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He was once behind a robbery gone awry that led to one of New York City’s longest hostage situations — but his life is quite different now.
Shu’aib Abdur-Raheem was 26 when he led three friends — Dawud A. Rahman, 22, Yusef Abdallah Almussadig, 23, and Salih Ali Abdullah, 26 — into a Bushwick, Brooklyn store to steal guns in 1973. The attempted robbery at John and Al's Sporting Goods store was an effort to arm themselves against attacks from Nation of Islam members, who were allegedly targeting Sunni Muslims at the time, according to “Hold Your Fire,” a new documentary that hit theaters this month.
But the robbery did not go as planned — and then the police assumed the four were part of the Black Liberation Army. The cops surrounded the store and a 47-hour siege commenced. At the beginning of that siege, bystanders were shot and a police officer was killed.
Ultimately, the incident ended peacefully: the gunmen surrendered and freed nine hostages.
All four were found guilty on murder, kidnapping and robbery charges. Almussadig was paroled in 1998. Rahman was released in 2019. Abdullah died in 2020 at the age of 71, after serving more than four decades behind bars.
Raheem was paroled in 2010 at the age of 60 and has since worked in restorative justice.
He found work as an administrative assistant, a career coach and other roles at Osborne Association, a criminal justice reform organization. He also worked as a job retention specialist for FEDCAP, an organization which helps people facing barriers find work. He is currently a Trauma Support Manager at Common Justice, which notes that he now has a “master’s in professional studies from New York Theological Seminary majoring in Pastoral Counseling and Urban Ministry.”
He also worked as a mentor, program coordinator, and program supervisor with the Arches Program for JCCA and Good Sheppard Services.
"Shu’aib became a valued and respected Service Provider doing social work with foster/adopted children of incarcerated parents at the Jewish Childcare Association before being offered an opportunity to fulfill his dream of providing healing support to survivors of violent crimes," Common Justice states on their website.