Other Group

Al-Ummah

Type:

Muslim Activist Group

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Al-Ummah is a Muslim activist group which was led by H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil al-Amin after converting to Islam in the 1970s. The movement has multiple branches in the United States and the Caribbean, and some sources estimate 10,000 followers at one point. A criminal complaint asserted that al-Ummah is a fundamentalist terrorist group and that the organization’s goal is to create an independent Islamic state within U.S. borders. 1

Background

The term “al-Ummah” means “nation” in Arabic; many Islamic congregations include Ummah in their name to associate themselves with the worldwide Muslim population. 2 The Washington Post reported during founder Jamal al-Amin’s 2002 trial for murdering police officers that the group was credited with improving a downtrodden part of Atlanta, Georgia. 3

Luqman Ameen Abdullah

One mosque associated with al-Ummah is Masjid Al-Haqq in Detroit. Luqman Ameen Abdullah was a Muslim cleric who lived at Masjid Al-Haqq with his family and conducted religious services, as well as weapons and combat training for jihadists. Abdullah has spoken repeatedly against the U.S. government and encouraged violence against law enforcement. These talks also included Abdullah’s encouraging of violent methods to achieve an Islamist society and the denouncement of the American government. 4 In August 2008, Abdullah told his followers that the U.S. government needed to be “taken out,” that revolution was necessary, and there was no such thing as a non-violent revolution. 5

When his group was evicted from the mosque in January 2009, authorities recovered an assortment of weapons from the property, as well as a shooting range. 6 A four-year FBI probe into Abdullah started after a former member of his mosque had shot two Detroit police officers in 2006. 7

In October 2009 Abdullah, then 53, was killed by FBI agents in Dearborn, Michigan in the course of being arrested on suspicion of financial and other crimes. 8 His associates were arrested shortly thereafter, including three who fled across the U.S.-Canada border, faced charges on conspiracy to receive and sell goods that the defendants believed were stolen from interstate shipments, conspiracy to commit mail fraud through an insurance scam involving arson, providing firearms to a known convicted felon, and tampering with motor vehicle identification numbers to further the theft of a vehicle. 9 10

When Abdullah was killed, multiple Muslim organizations came to his defense and called for an investigation into government actions. The Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA) denied that Abdullah was capable of resisting arrest, breaking the law, or calling for jihad against the American government. 11 The American Muslim Task Force on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT) called for an investigation into the shooting. AMT is an umbrella organization including major Muslim groups like the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and American Muslims for Palestine. The NAACP, citing the medical examiner’s comments on the number of shots fired and the support of then-U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), also called for a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation. 12

In response to this outcry, the DOJ Civil Rights Division conducted an investigation of the shooting and the FBI’s actions leading up to it, and found that no civil rights violation occurred. 13 In addition, the Michigan Attorney General and Dearborn Police concluded that the shooting was justified. 14

Leadership

al-Ummah’s nebulous nature means that leadership is not publicly known. The organization does not have an IRS Form 990 or a website. Its best-known leader was H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil al-Amin, who was a radical activist in the 1960s and 1970s. He has served multiple sentences for violent crimes, including the shooting death of one police officer and the wounding of another for which he is serving life in prison. Al-Amin claims that his constitutional rights were violated during his trial. 15

References

  1. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  2. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  3. Associated Press. “Death Penalty Sought for Al-Amin.” Washington Post. March 11, 2002. Accessed June 10, 2024. https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2002/03/12/death-penalty-sought-for-al-amin/fb20aa5c-12cb-461d-8f75-fb4cc318df11/
  4. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  5. USA v. Luqman Ameen Abdullah, et al., 2:09-MJ-30436, “Criminal Complaint,” (D. Mich. October 27, 2009).
  6. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  7. Niraj Warikoo. “FBI’s killing of Detroit Muslim leader 10 years ago haunts communities.” Detroit Free Press. October 29, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/10/28/ten-years-fbi-imam-luqman-abdullah-death-dearborn/2451750001/
  8. “NAACP Supports the Investigation into the Shooting Death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah.” NAACP. 2010. Accessed June 7, 2024. https://naacp.org/resources/naacp-supports-investigation-shooting-death-imam-luqman-ameen-abdullah
  9. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  10. “Eleven Members/Associates of Ummah Charged with Federal Violations.” FBI, April 28, 2011. https://archives.fbi.gov/archives/detroit/press-releases/2009/de102809.htm.
  11. Daveed Gartenstein-Ross. “The Shooting of Luqman Abdullah.” Foundation for Defense of Democracies. November 18, 2009. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2009/11/18/the-shooting-of-luqman-abdullah/
  12. “NAACP Supports the Investigation into the Shooting Death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah.” NAACP. 2010. Accessed June 7, 2024. https://naacp.org/resources/naacp-supports-investigation-shooting-death-imam-luqman-ameen-abdullah
  13. “Justice Department Concludes No Federal Criminal Violation in the Death of Imam Abdullah in Dearborn.” U.S. Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs. October 13, 2010. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-concludes-no-federal-criminal-violation-death-imam-abdullah-dearborn
  14. Niraj Warikoo. “FBI’s killing of Detroit Muslim leader 10 years ago haunts communities.” Detroit Free Press. October 29, 2019. Accessed June 6, 2024. https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2019/10/28/ten-years-fbi-imam-luqman-abdullah-death-dearborn/2451750001/
  15. Associated Press. “Supreme Court declines H. Rap Brown case.” April 6, 2020. Accessed June 10, 2024. https://apnews.com/article/374b6a0d6ccc456d974eadaa8f11ed66
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