FBI agents gun down Muslim leader
Published Oct 29, 2009 9:31 PM
More than 1,000 people attended funeral services for Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah
on Oct. 31 at the Muslim Center on Detroit’s West Side. The
African-American Muslim leader had been gunned down by FBI agents three days
Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah
Photo: Muslim Alliance of North America
Speakers at the services stressed that Imam Abdullah was known throughout the
city and country as a peaceful man who worked tirelessly to help the poor
people in the community surrounding the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque, where he had
presided for decades. Questions were raised about the account of the events
given by the FBI, the U.S. Attorney’s office and the corporate media.
According to information that surfaced just days after his assassination, the
imam was shot 18 times by FBI agents at a warehouse in Dearborn, located right
outside the city of Detroit. The warehouse had been set up by the FBI in an
attempt to frame the mosque members for involvement in “stolen
goods.” The purported “stolen goods” were also supplied by
Imam Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic
Relations (CAIR) in Michigan, told the “Fighting for Justice” radio
program, which aired on the Detroit affiliate of Air America on Nov. 1, that
“Imam Luqman was shot 18 times before he was handcuffed and placed on a
stretcher. In a meeting between the FBI, representatives of the U.S.
Attorney’s office and area leaders of the Muslim community on Friday,
they informed us that Imam Abdullah never fired on the federal agents. They
said that the imam shot at an FBI dog and then he was shot by the agents. The
dog was medevaced to a veterinary hospital while the Imam received no medical
attention,” Imam Walid said.
Also speaking on the program was Imam Abdullah Bey El-Amin of the Muslim
Center, where the funeral had just been held for the assassinated leader. Imam
El-Amin corroborated that “Imam Abdullah had multiple, multiple, multiple
gunshot wounds to his body.” El-Amin, a funeral director by profession,
prepared the slain leader’s body for burial.
Imams Walid and El-Amin, plus other prominent Islamic leaders in the Detroit
area, have called for an independent investigation into the circumstances
surrounding Imam Abdullah’s death. Callers to the radio program
interpreted the shooting and the arrests of 11 other Masjid Al-Haqq members as
a continuation of the federal government’s counterintelligence program
(Cointelpro), which was implemented against so-called dissidents between the
1950s and the 1970s.
The African-American community suffered the most damage from the Cointelpro
terror operations, which resulted in the deaths of numerous leaders and the
framing of others by the federal government and local police agencies across
Groups to demonstrate at Federal Building
In response to the assassination of Imam Abdullah, the Michigan Emergency
Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) has called for a mass
demonstration outside the federal building in downtown Detroit on Nov. 5, from
4:30 to 6:00 p.m. The demonstration is designed both to condemn the
assassination of the Islamic leader as well as demand an independent
investigation into his death at the hands of the FBI.
Groups endorsing the demonstration include the Detroit Coalition Against Police
Brutality, Latinos Unidos of Michigan, Students for Justice in Palestine, the
Detroit Green Party and Workers World Party.
A statement issued by MECAWI on Nov. 2 said, “The FBI and the media
headlines are trying to cover up this outrageous murder. But their story has
changed every day as more and more facts have come to light. Even the
government’s own ‘criminal complaint’ makes it clear that
there was no reason for this huge assault on the Muslim community.”
Economic crisis in Detroit
Many people who knew Imam Abdullah and the members of Masjid Al-Haqq say that
the group worked to rid the severely oppressed community around the mosque 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 Street, which was also raided on Oct. 28.
Dawud Walid of CAIR said of Imam Abdullah, “I know him as a respected
imam in the Muslim community.” He added, “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
assault on the Masjid Al-Haqq members.
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) has 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
BPP during 1968. He had 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
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 BPP was to
suffer the brunt of the Cointelpro operations directed against the
More than two dozen members of the BPP were killed between 1968 and 1971 after
former FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover 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 or forced
underground inside the U.S.
According to the FBI complaint in the current case, 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.”
Ron Scott, one of the founding members of the Detroit chapter of the BPP 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 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
“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 its 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 Islamic community.
Repression grows against Muslims
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.
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 CAIR has been targeted by these government efforts. In Texas during 2007,
members of an Islamic charity were put on trial for supposedly funding
Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Conversion to the Islamic faith within the African-American community has been
taking place at a phenomenal rate over the last few decades. The federal
government has used both the scourge of anti-Islamic hysteria and racism to
enhance the repressive apparatus in the U.S. 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 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 a foreign policy objective. Demonizing the Islamic community,
whether the Muslims are of African, Middle Eastern or Asian descent, provides a
mechanism for the repressive apparatus of the state to justify the continuation
and escalation of military involvement abroad.
At the same time, the increasing repression against the African-American,
Islamic, Latino/a and other working-class communities inside the U.S. is
designed to hamper the ability of people to organize against the growing
economic crisis that is disproportionately affecting the oppressed peoples
inside the domestic confines of the country.
Nonetheless, the fight against this wave of repression can potentially bring
together workers and the oppressed from broad sections of the U.S. into an
alliance with the developing countries that are increasingly threatened by U.S.
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