Sunday, November 01, 2009

We are all responsible for shooting Luqman Abdallah

Yes, I said it, we are all responsible. But before I explain why we are responsible let me share with you my reading of the events.

Fact: The FBI implanted an informant in the group lead by Luqman Abdallah in 2006.

Fact: Luqman Abdallah's group has anti-establishment views as well as an ideology prohibiting Muslim integration in the American society.

Opinion: The FBI is right to have an informant inside such a group. Such an ideology is worrisome to say the least.

Fact: The informant failed to find any evidence that the group was planning or thinking of planning any violent actions. Three years of good intelligence work didn't yield any evidence of terrorism.

Fact: Despite the extreme ideology of the group, they were very well known to offer shelter for the homeless and help the poor.

Opinion: At this point I see no reason for further pursuing such a group by law enforcement. I think that keeping the informant may not be a bad idea but beyond that this is a group with a corrupt ideology and benevolent actions. Law enforcement has no business putting away people because of their ideology. This is the job of the rest of the institutions of the society. The civil society should call such ideologies out and expose the weaknesses of their arguments. This was a job of Muslims like me. However, where were we? We weren't doing our job. We didn't work hard enough to convey the message of Islam as it is, a message of peace, tolerance and integration. These people were living in a very rough part of Detroit and we didn't do anything to help them with poverty, health care, education or at least providing a dignified life. This is the case for everyone, Muslim and non-Muslim, who live in this part of town as well as many parts of Michigan and the US. Many of us enjoy our easy lives and feel comfortable passing judgments over people like Luqman Abdallah for his ideology. This was the point where law enforcement should have stopped and we should have taken over.

Fact: The FBI decided to put away the group anyway and hence they asked their informant to provoke them to engage in criminal activities. The FBI has been successful in other cases to encourage groups to engage in terrorist activities.

Opinion: The FBI failed to move the group to violence despite the availability of firearms, the apparent lack of law and order in Detroit and the extreme ideology of the group. It's my belief that had the FBI been able to provoke Luqman Abdallah's group to engage in violence they would have done it. However, they failed and that's when they resorted to put them away for any other offense. Luqman Abdallah's leadership prevented his group from getting involved in terrorism. His leadership channeled his group's efforts in serving the poor and sheltering the homeless. Yet because of his ideology, the FBI had to put him away. That's what happens when the civil society disappears and the law enforcement takes on roles they were not supposed to play.

Opinion: Selling stolen goods and all other offenses the FBI managed to provoke the group to do are not sanctioned by Islam. Luqman Abdallah was not following Islam, rather his wrong understanding of it, when he got himself involved in such activities.

Fact: At the time of the arrest the FBI dog attacked Luqman Abdallah who defended himself by shooting once at the dog. The agents in return shot Luqman Abdallah 18 times. After that they handcuffed him and sent him by car to the hospital. The dog, however, was airlifted to the hospital.

Opinion: This is straight up racism. Is a black man less than a dog? Is a criminal human being less than a dog? Since when do you handcuff a criminal who needs emergency medical attention? Was it because he was black? Or was it because he was Muslim? Or was it because he was both? Maybe because he was preaching an extreme ideology? Luqman Abdallah had rights that were violated both when he was alive as well as when he was dead.

I believe that the law enforcement should be held accountable. I believe that the policies that lead to the cascade of events should be revised. I also believe that all concerned people should get together to fight extreme ideologies. At the same time all concerned people should get together to ensure that everyone has a dignified life, proper housing, good education and affordable health care.


Chris said...


Hmm...this is very mind're 100% right. I still think that the cops can say they were defending themselves (someone who fires a gun is a threat) but they did set him up. I would make a comparison to Al Capone, who got arrested for tax evasion. He, of course, never got shot at. But you're right, we need to do more as a community to stop this kind of stuff.

Ultimately, it's our responsibilty to help people that grow up in the kind of environments that spawn this kind of non-Islamic thought within Islamic communities, and we shouldn't need the FBI to get involved. Do you know if they will ever post the voice recordings (it states in the FBI report that they have him on tape saying some stuff, if I'm not mistaken) that they say they have? There is a tendency of Muslims to justify any action of another Muslim (of the same sect*) or to deny they did something wrong ("That is against Islam therefore that Muslim didn't do it"...see"9/11") and I think it's necessary to stop this attitude and wake up (and to stop the hypocrisy, such as sunnis condemning shia or vice versa but not sunnis condemning sunnis etc.). I'm sure none of this is new to you but I've never had the chance to write this down.

-Abdallah Burnett

Nancy said...

Do you know of any article or news coverage that mentions the dog airlift/Imam car transport atrocity?

kariman said...

well said ya ayman--may Allah have mercy on the imam's soul.

Ayman said...

Nancy, here's the link:

Abdallah: I have a different perspective on the comparison with Al Capone.
1- Al Capone was known to have been leading organized crime. They couldn't put him away for killing or bribing cops so they found something else. On the other hand, Luqman was not known of any illegal activities. He had an extreme ideology. In this country, hate speech is not a crime.
2- Al Capone committed tax evasion and thus the law enforcement didn't need to entice him to do anything. They put him away for one of the things that he had already done. On the other hand, Luqman might not have gotten involved in these crimes had the informant not facilitated and provoked him and his group to do it.
3- Al Capone's life was protected by the police every step to ensure he gets a fair trial. It would have been easy for the police to create a chaotic situation ending up in shooting and "coincidentally" shooting Al Capone. They knew better than to do that because they knew it would be a high profile case and their actions would be accountable to very high standard. This is because Al Capone was politically powerful. Luqman, on the other hand, had no political power.
The question for us is: Don't we want to hold law enforcement to the highest standard to ensure that we continue to enjoy the freedoms that we all have and America was founded on? Does it matter if we agree with the deceased ideology or not?
It's also an opportunity for introspection as I mentioned in my post.
Kariman, thanks for visiting :)

Wael Hamza said...

It is with tears I love your post Ayman. This wrong ideology that you are talking about and disagreed with (as I do too) was a result of such racist action. And instead of dealing with this ideology intellectually and socially (tryig to heal the cure), this recent action will contribute to it. I really believe that we (All of us not just Muslims or black peopl) should not this go and whoever was responsible for it should be held accountable. Otherwise we are going backward.

Thank you for the post Ayman.

Zarinah said...

ASA Ayman, I thank you for your post. It was very enlightening and thought provoking. I think we all have been thinking about this quite a lot over the past week, and I have mixed feelings because it is never ok to get involved in criminal activities. However, this was clearly a set up by the FBI. We've got a lot of work to do amongst ourselves.

supreem said...

thanks for sharing this post. The FBI really need to stop provoking people into violent action. I'm sorry, we do need homeland security and ensuring the safety of our people, but not at the expense of turning some of our members (both muslim and non) into 'extremists'.
Abdallah- I really like your comment, thanks for sharing as well.

Mrs. Cullen said...

interesting post!