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FBI Kills Islamic Cleric, Arrests Followers, for Being Muslims at the Wrong Time in America
Monday, 2 November 2009
Muslims are portrayed as "terrorists, inciters of religious hatred or of even trying to change the constitution of the country" where they live. They're vilified and denied their civil rights. In custody, they're neglected, brutalized, tortured, and forgotten as non-persons.
On October 28, New York Times writer Nick Bunkley wrote the following:
The Times echoed FBI allegations that Abdullah "began firing at them from a warehouse (and) was shot in the return fire...." Ones also that he said:
In fact, neither happened, and no surprise. No bombs were found or went off, and bulletproof vests are easily bought online from web sites like bulletproofme.com, so why shoot anyone to get them.
Post-9/11, America declared war on Islam with the FBI in the lead at home. It notoriously targets the vulnerable, entraps them with paid informants, inflates bogus charges, spreads them maliciously through the media, then intimidates juries to convict and sentence innocent men and some women to long prison terms. Justice is nearly always denied. At times willful killings are committed. The Detroit Muslims are their latest victims.
The Muslim Community Reacts
The Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) "is a public service agency working for the civil rights of American Muslims, for the integration of Islam into American pluralism, and for a positive, constructive relationship between American Muslims and their representatives." Since its 1988 founding, it's become known for promoting "Mercy, Justice, Peace, Human Dignity, Freedom, and Equality for all."
On October 29, MPAC's Executive Director, Salam Al-Marayati said:
The organization called for an investigation into the shooting death, saying it is "deeply disturbed" by the incident.
So is the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), a national network of masjids (mosques), Muslim organizations and individuals committed to addressing the needs of the Muslim community. It released a statement saying:
Ummah founder Jamil Al-Amin (aka H. Rap Brown) wanted it to be an association of mosques in US cities to coordinate religious and social services primarily in the black community. Calling it a "nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting primarily of African-Americans" is an "offensive mischaracterization."
Those who've worked with Imam Abdullah know him for having "advocated for the downtrodden and always sp(eaking) about the importance of connecting to the needs of the poor." Alleging that he and his followers engaged in illegal activity, resisted arrest, and waged an "offensive jihad against the American government" are "shocking and inconsistent."
On October 30, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of major national Islamic organizations, issued this statement:
"It is imperative that an independent investigation of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah's death make public the exact circumstances in which he died. And unless the FBI has evidence linking the criminal allegations to the religious affiliation of the suspects, we ask that federal authorities stop injecting religion into this case. The unjustified linkage of this case to the faith Islam will only serve to promote an increase in existing anti-Muslim stereotyping and bias in our society."
AMT also urged the Congressional Tri-Causus (African-American, Latino and Asian) to call for a judicial inquiry.
A statement from The International Council for Urban (Formations) Peace, Justice and Empowerment read:
Omar Regan, Abdullah's son, led the Friday, October 30 prayers at the Al-Haqq mosque, and said the following:
Other community members echoed that sentiment in accusing the FBI of heavy-handed tactics that killed Abdullah maliciously from multiple gunshot wounds.
Abdullah El-Amin, an imam at Detroit's Muslim Center (the city's largest black mosque), said he knew Luqman for years and never heard him talk about wanting a separate Muslim state, just something "like the Pennsylvania Dutch have (with) their own communities and stuff."
He and about 20 other Detroit imams attended an October 29 meeting with US Attorney Terrence Berg and FBI Special Agent Andrew Arena at which they charged the Agency with entrapping Abdullah, then killing him in cold blood. One informant, they said, was a former Abdullah follower with a criminal past, and he and the others "came to a place where people are not getting social security, unemployment. They had nothing," so could easily be manipulated to sell stolen items they provided.
Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said:
"Is this the kind of excessive force that we black Americans are all too familiar with?" He also questioned using informants he called "agent provocateurs" who entice law-abiding people to self-incriminate.
Other community members believe Abdullah was maliciously targeted, that the FBI likely initiated gunfire, and if he shot back it was in self-defense.
Even the FBI's complaint admitted that whatever alleged crimes were planned or committed, they were minor and inconsequential. Hardly offenses warranting a high-profile raid, shoot-out, and political assassination.
Department of Justices Allegations
On October 28, a Department of Justice (DOJ) press release headlined: "Eleven Members/Associates of Ummah Charged with Federal Violations - One Subject Fatally Shot During Arrest." The FBI and US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, Terrence Berg, charged:
In the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, a criminal complaint named:
At the time of the raid, three of the men were still at large - Mujahid Carswell (Abdullah's son), Mohammad Philistine and Yassir Ali Khan. However, Windsor, Ontario police announced the arrest of Carswell the next day, and on October 31, they arrested Philistine and Ali Khan.
