Detroit Imam Assassinated by FBI Agents
By Abayomi Azikiwe Pan-African News Wire, Detroit Friday, October 30, 2009
A well known African American Islamic leader in Detroit who headed the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque on the city's west side, was shot to death by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on October 28 at a warehouse in Dearborn. Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, was killed during the course of a series of raids by both federal agents and local police departments resulting in the arrests of 11 people. Corporate media reports on the killing of Imam Abdullah and the arrests of the others, has been framed as a "counter-terrorism' operation. This is being done despite the fact that the raids were conducted based on criminal complaints that have no specific allegations of violations of federal law or acts of terrorism. In a joint statement issued by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office, it states that "The eleven defendants are members of a group that is alleged to have engaged in violent activity over a period of many years and known to be armed."
However, many people who knew Imam Abdullah and the members of Masjid Al-Haqq say that the group worked to rid the severely oppressed community where the mosque existed of the social ills resulting from years of exploitation and neglect. Even the mosque itself fell victim to the economic crisis that is worsening in Detroit. On January 20, Masjid Al-Haqq was evicted from the building where they had been housed for years as a result of tax foreclosure. The mosque relocated at a home on Clairmount which was also raided on October 28. Dawud Walid, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter, said of Imam Abdullah that "I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community." Walid continued by saying that "We have no information about illegal activity going on at that mosque. Of Imam Abdullah, Walid said he "would give the shirt off his back to people. The congregation he led was poor. He fed very hungry people in the neighborhood who were Christian. He helped and assisted a lot of troubled youth. People would come up to him who were hungry and he would let them sleep in the mosque. He would let them in from the elements." The CAIR leader said that "They have no linkage to terrorism nationally or internationally. What in the world does Islam have to do with these charges? Why is religion being brought into play?"
Not only is the FBI and the corporate media utilizing the false construct of "Islamic extremism," it is also attempting to draw a direct link between the revolutionary movements that emerged during the 1960s with the arrest of the Masjid Al-Haqq members and the death of Imam Abdullah. Because of a close relationship between Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, and Imam Abdullah during previous years, the role of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and the Black Panther Party (BPP) have been evoked in news coverage of the FBI and police raids. Imam Al-Amin was a field organizer for SNCC and would later serve as national chairman of the civil rights and black power group in 1967-68. Al-Amin, who is currently serving a life sentence in Georgia after being convicted in the death of a deputy sheriff and the wounding of another in Atlanta in 2000, also briefly held the position of Minister of Justice in the Black Panther Party during 1968. Imam Al-Amin served as SNCC chair during a period of extreme repression against the organization in 1967-68.
Al-Amin has always maintained his innocence in the deaths of the law-enforcement officers in Atlanta and has sought to win an appeal of his case for many years. Reports from the Georgia prison system where he is being held indicate that he has been harassed and placed in isolation on numerous occasions. It was the organizing work of SNCC that was partly blamed by the FBI and the corporate media during 1967-68 for the urban rebellions that erupted in over two hundred cities. The Black Panther Party would suffer the brunt of the Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) operations that were directed against the African American community. Over two dozen members of the BPP were killed between 1968 and 1971 when former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover had labeled the organization as the most dangerous threat to the national security of the United States. Hundreds of Panthers and other revolutionaries of the time were arrested and railroaded through the courts. Many others were driven into exile abroad and forced underground inside the United States.
According to the FBI complaint, which consist of 45 pages of highly spurious allegations, Abdullah "calls his followers to an offensive jihad" and that they should "have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed." Nonetheless, David Nu'man, who lives in Detroit and considered Imam Abdullah a friend, stressed that he is very skeptical about the claims made against the Islamic leader and his followers. "It doesn't seem to be of his character." (Detroit News, October 29, p. 15) Ron Scott, who was one of the founding members of the Detroit chapter of the Black Panther Party in 1968, spoke to the Pan-African News Wire about the death of Imam Abdullah and the arrests of the Masjid Al-Haqq members. Scott, who is now the spokesperson for the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and a media host on the locally broadcast "For My People" television show as well as the "Fighting for Justice" radio program aired every week, expressed disbelief at the allegations made against Abdullah and the others that were arrested. "This reflects a standard of repression that we have not seen in a long time," Scott told the Pan-African News Wire on October 29. "There should be an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Imam Abdullah."
The Michigan Emergency Committee Against War &Injustice (MECAWI) discussed the killing of Imam Abdullah at their weekly meeting held on October 28 in Detroit. In a telephone call to the offices of the Council of American-Islamic Relations on October 29, a MECAWI representative expressed the organization's condolences and solidarity with the Islamic community. MECAWI offered its support to any protest efforts geared towards seeking justice in the death of Imam Abdullah and the arrests of the other Muslim members of Masjid Al-Haqq. Walid, the executive director who took MECAWI's call, expressed his appreciation for the sympathy and concern conveyed by the anti-war organization.
