MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. — Residents in a Minneapolis neighborhood are expressing concern about a Muslim man who is seeking to enforce the “civil part of sharia law” among Islamic residents.
Abdullah Rashid, 22, who just moved to the Cedar-Riverside section of the city last year, told the Star Tribune that it is his desire to turn the neighborhood into a “sharia-controlled zone,” and to teach Muslims how to live in accordance with the Islamic religion.
“I’m someone who’s dedicated to Islam and trying to help the community all ways I can,” he said.
Wearing a patch that identifies himself as the “religious police” with the General Presidency of the Religious Affairs and Welfare of the Ummah, Rashid patrols the community, advising others in the predominantly Somali area that they should not drink or do drugs, nor should they fellowship with those of the opposite sex.
He also reportedly advises Muslim women to don a jilbab—a garment that covers from head to toe—if they are not dressed acceptably.
Rashid, whose birth name is Devon Miller, converted to Islam just eight years ago and married a Somali-American woman. He is originally from Georgia.
He has been seeking to recruit others to join his effort, but area Muslims disagree with his actions.
“What he’s doing is wrong and doesn’t reflect the community at all,” Jaylani Hussein, executive director of the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told the Star Tribune.
“We consider this matter as a dangerous precedent and a threat in our country and our way of life,” the Islamic Institute of Minnesota told KRIS-TV. “We ask our law enforcement agencies to consider this grave matter to protect Minnesotans.”
According to the outlet, Minneapolis police have received complaints and/or calls of concern about Rashid, and security officers at the Riverside Plaza apartment complex have informed him that he can no longer patrol the building. Reports state that management is also seeking to evict him and his wife.
Rashid had applied for a permit to carry a handgun in 2015, but his request was denied out of belief that he could be a danger to himself or others. He sued over the matter, denying the allegation, but his case was later dismissed.