While not taking a contrary stance toward the federal government, it must be said that on more than one occasion federal agencies have reacted with violence toward controversial religious figures/political activists, and then skewed the evidence and/or public opinion to thwart blame. Cases in point: 1969 raid on Black Panthers in Chicago, 1992 raid on Ruby Ridge in Idaho, 1993 Branch Davidian compound in Texas, and the list goes on.
Another point that must be put forth is that Islam has reached into the hearts of many serving sentences in prison, and been a life changing guidance for most. The likelihood of re-offense and recidivism among the incarcerated who emerge as Muslims is very low. In 2003, author J. Michael Waller wrote that fully 80% of all inmates who find faith while in prison embrace Islam, comprising between 17-20% of the prison population. He also claims that the majority of these are African American, and although there is a dangerous undercurrent inherent in incarceration, other experts suggest that when radicalization does occur, it has little to no connection with their conversion inside prison, and more to do with the overall culture of disenfranchisement and social abuse suffered by minorities in the US. This is borne out by the October 12, 2003 US Senate testimony by Paul Rogers, President of the American Correctional Chaplains Association. On top of this, a 2007 Pew Research Center poll states that 72% of all African American Muslims believe that federal anti-terrorism policies unfairly target Muslims and Islam, subjecting them to additional scrutiny and harassment.
This past weekend, about 25 Muslim leaders met with federal agents in Warren, Michigan regarding the shooting death of Imam Abdullah. A handful of these leaders stressed that the raid had nothing to do with enhanced federal scrutiny of Muslims. Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi, the founder of the Islamic House of Wisdom in Dearborn Heights said, “If it happened the way the FBI said, it had nothing to do with Islam and the Muslim community.” After the meeting, they released a statement that read: "We the religious leaders of the Muslim community of southeastern Michigan would like clarification of the sad events surrounding the unfortunate incident. We emphasize that no criminal act be confused with what Islam and Muslims stand for. Our religion stands for justice and we hope that justice will be served. We support the law of the land. We are sorrowed by the loss of life. We pray for the family and for peace."
The following is a press release from Muslim Alliance of North America (MANA) regarding the shooting of Imam Luqman Abdullah by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on October 28, 2009 in Dearborn, Michigan, and a Fatwa on terrorism from the Fiqh Council of North America.
Lexington, KY (10/29/09) - It is with deep sadness and concern that we announce the shooting death of Imam Luqman A. Abdullah, of Masjid Al-Haqq (Detroit, MI). Imam Luqman was a representative of the Detroit Muslim community to the "National Ummah" and the general assembly (Shura) of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).
MANA is committed to the establishment of viable, healthy and dynamic Muslim communities, neighborhoods and institutions that meet the religious, social, economic and political needs of the Muslims in this land. For more information about MANA's programs including SHARE centers, Healthy Marriage Initiative, Community Re-entry Program; as well as the National Campaign for Healing & Reconciliation, visit our website at www.mana-net. org.
1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.
- The Fiqh Council of North America