U.S. mosque leaders try to chop off man’s hand

By Drew Zahn

large old chef's knife on chopping block

A Philadelphia Muslim leader is in jail today and another wanted for attempting to usher in Islamic law in their mosque – with a machete.

According to police, on July 14, the amir and imam of the Al-Masjid Ur-Razzaq Ul-Karim mosque in the Overbrook neighborhood of Philadelphia accused a 46-year-old mosque member of stealing money following the early morning prayer service.

Investigators say the two Muslim leaders then dragged the alleged thief to the rear of the property and attempted to enforce Islam’s Shariah penalty for robbery: namely, dismemberment.

“They threw the victim to the ground and held his right arm against a log,” Police Lt. John Walker told reporters. “One of the offenders grabbed a machete from inside the mosque and struck the victim near his wrist.”

Walker explained the 2-foot machete “cut through his skin and cut his tendons, but didn’t make it all the way” because the blade was dull.

According to the Philadelphia Daily News, the unnamed victim was taken by paramedics to the Philadelphia’s Mercy Hospital and will require reconstructive surgery to repair his wrist. Police, meanwhile, were reportedly able to execute a search warrant and find the machete they believe was used in the attempted maiming.

Mabul Shoatz, also known as Merv Mitchell
Mabul Shoatz, also known as Merv Mitchell

Three days later the amir, Mabul Shoatz, also known as Merv Mitchell, was arrested at the mosque, while the yet unnamed imam remains at large.

Shoatz, according to KYW-TV, has been charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, simple assault, reckless endangering another person and related offenses.

The Daily News further reports Shoatz has an extensive criminal history that includes convictions for robbery, theft, burglary and carrying a firearm without a license.

According to city records, the mosque’s owner, Nothinne Mabul Mitchell, owes $80,326 in back real estate taxes, while the Department of Licenses and Inspections deemed the property unsafe in May 2013 and issued violations for a partially collapsed wall, roof and ceiling.

A Daily News reporter visiting the property recently also discovered a “No Trespassing” sign hung next to the front door, warning members of law enforcement that they could face a $10 million fine or 10 years in prison for hindering the rights of non-U.S. citizens.

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