Sect Had Roots In Brooklyn
Newsday.com/January 26, 2003
By Tina Susman
Early in the morning of April 19, 1979, Horace Greene was shot
dead on a Brooklyn street as he went to open the day care center
It seems the sort of crime that should have been easy to crack.
It was brazen, committed on a public street. The victim was a
high-profile local activist.
The city offered a $10,000 reward. There was even a witness who
provided a description of a bearded gunman wearing a Muslim robe
and cap, recalls Bill Clark, a retired New York Police homicide
Twenty-four years later, though, no one has been charged in the
murder, despite police and FBI investigations that pointed to
involvement of a black Islamic group whose leader, then known as
Isa Muhammad, was accused by neighbors, former supporters and the
FBI of terrorizing the Bushwick section where his Ansaru Allah
Community was based in the late 1970s.
A 1993 FBI report based on information from Ansaru Allah
followers says Greene angered Muhammad, who is now known as Dwight
York or Dr. Malachi Z. York, by doing what few in the neighborhood
dared: speaking out against York's racially charged rhetoric and
his attempts to expand his group's influence.
According to the report, informants identified Greene's killer
as a York confidant and Ansaru Allah member known as Hashim the
Warrior. The man is now in prison for an unrelated, 1983 double
York denied Ansaru Allah was involved in crime, but several of
his closest confidants were charged with various crimes, including
arson, assault, and robbery in the 1970s-'90s in cities where
Ansaru Allah was active, including New York.
How York managed to operate in New York from the early 1970s
until he left for Georgia in 1993 can be attributed to the
politics of the time and to the strict control he appears to have
had over those around him, say law enforcement officials.
The Ansaru Allah Community's growth, coincided with rising
tensions in the United States between the government and Muslim
groups, Clark noted.
"Police were very sensitive to observing the religious sanctity
of institutions like this," he said.
In addition, police were preoccupied with other things, such as
the crack epidemic, said Stephen Lungen, the district attorney of
Sullivan County, where York ran a heavily guarded compound from
"Without someone telling you something is wrong, you just don't
have the right to bang the door down and tear the place apart,"
Brooklyn police had the same problem. "Potential witnesses
became less and less cooperative as they got more and more
frightened," Clark said.