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A man trying to impose what he calls “the civil part of the sharia law” in Minneapolis has sparked anger among local residents and Muslim leaders, says the Star Tribune.
Abdullah Rashid, 22, has been making the rounds in the Somali-dominated neighborhood, telling people not to drink, use drugs or interact with the opposite sex. If he sees Muslim women he believes are dressed inappropriately, he approaches them and suggests they should wear a jilbab, a long, flowing garment. And he says he’s recruiting others to join the effort, the report reads.
The local Muslim community, however, is not too happy with Rashid, the Tribune says. They are working to stop Rashid’s group, General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah, and have notified Minneapolis police. Some say the group is preying on vulnerable young Muslims in a community that has dealt with national scrutiny around radicalization and terrorism.
“What he’s doing is wrong and doesn’t reflect the community at all,” said Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
The Minneapolis police are familiar with Rashid, noting that he has been reported to wear a dark green uniform that said “Muslim Defense Force” and “Religious Police” and had two flags associated with ISIS and other terrorist groups, according to the Tribune.
“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.”
Jeff Van Nest, an FBI spokesman for Minneapolis, declined to comment, says the Tribune.
Rashid said he is looking to turn the neighborhood into a “sharia-controlled zone” where Muslims are learning about the proper practices of Islam and that “non-Muslims are asked to respect” it, per a local interview, and as reported by the Tribune.
“People who don’t know me would say I’m a terrorist,” he said. “I’m someone who’s dedicated to Islam and trying to help the community all ways I can.”
But the Islamic Institute of Minnesota issued a statement Wednesday, reports the Tribune, saying Rashid “does not in any way speak for the Islamic Institute of Minnesota or the Muslims in Minnesota.”
“We consider this matter as a dangerous precedent and a threat in our country and our way of life,” the statement said. “We ask our law enforcement agencies to consider this grave matter to protect Minnesotans.”