Star Tribune was the first to break the story of 22-year-odl Abdullah Rashid who’s been dressing up like a police officer and trying to enforce Sharia Law on locals in the Somali-dominated area of Cedar-Riverside. He frequently confronted people disobeying “Allah’s commands,” demanding that they not drink, use drugs, or interact with those of the opposite sex.
What makes matters worse is that Rashid is actively recruiting others in the area to join his task force.
Minneapolis police were first alerted to the activity back in February after getting calls from concerned residents who said they’d witnessed Rashid wearing a dark green uniform that said “Muslim Defense Force” and “Religious Police” on it, adorned with ISIS flags.
“We’ve had conversations with community members that live over there,” said Officer Corey Schmidt, a police spokesman. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of time to deal with it, but it’s something we’ve been monitoring.”
Faiza Mahamud at Star Tribune has more.
Sharia law is a guide to daily life for practicing Muslims, derived from the Qur’an and the teachings of the prophet Mohammed. It tells Muslims, for example, what to eat and not to eat. Its interpretation and practice vary around the world.
Rashid, who was previously known as Devon James Miller, converted to Islam in 2009. He said he first started the religious police group in Georgia in 2013, and wants to grow it internationally.
He married a Somali-American woman, who had recently moved from Wyoming to Minneapolis, in 2015. They moved to Cedar-Riverside in 2016.
In late 2016, he applied for a permit to carry a handgun, which was denied by the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, saying there was evidence that he is a danger to himself and others if allowed a permit to carry a gun.
Rashid sued, and court documents show he has had run-ins with law enforcement in the past. He was arrested as a juvenile in Walton County, Ga., for impersonating a police officer, and a school district reported he had harassed a 16-year-old classmate on Facebook, according to the documents. The school district report mentioned he had mental health issues, and his mother said he had been suicidal.
Rashid’s lawsuit was dismissed in March. He said he does not have a mental illness, and his wife, Kadro Abdullahi, said that Rashid is not mentally ill and that she supports his work. “He’s a man with a good personality and he loves Islam,” Abdullahi said.
Rashid, who initially said he was working with Minneapolis police, said he is continuing his effort to provide security and protect Muslims’ civil rights. He said he has enlisted a group of 10 men, ages 18 and 25, to help him patrol the area.
On his website, Rashid posted a video titled “Never Trust Non-Muslims” by Anwar al-Awlaki, leader of an Al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011. And he had initially listed the Masjid Shaafici Cultural Center in Cedar-Riverside address as his organization’s headquarters.
Locals are furious, and they definitely plan to fight this, where they made their intentions known on social media.
— Star Tribune (@StarTribune) April 12, 2017