The unsealed complaint charged Abdullah with "espous(ing) the use of violence against law enforcement, (and) train(ing) members of his group in the use of firearms and martial arts in anticipation of some type of action against the government." It said "Abdullah and other members of this group were known to carry firearms and other weapons."
According to FBI Counter-Terrorism Squad Special Agent Gary Leone, a "confidential source" (aka paid informant) called S-2 provided "reliable and credible" information, "independently corroborated by other sources, and by consensual recordings he has made with the members of The Ummah at the direction of the FBI."
In a "surreptitiously" recorded December 12, 2007 conversation, "S-2 told Abdullah he had asked to donate $5,000 to pay to have someone 'do something' during the 2006 Super Bowl in Detroit. Abdullah said he would not be involved in injuring innocent people for no reason: 'If there's something to be done....it (has) to be legitimate.' "
He then allegedly said...."things are coming....I got some violence (in me) because of what they did to Imam Jamil (H. Rap Brown)....I got some stuff, man, I got some soldiers with me....Brothers that I know would, you know, if I say 'Let's go, we going to go and do something,' they would do it."
Leone said this and other recordings "confirm(ed) by (another paid informant) S-1 (showed) that Abdullah and his followers view themselves as soldiers at war against the United States government, and against non-Muslims," yet nothing in his above statement says that, so charges amount to putting FBI allegations in the mind of a dead man, unable to refute them.
The DOJ presented no evidence of a plot, a crime, or intent to commit one.
The FBI used three paid informants for over two years. On October 10, 2008, the third, S-3, allegedly recorded Abdullah saying:
These and other recordings show anger, not intent to commit crimes. Yet that's what the DOJ alleges. Saying "We are going to have to fight against the Kafir" suggests resistance against a hostile state. Even stronger statements, allegedly recorded, aren't hard evidence of planned violence against the FBI, other federal agents, or anyone else.
In its October 28 press release, the DOJ acknowledged that the above criminal complaint "is only a charge and is not evidence of guilt. A trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint. When the investigation is completed a determination will be made whether to seek a felony indictment." Yet the FBI killed Abdullah, allegedly in a shoot-out with only its account for proof, an Agency notorious for political assassinations and twisting facts to make its case.
Imam Umar Responds
In a widely distributed message, an Imam Umar wrote:
A follow-up message added:
Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Formerly Known as H. Rap Brown
Born Hubert Gerold Brown, he became famously known as H. Rap Brown, a 1960s civil rights activist, social commentator, and chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (succeeding Stokely Carmichael) where he distinguished himself as a charismatic leader and effective organizer. In 1968, he was named minister of justice for the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense that strove for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equity across gender and color lines.
As a result, he was targeted by federal and state authorities, charged with inciting a riot in Maryland, violating the National Firearms Act, and illegally crossing state lines to skip bail. During his 1970 firearms trial, he disappeared for 17 months and was placed on the FBI's "Ten Most Wanted" list. In late 1971, he reemerged after being arrested and falsely charged with armed robbery in Manhattan. Convicted, he served five years in Attica State Prison.
While there, he converted to Islam and changed his name to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. After release, he started an Atlanta mosque and operated a small grocery store and community center. Then in 2000, he was charged with murdering a black police officer and injuring his partner in a gun battle outside his store.
In 2002, he was tried, and despite strong evidence of his innocence, was convicted on 13 counts, including murder, aggravated assault, obstruction, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, and sentenced to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole.
At trial, his lawyers argued for a case of mistaken identity, claimed prosecutors were out to get him for decades, and presented a strong defense in his behalf, including:
Afterward, his legal team filed a habeas corpus writ citing gross irregularities, including:
A Final Comment
As a nationally known civil rights champion and Islamic leader, Al-Amin was a prime FBI COINTELPRO target, the agency's infamous counterintelligence program against political activists, legitimate dissent, independent thought, and non-violent opposition to the Vietnam war, and racial and social injustice.
It continues today against men like Abdullah, his followers, and dozens more like them for their faith, ethnicity, race, activism, prominence, and opposition to government injustice at the wrong time to be Muslim in America.
According to an Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC) December 2007 report on Al-Amin titled, "Prisoners of Faith Campaign Pack," many thousands of "Muslim prisoners of faith around the world" are being held in Muslim and non-Muslim countries, including politicians, human rights activists, students, writers, and others with "one thing in common:" their adherence "to the Islamic belief and way of life."
They're portrayed as "terrorists, inciters of religious hatred or of even trying to change the constitution of the country" where they live. They're vilified and denied their civil rights. In custody, they're neglected, brutalized, tortured, and forgotten as non-persons. As one of them, Al-Amin once said:
For others like him, their struggle for equity, social justice, and mutual understanding persists against hostile government oppression. In America as much as anywhere. Its tradition continues.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to The Global Research News Hour on RepublicBroadcasting.org Mondays from 11AM to 1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on world and national topics. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on November 2, 2009.
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