also discovered that that school functioned as the intake front for radicalization training of westerners for jihad. From what I understand, the FBI had been following Carlos since and before he left Nashville, continued to follow him after he came back from Yemen. When Carlos was arrested in Yemen overstaying his visa in October 2008, he was interviewed by the FBI agent based in Nashville even before the U.S. Embassy was alerted about his arrest. According to U.S. — according to the embassy in Sanaa, the FBI was alarmed about what they learned from Carlos.
We wish to have — we wish that they could have told us, his family, about what they learned. If we knew how serious his extremism had become, we could have put in every effort to stop the tragedy in Arkansas from even happening. My son was arrested in Yemen. My family cried out for help to bring him — bring my son back to America from the American government. We got in touch with the United States Embassy, the State Department. We also asked for help from our U.S. Representative Steve Cohen’s office and the FBI special agent, Greg Thomason, who had been tracking my son in Nashville.
After our son was finally released and brought home to us, no one said anything to us about what might have happened in Yemen or what they may have learned that so alarmed the FBI who interrogate Carlos while in — while he was in the custody of Yemen political security organization. Carlos’ experience in Yemen’s political jail was the final stage of his radicalization. He was in there with true evil-doers, hardcore Al Qaida member who convinced him to get revenge on America.
Comment: Bledsoe is black. His son represents the radicalization of young blacks by extremist Islam. Bledsoe’s son killed Pvt. William Long in West Little Rock, Arkansas on June 1, 2009. There are many stories like Bledsoe’s. That is why congressman King held the hearings while Democrats and Islamists have done everything they can to silence and marginalize King.
*Congressman King: Our next witness is Abdirizak Bihi. He’s the director of Somali education and the Somali Social Advocacy Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is the uncle of Burhan Hassan. Bihi: I want to tell you why I’m here today and how important this, it is for me. I’m here because of my nephew, Burhan Hassan. Not only him, between 20 and 40 others who are Somali-Americans in the state of Minnesota that has been lured, brainwashed, radicalized by members of our community and lured back home into a burning inferno in the civil war. I want to talk about my nephew.
My nephew and his family, my sister — I love my sister, and her family was along about hundreds of thousands who fled from — from the civil war into the neighboring Kenya, where, in the campus there was no order, but the rape, mass killing and disorder was the day. Everybody begged and longed for the day that they should be rescued by the international community. Fortunately, my — my sister and her family, she was one of the luckiest ones that made it to the shores of the United States of America. My nephew immediately adopted slang and become a student. He was loved by the community.
His mom and I and everybody else, the best thing for us is to put him in Sunday Koranic school and that was the mosque, the center of Abubakr As Saddiqua. We invested in this center with all our money to make it bigger so it could help our youth and instead of being on the danger of the streets to be influenced into bad behavior. We wanted our children to succeed.
Unfortunately… my sister kept calling the family and missed her son. We keep calling everybody. We finally end up with other families, we come to the end of that, our kids were lured back into Somalia.
We went to the mosque and the center and ask for answers. Everybody promised that they will meet with us. The other day, we were waiting for the imam and the other leaders, all we did was saw — open the Somali TV and see them, instead of helping us find our children, condemning us as tools being used to destroy our own mosque and religion. That was more hurtful than missing our children because now we have to deal with being known in our bigger community as tools to destroy our faith and our community.
That set the foot on — set the stage on for two years of struggle — struggle. And the point of view was the Somalia-American community. Whoever wins the community, if they win the community and convince the community that they are not missing children, but liars like me and my family and 20 other single moms who lost their (inaudible).
Well, after two years of demonstrations, educating, fighting with basically our rental and personal money, and efforts of sleeping three hours a night, two and a half years, we won the heart and minds of the community.
But in the middle of the saga, though we never get help — we never got help from our leaders, from our organizations, through our big Islamic organizations — but in the middle of our winning, where the community started to sympathize with us, what happened to us, what happened to our engineers, doctors, lawyers, my nephew wanted to go to Harvard and become a lawyer or a doctor, just like you, but with all those things, then big organizations come to our community that we have never seen.
