Alleged Muslim radical arrested in Canada
CTV.ca News Staff
Published Thursday, October 29, 2009 4:47PM EDT
Police in Windsor, Ont., have arrested the fugitive son of an Islamic leader who was killed during an FBI raid near Detroit on Wednesday.
Mujahid Carswell, 30, was taken into custody on Thursday as police searched for 11 suspects, three of them from Ontario, who were named in an FBI criminal probe.
Carswell's father, 53-year-old Luqman Ameen Abdullah, was shot dead Thursday during a raid in Dearborn, Mich., after he refused to surrender, and then fired upon federal agents, said FBI spokesperson Sandra Berchtold.
Abdullah was considered the leader of the so-called Ummah group, who are alleged to have conspired to sell stolen property and illegal weapons.
The FBI alleges that Abdullah was the imam of Ummah -- a Black Muslim radical group whose primary mission is to establish an Islamic state within the United States.
But as the case made headlines Thursday, the FBI moved to downplay the connection to Islam, saying that Abdullah and his organization should be considered a fringe group.
"Any Muslim who took a look at what these people believed would not recognize this as the Muslim faith," said Andrew Arena, who heads up the FBI's Detroit bureau.
None of the group members face terrorism charges, though Abdullah was "advocating and encouraging his followers to commit violent acts against the United States," according to an affidavit filed by FBI agent Gary Leone, along with the criminal complaint.
Seven Ummah members listed on the court complaint were arrested during the raids on Wednesday.
Two Ontario men remain at large: Mohammad Alsahi, 33; and Yassir Ali Khan, 30. Both face a single change of conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
In an email, FBI spokesperson Sandra Berchtold told CTV.ca that Carswell lives in Ontario, while Alsahi and Khan are Canadian citizens.
Leone's affidavit identifies Carswell as the oldest son of Abdullah. He lives close to the tunnel border crossing in Windsor. According to an FBI press release, Carswell spends time in Detroit and is also known as Mujahid Abdullah.
Al-Sahli is also known as Mohammad Palestine, and as Mohammad Philistine.
Khan is also a resident of Warren, Mich., just over 20 kilometres north of Detroit. He is described as "an associate" of Al-Sahli.
Background on Abdullah
Wednesday's raids followed a two-year investigation that involved the use of confidential sources who were close to Abdullah.
The court complaint paints a picture of Abdullah -- also known as Christopher Thomas -- as an extremist who believed the FBI had bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Oklahoma City federal building two years later.
Officials have suggested that Abdullah told followers it was their "duty to oppose the FBI and the government and it does not matter if they die" and to "simply shoot a cop in the head" if they wanted the officer's bulletproof vest.
The affidavit also alleged that Abdullah talked about bombs, guns and how to make TNT with his allies.
But Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Michigan chapter, said that Abdullah had a wife and children and was generous to those who came into his church.
"He would open up the mosque to homeless people. He used to run a soup kitchen and feed indigent people," Walid said. "I knew nothing of him that was related to any nefarious or criminal behaviour."
Abdullah's mosque is a brick duplex located in Detroit. It was previously located in a different building, until the previous property was lost due to unpaid taxes.
With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press