He was the most charismatic of all the American graduates of the Islamic University of Madina, a man whose vast knowledge of Islam was virtually unsurpassed by almost anyone working in the field of dawah at that time. He had not only the talent, but also the people skills that could have easily elevated him to the pinnacle of leadership in the American Salafy Muslim community. In 1997 when I first met Abu Usamah at Thahabi at a program in Philadelphia, he was without question a superstar Imam, a man who commanded the utmost loyalty and devotion of his young followers and students.
But today, many years and many scandals later, a story in the British Birmingham Mail is revealing to the world exactly who Abu Usamah is, a brother from the block who couldn’t handle the responsiblity of being a revered religious figure and was incapable of controlling his lower desires. Like many of the other black Salafi Imams( read Dawud Adib, Abul Hasan Malik, Jaleel Meekins et al), Abu Usamah led something of a double life, who after devoting seven long years to acquiring an Islamic education that many would die for, could never actually bring himself to live by that knowledge and as a result, found himself embroiled in one scandal after another. His story is of course well-known, and many of us had hoped that after being forced out of the Germantown masjid for a string of sexual mis-deeds, that perhaps he had turned a new leaf at his new home Masjid called Green Lane in Birmingham, England. Maybe God would give him another chance after making repentance for his myriad of sins committed in America. Well, as the facts are now coming to light, that was simply not meant to be.
We started hearing things about the brother well over a year ago related to his pattern of womanizing and harassment, and knew that it would only be a matter of time, especially after the Undercover Mosque controversy, that Abu Usamah would do himself in. Now the British press is on to him and the only question is; is this the beginning of the end for Abu Usamah’s career as an Imam? He is already a laughing-stock in the US but now we are learning from these reports in the papers, that he’s been ban from at least one masjid in England . Anyway, this story just broke today and I’ll be offering a more detailed analysis of its ramifications in other posts soon to follow (inshallah).