CAIR, such a beautiful name, Islamic organizations instilled with mosques that mosques are organizations that will hurt us so more than our kids missing hurt, called us tools. The center we built, the people we gave millions, our goal, our lives, our imams we trust. I want to warn you, it’s only one center out of 40-something centers, and that’s where all the kids are missing. All of them.
This organization comes in, agrees with other leaders too that we are liars, we have a clan, tribal problems. I don’t know where that came from. We have no clan, tribe or language problems. We are one community. We have been hurt by other Muslims in our community. We have been denied to stand up. We had to do three demonstrations on the street in the rain, in the snow in Minnesota — I know how you do know Minnesota, it is cold — against the Islamic organization that is claiming in the House of Congress they are so powerful that they are helping us, that we are tools to be used by Republican, by Democrat, by liberal, by neo-conservative, by Nazis, by Jewish, by this.
We have been Muslims since Mohammed, our prophet (inaudible). And I want to tell you, my community, the American — Somali-American community is the most beautiful community in the world I’ve known. They are 99.9 percent good American citizens that work day and hard, day and night, 18 hours, 17 hours, seven days, to chase American dream. They don’t have a voice. We have been kidnapped. So our — our children, we have been kidnapped by leadership that we have never seen, (inaudible) umbrella.
Comment: Another stirring commentary about radicalization. Many good families are losing their young members to extremism.
*Republican congressman Michael Bilirakis of Florida: Terrorist organizations have become increasingly adept at using the Internet and social media to recruit, inspire and motivate individuals already in the United States to carry out attacks on their behalf. And this question is for Mr. Jasser, Sheriff Baca, but others who wish to, you’re free to respond as well. (Dr. Zuhdi Jasser is the president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy. A devout Muslim, Dr. Jasser founded AIFD in the wake of the 9/11 attacks on the United States as an effort to provide an American Muslim voice advocating for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution. Sheriff Lee Baca is a former US Marine. He’s served in law enforcement as a law enforcement officer for 46 years. He was elected as Los Angeles County sheriff in 1998. Sheriff Baca commands the largest sheriff’s department in the US, leading over 18,000 budgeted, sworn and professional staff, law enforcement officers, and serves over 4 million people.) Bilirakis: One — one such website that has been described as key to Al Qaida’s communications was hosted by a web-hosting company in my area of Tampa Bay in the state of Florida. The site has since been taken down. What are your thoughts on how to combat the use of the Internet and other technology by terrorist organizations overseas to inspire and encourage terrorist attacks in our country by those who are already here?
Jasser: Congressman, that’s a wonderful question. And I think it points to the fact that we have not had any type of cyber-counter- jihad, if you will. Why? Because that can only be done by Muslims. So we need your support to do that. And we can do it with the right resources by countering that ideology.
The Islamist narrative basically says America is against Muslims. It creates all this narrative that America is going to Iraq, to Afghanistan to convert — to convert Muslims, kill them, attack them. That’s the narrative. We can prevent — our strategy so far has been to try to break down that propaganda. That’s wrong. We need to have a forward strategy of liberty-minded, freedom-minded ideas into the Islamic consciousness.
We can do that as Muslims, but we need your help to do that through creating websites, a social network. I mean, look what happened in Egypt and Tunisia. That was just simply through social networking. And that countered a lot of the — that wasn’t Islamists that did that. Most of that was secular Muslims that wanted to take control of their own future.
But when we have a government that produces a report, an after- action incident report after the Nidal Hasan incident, and the word “Muslim” or “Islam” or “jihad” isn’t even in the whole document, you wonder why we’re so paralyzed in treating this. I as a Muslim, I need this conversation. If we’re going to fix this cancer that’s within the whole viable, wonderful, beautiful faith that I practice, we need to be able to talk about it. It’s like trying to treat cancer without saying the word.
It’s not Islam, but it’s jihadism. It’s Islamism. It’s a political entity that we can fight on the web very well, but we’ve been absent. We’ve surrendered the constitution to the jihadists.
