Column: What our sons can teach America By Melvin Bledsoe, and Daris Long
This spring, the Obama administration threatened to veto the 2013 Defense Authorization Act. Of all the reasons given for the threat, the objection to granting the Purple Heart to Pvt. Andy Long stands out as strange. That is,unless you know the story.
On June 1, 2009, Pvt. Long was killed outside an Army recruiting office in Little Rockby Carlos Bledsoe, who had become Abdul Hakim Mohammed after converting to Islam. Since then, we, the fathers of Carlos and Andy, have been trying to tell our story so that other parents do not experience our tragedy.Carlos grew up in a loving, church-going family. There’s a picture of Carlos at his high school graduation with a huge smile on his face, ready to go off to Tennessee State University for college. He looked forward to becoming a businessman and joining the family owned tour company in Memphis.
Switch to Islamism
But he did not get the education everyone expected. Instead, he became interested in Islamic extremism. At TSU, preachers from a radical Nashville mosque led courses in Islam. Eventually, Carlos began frequenting this mosque, converted, and took the name of the mosque’s imam. This imam taught worshipers that America “is the worst country on earth,” that the Christian faith is “the greatest lie ever told,” that this worldly life “is trash,” and that Muslims must seek death and the afterlife.
Carlos began to change his behavior: He abandoned his dog in the woods because he was told Muslims shouldn’t have dogs. He took Martin Luther King’s picture off his bedroom wall. He was sent by another Nashville imam to a school in Yemen, which turned out to be an al-Qaeda front. Carlos then returned to America and planned his own jihad.