Muslim zealot patrolling neighborhood raising concerns in U.S. city

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Residents of a Minneapolis neighborhood are not the only ones worried about the actions of a Muslim man who goes around the area trying to impose what he calls “the civil part of the Sharia law.” Muslim leaders have expressed concern, too.

According to a report in the Star Tribune, Abdullah Rashid, 22, moved to Cedar-Riverside last year from his native Georgia and has been patrolling the Somali-dominated neighborhood of Cedar-Riverside, “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.”

Rashid is part of a group called General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah, which some say preys on vulnerable young Muslims. Walking the streets, he’s been seen dressed in a dark green uniform that says “Muslim Defense Force” and “Religious Police” and has two flags associated with ISIS and other terrorist groups.

Muslim leaders said that they have notified Minneapolis police and Rashid is now being banned from a Cedar-Riverside property.

“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).

Police spokesman, Officer Corey Schmidt said that Rashid and his group are being monitored.

Rashid has publicly said that his goal is to turn Cedar-Riverside into a “sharia-controlled zone where Muslims are learning about the proper practices of Islam and that non-Muslims are asked to respect it.”

“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.”

The Islamic Institute of Minnesota stated on Wednesday that Rashid “does not in any way speak for the Islamic Institute of Minnesota or the Muslims in Minnesota.”

They added, “We consider this matter as a dangerous precedent and a threat in our country and our way of life. We ask our law enforcement agencies to consider this grave matter to protect Minnesotans.”

Formerly known as Devon James Miller, Rashid converted to Islam in 2009 and said he started the religious police group in Georgia in 2013. His wife is a Somali American who moved from Wyoming to Minneapolis in 2015, and the couple reportedly moved to Cedar-Riverside in 2016.

He was denied a permit to carry a handgun late last year, according to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, which cited evidence that “he is a danger to himself and others if allowed a permit to carry a gun.”

Minneapolis police said, “The Cedar-Riverside Towers’ management is in the process of evicting Rashid, and security at Cedar-Riverside Plaza is advising him he’s not allowed to patrol the neighborhood or they will cite him for trespassing.”

Rashid posted on his website a video titled, “Never Trust Non-Muslims” by Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of an Al-Qaida affiliate in Yemen who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in 2011.

He listed the Masjid Shaafici Cultural Center in Cedar-Riverside as his organization’s headquarters, but Abdighani Ali, the imam of that mosque, said they have no ties to Rashid’s group.

 “We’re against his ideas,” Ali said, noting that he plans to make a formal complaint with police. “We always encourage our community to be a part of the society.”

H/T: Star Tribune

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