Baca: Yes, the Sheriff’s Department, as you know, in the LAPD along with all of our federal and state partners, runs this joint regional intelligence center, which is an open source investigative arm. But we morph it up into the joint terrorism task forces when we are dealing with specific things such as cyber-terrorism and these websites.
We monitor them. Some points, they get shut down, and other times we monitor them and continue to monitor them because it is an excellent source for what would later become an actual investigation. So there is a broader strategy that is involving all of our levels of government in this website issue. Comment: Look at that brave commentary about Fort Hood.
Democrat California congresswoman Jackie Speier: Sheriff Baca, let me ask you, how important have Muslim Americans been in your efforts to foil terrorist plots in Los Angeles County?
Baca: Well, Los Angeles County is blessed, as you know. We haven’t had an attack as such. And I think that the ability to prevent is what we’re trying to do more than anything else. Our weighing of success across the nation cannot be weighed alone by Los Angeles‘ model.
What I do believe is that if I were a New Yorker or if I was a D.C. resident or even someone in the fields of Pennsylvania, that there is a whole different reality about terrorism when it happens in places that you love and have grown up in in the more specific way.
And therefore the variability of the panel today is that I speak about what I do to prevent terrorism. These individuals have a more intimate weighing in on the issue of terrorism. The doctor, on the other hand, is a scholar, more perhaps than even a medical doctor.
But the truth is is that this is a most difficult subject to get your arms around. And I believe that our country is doing magnificently, given all the complexity of a big country that spreads not only throughout the mass-land of America, but everyone around the world, particularly the countries abroad.
And where I’m stepping in to say where I’m helping, I’m helping the Middle East police departments and I’m dealing with Muslims that are in my profession around the world. We haven’t (inaudible) into that. Because we’re not going to deal with anything without the connectivity of resources outside America with those that are inside America.
Speier: I don’t know how much discussion has been had about the “lone wolf” phenomenon. But certainly the Congressional Research Service and their review has spoken about the lone wolf. We’ve seen it in the Jared Loughners, the Timothy McVeighs, in some of the — the Christmas Day bomber and the like. So what would you say about the risk of home-grown terrorism coming from or called “lone wolf”?
Baca: Well, it’s definitely there. I mean, you know, the — the concept of a lone wolf terrorist is based on a variety of explanations, but it is definitely part of the element of an attack that will occur similar to the one in New York.
But there’s always help. You know, there’s — the lone wolf theory is an interesting one. Rarely does anyone have the smarts enough to pull off one of these attacks on their own. So I think the fact that there’s a lone person, whether it’s an Abdulmutallab coming out of Nigeria on a Christmas holiday period, they’ll execute on their own as a single person, but behind them there’s always someone around that’s a pure jihadist, violent jihadist who is helping them accomplish their mission.
Comment: There is always a bigger entity behind these attacks.
*Democrat congresswoman Yvette Clarke of New York: And let me say that today’s hearing has been great congressional theater. Certainly, the equivalent of reality TV and I’m just — I’m just really appalled at the fact that we have not really gotten to a substantive conversation about how we define terrorism, how we define the whole idea of radicalization.
Because just in listening — if I had my eyes closed, and listening to Mr. Bledsoe and Mr. Bihi, not to diminish what they’ve been through, because their experience is real, but I have parents in my district who can sit and talk about their children being recruited, their children being brainwashed, and their children are gang members. OK?
And the bloodshed, the lives that have been lost in communities like mine across this nation, since I’ve been here, has not been an issue of homeland security. And when I hear Dr. Jasser talk about the concerns about the elements of radicalization and existence in Islam, I’m also reminded that there are those same elements evident in Christianity and in Judaism. I know because I represent all three faiths in my district.
And as someone who was directly impacted by 9/11 and who has lived in a community where we have respected every human being irregardless of their background, their ethnicity, their religion, to see us come to this day where we are pointing fingers at one another — I don’t see the benefit in it. I see the benefit in the approach of Sheriff Bach (sic). I see the benefit in us opening up — opening up the dialogues. But I don’t see the benefit in stigmatizing, in finger-pointing, or even creating the specter that it may occur even if it doesn’t, as being something worthy of where we should be in our collective humanity in the 21st century.
