Beyond the Rhetoric: The Execution of Imam Luqman Abdullah
By Jamaaluddin al-Haidar
When FBI agents fired 18 bullets into the body of Imam Luqman Abdullah in a suburban Detroit warehouse last week they executed a man whom I regarded as a friend, a man who was once my Imam, a man who was father to my ex-wife and grandfather to my only child. I was in the middle of grading papers when I got a call from a long-time friend with news of the tragic shooting. Minutes later my daughter telephoned me in tears. Eventually I started making phone calls and searching online trying to get as much information that I could obtain. I downloaded and read the 45 page complaint that was used to authorize the raids that ultimately led to the execution of Imam Luqman. The document reads like a crime novel complete with FBI informants, sting operations, informant accounts and “surreptitiously-recorded conversations”.
As a Muslim I am compelled to heed the commandment of my Lord.
“O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the facts, lest you harm people unwittingly and afterwards become full of repentance
for what you have done.”
Given the wickedness of those who dictate much of the actions of the U. S. Federal Government; given the horrific history of the FBI COINTELPRO against African-Americans and the contemptuous relationship between the FBI and the Islamic community today, one could certainly expect the litany of rhetorical responses that condemn the FBI and charge the Federal government with conducting a “witch hunt” and character assassination campaign in order to legitimize the murder of yet another outspoken African-American Muslim leader.
Hidden in the rhetoric however is a fallacy that is all too familiar to those who have experienced first-hand what it is like to be black, poor, and Muslim in the ghettoes of America. Webster defines rhetoric as “the art of speaking or writing effectively”. It defines fallacy as “a false or mistaken idea; an often plausible argument using false or invalid inference” For far too long, African-Americans have been duped by charismatic leaders who feed them an endless supply of excuses wrapped in fallacious rhetoric. Consequentially African-Americans tend to see themselves as victims while never considering the dignity behind taking responsibility for one’s own actions.
While it is indeed understandable when emotion clouds the judgment of the bereaved or when the inexperience youth inclines towards ill-conceived actions. However there are those who should know better than to respond to issues concerning our community with so much partisan rhetoric, with so little regard for truth or for the lessons that should be extracted for the benefit of Muslims who are increasingly coming under the scrutiny and hegemony of the FBI
We must ask those who continue to advanced these half-baked opinions. Have they taken part of Allah’s Book and ignored the other parts?
"O you who believe! Stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even though it be against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, be he rich or poor, Allah is a better Protector to both (than you). So follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest you may avoid justice, and if you distort your witness or refuse to give it, verily, Allah is Ever Well-Acquainted with what you do" (al-Quran 4:135).
One thing that is for sure and should be cause for a full impartial investigation is the fact that a human being who was wanted for criminal acts that did not carry the death penalty, died as a result of being shot 18 times by FBI agents. Is this another case where the FBI acted as judge, jury, and executioner? Insha’llah, the ballistics tests will prove that they did…that what these agents committed was over kill...that there was never an imminent threat to their lives and that the situation did not warrant the use of the kind of deadly force that was obviously employed.
One other thing is the way the Zionist media is spinning the terrorist angle as if it had anything to do with the case. FBI records indicate that neither Imam Luqman nor his associates had any plans to commit acts of terror. The charges brought were all criminal charges. Had there been any credible evidence of a terror plot, by mandate, the FBI would’ve had to call in other agencies. But this was not the case. Therefore the US Muslim leaders and Muslim journalists should make every effort to combat the associating Imam Luqman or his followers with terrorism or being part of some terrorist plot.
That being said let us look at one of the fallacies that is circulating.
Imam Luqman was “murdered in order to intimidate African-American Muslims” – What exactly is it that Imam Luqman was doing or what is any other African-American Muslim community doing that is so threatening to the US Government? From my vantage point, when you look at the lack of fully-functional accredited schools, lack of youth activity centers, extremely high divorce rate, a growing teenage out of wedlock pregnancy rate, poorly maintained and administered masajid and Islamic centers and a lack of respect for or application of shura baynahum, I’d say these communities were in pretty bad shape. Certainly they pose no threat to the US Government. The overwhelmingly majority of African-American Muslims are not selling and distributing illegal guns, fencing stolen merchandise like laptops, big screen televisions, fur coats, or cigarettes. They aren’t training to wage a jihad to overthrow the government or establish shariah in their own neighborhoods either. Whether they are indeed true or not…these are the sorts of threats and criminal activities that the FBI is attributing to Imam Luqman in their warrant. Now unless folks are behaving in this way, they have no reason to be fear the FBI. To say that intimidation of the masses of African-Americans was the modus operandi is to place far too much significance on a small group of believers who albeit sincere in what they were doing, was unable to have any measurable amount of influence on the greater African-American Islamic community of Detroit.
