The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has received significant attention for its links to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. But the Islamist group has received less notice for its ties to a violent, domestic jihadist group called the “Ummah.”
CAIR’s support for Ummah, a group known for its paramilitary and criminal activity, comes in the form of staunch political support, as well as direct links through CAIR’s Michigan branch and a CAIR-tied mosque in Canada.
CAIR recently promoted an event being held on the 10th anniversary of the death of senior Ummah official Imam Luqman Abdullah in Michigan. CAIR-Michigan Director Dawud Walid was the moderator of the event.
Walid has been a staunch supporter and long-time comrade of Abdullah since Abdullah’s days in Detroit.
In 2009, the FBI killed Abdullah when he failed to comply with verbal instructions by agents and instead opened fire on them, killing a police dog in the process.
The criminal complaint warranting the arrest of Abdullah and his accomplices was solid. First was the evidence that had been building against Abdullah — advocating suicide bombing and killing police in public sermons, information from multiple credible informants and covert recordings of Abdullah himself.
However, even though the FBI had plenty of evidence to arrest Abdullah on various charges, the bureau was motivated to act at the time due to strong indications that he was preparing a terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
CAIR-Michigan Director’s Ties to Abdullah and Ummah
On September 11, 2019, Walid posted an advertisement on Facebook about his event marking the anniversary of Abdullah’s death. There he wrote:
“We will mark 10 years since the tragedy of Imam Luqman killing by the FBI next month at The Muslim Center in Detroit.
“There hasn’t been too many days that since then when I haven’t thought of him. We traveled together to NAIF [North American Imams Federation] conferences out of state and shared hotel rooms. He gave me encouragement and advice about work. I saw him scramble up money to feed many people from his own pocket despite having extremely limited resources.
“His homicide by far has been to this day the most important issue I have worked on since I have been involved in anti-Islamophobia work as well as law enforcement accountable work. He was mazlum [victimized] without a doubt.”
Who was Imam Luqman Abdullah?
Abdullah justified suicide bombings, abused children at his mosque and advocated support for “Sheikh Osama Bin Laden” (his words), the Taliban and Hezbollah.
He was obsessed with killing members of law enforcement and longed for the day when there’d be a jihadist uprising on American soil, going so far as to arm and train felons for war.
Abdullah “call[ed] his followers to an offensive jihad, rather than a defensive jihad,” the complaint accurately stated.
His advocacy of violence against law enforcement likely influenced a former member of his congregation to shoot two police officers in Detroit in 2006.
The FBI describes Abdullah’s group Ummah as a “nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group.”
The bureau said in a criminal complaint:
“Their primary mission is to establish a separate, sovereign Islamic state (“The Ummah”) within the borders of the United States, governed by Shariah law. The Ummah is to be ruled over by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rapp Brown.”
As Clarion Project reported in our July 2019 expose of Ummah, the organization doesn’t stay within the realms of legality or put much effort into portraying itself as “moderate,” as CAIR and other Islamist groups tend to do.
Ummah’s extremism is on public display. Ummah’s modus operandi includes preparing for war, calling for Muslims to support terrorists, urging violence against law enforcement, radicalizing children and even physically abusing of children.
CAIR’s Support for Ummah
After Abdullha’s death, CAIR immediately characterizing Abdullah as an enlightened, charitable imam slandered by a U.S. government motivated by bigotry. They turned him into a martyr for civil rights.
CAIR’s National Litigation and Civil Rights Director and former Legal Director for CAIR-Michigan, Lena Masri, helped Abdullah’s family file a lawsuit against the U.S. government.
Dawud Walid, executive-director of CAIR’s Michigan chapter, took a prominent role in bashing the FBI agents who killed Abdullah in self-defense.
Walid describes the actions taken by law enforcement as “nothing less than a cover-up and a fraud engineered on the part of the government.”
He claims there’s been a “methodical effort by law enforcement to suppress evidence that would have implicated their wrongdoing.”
