Sunday, November 15, 2009

Shooting of Detroit Imam is protested:

The Michigan Citizen, 1055 Trumbull, Detroit, MI 48216 (313) 963-8282

"Muslims protest FBI’s ‘terrorism’ "

Imam Abdullah demonstration -

"Imam Abdullah’s family, followers and allies protest FBI raid"

By Diane Bukowski
The Michigan Citizen

November 15, 2009

On the Web at:

DETROIT — “The community loves us, and they are wondering who will be there to feed and clothe them now that my father is dead,” said Omar Regan, son of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, who was shot to death in an FBI raid Oct. 28. “People there trust Muslims more than they trust the police.”

Regan, with his brother Jamil Carswell by his side, spoke at a demonstration of at least 75 people outside the federal McNamara Building in Detroit, Nov. 4. A town hall meeting that drew several hundred took place the next day at the Muslim Center of Detroit on East Davison.

The Imam’s mosque is located in one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods, on Clairmount near Linwood. It is 98.6 percent African American, with only half of its residents over 16 working, and 31 percent living under the poverty level, according to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census.

“Of my father’s 13 children, none of us have criminal records,” Regan said. “That was how my father taught us. It is not right for people to set up traps to lure innocent people. They want to shoot us down — for what? Because we want to stand up and say stop hurting us? My father was targeted — he knew they were going to kill him. It’s not just Muslims, but any organization that is fighting for freedom and justice for the people is trying to overthrow the government.”

Clayton Dafney, a lifelong friend of Imam Abdullah, said everything Abdullah said or did was about Allah and Islam.

“I once got put out of the mosque because I went astray and started drinking,” said Dafney. “But Luqman said, ‘As long as this brother is coming to the mosque to worship, he is welcome.’ Luqman was not the type of brother to come out and open fire on the U.S. government. They do not understand Islam. They murdered him because of his beliefs.”

One of the speakers at the town hall meeting was Imam Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR).

He earlier told The Michigan Citizen that members of Muslim and African communities across the world have expressed extreme concern about Imam Abdullah’s death.

“I’ve been on Al Jazeera three times, and on South African radio, and we have also been contacted by Muslims in Iran,” he said. “We are calling for an independent investigation ... There are many unanswered questions and irregularities involved. There is a long history in our nation, in Detroit in particular, of African American men being subjected to unnecessary and sometimes lethal force by law enforcement.”

Imam Walid questioned the use of agent ‘provocateurs’ and informants in houses of worship, particularly where there has been no evidence of criminal activity. He said the event calls to mind the activities of the FBI’s COINTELPRO program against the Black Panthers and other groups in the 1960s and 70s.

A total of 12 alleged members of Imam Abdullah’s Masjid El-Haqq Mosque remain charged with offenses including dealing in stolen goods, weapons possession and sales, and mail and insurance fraud.

Attorney Jeffrey Edison, who represents one of the men, said preliminary examinations will happen soon. “Preliminary exams in federal court are not the same as in state courts,” Edison said. “They allow hearsay, and usually only have the case agent testify regarding what is in the reports.”

Many believe Imam’s murder and arrests of members of his mosque are part of a rash of recent FBI set-ups of African American Muslims in the U.S. In May, four New York City residents were indicted by a grand jury and later arrested on charges of “conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction” against synagogues in the Riverdale section of the Bronx and to down a plane.

The FBI admitted its undercover agents supplied the men with plastic explosives and a Stinger missile — all phony — then arrested them as they allegedly sought to use the weapons.

Meanwhile, the Council of Islamic Organizations in Michigan (CIOM), headquartered in Warren, revealed recently that they met with Detroit FBI Director Andrew Arena, FBI Spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold, and U.S. Attorney Terence Berg the day after the raid.

The Imams Committee of CIOM issued a statement: “We emphasize that no criminal acts be confused with what Islam and Muslims stand for. Our religion stands for justice and we hope justice will be served. We support the law of the land. ...”

Arena is scheduled to co-chair a banquet Nov. 19 for ALPACT, a group including numerous law enforcement agencies and community organizations, many of them from the Arab-American community. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will attend.