And so while I can empathize with the challenges faced by these families, we can all point to instances in our districts where families are suffering. The goal here should be how do we address that suffering through communication, through dialogue, through enlightenment, which is where we need to be in the 21st century.
Comment: Clarke is one of the far-left Democrats in America today that is allying herself with radical Islam. She was seeking to shift the subject of the hearings. Clarke is black and represents part of New York City.
*Melvin Bledsoe: No, I think it’s (inaudible) describe it as a tragedy. I’d also like to say to perhaps the person who was speaking on the other side, I’m wondering, how did they get on the commission to speak about some of the things they’re speaking about? I mean — I mean, we’re not talking about how much of a professional or expert. We’re speaking about what happened here to our children, and what — we’re speaking about what may happen to your children. We’re speaking about the danger.
I think most of the people that I’m hearing on the other side are talking about political fear. And that’s what I mostly hear here. There is — now, there are certain population of — a small population we’re talking about, the Islamic extremists, who — we’re worried about stepping on their toes and they’re talking about stamping us out. Not just stamping us out, but everything that America stands for.
I’m wondering, why don’t the people pull their blinders off? …I think they’re afraid of political fear, perhaps not getting re-elected or something. But this is real. This is a real thing happening in America. If it’s — if — it’s not going to happen by not doing anything about it, that’s (inaudible) sure. I think that if you ignore (inaudible) we don’t have a problem, then you’re inviting the problem to come again.
Comment: Bledsoe has first-hand family experience with Islamic radicals, and he is responding to congresspeople who have no experience at all.
*Jasser: Thank you, Congressman, for asking me that. Because I think it’s so vital to understanding that, as we’ve heard repeatedly, there’s Islam, my faith, which is the moral constructs of integrity and honesty and virtuousness and what I bring to my scripture and my relationship with God, as the Judeo-Christian tradition is.
Then there’s political Islam, which is a movement to put — to create a theocratic state based in Koranic interpretation that uses sharia or Islamic law or Islamic jurisprudence.
Now, I may practice sharia or Islamic law in my life, but that’s a choice. And our organization believes that it’s no longer religious law, it’s no longer a religion if government coerces you to do that.
But that antagonism between this country’s understanding of the establishment clause and the beauty of liberty versus political Islam, which wants to put into place Islamic states like Iran, like the Taliban had in place, or like the Wahhabi system in Saudi Arabia, or, milder yet, there are versions of political Islam that are 3.0 or 4.0 that use democracy and elections, but yet end up still being based not in reason but society is based in scriptural exegesis where the only people that can have opinions are the imam or scholars of Islam.
And therefore lay Muslims like myself get dismissed from proceedings because we’re not experts in Islamic law and therefore it becomes an oligarchy.
That is what we’re up against. And there is the extreme versions like Osama bin Laden, that believes in caliphism or trying to create a global hegemony of Islamic states. And there’s the more sort of slippery versions that believe in democracy. And I think you can look at the threat by looking at why most of the radical groups around the world were hatched from Muslim Brotherhood ideology and Sayyid Qutb. People should read up those ideas and look at what they’ve done.
And I think as we understand that, you’ll see a lot of those ideas influencing identification of Muslims. I put in my materials in the appendix some charts that look at the radicalization process. One was from the NYPD report. The other was from a counterterrorism expert, Patrick Poole, who looked at the fact that you end up with terror on the top but there’s a lot of feeders into that.
The primary feeder is the separatist feeling from some Muslim youth that they dream of a utopia to bring the state back to the way it was at the time of the Prophet Mohammed. And the time of the Prophet Mohammed, in the 7th century, he mixed roles of being a head of state, a general, and a messenger of god.
We need to start creating new ideas — they call that — some would call it heretical, I call it modernization — new ideas that separate those roles because Faisal Shahzad, the Times Square bomber, when he was in front of the judge, he told him, I did this because I was a Muslim soldier.
