By Adil James, Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)
Farmingtonâ€”November 4â€”The shooting of Imam Luqman A. Abdullah by the FBI sparked controversy, partly because it stirred up memories of Americaâ€™s past persecution of African American leaders, partly because of the demeaning circumstances, and partly because news reports relating to the shooting have cast far reaching and highly unlikely aspersions on Imam Luqman.
The shooting spurred local and national Muslim organizations to issue alarmed press releases, the common theme of which was that they condemn any illegal activities if Imam Luqman was involved, but ask that news reports refrain from alleging any terrorist conspiracy absent any such evidence. Another theme echoed in several was the demand for an independent investigation into the events of the day.
The facts alleged by the reports do not conflict with one another, although only the MPAC statement actually explores the then-known facts of the incident. On Wednesday 10/28 the FBI raided 3 Dearborn warehouses, to arrest Imam Luqman and 11 associates on many federal criminal charges. At the end of the raid, Imam Luqman was dead, shot apparently 18 times.
The American Muslim Taskforce (AMT), Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA), Muslim Public Affairs Coalition (MPAC), Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), Imamsâ€™ Committee of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Michigan (CIOM), ISNA, and Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR Michigan, all made statements regarding the incident.
The American Muslim Taskforce (an umbrella group including AMA, AMP, CAIR, ICNA, MANA, MAS-Freedom, MSA National, MUNA, and UMA) demanded an investigation and demanded that the government â€œstop injecting religion into this case,â€ apparently operating on the belief that the government may have had a valid criminal case against Imam Luqman but no terrorism case and that his religion was extraneous to the events that took place.
The Imams Committee of Michiganâ€™s powerful CIOM unity group (representing most of Southeast Michiganâ€™s mosques including Sunni mosques and Shiâ€™a mosques) met with the director of Michiganâ€™s FBI office (Mr. Andrew Arena, who had previously expressed satisfaction with his agentsâ€™ handling of the case) to discuss what happened. They asked for clarification of what happened, without demanding a full investigation. They also emphasized that religion should not be brought into the case.
ISNA, Americaâ€™s largest and politically the strongest Muslim community organization, also made a statement saying it â€œis distrubed by the recent shootout.â€ â€œThe details of the incident are still sketchy,â€ read the statement, â€œbut the way the incident is presented as a terrorism case when the actual charges involve criminal conduct, including alleged fraud and theft.â€
ISNA joined the chorus asking for a full investigation of the incident also, while also expressing support fot the â€œvital work carried out by law enforcement agenciesâ€ and spoke against resisting arrest, saying â€œ[t]he only morally and legally acceptable way to challenge the actions of law enforcement agents is by working through the justice system and the court of law.â€
MANA (which Imam Luqman was a part of) issued a statement which opened more directly the issues involved in the case, saying â€œReference to â€˜the Ummahâ€™ as a â€˜nation-wide radical fundamentalist Sunni group consisting primarily of African Americansâ€™ is an offensive mis-characterization.â€
Further, the MANA statement said that â€œto those who have worked with Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, allegations of illegal activity, resisting arrest, and â€˜offensive jihad against the American governmentâ€™ are shocking and inconsistent.â€
MPACâ€™s statement had one wise piece of advice, â€œWith 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.â€
MPACâ€™s primary concern appeared to be avoiding national backlash against Muslims based on the Imam Luqman shooting and resulting media coverage.
More facts have come to light since the organizationsâ€™ statements were made, including that Imam Luqman apparently resisted arrest and shot an FBI dog that was loosed to attack him before going down in a hail of FBI bullets. Several senior Muslim community workers have explained that as Imam Luqman lay dying from 18 gunshot wounds, he was handcuffed to a stretcher and left to die while the FBI dog was medically evacuated by helicopter.
News reports around the incident portrayed Imam Luqman as a violent anti-government jihadist bent on a government takeover, but foiled by FBI action.
However the best report about the incident was in fact the one by this newspaperâ€™s Imam Abdullah El-Amin, who traced a convincing story about FBI provocateurs luring Imam Luqman into dealing in stolen merchandise and then springing the trap before he could escape, perhaps even orchestrating his reaction and demise.
Unfortunately the national theme in investigations of Muslims has largely been one of government provocateurs luring down-and-out Muslim men into situations they donâ€™t fully comprehend and which appear to be fully funded, planned, and coordinated from inside the FBI. Then the poor stooges are arrested in midnight raids by SWAT teams in body armor and paraded before camera crews as dangerous al-Qaeda terrorists. And the poor slobs are carted away through years of trials which often as not end in their being released.