5 Men Arraigned In FBI Terror Case

Men Arrested During Series Of Raids in Dearborn, Detroit

POSTED: Thursday, November 12, 2009
UPDATED: 3:37 pm EST November 12, 2009

DETROIT — Five men who were arrested in connection with conspiracy to sell stolen goods and being followers of a radical Imam who was killed during FBI raids were formally charged in federal court Thursday.

Muhammad Abdul Salaam, Mujahid Carswell, Abdullah Beard, Adam Hussain Ibraheem and Garry Laverne Porter all either stood mute or entered not guilty pleas on federal charges ranging from illegal possession and sale of firearms, arson, theft from interstate shipments and tampering with vehicle identification numbers.

Download: Mich. Terror Legal Complaint #1
Download: Mich. Terror Legal Complaint #2

The men, except for Carswell, were arrested during a series of FBI Raids on Oct. 29. Several other men, who did not appear in court Thursday were also arrested.

After a two-year investigation, the FBI raided three locations in Detroit and in Dearborn and arrested several people suspected to have ties to a group called the Ummah, which translates to “the brotherhood.”

During the raid in Dearborn, Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, aka Christopher Thomas, was killed in crossfire with the FBI.

Ummah’s primary mission is to establish a separate sovereign Islamic state governed by Sunni law, according to FBI charging documents. Abdullah called his followers to an offensive jihad, rather than a defensive jihad, according to the FBI.

FBI charging documents also said the group was financing its version of Islam by fencing stolen goods and that their leader, was interested in killing federal agents and making a bomb.

Carswell is Abdullah’s son. He was arrested a few days after the raids in Canada. He was the only man who was already out on bond.

The rest of the men will remain in police custody until they apply for bond.

Local 4 has learned Porter, 59, is a convicted felon and a current teacher at A.L. Holmes Elementary School in Detroit.

Deeper Look At Ummah

The group consists primarily of African-Americans who converted to Islam while serving sentences in various prisons around the county.

Watch: Ummah: Who Are They?

The nationwide leader is believed to be Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rapp Brown. He is currently serving a life sentence in prison for the murder of two police officers in Georgia.

Al-Amin, a veteran of the black power movement, started the group after he converted to Islam in prison.

“They’re not taking their cues from overseas,” said Jimmy Jones, a professor of world religions at Manhattanville College and a longtime Muslim prison chaplain. “This group is very much American born and bred.”

The FBI built its case over two years with the help of confidential sources close to Abdullah who recorded conversations and participated in undercover operations involving the sale of furs, laptop computers, televisions, energy drinks and power tools.

Abdullah received at least 20 percent of any profit and claimed the “Prophet Muhammad said that it is okay to participate in theft; as long as that person prays, they are in a good state,” stated an affidavit.

The FBI complaint described Abdullah as an extremist who believed the FBI bombed New York’s World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City federal building two years later.

The group preaches violence against law enforcement officials and has trained members of the Ummah inside of a mosque located on Joy Road on how to use firearms, martial arts, sword fighting and other types of self-defense in anticipation of government violence, according to the FBI.

Undercover agents in the organization have told the FBI that Abdullah used to discipline its members starting at an early age by beating them with sticks on their hands, knees and legs, and that once he beat a boy so badly that the child was unable to walk for several days.

Abdullah was spiritual leader at the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit until the group was evicted for not paying taxes. When the group left that location, a search turned up empty shell casings, and large holes in the concrete walls, which were used as shooting ranges.

The group moved to a location on Clairmount Street in Detroit and put up a sign in front of the building Wednesday evening notifying the members to meet in another location.

In October 2008, a source the FBI called “credible” recorded statements by Abdullah at a mosque during prayer where he said that Muslims need to cut ties with Christians, Jews, and Kuffars, which the FBI said means all non-Muslims.

“Obama is a Kafir. McCain is a Kafir, all the rest of them Kuffars, are Kuffars…. The worst Muslim is better than the best Kafir,” said FBI documents.

Dawud Walld, executive director of the Michigan Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the FBI paints a very different picture of the Abdullah that he knew.

“He was known by thousands of Muslims in Metro Detroit. He was very well-respected amongst his piers and other Imams,” said Walld.

Walld said Abdullah used to open the mosque to homeless people and he would hold regular soup kitchens.

“They’re altering his legacy and someone needs to speak out about it and the good things he has done,” said the defendant’s brother Juhadel Jihad. “They killed a great man. He shouldn’t be labeled anything than that. He was a God fearing man who prayed five times a day and gave to charity.”

