An FBI raid on a Detroit warehouse on Wednesday ended in a shootout and the death of radical black muslim separatist leader Lugman Ameen Abdullah. Abdullah was the leader of a Sunni fundamentalist groups called Masjid Al-Haqq which follows the teachings of jailed black nationalist and former Black Panther Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) and seeks to create an Islamic state under sharia law inside the United States.
The raid was not related to terrorist activity, but focused on a variety of more mundane crimes, including arson, fraud, hijacking, vehicle theft and illegal weapons possession by felons. The membership of the gang-like congregation of Abdullah’s mosque fits a now-familiar pattern, consisting largely of ex-convicts converted to Islam in prison.
Ten members of the group were charged in the warrants executed in the raid by the Joint Terrorism Task Force, and while most cooperated with FBI agents and surrendered, Abdullah opened fire on the federal agents and several of the suspects fled during the gunfight.
Although this raid was only related to conventional crimes, the FBI has been gathering evidence of possible terrorist actions by the group, based on Abdullah’s stated intention to commit mass acts of violence and to carry on an “offensive jihad.”
Many in the Detroit muslim community disagree with the FBI’s view of Abdullah and his followers. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations described Abdullah as “charitable” and said that he “would open up the mosque to homeless people…I knew nothing of him that was related to any nefarious or criminal behavior.”
Although the FBI had expected more resistence from other members of the group, no one but Abdullah fought back. Six suspects were arrested, and one of the three who escaped was arrested in Canada on Thursday. Two remain at large.
FBI reports on the group contain transcripts of extensive diatribes by Abdullah condemning American society. An affadavit reports that he said “We are going to have to fight against the Kafir. They are smashing the Muslims all over the world and then we sit here like everything is all right.”