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by Erick Stakelbeck


Abdullah Mohammed Muslim (formerly:Johnnie Clagg)

There is a full-fledged media blackout regarding the latest potential case of a phenomenon we've covered extensively[1] here at CBN News: homegrown jihad.

Thankfully, CBN does not subscribe to the "move along, folks, no jihad here" philosophy that is so prevalent in the mainstream media, not to mention at the highest levels of the U.S. government.

I have obtained court documents from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Ohio detailing the case of a 38-year-old Caucasian convert to Islam named Abdullah Mohammed Muslim (formerly known as Johnnie Clagg).

He pleaded guilty on March 24th to charges of being a previously convicted felon in possession of a firearm, to possession of unregistered destructive devices and to charges related to attempted identity theft and passport fraud.

Muslim's attorney told a local Columbus TV station[2] that his client had traveled to the tribal regions of Pakistan — where al Qaeda operates tons of training camps — but had no connections to terrorist groups.

Of course not. I guess North Waziristan is merely a new vacation hotspot for white Muslim converts from middle America (and Germany: see [3])

What follows are the details about Muslim's case, including some exclusive new information that has been previously unreported.

On October 19, 2009 federal agents found a large weapons arsenal in Muslim's Columbus, Ohio home. According to court documents, the stash included:

But the weapons stash was just the tip of the iceberg.

Materials uncovered during the search of Muslim's home confirmed that he was also trying to steal the identity of a wheelchair-bound man in West Virginia who suffers from cerebral palsy. Columbus ATF spokesperson Kimberly Riddell told CBN News that while ATF took the lead in the Muslim investigation, the State Department also became involved due to the identity theft/passport offenses.

According to court documents obtained by CBN News:

"Muslim devised a fraudulent scheme to steal the identity of another real person for the purpose of obtaining a passport so he could leave the country prior to his November 12, 2009 sentencing."

Yes, you read that right. At the time he was picked up in October '09, Muslim was already awaiting sentencing on additional weapons-related charges.

Michael Brooks, a spokesman for the FBI's Cincinnati field office, told CBN that in November 2008, Muslim's wife — named Aisha Muslim — called Columbus police and said she had accidentally shot herself in the foot. Brooks, who stressed to me that the FBI was not involved in the investigation, said that when officers showed up at Muslim's house, weapons were present in the residence.

They promptly contacted the ATF, who then conducted a search of Muslim's home. Court documents show that during that search, federal agents found nine weapons, including a sniper rifle, and two flack jackets.

Muslim was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to charges of being a former felon in possession of firearms. Indeed, court documents show that Muslim was convicted on federal charges three times during the 1990's: in 1991 for carrying a concealed weapon, in 1994 for felonious assault and in 1999, for mailing threatening communications.

Once this long-time bad actor converted to Islam in prison, things only got worse.

Some unanswered questions still remain about Muslim's case.

For several months, between the time of his two arrests in November '08 and October '09, Muslim walked the streets of Columbus a free man as he awaited sentencing. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Ohio, the pretrial services office of the court was responsible for Muslim's supervision while he was on release.

Court documents show that as part of his release, Muslim agreed to "refrain from possessing a firearm, destructive device or other dangerous weapon."

Yet Muslim was apparently able to re-stock his weapons arsenal upon his release, even adding pipe bomb materials to the mix. Even worse, a well-informed source in Columbus tells CBN News that during his time on the street, Muslim associated with known radical Islamic figures in the Columbus area, including a person who is on a terrorist watch list.

How could this happen? We know that the ATF and State Department were aware of Muslim. But was he even on the FBI's radar screen? When I contacted FBI spokesman Michael Brooks of the Cincinnati field office, he initially had no knowledge of the case. Shouldn't the FBI have been in on the loop on this case, given its possible homegrown jihadi nature and the fact that Muslim traveled overseas to a terrorist breeding ground in Pakistan? Again, you don't go to Pakistan's tribal regions for the scenery.

Yet federal authorities told a local Columbus TV station that Muslim's case had nothing to do with terrorism. Let's get serious.

At this point, we don't know which mosque Muslim attended or how he paid for his weapons. But here is what we do know: Muslim, a white, jailhouse convert to Islam and convicted violent felon, was arrested twice in the past year and a half. During two separate searches of his home, federal agents found large quantities of weapons. During the second search, pipe bomb materials were uncovered. Muslim had spent time in the tribal regions of Pakistan — a notorious al Qaeda safe haven — and was looking to steal an identity in order to leave the United States. In addition, sources in Columbus say he associated with known radical Islamists.

Call me crazy, but in the wake of a long line of disaffected white converts to Islam who have engaged in terrorism — most recently "Jihad Jane" and "Jihad Jamie" — that is a significant story. Especially after FBI Director Robert Mueller's statement last week that homegrown jihadists are just as dangerous as Al Qaeda.

At this time, government agencies could not share any additional details with us about what Abdullah Mohammed Muslim was doing in Pakistan or what he was planning to do with his weapons arsenal — although I can take a wild guess. More details to come after Muslim is sentenced in the coming weeks, so stay tuned. By the way, I have reported on Islamic radicalism in Columbus for CBN News in the past. Looks like the problems persist.


[1] Homegrown-Terror-A-Bigger-Problem-than-We-May-Know

[2] 04/16/story-columbus-man-charged-gun-stockpile.html?sid=102

[3] article/2009/10/18/AR2009101802549.html

Erick Stakelbeck is a terrorism analyst for CBN News. This article appeared April 22, 2010 in Family Security Matters (FSM)


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