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Copyright 2009 by ClickOnDetroit.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Muslim Coalition Calls for Probe Into FBI Shooting Death of Mich. Muslim

Fri Oct 30, 2009 4:42pm EDT
American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections asks FBI not to link
case to Islam

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The American Muslim Taskforce
on Civil Rights and Elections (AMT), a coalition of major national Islamic
organizations, is calling for an independent investigation into the death of
Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was shot and killed by the FBI on Wednesday in
Detroit during raids in which a number of individuals were arrested on charges
unrelated to terrorism.

AMT is also calling on the FBI not to link the raids or the allegations
against the suspects to the Islamic faith.

In a statement, the Muslim coalition said:

“It is imperative that an independent investigation of Imam Luqman Ameen
Abdullah’s death make public the exact circumstances in which he died. And
unless the FBI has evidence linking the criminal allegations to the religious
affiliation of the suspects, we ask that federal authorities stop injecting
religion into this case. The unjustified linkage of this case to the faith
Islam will only serve to promote an increase in existing anti-Muslim
stereotyping and bias in our society.”

AMT is also urging the Congressional Tri-Caucus (Black, Latino, and Asian) to
call for a judicial inquiry.

In keeping with its charter, AMT works for civil rights of all Americans and
plans to hold a series of meetings across the United States, culminating in a
civil rights summit in Washington, D.C., to address growing civil and human
rights concerns of seven to eight million American Muslims.

AMT is an umbrella organization that includes American Muslim Alliance (AMA),
American Muslims for Palestine (AMP), Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR), Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA), Muslim Alliance in North
America (MANA), MAS-Freedom, Muslim Student Association-National (MSA-N),
Muslim Ummah of North America (MUNA), and United Muslims of America (UMA). Its
observer organizations include American Muslims for Civic Engagement (AMCE),
Islamic Educational Council of Orange County (IECOC), the Islamic Society of
North America (ISNA), and Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC).

SOURCE  American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections

AMT Chair Dr. Agha Saeed, +1-510-299-9313, aghaksaeed@yahoo.com

Feds move to seize N.Y. skyscraper, 4 mosques

Prosecutors say building owners helping to illegally funnel money to Iran

BREAKING NEWS

updated 5 minutes ago
Nov 12, 2009 5:00p-cst

NEW YORK – Federal prosecutors on Thursday took steps to seize four U.S. mosques and a New York City skyscraper owned by a nonprofit Muslim organization.

The organization — called the Alavi Foundation — has long been suspected of being under Iranian government control. Prosecutors say the foundation has been helping to illegally funnel money back to the Iranian government.

The government filed a forfeiture action in federal court in New York to seize four mosques in the city and in Maryland, California and Houston. The government also wants to take control of a 36-story office tower on New York’s Fifth Avenue.

The filing starts what could be a drawn-out legal process.

The action against the Shiite Muslim mosques is sure to inflame relations between the U.S. government and American Muslims. Many of them are fearful of a backlash after last week’s Fort Hood shooting rampage, blamed on a Muslim American soldier.

The mosques and the office tower will remain open while the forfeiture case works its way through court.

Check back for more details on this developing story.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
 
Alavi Foundation Is Iran Front, U.S. Says in Lawsuit (Update1)

By David Glovin

Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) — The Alavi Foundation, part owner of a 36-story New York office tower, is a front for the government of Iran, the U.S. government alleged in a lawsuit seeking to seize the building.

The U.S. today filed a new complaint in the 2008 lawsuit. The original case, which sought to seize the interest in the building held by ASSA Co., a company based in the U.K.’s Channel Islands, claimed the Iranian government’s Bank Melli co-owned the building through ASSA.

The new complaint seeks to seize the Alavi Foundation’s interest in 650 Fifth Avenue as well, along with accounts and property the Alavi Foundation owns in New York, Maryland, Virginia, Texas and California.

“The Alavi Foundation has effectively been a front for the government of Iran,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement. “For two decades, the Alavi Foundation’s affairs have been directed by various Iranian officials, including Iranian ambassadors at the United Nations, in violation of a series of U.S. laws.”

The foundation, which has offices in New York, didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

Last year, the president of the foundation, Farhsid Jahedi, was arrested and accused by U.S. prosecutors of destroying documents. The case is pending. Jahedi denies the charges.

The Alavi Foundation is a successor to one created in the 1970s by the late Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was overthrown as that country’s leader in 1979. The building was constructed in 1979 by the Pahlavi Foundation, a nonprofit group set up by the Shah.

Iran, the world’s second-biggest holder of oil and natural- gas reserves, is subject to various U.S. sanctions over the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Daniel Ruzumna, a lawyer for the Alavi Foundation, didn’t immediately return a call.

The case is U.S. v. All Right, Title and Interest of Assa Corp., 1:08-cv-10934, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

To contact the reporter on this story: David Glovin in New York at dglovin@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: November 12, 2009 17:17 EST