MPAC Calls for Investigation into Shooting Death of African American Imam in Detroit

October 29, 2009

Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah
Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah

The Muslim Public Affairs Council today said it is "deeply disturbed" by the shooting death of a Detroit-area imam by FBI agents, who sought to arrest him and 11 other men on a host of criminal charges. MPAC called on the FBI and the Department of Justice to conduct an investigation into the events that led to the death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, leader of Masjid Al-Haqq.

 SEE: "Feds: Leader of Radical Islam Group Killed in Raid" (Associated Press)

SEE ALSO: "Local Muslims: Entrapment of poor at heart of case" (Detroit Free Press)

FBI agents raided three warehouses in Detroit and Dearborn yesterday, seeking to arrest Abdullah and 11 other men on criminal charges including including possession of firearms by a convicted felon, mail fraud, and conspiring to receive and sell stolen goods. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Abdullah was shot and killed after he refused to surrender and opened fire on agents. None of the charges against Abdullah or the other 11 suspects are terrorism-related.

The Muslim Assembly of North America released a statement today about the tragic event, which stated in part:

 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.

  With so much left unknown in the developing case, MPAC is warning government agencies and media outlets of the alarming exploitation of this isolated incident that is stigmatizing Muslim American communities around the country. U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg today asked people not to connect the allegations brought against the group of men with Muslims in general.

"There is a clear and present danger in the escalating mob mentality against vulnerable Muslim Americans," said Salam Al-Marayati, MPAC Executive Director.

As is always the case with news reports regarding alleged terror plots, MPAC is concerned about the possibility of backlash against Muslim, African American, Arab, and South Asian Americans. Based on past experiences, we offer the following recommendations:

1. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS PLACED IN PHYSICAL DANGER BECAUSE OF YOUR ETHNICITY, RELIGION, OR NATIONAL ORIGIN:

  • Call the police (dial 911 in most communities).
  • Contact the local FBI office, It is the FBI's job to investigate hate-motivated crimes and specific threats of violence. View a list of FBI field offices.
  • If the threat is imminent, go to a safe location such as a police station or a house of worship.
  • Call MPAC's 24-hour Hate Crime Hotline at (800) 898-3558 to report any incident of discrimination, prejudice and threats of violence.

2. IF YOUR CHILD FACES HARASSMENT BECAUSE OF THEIR ETHNICITY, RELIGION OR NATIONAL ORIGIN:

  • Make sure you discuss the events with your children and that they feel comfortable speaking with an adult if they face harassment by others.
  • Make sure your children know what steps to take to avoid confrontation with other students.
  • Work with your children's school to implement an anti-discriminatory policy.
  • View a list of the FBI Field Offices across the country.
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