Backdrop to the death of Imam Abdullah
Since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, repression against the Islamic, Middle-Eastern and South Asian communities in the U.S. has escalated at an alarming rate. A number of people have been attacked and even killed in racist violence. Many more people from these communities have been imprisoned unjustly and deported. A number of charitable organizations have been taken into court for allegedly funding "terrorist" groups and some have been forced to shut down by the U.S. government. Even the CAIR has been targeted by these governmental efforts. In Texas during 2007, members of an Islamic charity were put on trial for supposedly funding Hezbollah in Lebanon. Since conversion to the Islamic faith has been taking place within the African American community at a phenomenal rate over the last few decades, both the scrouge of anti-Islamic hysteria and racism has been utilized by the federal government to enhance the repressive apparatus in the United States. This pattern of surveillance, harassment and entrapment is utilized in a desperate attempt by Homeland Security and the Pentagon to build support for the ongoing wars of occupation against Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In addition to these Middle-Eastern and Asian nations, the countries of Sudan and Somalia on the African continent, which are predominantly Muslim, have also been focal points for U.S. imperialist intervention over the last several years. Many of the developing nations that have been identified by the U.S. imperialists for destabilization and occupation have majority Muslim populations of people of color. Consequently, anti-war, civil rights and human rights organizations should view the current wave of repression against the Islamic community as having both a domestic and foreign policy objective. By demonizing the Islamic community, whether the Muslims are of African, Middle-Eastern or Asian descent, it provides a mechanism for the repressive apparatus of the state to justify the continuation and escalation of military involvement abroad.
Detroit mosque leader killed in FBI raids
by Paul Egan The Detroit News
Detroit — The leader of a Detroit mosque who allegedly espoused violence and separatism was shot and killed Wednesday in an FBI gun battle at a Dearborn warehouse. Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, was being arrested on a raft of federal charges including conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, and firearms offenses. Charges were also filed against 11 of Abdullah's followers. Eight were in custody Wednesday night awaiting detention hearings today; three remained at large. A federal complaint filed Wednesday identified Abdullah, 53, also known as Christopher Thomas, as "a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group." His black Muslim group calls itself "Ummah," or the brotherhood, and wants to establish a separate state within the United States governed by Sharia law, Interim U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg and Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a joint statement. "He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric," an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. "Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."
The Ummah is headed nationally by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence for the murder of two police officers in Georgia. Early Wednesday afternoon, FBI agents and local police from the Joint Terrorism Task Force surrounded a warehouse and trucking firm on Miller Road near Michigan Avenue where Abdullah and four of his followers were hiding, said Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit. When agents entered the warehouse, four of the men obeyed orders to surrender but Abdullah opened fire and was shot to death, Berchtold said. An FBI dog was also shot and killed, she said. Through a 45-page complaint filed in the case alleges Abdullah "calls his followers to an offensive jihad" and preaches that every Muslim should "have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed," charges in the case to not include terrorism or national security crimes. The complaint further alleged that an armed group known as the "Sutra team" protected the mosque.
In January, when members were evicted from a building on Joy Road for non-payment of property taxes, Detroit police confiscated two firearms, about 40 knives and martial arts weapons from Abdullah's apartment, the complaint alleged. The mosque then relocated to Clairmount in Detroit, the complaint says. According to the complaint, Abdullah told an informant that if the FBI came to get him: "I'll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody." On another occasion, he said: "We've got to take out the U.S. government," the complaint alleges. David Nu'man of Detroit, who considered himself a friend of Abdullah, said he is skeptical about the allegations. "It doesn't seem to be of his character," said Nu'man, who had attended the mosque on Joy Road but was not a member. Ihsan Bagby, the general secretary of the Muslim Alliance of North America, said Abdullah was a member of the Lexington, K.Y. based group, and his shooting shocked the African American Muslim community nationwide. "We want to know what happened," said Bagby. "We had no inkling of any kind of criminal activity. This is a complete shock to all of us."
The others charged are:
Mohammad Abdul Salaam, also known as Gregory Stone, 45, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and sale or receipt of stolen goods. Abdullah Beard, also known as Detric Lamont Driver, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Abdul Saboor, also known as Dwayne Edward Davis, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, 30, of Detroit and Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Adam Ibraheem, 38, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Gary Laverne Porter, 59, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and possession of firearms by a convicted felon. Ali Abdul Raqib, 57, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Mohammad Alsahi, also known as Mohammad Palestine, 33, of Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Yassir Ali Khan, 30, of Ontario, Canada, and Warren, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes. Mohammad Abdul Bassir, also known as Franklin D. Roosevelt Williams, 50, of Ojibway Correctional Facility with conspiracy to commit federal crimes, sale or receipt of stolen goods, mail fraud, supplying firearms to felons, possession of weapons by a felon, and altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers. A.C. Pusha, charged in a separate complaint late Wednesday with conspiracy to receive and sell stolen goods. Salaam, Saboor, Porter, Beard, Ibraheem, Raqib, and Pusha all appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit late Wednesday afternoon. Bassir is in state custody. Others charged are still at large. Prior to the gunfight in Dearborn, the FBI executed search warrants at 4467 Tireman and 9278 Genesee in Detroit, officials said. Yellow police tape was put up outside the Dearborn warehouse and a Dearborn police car was parked outside.