The man charged with killing a solider in an attack on an Arkansas military recruiting center on Monday had been researching Jewish sites.
Abdulhakim Mujahaid Muhammad, an American convert to Islam, had conducted research on other targets, including military sites, government facilities and Jewish institutions, according to law enforcement officials. Jewish entities in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis were looked at, said the officials. They said Muhammad is believed to have acted alone, was angry about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was targeting U.S. soldiers "because of what they had done in the past." The New York Times also reported that Muhammad was once detained in Yemen for carrying a false Somali passport and other counterfeit documents, but the FBI could not at the time find any connection to extremist groups.
Muhammad pleaded not guilty Tuesday to one count of capital murder and 16 counts of committing a terrorist act.
The Secure Community Network, the organization set up by United Jewish Communities and the Conference of Presidents to coordinate security in the Jewish community, distributed an e-mail notification to its members on Tuesday evening with the information about Muhammad’s research into Jewish sites.
SCN exexutive director Paul Goldenberg noted that over the past three weeks, there have been multiple incidents in which "homegrown terrorists have either searched for or indicated that they want to cause harm to Jewish entities or Jewish institutions" — referring also to the terror plot targeting Bronx synagogues and the man who was found in possession of "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" after killing a Jewish Wesleyan University student. While stressing that there was no evidence the incidents were connected, "my recommendation is the community continues its vigilance in regard to its security," Goldenberg said.
SCN will be hosting a Department of Homeland Security-led webinar on June 11 for its member organizations on how to better identify and report hostile surveillance and suspicious activities at their institutions. The full SCN alert is after the jump.[[READMORE]]
Suspect in Little Rock Military Recruitment Center Shooting May Have Researched Jewish Institutions
As many of you have read in the media, on Monday, June 1, 2009, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, a Muslim-convert formerly known as Carlos Leon Bledsoe, opened fire on a military recruiting center in Little Rock, Arkansas killing one soldier and wounding another. Law enforcement officials have reported that the attack appears to be politically and religiously motivated and prosecutors say Muhammad was targeting U.S. soldiers "because of what they had done to Muslims in the past" and was angry about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Earlier today, Muhammad, pleaded not guilty to one count of capital murder and 16 counts of committing a terrorist act – and could face the death penalty. He is being held without bond. Federal prosecutors also are considering charges.
SCN has learned new information this evening just now released as part of the ongoing investigation. SCN has been in touch with state and federal law enforcement officials who reported that Muhammad may have considered and conducted research on other targets in addition to the military recruiting center in Little Rock, including military sites, government facilities, as well as Jewish institutions in several cities throughout the United States. Law enforcement officials have reported that Muhammad may have researched Jewish entities in Little Rock, Philadelphia, Atlanta, New York, Louisville and Memphis. It is unknown at this time if other locations were considered.
Law enforcement officials believe that Muhammad acted alone in Monday’s attack and do not suspect other accomplices at this time. However, this is an active investigation and law enforcement officials cannot rule out the possibility of "copy-cat" attacks that could potentially arise from this particular event and the investigation of last week that led to the arrest of four individuals for the planned bombing of two synagogues in the Riverdale section of Bronx, N.Y.
SCN encourages Jewish institutions in the aforementioned locations to maintain situational awareness, review your existing security measures, and contact your local law enforcement to discuss and address any security concerns and or anticipated enhancements.
It is important to note that Muhammad is currently in custody and federal law enforcement officials believe at this time that he acted alone. However, threats of this nature, particularly by lone individuals, remain a serious security challenge for law enforcement.
SCN will continue to monitor this developing investigation and provide updates as necessary.Secure Community Network (SCN) is a non-profit security initiative of the Jewish Federations of North America and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. For additional information, please visit www.scnus.org