Law enforcement has drummed up this incident to be terrorism-related, or somehow related to the faith or political views of Imam Luqman and his community. The mainstream media has predictably followed suit. But the actual charges against these 11 individuals say otherwise. The charges mentioned are as follows: possession of body armor and fire arms by a convicted felon, providing firearms to a convicted felon, tampering with a motor vehicle identification number, mail fraud, and selling/receiving stolen goods.
By now, most of us have heard the news of the killing of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah by the FBI in Detroit, MI. There are many questions surrounding the death of Imam Luqman. Although I do not have the answers to these questions, there are a few issues that come to mind.
Yesterday I was able to read the criminal complaint filed in the United States District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan (Case: 2;09-mj-30436) on October 27, 2009. Included in the complaint is a 43-page sworn affidavit by FBI Special Agent Gary Leone. This affidavit chronicles nearly two years of surveillance by the FBI on Imam Luqman and Masjid al-Haqq in Detroit. The complaint discusses terms such as kuffar, Qureish, revolution, Imam Jamil, jihad, hadith, etc. This is odd. The reason this is odd is that these terms have absolutely nothing to do with what the criminal complaint charges the 11 individuals with.
Law enforcement has drummed up this incident to be terrorism-related, or somehow related to the faith or political views of Imam Luqman and his community. The mainstream media has predictably followed suit. But the actual charges against these 11 individuals say otherwise. The charges mentioned are as follows: possession of body armor and fire arms by a convicted felon, providing firearms to a convicted felon, tampering with a motor vehicle identification number, mail fraud, and selling/receiving stolen goods. There are absolutely no terrorism-related charges in this complaint. There are no charges in any way related to the religious or political views of Imam Luqman. Two years of investigation, and no material support charge, no conspiracy charge, nothing. When asked why Imam Luqman had not been charged with terrorism, the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Terrence Berg said, “The charges speak for themselves.” And that is exactly my point.
As often has been the case in these so-called “terrorism” cases, smaller charges are brought and law enforcement still acts as though they brought terrorism-related charges. And the public doesn’t know the difference. We have seen this pattern again and again under the Bush administration, and President Obama has continued this dishonest policy. Look at the words being used in the context of these arrests in the media and the statements given by law enforcement, and ask yourself what they have to do with the charges which are alleged. Why are they saying this is related to terrorism? Do they think we can’t read what they themselves wrote? What does being a Sunni or a fundamentalist or a Muslim have to do with tampering with a motor vehicle identification number?
“O you who believe! If a liar/evil person comes to you with a report, look carefully into it, lest you harm a people in ignorance, then be sorry for what you have done.” (49:6)
What was the nature of this investigation by the FBI? According to its complaint, at least three agents were used by the FBI in surveillance of Masjid al-Haqq. The complaint stated that these agents constantly said and did things in order to make Imam Luqman or others at the mosque say or do something which would lead to an arrest on terrorism charges. For example, the criminal complaint mentions how one agent told Imam Luqman he is interested in blowing up people during the Super Bowl in Detroit, and Imam Luqman responded that he would not be involved in killing innocent people (see information from confidential source S-2, paragraph 14). This is just one example, and there are many similar examples in the complaint. Obviously this does not come as a surprise, because this is what the FBI does for a living. But we should realize that after two years of this harassment, the best material they could come up with is in their complaint.
This incident is another reminder to the Muslim community. When someone is spending time and effort in order to set us you and put you in prison, they are not your friend. This is not an attempt to thwart a crime. This is an attempt to set your you-know-what up. There is a difference. Any criminal defense attorney will tell you never to speak to law enforcement without an attorney present. Most will tell you that if the FBI comes to speak with you, even with an attorney present, you would be crazy to speak with them. This is because the goal of law enforcement is to get a criminal conviction. It is beyond disappointing that some members of our Muslim community, both Sunni and Shia, know what the FBI is doing to their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters on a daily basis, yet they continue to want to buddy up to these same agents. How many more examples are needed before we open our eyes?
I do not know what all transpired with Imam Luqman and his community. I do not know if they are guilty or innocent of any of the alleged crimes. What I do know is that a man exercised his First Amendment rights, and he did not commit a crime by doing so. Had he committed a crime or a terrorism-related offense, it would be in the complaint. Instead, all we see are regular criminal offenses being alleged.
Unfortunately there is a segment of our community more interested in looking like the “good Muslim” than in standing up against oppression or finding out the truth. These Uncle Toms have predictably made irresponsible statements regarding Imam Luqman and his mosque without any of us even knowing all the facts. The Muslim community must stay away from these types of organizations and mosques, whose leadership will lead our community away from the sunnah of our Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his progeny).
Let’s for a minute believe all the allegations in the complaint. Would this justify this man being killed? Would it justify the alleged 18 shots fired at him? Why all the references to Islam in the complaint if he is not charged with any political or terrorism related offenses? Why all this talk about Imam Jamil?
Please, let us open our eyes.