Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the imam of Detroit’s Masjid Al-Haqq (Mosque of Truth), was killed Wednesday in a shootout with FBI agents. The agents were trying to arrest him on charges of conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, firearms offenses and more. Agents also arrested eight mosque members; then Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught Abdullah’s son, Mujahid Carswell. Two other accused jihadists also fled, and have not yet been found.
According to the indictment, in his mosque in Detroit Luqman Abdullah was preaching “offensive jihad” and the establishment of a Sharia state in North America. This sovereign Isamic state would be ruled by Islamic law – and by the apparent godfather of Abdullah’s movement, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Al-Amin is the former Black Panther and convert to Islam who gained fame under the name H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin is now serving a life sentence for murdering two police officers, while his disciples, like Luqman Abdullah, carry on the message he articulated so memorably in the 1960s: “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.”
In the spirit of his mentor, Abdullah has told his flock: “America must fall.” He has encouraged the Muslims in his mosque to support Hizballah, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. He exhorted them to bestir themselves to pious deeds: “We should be figuring out how to fight the Kuffar” – that is, unbelievers. “We got to take out the U.S. government. The U.S. government is nothing but Kuffars.” Among the unbelievers were FBI agents, about whom Abdullah declared: “Deal with them, deal with them the way, the way they supposed to be dealt with…. It’s not that complicated, man….If they are coming to get me I’ll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody.” A law enforcement official wrote in an affidavit that “Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting” – in accord with Abdullah’s dictum that every Muslim believer should “have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed.”
Abdullah found justification for all this in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which he said “justified stealing, robbing and other illegal acts, as long as they profit Islam.”
One would think that Muslim spokesmen in America would be anxious to prove their moderate bona fides by repudiating Abdullah, praising the efforts of law enforcement officials, and announcing new measures to teach against the understanding of Islam that prevailed at the Masjid al-Haqq and to shore up the moderate Islam that politically correct orthodoxy insists prevails in all mosques in America in the first place. But no such luck. Instead, they praised Abdullah and excoriated law enforcement.
Dawud Walid of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reinforced CAIR’s image as an unsavory group with numerous ties to terror – an image newly reinforced by numerous revelations in the explosive new book Muslim Mafia — as he tried to paint a very different picture of Abdullah: “I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community.” He emphasized the Masjid al-Haqq’s charitable activities, perhaps forgetting that Nazi Germany (and Hamas, and Hizballah) ran social programs as well, and thus their existence is no indication that the one operating them is in every sense benign.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Walid said that a group of imams were going to meet with the head of Detroit’s FBI office, Andrew Arena, to complain, about “linking the weapons and smuggling charges to the Muslim faith” – as if the FBI, rather than Luqman Abdullah, had done this. Arena probably won’t need much convincing: he has already asserted, without explanation, that Abdullah taught “a very hybrid radical ideology – one mainstream Muslims “would not recognize.” For his part, Walid also warned that the death of Abdullah and the arrests of other Masjid al-Haqq would anger Muslims and make them even more suspicious of law enforcement than they already are: “As much as our president says nice, flowery things about Muslims and Islam in Cairo or Istanbul, these types of stories just erode that.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Alliance of North America, of which Abdullah was a member, complained about the shootout in a statement: “This tragic shooting raises deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents. We urge law enforcement and the media not to take undo advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize … African American Muslims in particular.”
These kinds of statements fall into a pattern that has played out many times before. An Islamic jihadist plots murder and mayhem, explicitly justifying it all by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. Then putatively moderate Muslims, instead of support law enforcement efforts, criticize them and complain about Muslims being victimized and Islam being unfairly linked to terrorism. Generally this is followed by the spectacle of media and law enforcement officials bending over backwards to make sure that no one gets the impression that Islam had anything to do with the bloody plots that the arrested parties were planning.
The problem with this pattern is that no one involved is doing anything to keep the story of Luqman Abdullah and the Masjid al-Haqq from being repeated in other mosques in the United States in the future. No one is challenging the Muslim community here to clean its own house and stop the dissembling and finger-pointing. No one is speaking openly and honestly about what the Qur’an really says, and what the implications are of that fact. No one, in short, is doing much of anything to ensure that Luqman Abdullah, one of the first clergymen in the United States to be killed in a shootout with the FBI, is not just the first of many.