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DC Imam Spotlighted In Security Guard Case

Buried in the back pages of the Washington Post:

Case Against Ex-Guard Brings Scrutiny of D.C. Imam

By Dan Morse
Wednesday, September 19, 2007; B01

The United States has a long history of public speakers given to fiery rhetoric. The question in a time of heightened concern about terrorism: When do they cross the line and become a real threat?

A debate based on that question surrounds a case to be heard this fall at the U.S. District Courthouse in Greenbelt. Submitted evidence includes public pronouncements by Abdul Alim Musa, who has served for 18 years as imam of a mosque in Southeast Washington.

Among his past statements: Zionist American agents blew up the World Trade Center; Palestinian suicide bombers are heroes; the U.S. government saturated U.S. cities with heroin in the 1960s to snuff out blacks’ rebellion; white, “sissy” federal agents are best handled by the teachings of his lecture, “How to Punk the FBI.”

The government hasn’t charged the imam. But a longtime and devoted member of his mosque, Darrick Jackson, 37, is charged with not truthfully answering a question during a background check while working as a security guard at Andrews Air Force Base. Prosecutors say that Jackson didn’t provide his Muslim name in 2005 when asked if he had ever used or been known by another name. They say that Jackson knew that a connection to the controversial imam would have lessened his chances of staying at Andrews.

Musa, 62, has been trying for years to build an Islamic community in the Benning Road area, one that he would like to see replicated nationwide until the United States becomes an Islamic state. Barrel-chested, with a graying beard offset by black robes, Musa is a showman and rambling orator who quoted Patrick Henry for nearly 11 minutes in a lecture called “The Amerikkkan Way” and who has spoken of his desire to see the Chesapeake Bay cleaned in five years.

Jackson’s attorneys say the government’s concern about the imam led it to overcook a guilt-by-association case against a person qualified to work at Andrews. Jackson no longer works there. If convicted of making a false statement — in this case, a federal felony — he could spend five years in prison.

According to court records, the government proposed showing jurors, among other things, a 17-word video snippet featuring Musa that aired this year on Fox News. [See above.]

“If you don’t stay out of our way and leave us alone, we’re going to burn America down,” Musa said from behind a podium at the University of California at Irvine on Sept. 9, 2001, according to the Fox video…

Musa says he isn’t racist. When he criticizes Jews or “Euros,” his frequent term for white people, Musa says he is criticizing the Israeli and American systems.

Prosecutors say the case against the former Andrews security guard isn’t about religion; it’s about the need to take the protection of sensitive government installations seriously. Prosecutors say they need not prove that Musa is a threat, only that his views are so extreme that anyone conducting a background check would have wanted to know the guard’s connection to him…

Musa was born in Arkansas in 1945 and grew up in Oakland, Calif., coming of age in the 1960s during that city’s black revolutionary movement. But he added a twist: He thought that by controlling organized crime, he could grab power for African Americans.

Musa became a drug dealer and set up an operation in Colombia. Federal court records bear out his past, which Musa highlights in biographies on his Web sites: he was arrested on charges including heroin smuggling, currency smuggling and assaulting a federal agent; he was incarcerated at the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan., and other institutions.

Musa had come to see himself as part of the problem. While incarcerated, he said, he accepted “traditional orthodox Islam.” Upon returning to civilian life, his colorful past and comedic wit helped him succeed on the Muslim speaking circuit. Then came the 1979 Iranian revolution, which Musa supported wholeheartedly, believing that it signaled the revival of his religion…

In 1989, he landed in Washington. He bought a small house on A Street SE, converting the first floor into a mosque and using the second floor as living quarters. His efforts to improve the neighborhood caught the attention of other Muslims. “There is great admiration for him because he decided to do that,” Bray said.

Musa opened his mosque to Washingtonians returning from prison, including those who had converted to Islam. During services, he talked about his past. His congregation expanded, and he set up the mosque nearby on Benning Road about 10 years ago. He still lives in the neighborhood.

At public gatherings, Musa regularly pushed issues. Speaking at a rally in 1999, he held up a check made out to “Hamas, Palestine.” The purpose, Musa said in an interview, was to attract federal agents.

“I would love to have a case in court with the FBI. I would love for them to arrest me on any trumped-up charges,” he said.

“I tried to get a case several years ago. We had a demonstration. I waved a check for Hamas, cashier’s check, by the way. And I said, ‘I’m donating this to Hamas.’ Then I waited for them to arrest me. They didn’t arrest me. So I put the thing back in the bank.”

Two years later, after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Musa went to FBI headquarters to distribute an open letter to agents. Among his suggestions: Investigate Israelis…

Musa, who is married and has two daughters, 5 and 10, said his vision for an Islamic community in the District is going slowly. But during a recent lecture, he said that Bush’s performance has hastened the overall trend toward an Islamic nation:

“The American ship is going down. And it’s clowns like[President Bush] that’s driving it down. We don’t have to do nothing. Just step back, pray, fast, do good deeds, and stuff like that. And let that guy go. . . . When he finishes, nobody will love, nobody will trust, and nobody will believe anything coming from the United States of America.”

One wonders how much taxpayer support this home grown terrorist is receiving.

And, sure, his followers should be allowed access to our military bases, especially ones routinely used by the President.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, September 19th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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