By Ashahed M. Muhammad
The 53-year old leader of Masjid Al-Haqq was gunned down by FBI agents on October 28 after a raid on a warehouse just outside of Detroit.
Several subsequent raids were conducted at different locations and ten others have been arrested including the late imam's son Mujahid Abdullah (also known as Mujahid Carswell), who, according to the FBI was taken into to custody in Windsor, Ontario by Royal Canadian Mounted Police on October 29.
The FBI's 43-page affidavit detailed a federal investigation of the group which began in 2007 charging Imam Abdullah and the other defendants with running an interstate crime ring involving receiving and selling stolen goods, mail and insurance fraud, illegal possession of firearms, body armor and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers.
According to FBI special agent Gary Leone, the evidence gained during the investigation came through visual surveillance, electronic surveillance (wire and oral) and the use of informants within the group.
“The investigation has shown that Luqman Ameen Abdullah, Imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq, in Detroit, Michigan, is a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting primarily of African-Americans, some of whom converted to Islam while they were serving sentences in various prisons across the United States. Their primary mission is to establish a separate, sovereign Islamic state “The Ummah” within the borders of the United States governed by Shariah law. The Ummah is to be ruled over by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rapp Brown, who is currently serving a life sentence in the Florence, Colorado Supermax for shooting two police officers in Georgia,” according to agent Leone.
The affidavit also alleges that Imam Abdullah “calls his followers to an offensive jihad, rather than a defensive jihad” and that he “regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric.” Additionally, the FBI alleges that Imam Abdullah's followers trained in the use of firearms, martial arts and sword fighting and that he encouraged his followers to carry firearms.
Those who knew him well, and served with him in Muslim outreach programs have a completely different view.
The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) led by Imam Siraj Wahhaj expressed “deep sadness and concern” regarding Imam Abdullah's death.
“To those who have worked with Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, allegations of illegal activity, resisting arrest, and ‘offensive jihad against the American government' are shocking and inconsistent. In his ministry he consistently advocated for the downtrodden and always spoke about the importance of connecting with the needs of the poor.” Imam Abdullah served as a member of the Shura, or general assembly governing body of MANA.
Dr. Agha Saeed, chairman of the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections, an umbrella group that includes all of the major American Muslim organizations, asked for the FBI not to link Islam to the case.
“It is imperative that an independent investigation of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death make public the exact circumstances in which he died. And unless the FBI has evidence linking the criminal allegations to the religious affiliation of the suspects, we ask that federal authorities stop injecting religion into this case,” he said.
Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad, of the International Council for Urban (Formations) Peace, Justice and Empowerment, who had been in Detroit for counseling and comfort for some of the younger Muslims, distraught by the death of their community leader told The Final Call that he believes this is another case of entrapment.
“The inconsistencies in this investigation are glaring. The case is based on the sworn statements of informants. These informants were convicted criminals who were paid by the federal government for their work. These criminals were used to engage and entrap law abiding citizens,” said Mr. Samad. “The FBI has stated that this was not a terrorism case. However, the investigation was conducted by a counter-terrorism unit,” he added.
Mr. Samad also said the language used by the media and the FBI feed into a climate of Islamophobia and sensationalism.
Hodari Abdul-Ali, chair of the Social Justice Task Force for MANA agreed and called the use of informants “despicable.” Mr. Abdul-Ali described the imam as a warm-hearted and generous brother always willing to serve.
“I never heard him talk about going to kill every White person or every non-Muslim; he never talked like that. The slanderous media campaign is truly unfair and unjust. I think they are only doing that to cover up the misdeeds of the FBI,” said Mr. Abdul-Ali.
Referring to the media's coverage of the fact that an FBI dog was shot and killed during the October 28 raid, he said, “The reality is that they value the life of a dog more than they value the life of a human being.”