New York Times on accused Little Rock shooter Abdulhakim Muhammad

The New York Times had an interesting takeout Tuesday on Abdulhakim Muhammad, the Memphis native and convert to Islam who will stand trial in June for the deadly shooting at a military recruiting center last year in Little Rock.

This is the first story I have seen on the topic that delves into Muhammad's earlier years as Carlos Bledsoe, as well as his family. His parents reportedly were displeased by his conversion to Sunni Islam, and his father set up Muhammad with a job in Little Rock after the son returned from Yemen, where he had been jailed. The father, Melvin Bledsoe, wants shine a light on his son's radicalization, The Times reports:

Though he has hired a lawyer for his son, visits him in his cell in Little Rock on weekends and contributes to his defense, Mr. Bledsoe, 54, says he has no illusions about his son's guilt.

"My heart bleeds for the families of the victims," he said.

What he wants, Mr. Bledsoe says, is to understand how "evildoers" brainwashed his son, as he puts it. And he wants the F.B.I. held accountable for what he considers its negligence in preventing the attack.

"They didn't pull the trigger, but they allowed this to happen," Mr. Bledsoe said. "It is owed to the American people to know what happened. If it can happen to my son, it can happen to anyone's son."


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