Witness Info for hearing on The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community & that Community's Response
Committee on Homeland Security
“The Extent of Radicalization in the American Muslim Community and that Community's Response”
March 10, 2011
Melvin Bledsoe, father of Carlos Leon Bledsoe
- Carlos Leon Bledsoe converted from Baptist to Islam at approximately age 19 and changed his name to Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad.
- After being radicalized in the United States, Carlos traveled to Yemen in 2007 where he was arrested by Yemeni authorities in 2008. In January 2009, he was released and immediately deported to the U.S.
- He has admitted to shooting and killing U.S. Army Private William Long (age 23) and wounding Private Quinton Ezeagwula (age 18) outside of the U.S. Army recruiting station in Little Rock, AR on June 1, 2009.
- Carlos is currently incarcerated in Little Rock, AR on state charges including one count of capital murder.
- Mr. Melvin Bledsoe has investigated and studied the process by which his son was radicalized by Islamic extremists.
Abdirizak Bihi, uncle of radicalized American Muslim youth
- In November 2008, Mr. Bihi’s 17-year-old nephew, Burhan Hassan, and approximately 20 other Somali-American youth were radicalized and recruited by al-Shabaab, an al Qaeda affiliated Somali terrorist group. Hassan was recruited to travel to Somalia, where he was killed.
- His nephew, Hassan, was raised by his mother in Minneapolis, after his family fled Somalia when he was an infant in the early 1990s.
- Mr. Bihi, a devout Muslim and community leader, had already been a driving force in building mutual understanding between the Somali-American community and law enforcement.
- After the recruitment and death of his nephew, Mr. Bihi began work to engage the youth of the community to prevent the recruitment of Somali-Americans by terrorist organizations.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D., President and Founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD)
- 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, liberty and freedom, and the separation of mosque and state.
- Dr. Jasser is a former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy and served 11 years as a medical officer, where among other accomplishments he served as Medical Department Head aboard the USS El Paso during Operation Restore Hope in Somalia.
- Dr. Jasser is a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal and was presented with the 2007 Director’s Community Leadership Award by the Phoenix office of the FBI.
- Currently, Dr. Jasser works in private practice in Phoenix, AZ, specializing in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology.