(This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post’s website on December 13, 2012)
Two fathers have teamed up to make a controversial documentary about an act of terrorism that claimed the life of one man’s son and put the other’s behind bars.
In the documentary, “Losing Our Sons,” Daris Long and Melvin Bledsoe tell the story of how their lives were inextricably linked and changed forever. Long’s son, Andy, was a private in the U.S. Army. Bledsoe’s son, Carlos, was a student at Tennessee State University before he moved to Yemen, changed his name to Abdul Hakim Mohammed and started to study with the Taliban.
On June 1, 2009, Carlos Bledsoe killed Andy Long outside an Army recruiting office in Arkansas. Later, Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison.
“This is a story that needs to get out. It’s here,” Long told the Associated Press. “Melvin didn’t raise his son to kill my son.”
The documentary has proved controversial however, because it places the blame for the attack squarely on radical Islam.
“Radical Islam came into my house, stole my son,” Bledsoe told the AP. “The American people and the American government is in denial that it’s not happening.”
Bledsoe previously criticized the federal government’s handling of his son’s trial, claiming the FBI had “dropped the ball” with his son, even though the agency had known for sometime that Carlos was being radicalized.
Dr. Nader Hashemi, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver, is more skeptical that so-called “home-grown” terrorism is a prevalent problem. He told the Associated Press that such claims sounded like Islamaphobia.
“It’s similar to anti-semitism. It’s similar to anti-black racism. It’s a claim that somehow Muslims and Islam are a threat,” Hashemi said.
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