Muslims in Michigan were taken aback by CAIR’s response to the death of Abdullah, as his extremism was barely hidden.
The Islamic Center of America’s response to his death was to characterize Abdullah on the same level as a KKK leader. When some Muslims said they would no longer donate to CAIR, Walid pointed to their Arab background and accused them of being racist towards black Muslims.
CAIR’s wild accusations against the U.S. government reflected CAIR’s own conspiracy-prone Islamist orientation that automatically assumes every counter-terrorism action is part of the West’s war on Islam and minorities.
Yet, CAIR and Walid continue to spew the same claims as if they haven’t been addressed.
Why is CAIR so loyal to Umma?
Why is CAIR so loyal to Abdullah and Ummah—to the extent that CAIR-Michigan was willing to sacrifice its own popularity among Muslims for the cause?
The U.S. government’s responses to the concerns and evidence against Abdullah failed to make a dent in CAIR’s anti-police propaganda because CAIR’s concern about what happened to Abdullah was rooted in ideological camaraderie, not an objective analysis of the case.
To this day, a Google search of news reports fails to turn up a single condemnation of Abdullah and Ummah by CAIR for any of their activites.
In addition to a common demonization of the U.S. government, there are more substantive links between CAIR and Ummah that may explain CAIR’s self-injurious devotion to Abdullah and his extremist group.
CAIR Mosque in Canada Linked to Ummah
Imam Luqman Abdullah told an associate that the majority of Ummah’s funding was coming through Canada — a fact that only disclosed to his innermost circle.
This was because there was something about this information that was very incriminating.
One of Abdullah’s indicted accomplices was his oldest son, Mujahid Carswell (also known as Mujahid Abdullah).
Carswell moved back and forth between the U.S. and Canada while trafficking in stolen goods like laptops and fur coats. He also sold cocaine.
In February 2009, Carswell told an associate that he had moved to Windsor, Canada. He also said that Ummah had low-level sources in law enforcement who would help them by looking up license plates for them.
Here’s what else the complaint had to say about Carswell:
“He has no prior felony convictions. He is known to carry a .40 caliber handgun and to be a member of the Sutra team at the mosque…[Source] has observed Mujahid Carswell ‘training’ children as young as 7 years old in martial arts, and beating them with his hands and with a stick to instill bravery and obedience in them.
Mujahid Carswell has expressed a willingness to participate in firearms training with [source] on multiple occasions. [Source] related having seen Mujahid Carswell use toilet bowl cleaner to clean up blood in the basement of the Masjid Al-Haqq following a murder [source] witnessed there.”
In describing Ummah’s Detroit mosque to an associate, Carswell said that members had different roles. One of them was to be the “butcher” who may need to murder someone without anyone knowing about it.
According to the complaint:
“Carswell said he goes to a large masjid in Windsor and the people there are serious and organized. The mosque is also affiliated with CAIR. Carswell said he trains approximately sixty children, ages 8 to 18, in martial arts at the mosque.”
The Justice Department made a deliberate point of mentioning this link to CAIR. There was no requirement to do so. The prosecutors obviously believed there was something significant about this link between CAIR and some of Ummah’s most concerning activity.
Walid’s admitted ties to Abdullah make it very hard to believe he was unaware of Abdullah and Ummah’s extremism, hate speech, criminal operations and penchant for violence.
“I knew him [Abdullah] for a long time and he was an essential part of that West Side Detroit community,” Walid said, defending Abdullah.
It is difficult to believe that Abdullah would be so close to Walid if he had any doubts that Walid didn’t support his agenda and those of Ummah.
CAIR’s friendship with Ummah’s network cracks its “moderate” veneer. The fact that Ummah’s egregious history is not a disqualifier for CAIR reveals a lot about the true nature of CAIR’s ideology.
You’d think that anyone guilty of a fraction of that hate speech associated with Ummah would be too toxic for any influential organization or activist to support in our day and age.
However, that would be overestimating the ethics of CAIR, an organization which apparently believes there’s no Islamist extremist unworthy of a whitewashing.