An imam who came before media today to speak on behalf of the family of slain terror suspect Usaamah Rahim protested that the Joint Terrorism Task Force should have been able to capture the knife-wielding 26-year-old alive — because you can capture animals alive.
Abdullah Faaruuq, of the Mosque for the Praising of Allah in Roxbury, was removed as Muslim chaplain at Boston’s Northeastern University in 2013. He’s advocated for the release of convicted al-Qaeda terrorist Aafia Siddiqui and has been accused of other instances of encouraging extremism.
“God have mercy on the young man, I don’t know what his faults were, I don’t think whatever transpired warranted him being killed,” Faaruuq said outside of the CVS where Rahim was shot.
Of the federal agent and police officer, Faaruuq said he was praying for them. “I don’t know how strongly they take it because they murdered a man they could have very well captured,” he said.
“They can capture elephants without killing them, you can capture wild dogs, you can capture tigers and lions and bears, oh my,” the imama continued, calling it “reckless” that law enforcement “would be out here in the parking lot shooting.”
“If he did wield a knife in front of the officer I think that was very foolish.”
Rahim was shot at about 7 a.m. Tuesday. When asked to drop his large military-style knife, officials say he responded “you drop yours.” Based on intercepted conversations, including discussion of attempting to behead Pamela Geller, authorities said they feared an attack was imminent.
Faaruuq said Rahim “put his head in the jaw of a lion and got it crushed.”
Regarding community and religious leaders being able to see the video corroborating the police account of the shooting, the imam said the suspect’s brother, also an imam, “emotionally responded” to the shooting when he compared it to recent deaths of unarmed black men at the hands of police.
Specifically, Ibrahim Rahim invoked the last words of slain Staten Island cigarette seller Eric Garner: “I can’t breathe.”
“When you hear of a young black man, it’s not unheard of that he’d be shot in the back in America,” Faaruuq said.
“If they considered him as a very dangerous person… they should have took precautions in approaching him,” he continued. “I wouldn’t have approached a wild animal without precautions. I don’t think their intention was to capture him and keep him alive.”
The imam said he wanted “to know who orchestrated this incident.”
“I think it was poorly constructed, I think it was ill conceived,” he said, at one point referencing the “shortcomings of the people who continue to exist who killed this young man.”
Rep. Pete King (R-N.Y.) tweeted afterward, “When will CAIR and Imams like Abdullah Faaruuq support the police and stop being apologists for terrorists? This Imam is a disgrace.”
Attorney Ronald Sullivan, a Harvard Law School professor, spoke for the family and said they are “dedicated to ensuring that a complete and transparent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Usaamah Rahim occurs.”
“There are two sides to every story. So we on behalf of the family are asking the media … to keep an open mind, to look at all the facts and the facts will lead us where the facts lead us,” Sullivan said.”I can say that Usaamah was a son, a husband to his wife, he was a brother, he was very loved by his family. They are devastated.”