DETROIT — Federal authorities on Wednesday arrested several members of a radical Sunni Islam group in the U.S., killing one of its leaders at a shootout in a Michigan warehouse, the U.S. attorney’s office said.
Agents were trying to arrest Luqman Ameen Abdullah, 53, at a Dearborn warehouse on charges that included conspiracy to sell stolen goods and illegal possession and sale of firearms. Authorities also conducted raids elsewhere to try to round up 10 followers named in a federal complaint.
Abdullah refused to surrender, fired a weapon and was killed by gunfire from agents, FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold said.
In the 43-paged complaint unsealed Wednesday, the FBI said Abdullah, also known as Christopher Thomas, was an imam, or prayer leader, of a radical group named Ummah whose primary mission is to establish an Islamic state within the United States.
No one was charged with terrorism. But Abdullah was “advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States,” FBI agent Gary Leone said in an affidavit.
He told them it was their “duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die,” Leone said.
Abdullah regularly preached anti-government rhetoric and was trained, along with his followers, in the use of firearms, martial arts and swords, the agent said.
Leone said members of the national group mostly are black and some converted to Islam while in prisons across the United States.
“Abdullah preaches that every Muslim should have a weapon, and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed,” Leone wrote.
Seven of the 10 people charged with Abdullah were in custody, including a state prison inmate, the U.S. attorney’s office said. Three were still at large. Another man not named in the complaint also was arrested.
The group believes that a separate Islamic state in the U.S. would be controlled by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a life sentence in a federal prison in Colorado for shooting two police officers in Georgia in 2000, Leone said. 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.”
Islam is the common denominator, regardless of origin.
There’s a lot of domestic counter-terrorism going on lately.
2 Chicago Men Charged in Terror Plot Over Muhammad Cartoons
You’d be surprised at the number of terrorist cells and compounds allowed in the United States.