by the Muslim Alliance in North America oct. 29, 2009 MR Zine
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 mis-characterization.
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
Statement On The Fatal Shooting of Imam Luquman Ameen
The International National Council for Urban (Formations) Peace,
Justice and Empowerment
We, as members of the International Council for Urban (Formations)
Peace, Justice and Empowerment are appalled by the raids on Masjid
Al-Haqq and a halal meat packing plant that left Imam Luquman Ameen
Abdullah dead. We are demanding an independent investigation into
this action that is clearly the result of a climate of Islamaphobia
fed by law enforcement and a media bent on sensationalism. This
complaint and the resulting raid are nothing more than government
sponsored terrorism against a group that was working to help the
community. This action is inconsistent with statements by President
Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder which call for mutual
respect for Muslims in the United States.
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.
We have seen the media statements that Imam Abdullah was the head of
a separatist group called Ummah, which means Brotherhood. Ummah
means community-not brotherhood. Al-Ummah is not now, or has ever
been, a Black Separatist and radical group, as any discrimination on
the basis of skin color is forbidden in the Koran. We as an
organization have never heard Imam Abdullah make any statements
consistent with the statements in the complaint. We have never seen
any actions that would be consistent with the allegations in the complaint.
The media has stated that there is a sign at the mosque that states
that "There is no God but Allah". There is only one god, who is
known by many names in many cultures. Why was this statement even mentioned?
The FBI has stated that this was not a terrorism case. However, the
investigation was conducted by a counter terrorism unit. They
mention threats against the government and the Federal Bureau of
Investigation. Is this a terrorism case or not?
Much is also being made of the fact that many of the members of the
Masjid Al-Haqq converted to Islam while in prison. The inference is
that, while they served their time in prison, sought to change their
lives by developing a practicing faith-they have not really
changed. Much is also being made about Imam Jamil Al-Amin being the
leader of Al-Ummah. Various articles state that he is serving time
in a federal prison facility for federal charges after murdering two
police officers. The fact is that those were state charges and he is
being housed in a federal penitentiary on state charges.
All of the facts-not just the words of paid informants- need to be
brought out in a clear and unbiased manner. The fact is that Masjid
Al-Haqq, under the direction of Imam Abdullah, fed the hungry, housed
the homeless, worked with gangs and the formerly incarcerated to turn
a crime ridden and drug infested neighborhood around to becoming a
productive community. The fact is that a complaint is not an
indictment. The fact is that the media is engaging in an
Islamaphobic feeding frenzy. The most disturbing fact is that a
religious leader who reached out to his people and his community is
dead, the victim of a society that sees anyone who is different as
Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad and T. Rashad Byrdsong
On behalf of the International Council for Urban (Formations) Peace,
Justice and Empowerment
Amir El Hajj Khalid A. Samad (216) 322-6059 or (216) 538-4043
T. Rashad Byrdsong (412) 371-5197