So the Ummah, our Muslim community, is looked by these individuals as being a political unit, military unit, and until we separate that you will never stop terrorism.
Comment: This is enlightening and frightening. This is the kind of information the Democrat party does not want America to hear.
*Melvin Bledsoe: Again, I think that he’s making a point. I mean, today we’re not talking at this hearing about KKK. We’re talking about extremist Islam, radicalization of American citizens. And I hope that you get that day that you can be back in this hearing. That’s my hope.
Comment: Bledsoe was responding the black Texas Democrat congressman Al Green who kept wishing to switch the focus of the hearings to the Ku Klux Klan to shift the spotlight from terrorism. Green is another Democrat allied with radical Islam.
*Republican congressman Jeff Duncan of South Carolina: So I want to ask this to Dr. Jasser — Do you feel that the U.S. government has done an adequate job learning about Islam and how Islamic doctrines affect the behavior and community norms of Muslims residing in America? And how does Islamic doctrine and sharia law shape the responsiveness of local U.S. Muslim communities to law enforcement efforts that target Islamic jihad? Jasser: I think that’s a wonderful question and I think, just like we talked about, there’s various forms of Islam around the world. Sharia also means very different things to different Muslims. At our — in my home, it’s a private thing. Do I want it in government? Absolutely not.
That really is the doctrine of the enemy. They want to create an Islamic state. There is no way any concept that the Brotherhood has of an Islamic state could ever be a great ally of the United States because there’s two different lenses through which we see the world. We’re allies with other democracies that are secular, but to ever be an ally with an Islamic state based on sharia would be impossible. And I think ultimately this is the problem is that — and this is why I provided a list of scholars in my testimony that are based on the Assembly of Muslim Jurists. These scholars are still based in Islamic law from the 13th, l4th century, from people like Ibn Taymiyyah and others. They have not created a new school of thought.
And what happens is that intellectual Islam or authoritative Islam still has not absorbed the ideas of a Western society based under God rather than under Islam. And our forefathers went through this whole discussion of not having the word “Christian” in our founding document. The Islamic community has not gone through that discussion and that evolution. And we’re avoiding it.
We need to address it. And we need to address the fact the government we seek — we don’t only accept the laws of this land as a minority, but even if we were a majority, we’d want the same — the same laws. That hypocrisy is part of the world many Muslims live in. They absorb their laws of the land as a minority, but they have a doctrine that they believe in that they follow within their own organizations that’s based on Islamic law, which allows a duality that I think affects their identification with the society.
And not all mosques — I know many mosques that don’t teach that. They’re looking for the right books. I mean, if you go and I would tell all of you to go to the Islamic book services…
Comment: All Americans should hear this, particularly since it comes from a Muslim.
*Jasser: I hope and I pray every night as I do this work that you develop the political will to deal with this problem, that we separate all the theatrics and all the concern with vitriol and all that, and get to how to solve the problem in that our enemy is using a language that some people will articulate as offensive.
And as a Muslim I am telling you, it is not offensive. And I want to deal that. Because we use the language — we use words like jihad and set-up (ph) and things like that at home, but I don’t want my children to take the predominant thoughts of those that are right now predominating the web, cyber jihad.
The reformist mindset is very hard to find on the web, and that’s because we haven’t had the resources.
So we need the political will. We need the maturity as a nation to be able to discuss religion, sometimes say things that might not be right, but not get offended and realize that we respect religious practice and that the First Amendment is freedom of religion but not freedom from religion. But yet somehow we’ve gotten so polarized that we can’t do that.
And I hope, because what’s going to happen — and these charts have showed it, is that we have seen exponential increases in attacks and our law enforcement is going to continue chasing their tail thinking that community outreach works, and we’re not draining the pool of the ideology because we can’t confront it. It is surrender.
Please visit my website at www.nikitas3.com for more. You can read excerpts from my book, Right Is Right, which explains why only conservatism can maintain our freedom and prosperity.