FBI agents assassinate Michigan Islamic leader
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Oct 29, 2009
A well-known African-American Islamic leader in Detroit was shot to
death by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents on Oct. 28 at a
warehouse in Dearborn. Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, who headed the
Masjid Al-Haqq mosque on the city's west side, was killed during a
series of raids by both federal agents and local police departments
that resulted in the arrest of 11 people.
Corporate media reports on the killing of Imam Abdullah and the
arrest of the others frame this as a "counter-terrorism' operation,
even though the criminal complaints said to be the basis for the
raids made no specific allegations of violations of federal law or
acts of terrorism.
A joint statement issued by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's office
states that "The 11 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 Jan. 20, Masjid Al-Haqq was evicted from the
building where it had been housed for years as a result of tax
foreclosure. The mosque relocated at a home on Clairmount, which was
also raided on Oct. 28.
Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations, Michigan chapter, said of Imam Abdullah that "I know him
as a respected imam in the Muslim community."
Walid continued, "We have no information about illegal activity going
on at that mosque." Walid said Imam Abdullah "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." (Detroit News, Oct. 29)
The CAIR leader said, "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 are the FBI and the corporate media utilizing the false
construct of "Islamic extremism," they are also attempting to draw a
direct link between the revolutionary movements that emerged during
the 1960s and 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 first served as a
field organizer for SNCC and later national chair 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 for many years has sought to
win an appeal of his case. Reports from the Georgia prison system
where he is being held indicate that he has been harassed and placed
in isolation on numerous occasions.
SNCC was partly blamed by the FBI and the corporate media during
1967-68 for the urban rebellions that erupted in more than 200
cities. The Black Panther Party was to suffer the brunt of the
Counter Intelligence Program (Cointelpro) operations that were
directed against the African-American community.
More than 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 consists of 45 pages of highly
spurious allegations, Abdullah "calls his followers to an offensive
jihad" and says 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, stresses 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, Oct. 29)
Ron Scott, 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, 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 those arrested.
"This reflects a standard of repression that we have not seen in a
long time," Scott told the Pan-African News Wire on Oct. 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 on
Oct. 28 in Detroit. The next day, in a telephone call to the offices
of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, a MECAWI representative
expressed the organization's condolences and solidarity with the
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 Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the
Pentagon, 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.
The FBI Raid and Shooting Death of Imam Luqman
by the Muslim Alliance in North America
It is with deep sadness and concern that we announce the shooting
death of Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, of Masjid Al-Haqq (Detroit,
MI). Imam Luqman was a representative of the Detroit Muslim
community to the "National Ummah" and the general assembly (Shura) of
the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that their agents
shot and killed the Imam during a raid related to a criminal
complaint alleging that members of the mosque were engaged in
criminal, but "not terrorist activity." This tragic shooting raises
deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents.
Since the investigation was "solely criminal" based upon "smuggling
and fraud," we urge law enforcement and the media not to take
advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize American Muslims
generally, and those who are African American Muslims in particular.
The National Community or "Ummah" was established by Imam Jamil
Al-Amin (formerly known as H. Rap Brown). It is an association of
mosques in several cities in the U.S. that coordinates religious and
social services primarily in the Black American community. Reference
to the "Ummah" as a "nation-wide radical fundamentalist Sunni group
consisting primarily of African-Americans" is an offensive
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.
It is our hope and prayer that a thorough investigation will be
carried out with the greatest integrity. We urge the Muslim
community and all Americans committed to justice to actively monitor
both the investigation and trial of the accused. Also, we urge law
enforcement authorities to release Imam Luqman's remains
expeditiously so that they may be buried according to Islamic practice.
Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) is an organization committed
to Muslim issues and concerns that especially impact indigenous
Muslims -- issues and concerns that we feel have been largely
neglected. MANA is committed to the establishment of viable,
healthy, and dynamic Muslim communities, neighborhoods, and
institutions that meet the religious, social, economic, and political
needs of the Muslims in this land. For more information about MANA's
programs including SHARE centers, Healthy Marriage Initiative,
Community Re-entry Program, as well as the National Campaign for
Healing and Reconciliation, visit our website at www.mana-net.org.
Cause Célèbre Islam: Racism, Revolution, Black Nationalism
by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Madeleine Gruen, CTR Vantage