Terror suspect’s mourners are urged to reject anger
Imam apologizes for earlier criticism of law enforcement actions
Imam Ibrahim Rahim stood before mourners who filled a Roxbury mosque Friday to say goodbye to his brother, who was shot and killed earlier this week by antiterror investigators, and urged them to accept “what God has written” and reject feelings of anger.
“This moment is not about my brother or my family. This moment is about God,” said Rahim, as his brother’s casket sat in a hearse outside the Mosque for the Praising of Allah. “This moment is about accepting what God has written.”
He later joined about 200 mourners outside as they stood in lines facing Usaama Rahim’s wooden casket and participated in a brief funeral service. Rahim, 26, died Tuesday after being shot about 7 a.m. by members of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Investigators say police opened fire after Rahim lunged at them with a military-style knife in Roslindale.
Imam Abdullah Faaruuq presided over the funeral prayers as Rahim’s brothers stood by his coffin dressed in white robes. Rahim’s mother, Rahimah, hugged one woman overcome with emotion. Rahim was scheduled to be buried at The Gardens at Gethsemane cemetery in West Roxbury.
“We will submit ourselves peacefully to what [God] has written because to do otherwise . . . would be a contradiction of faith,” Ibrahim Rahim said. “There should be no rioting. There should be no anger.”
After the funeral, Faaruuq apologized for remarks he made Thursday in which he called the law enforcement operation that left Rahim dead “poorly constructed,” “ill-conceived,” and “reckless.” He reiterated his view, however, that some means other than deadly force should have been available to police to subdue Rahim.
“I do not want to blame the officials or to incite any distrust or hatred. Matter of fact, I think we have to work more carefully with our officials from the police and from the FBI in order to keep peace,” he said. “I don’t believe the police acted irrationally. I think it was a situation that warranted what they did, but it could have been handled better. . . . They might have been able to preserve his life.”
Authorities allege that Rahim decided early Tuesday to attack and kill “boys in blue’’ with combat knives he had recently purchased online. Law enforcement officials have reported that the original target of the alleged terror plot was political activist Pamela Geller, who has drawn national attention for her criticism of radical Muslims.
Police have also said in interviews that Rahim was plotting to behead an officer.
Rahim’s nephew, 25-year-old David Wright of Everett, is facing federal charges related to the incident for allegedly encouraging his uncle to destroy evidence when they spoke Tuesday. He has not entered a plea and is being held without bail.
Ibrahim Rahim requested that his younger brother be forgiven for his sins.
“I ask Allah to forgive Usaama for his mistakes, and he had mistakes. And you have them and I have them. I ask Allah to forgive you your mistakes. This is who we are as a people,” he said.
After the service, he spoke with reporters in the presence of his attorney, Harvard Law School professor Intisar A. Rabb.
“Thank you for your regard and your respect and your prayers,” Rahim said. “God bless you all, God bless the country. And Boston Strong once more.’’
At a news conference held Thursday in the parking lot where Usaama Rahim was shot, another family lawyer, Harvard Law School professor Ronald S. Sullivan Jr., said the family wanted to “enter into a joint relationship with investigators to get to the truth.’’
They later went to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley to watch surveillance footage of Rahim’s fatal encounter with police.
Conley’s spokesman said officials plan to release the video to the public, but agreed to wait until after Rahim’s funeral. In a statement issued Thursday, Boston police said they “remain committed to being transparent and forthcoming.”
Naib Ismail Abdurrashid, the associate imam at the Mosque for the Praising of Allah, said he saw no signs to support allegations that Rahim had been radicalized.
“What we saw was . . . a very typical young Muslim male doing the best that he could to be Muslim in a non-Muslim society,” he said.
Abdurrashid said if law enforcement knew Rahim was vulnerable to extremist views, the Muslim community should have been informed.
US Representative Stephen F. Lynch has said Rahim had been on the FBI’s radar since 2012.
“That information should have been shared . . . [to] allow for us as a community to be able to sit him down and . . . to advise him, to talk him down off a ledge,” Abdurrashid said.
Mika’il Cannon, 27, said he knew Rahim for his devout studies of Arabic and Islam. He rejected allegations that Rahim was planning an attack.
“I can’t see a man who’s working two jobs, has a wife, living in Boston as having time or money to travel out of state and behead somebody,” he said. “It just doesn’t make sense. He was too smart.”