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Slain mosque leader's followers deny FBI claims

A Detroit mosque dismisses as "utterly preposterous" the FBI's allegations that its slain imam was part of a radical Islamic group.
Image: Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit.
This undated photo provided by Muslim Alliance of North America shows Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit. Ron Foster Sharif / AP file
/ Source: The Associated Press

A mosque on Friday dismissed as "utterly preposterous" the FBI's allegations that its slain leader was part of a radical Islamic group.

Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the imam or prayer leader of Masjid Al-Haqq in Detroit, was a "recognized and respected member of numerous mainstream Muslim organizations and leadership bodies," the mosque said.

Abdullah, 53, was fatally shot Wednesday as FBI agents tried to arrest him on several charges, including conspiracy to sell stolen goods. The FBI says he resisted arrest inside a warehouse and fired a gun.

A criminal complaint filed by the government describes Abdullah as a leader of a national radical Sunni group that wants to create an Islamic state within the U.S. The FBI says he had extreme anti-government views and encouraged followers to commit violence.

No terrorism-related charges were brought against any of the 11 people charged in the complaint, including Abdullah.

"The slanderous allegations of his being a national leader of a radical Islamic sect is utterly preposterous. ... These allegations are contrary to what we as a community stand for," the mosque said.

The statement was read by an assistant prayer leader, Mikail Stewart Sandiq, as many members milled outside the mosque after Friday prayers. He declined to answer questions.

'He knew he was wronged'
Abdullah's son, Omar Regan, 34, of Los Angeles said he helped prepare the body for a funeral Saturday. He said his father was shot multiple times, and called the killing "barbaric."

"What's done is done," Regan said, standing across the street from the mosque. "He knew he was wronged. If God calls you home, you can't help but answer."

As for the government's allegations, Regan said "they can hold up a piece of paper but show me you have proof. Where is it?"

FBI spokeswoman Sandra Berchtold declined to comment on how many times Abdullah was shot. She referred questions to police in Dearborn, the Detroit suburb where the shooting took place. A city spokeswoman did not immediately respond to an e-mailed message seeking comment, and the Wayne County medical examiner's office did not immediately respond to phone messages.

Another of Abdullah's sons, Mujahid Carswell, was granted release on bond Friday. U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Donald Scheer granted the release of Carswell, 30, on $100,000 bond and tether. He was arrested Thursday in Windsor, Ontario, and is charged with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.

Two of the 11 people named in the criminal complaint were still at large Friday. At least four men have been ordered held without bond; another is in a Michigan prison.

In Washington, the American Muslim Taskforce on Civil Rights and Elections called for an independent investigation of Abdullah's death.

The group is an umbrella organization whose members include the American Muslim Alliance, American Muslims for Palestine and Council on American-Islamic Relations.