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The As-Sabiqun (Arabic: السَّابِقُونَ‎) is an American Muslim organization under the leadership of founder Imam Abdul Alim Musa, based in Washington DC and with branches in Oakland (led by speaker and activist Amir Abdul Malik Ali), Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento. As-Sabiqun is identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[1]


The organization was created by African-American Muslim convert Imam Abdul Alim Musa in the early 1990s at the Masjid Al-Islam mosque in Oakland, California. The name As-Sabiqun, is approximately translated from Arabic as "the vanguard". The inspiration for the name comes from the verse in the Quran (9:100):

"The vanguard (of Islam) – the first of those who forsook (their homes) and of Those who gave them aid and (also) Those who follow them in good deeds. – Well pleased is Allah with them. As they are with Him. For them hath He prepared Gardens under which rivers flow. To dwell therein for ever. That is the Supreme Felicity."[2]

The organizational leadership has delivered numerous speeches in the United States and abroad, offering its analysis and contributing its efforts to solving contemporary problems in the Muslim world and in urban America. The group's paramount goal is the establishment of a modern Islamic state, or Caliphate, governed by shariah (Islamic law).

Imam Musa has indicated a dedication to avoid what he calls an "absolutist" outlook on the advancement of Muslims. For example, while he does not advocate participation in the American political process as an ideal method for advancing Islamic issues in the US, he does not criticize groups who do.[citation needed] The As-Sabiqun philosophy stresses unity between the various Islamic organizations, regardless of methods, in the attainment of common goals. Cooperation on domestic social issues with like-minded non-Muslim groups is also encouraged, as long as Islamic ethics and morality are not compromised.[citation needed] Additionally, although the As-Sabiqun is a Sunni movement, they have publicly voiced support for Shia movements and organizations such as the 1979 Iranian Revolution and Hizbullah. Imam Musa has repeatedly stressed that the tendency by some Muslims to focus on the differences between Sunni and Shia Islam at this juncture in history is counterproductive to the goals of the Islamic movement as a whole.[citation needed]


The group encourages social-political advancement concurrent with a program of spiritual and moral development according to the Quran and Sunnah of Muhammad. Leadership stresses a "do for self" methodology, similar to the Nation of Islam, a group many As-Sabiqun members were formerly affiliated with before accepting orthodox Islam. The inspiration for this concept is based on the Quranic verse: “Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls)” (13: 11)[3]

Imam Abdul Alim Musa has recommended a list of five "Things to do Now", to facilitate personal development, which include:

  1. Spend at least thirty minutes a day reading the Quran. The early morning after fajr is the best time for framing the word of Allah.
  2. Always be equitable in all situations. Never allow anger to make you forget your merits, nor let affection and pleasure blind you to defects. Don't allow disputes to make you ungrateful. Always speak the truth no matter how painful it is, even if it is against the people dearest to you.
  3. Strive to make your daily life Islamic in every aspect (legal, educational, social, economic, in your greetings and language)
  4. Strive against your own soul until it is under your full control. Lower your gaze, control your emotions and direct your sexual urge to decent and lawful outlets.
  5. Call others to Islam. Familiarize your leadership with your activities and never undertake any actions without first consulting your leadership. Keep yourself in constant spiritual contact with your community and always consider yourself a soldier in the barracks awaiting a command.[4]

Daily Islamic studies classes are given at the various As-Sabiqun masajid (mosques) across the country on a variety of topics including fiqh, hadith, Quran, seerah, strengthening family relations and analysis of contemporary political events. In addition, the As-Sabiqun movement runs an Islamic elementary school which provides students with both religious and secular education. They also provide youth mentorship, community food drives (especially during Ramadan), a prison outreach program, and employment assistance for ex-convicts.

