Sunday, November 22, 2009

Groups seek investigation of FBI killing of Imam

Groups seek investigation of FBI killing of Imam

By Diane Bukowski
Michigan Citizen

SOUTHFIELD­A group of organizations is calling on the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) Civil Rights Division to investigate the killing of Imam Luqman Abdullah by an FBI joint terrorism task force which included Detroit and Dearborn police.

Imam Abdullah, leader of the Musjid Al-Haqq mosque on Detroit’s near west side, was shot 18 times during a raid on a warehouse and trucking facility in Dearborn.

“Now that some of those who were arrested at the scene have been released on bond, we have been hearing third party versions of what happened there,” said Imam Dawud Walid, director of the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Walid is also assistant Imam at the Masjid Wali Muhammad mosque on Linwood, the oldest African-American Muslim mosque in Detroit, which celebrated the 50th anniversary at that location in October.

“Was Imam Abdullah forced to pull a gun on the dogs that were attacking him?” asked Walid. “Was he lying down when he was shot? Did the FBI agents say “sic em” to the dogs?”

An FBI canine was shot and killed during the raid, and airlifted to a hospital. The FBI later held a memorial service for the dog.

CAIR attorney Lena Masri said, “We are concerned about the serious nature of a religious cleric being killed by 18 gunshots. This is outside the auspices of the FBI. We do not trust their methods and actions.”

Leaders of CAIR, the Michigan ACLU, the Congress of Arab-American Organizations, the Detroit Coalition against Police Brutality, Inc., the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice (MECAWI), and the National Lawyers Guild sent a letter to DOJ civil rights division head Chief Mark Kappelhoff Nov. 16.

The letter additionally asked Kappelhoff to investigate, “Whether Imam Luqman Abdullah surrendered before the FBI canine was unleashed to attack him, whether [he] suffered bodily injuries as a result of the attack by the FBI canine, whether [he] shot the FBI canine as an act of self-defense, whether [he] shot any FBI agents exluding the FBI K-9 . . . whether excessive use of deadly force was employed by the federal agents [and] whether Imam Luqman Abdullah was dead at the time he was handcuffed.”

The FBI has said that none of their human agents were injured during the raid. The Wayne County Morgue has yet to release results of the Imam’s autopsy. A Freedom of Information Act officer there said they would let the Michigan Citizen know by Nov. 24 whether the results, which are public record, would be released.

Walid said their alliance has already discussed the matter with U.S. Congressman John Conyers, head of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and will refer their request for an investigation to him if Kappelhoff takes no action.

Mike Kelly, of the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, said, “CAIR is acting in the interest of the security of us all. A transparent review of the enforcement of the law is altogether appropriate. Ever since 9/11, the Muslim community has been wrongly stereotyped, and African Americans have always been treated as if they are not integral to the life of our nation.”

Leaders of the groups said they have all requested to meet with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Thurs. Nov. 19, when he attends a banquet sponsored by ALPACT (The Advocates and Leaders for Police and Community Trust). The event is being co-chaired by Andrew Agenda, head of the Detroit FBI who was ultimately responsible for the raid Masjid Al-Haqq Mosque members.

MECAWI called for a demonstration outside the banquet, to be held at the Renaissance Marriott. A flyer promoting the demonstration declares in large bold type, “WE DON’T DINE WITH FBI KILLERS!”

Another organization, the New York-based International Action Center, has condemned recent seizures of Muslim mosques and other assets of the Alavi Foundation in the U.S. by the federal government.

“[We] denounce attempts by the U.S. Government to seize four Muslim houses of worship built with funds from the Alavi Foundation. The claims that this foundation was somehow involved in funding an Iranian nuclear program are as false as previous claims from Washington about alleged weapons of mass destruction in Iran and Iraq,” said the Action Center in a release.

“Attempts to seize the assets of the Alavi Foundation, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 charity that works to promote interfaith dialogue and to teach Islamic culture, Persian language and literature, is just the latest act in an ongoing campaign of demonization, disinformation, sanctions, and threats targeting the people of Iran. It is no coincidence that on the same day that the U.S. government unleashed its attacks on the mosques, the White House renewed the long-standing U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, once again using false claims about “weapons of mass destruction.

“This attack is a clear violation of the basic human rights to assemble and worship, just two weeks after FBI agents gunned down Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah in Detroit. It is part of an escalating number of political attacks, legal frame-ups and media slanders against Muslim people.”

No comments: