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A vigilant, determined community moves on

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Nov 10, 2009 - 8:48:19 AM

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DETROIT, Mich. ( - Muslims recently gathered at Masjid Al-Haqq, a non-descript brick duplex in an economically depressed part of the city for the traditional Islamic Friday congregational prayer called Jum'ah.

Amir Mika'il Stewart Siddiq
‘This man stood up for a cause and was shot down execution style. Where is the justice in that?’
—Amirah Jabril
Followers of the late Imam Abdullah embraced, talked and relied on each other for support and strength—all vowing to continue his work. Rambunctious children ran and played in the back of the mosque, sternly but lovingly told by the elder men in the mosque to keep their voices down—but nothing like the abuse claimed in the FBI's affidavit.

A strong spirit of brotherhood, camaraderie and unity was present, nothing like the toxic atmosphere or heated rhetoric of government overthrow alleged by the FBI. There was no talk of anger, revenge or retaliation Nov. 6, only spiritual guidance and faith to overcome challenges.

A bearded man with a black turban, Amir Mika'il Stewart Saadiq, who had been under Imam Abdullah's tutelage for almost a decade, delivered the khutbah, or sermon.

A tolerant and easy-going man, he told those gathered while it would not be easy, they should not be angry or bitter. Imam Saadiq advised listeners to direct their energy toward continuing the outreach and service for which Imam Abdullah was known. He also told congregants grief counseling would be held later that evening for the children of the mosque emotionally traumatized by recent events.

“Allah is with us,” Mr. Saadiq said. “How are you going to retaliate when they can do whatever they want to do to you anytime they feel like it?” he asked.

Mr. Saadiq added that the Islamic community, as was Imam Abdullah, remains unapologetically supportive of freedom for Imam Jamil al-Amin who is currently serving a life sentence at the Supermax prison located in Florence, Colo. The onetime Black Panther leader known as H. Rap Brown was convicted in 2002 of killing a Georgia sheriff, but his followers still maintain he is innocent.

“Sometimes, religious communities can be naïve. We know Muslims do evil just like Christians do evil, but we believe Imam Jamil al-Amin is innocent of all charges,” said Imam Saadiq.

“Imam Luqman was the heart and soul of the community,” said Akil Fahd, who had become really close to him over the past five years. Pausing several times to collect his thoughts, Mr. Fahd was one of the men who conducted the “ghusl,” the ritual of washing and preparing Imam Abdullah's body for the Janazah prayer prior to his burial at Knollwood Cemetery in Canton. He said the late imam's body was “full of holes” and the religious leader had been shot at least 18 times. Imam Abdullah's family members corroborated Mr. Fahd's account.

Mr. Fahd acknowledged that Imam Abdullah was known to carry a weapon for protection, especially to prevent being robbed on days when a large amount of charity was collected.

“It was protection for his general person, not to be offensive or to attack other people,” said Mr. Fahd.

Mr. Fahd said members of Masjid Al-Haqq are aware of the so-called informants listed in the FBI affidavit. But, he said, the Muslims are not feeding into what they see as a divide and destroy strategy by the government.

“This is part and parcel of the COINTELPRO strategy, to turn brothers against one another and questioning each other's commitments,” said Mr. Fahd. “We are just focusing on the legacy of Imam Luqman Abdullah and the activities that he was a strong advocate of, reaching out to and feeding the poor, trying to assist brothers who are returning home from incarceration, instead of focusing on the intrigues of the government.”

In retrospect however, he did offer some advice for other Muslim organizations to prevent agent infiltration and to identify those who may be working on behalf of government schemes.

“The thing we have to be cognizant of—particular within poor communities—is that they are mainly targeted by individuals who come and appear to have generous resources,” Mr. Fahd said. “They will kind of try to get up under leadership, try to gain the trust of leadership, then (during) the times when the community is in need, they will give the leadership some sort of financial support. They target more of their socialization with leadership.”

In another part of town that same day, Imam Dawud Walid, Michigan's director of the Council on American-Islamic Affairs (CAIR) delivered the Jum'ah sermon at the American Muslim Center in Dearborn, just a few miles away from the location where Imam Abdullah was killed.

His message was drawn from the Islamic book of scripture, Holy Qur'an, chapter 49 and verse 6. Imam Walid said before jumping to conclusions based rumors, media broadcasts or the internet, reflect on the words of Allah: “Oh ye who believe! If a person of questionable character comes to you with news, thoroughly verify it lest you should unknowingly do harm to others and then regret what you have done,” the imam said.

At the nearby Motown Kabob restaurant on Woodward Ave. and Milwaukee, those eating lunch spoke highly of Imam Abdullah and his work, describing how the mosque was open 24-hours a day for anyone to come by and get out of the cold, or ask questions about Islam. If a husband and wife were having problems in the home, instead of allowing conflict to escalate, men would go to the mosque, stay until things cooled off, and then seek to resolve the problem.

Along the route to a nearby coffee shop on Joy Road where Imam Abdullah would get his coffee, storeowners testified of a “good brother” who was always willing to help.

Masood Qayyum, a young man in his 30s, has known Imam Abdullah for 15 years and looked up to him as a mentor.

“It's like, you have to stay strong, and that is the type of energy that he gave—a strong energy— to give you the strength that you need as a man being out here in society and dealing with the things you have to deal with on a daily basis,” said Mr. Qayyum.

Twenty-six-year-old Amirah Jabril knew Imam Abdullah her entire life. He was a family friend and was like an uncle to her.

“He was a wonderful man, he was an influence over so many people. This man stood up for a cause and was shot down execution style. Where is the justice in that?” Ms. Jabril asked. “There is no justice in murder. None. There can never be.”