One of As-Sabiqun’s major ongoing projects is its support of Jamil Al-Amin, once known as H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin was a Minister of Justice for the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, currently serving a life sentence for the March 2000 murder of Georgia sheriff's deputy, Ricky Kinchen. As-Sabiqun believes that Al-Amin was falsely targeted and convicted based on the United States' "effort to undermine his lifelong commitment to realizing comprehensive social justice in America and all that it implies." [5]

The group also speaks on college campuses (notably UC Irvine) against Israel[6][7] and Jewish Americans and in support of Hamas,[8] Hezbollah, the Islamic Jihad Movement in Palestine, and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (see below).[9][10][11] Malik Ali expressed contempt for the two-state solution.[12] Furthermore, Malik Ali supported the notion of "jihad on the UCI campus."[11] In response, UCI Chancellor Michael V. Drake issued a statement condemning Malik Ali's "remarks supporting terrorism [as] deplorable."[11]

Allegations of Antisemitism[edit]

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes the Sabiqun as an "anti-Semitic Muslim group that advocates for the creation of a global Islamic state" and notes that their leaders have recently become popular speakers on college and university campuses and that they use that platform to promote hostility toward Israel and American Jews.[13]

The ADL and various other organizations have characterized statements attributed to the leaders of the As-Sabiqun organization, and specifically to their leaders Imams Amir Abdul Malik Ali and Abdul Alim Musa, as anti-Semitic.[14] According to the ADL, Malik Ali has suggested numerous times that Jews control the media, government, and economy of the United States.[8][15] He also expressed support for the conspiracy theory that Israel was responsible for the September 11 attacks.[9]

On March 13, 2010, Malik Ali, as a guest of the Muslim Student Union at UC Irvine, gave a speech on the campus and made remarks advancing his belief that Jews were involved in the execution of the September 11 attacks, as well as indicating his support for the Hamas (a group listed on the U.S. State Department's as a terrorist organization), and for the destruction of the State of Israel.[16][17] Many, including administrators at UCI, considered this an "endorsement of terrorism."[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sura At-Tauba (The Repentance), ayat 100, Quran
  3. ^ Sura Ar-Ra'd, ayat 11, Quran
  4. ^ As-Sabiqun Newsletter of the Islamic Movement, June 1998
  5. ^ Sabiqun.Net Forgotten Hero: Imam Jamil Al-Amin
  6. ^ Leonard, Karen. AMERICAN MUSLIMS MOBILIZE: CAMPUS CONFLICTS IN CONTEXT. 2006. Royal Holloway College. DOC file.
  7. ^ Antisemitism Worldwide 2009: General Analysis. 2009. Tel Aviv Univ., Tel Aviv. PDF file.
  8. ^ a b "Anti-Semitism at UC Irvine: 2009 Lecture Series." ADL. 18 May 2007. 20 May 2009.
  9. ^ a b "A Call to Duty at UCI." The Investigative Project on Terrorism. 30 May 2008. 20 July 2009.
  10. ^ Elias, Aaron. "Vicious Jew-Hatred Wins Center Stage at UC Irvine." Pajamas Media. 28 July 2009. 30 July 2009.
  11. ^ a b c "UCI Chancellor Denounces Speaker’s Endorsement of Terrorism." Jewish Journal. 19 May 2010.
  12. ^ Ballon, Marc. "CampusTurmoil." Jewish Journal. 10 March 2005. 20 July 2009.
  13. ^ Anti-defamation league Sabiqun and Anti-Semitism on Campus, Introduction [1]
  14. ^ "Abdul Alim Musa." The Investigative Project on Terrorism. 9 July 2008. 4 March 2011.
  15. ^ "Imam Amir Abdul Malik Ali." ADL. 15 June 2007. 20 May 2009.
  16. ^ "ADL Calls On UC Irvine to Denounce Anti-Semitic Speaker and Pull Charter of Muslim Student Union." ADL. 14 May 2010. 23 June 2010.
  17. ^ "ZOA Praises ADL For Joining ZOA's Call: UC Irvine Chancellor Should Denounce Muslim Student U..." Zionist Organization of America 24 May 2010. 23 June 2010.
  18. ^ UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, 15 May 2010. "Response to Thursday’s Remarks" University Press Release