When will these self-appointed leaders and spokespersons for the African American Muslims have the courage of a Bill Cosby who spoke to his people what they needed to hear not what they wanted to hear and had grown accustomed to hearing? We can ill afford to continue to have our growth potential stunted by the rhetoric that makes us feel like we “down for the cause/movement” yet doesn’t inspire us to the greatness that Allah has bestowed upon us nor prepares us for our mission as inheritors of the earth.
"You (Muslims) are the best Ummah sent out to mankind, to encourage righteousness and to forbid the harmful, and to have complete faith in Allah…"(al-Qu’ran 3:110)
Why not take this 45 page document and dissect it. Sit down with the youth and show them how shaitan comes to them….how the idle mind becomes the workshop of the devil and how waaswaasil can have you doing all sorts of haraam acts and looking for evidences to justify them…show them the tricks that the FBI uses to entrap them at their most desperate and weakened state.
Inform the youth that while brotherhood is obligatory in Islam it doesn’t mean that we are permitted to condone our brothers’ wrongdoing. This would be haraam. Instead, we have clearly been commanded to stand up for justice, no matter who has done wrong.
The Prophet (saws) also spoke on this issue:
Sahih Bukhari Book 43 No. 624 - Narrated Anas: Allah's Apostle said, "Help your brother, whether he is an oppressor or he is an oppressed one. People asked, "O Allah's Apostle! It is all right to help him if he is oppressed, but how should we help him if he is an oppressor?" The Prophet said, "By preventing him from oppressing others."
There have been brothers like myself who have found camaraderie and a strong sense of brotherhood amongst sincere brothers but had to part ways because of irreconcilable differences or perspectives on al-Islam and how it should be implemented in our personal lives and in our dealings with our neighbors and the general society. We have seen how the stealing of vehicles and changing VIN tags, the breaking into homes, robbing of businesses, etc. is justified by misinterpretation of Quran and ahadith. When I was publishing my newspaper “al-Bayan” one highly-placed “amir” came to me suggesting that we rob a bank to get the money to distribute the newspaper nationally. On another occasion the same individual overheard me saying that I was going to get rid of riba by returning my car into the finance company and offered to “get rid” of it for me so I could report it stolen and collect the insurance money. While I know for a fact that similar unscrupulous activities can be found in other Muslim communities, especially amongst business owners, communities where over half the believers are on parole or have criminal backgrounds, tend to be easier targets for FBI agent provocateur activities and entrapment schemes.
In closing, as I read this FBI report of what was a 3 year long physical and electronic surveillance and investigation of the alleged activities of Imam Luqman and some of his closest associates (some of whom I know personally), I wanted to believe that it was all a bunch of lies. But experience tells me that much of it is probably true. My heart goes out to the youth of this community who have grown up in a sub-culture that doesn’t afford them the opportunities that their counterparts in the suburban masajid have. If I had one wish for them it would be that a group of local Muslim professionals and business owners could set up an education fund to benefit the youth of Masjid ul-Haqq. This fund should enroll them in area Islamic schools and provide transportation. Perhaps there they will receive the kind of message that I gave to my middle and high school boys in morning assembly the day after the shooting of Imam Luqman:
"If a person comes to you trying to involve you in any criminal activity consider that person an agent of Shaitan and possibly even the FBI or CIA . It doesn't matter how pious the person may appear to be..consider him/her an agent that should be avoided.
Your purpose in life is to worship Allaah and your taqleed (blind allegiance) is to Him and Him alone. Your duty and mission as Muslims in America is to be the best model citizens who make positive contributions to the society and act as its moral compass through ethical, exemplary behavior and in your unwavering and impartial advocating of peace, justice, and equality, not only for Americans but for all citizens of the world."
If that is “American Islam”….then as long as we’re here we need a lot more of it.