Mother of soldier arrested in grenade attack fears for son’s safety

Father of Marine declares: ‘My son is a hero’ 
( News – Tale of Two Soldiers)

WASHINGTON (–A Muslim soldier from the 101st Airborne Division has been charged with murder in a grenade attack on Army officers’ four days after the U.S. invasion of Iraq that killed two U.S. servicemen in Kuwait, officials at Ft. Campbell, Ky. announced on April 4.


Sergeant Asan K. Akbar, 32, was officially charged on March 25 with two counts of premeditated murder and 17 counts of attempted murder along with other charges under military law. He was transferred from Kuwait to a military detention center in Mannheim, Germany immediately after the attack, then to an undisclosed military location in this country on March 28.

If convicted, Sgt. Akbar could face the death penalty, according to military law experts quoted in published reports.

His mother however insists that he is innocent.

“No, I don’t think he would do anything against his country or his fellow servicemen,” said Mrs. Quran Bilal, Sgt. Akbar’s mother in an exclusive telephone interview with The Final Call. “He didn’t do that. He didn’t do anything like that.

“My belief? I believe he was framed.”

Mrs. Bilal had not spoken with her son and did not know his location at Final Call press time. But she was visited by F.B.I. agents, and told not to grant any interviews with the news media, Los Angeles Imam Abdul Karriem Hasan, the family’s spiritual adviser said in a broadcast interview.

‘He told me that nobody in his platoon liked him. He said, ‘Mom, nobody in my platoon likes me.’ And I said, ‘Well, they don’t have to like you. Just go ahead and teach them.

“He was a sergeant,” Mrs. Bilal continued. “He had his own squad, you know. And he was saying that nobody really liked him, and that was basically because he was a Muslim. That’s what he told me.”

Mrs. Bilal has been reluctant to tell her story publicly because of her concerns about how White, non-Muslim reporters might distort her comments. “They print stuff up and twist it around and everything, you know,” she said.

She is also concerned about what appears to her to be lax security at the base, and the fact that her son appears to be the only one who was ever a suspect in the crime.

“I’m just wondering how in the world did he throw grenades at three tents, and then sit up there and shoot” at those who came out of the tents when the grenades exploded. “I’m saying, where was the guards at?”

Officials are still investigating the attack, which killed Army Captain Christopher Scott Seifert, 27, of Easton, Pa., and Air Force Major Gregory Stone, 40, of Boise, Idaho, and injured 14 others. The attack happened in the early morning hours in the command center of the 101st Division’s First Brigade at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait.

“And they said (there was) only one witness. And who was that witness? And did that witness like him or what? And then they said they had two other guys, two other Arab guys (in custody), but they let them go,” she continued.

A disciplined young man who grew up in the Nation of Islam in Los Angeles, he remained in the American Society of Muslims under the leadership of Imam Warithudeen Mohammed. Sgt. Akbar was not unhappy with his life in the Army, and he viewed his role in the armed forces, simply as a “job,” according to his mother.

However, Mrs. Bilal does have advice for other parents of young Muslims considering military service, and one profound question about the American body politic. “I would say if you have any doubt, leave it alone.”

When asked if her son had any doubts, the mother of the young man accused of the only so-called “fragging” incident–similar to more than 200 such incidents where mostly Black enlisted men threw grenades into the tents of mostly White junior officers during the Vietnam War–had her own doubts.

“I don’t know what he was. The only thing I know is that, why America fly two flags?

“Why America fly two flags?” she repeated. “If they condone flying two flags then that’s the answer to everything.”

“What are the two flags ma’am?”

“American flag and that flag that got that big ol’ ‘X’ with all them stars … that Confederate flag. That Confederate flag is the same flag I heard that the KKK flies. That’s all I could say. You know, America flies two flags.

“So you put that down as what I said. Just say I said, ‘Why America fly two flags?’ You know? That’s all I want to know. Why they fly two flags and what (does) that flag stand for? Does it stand for the same things that it stands for all those years back? Or does it mean something different?”