OTR Interviews

Imam: 'I've never met' Orlando gunman, he's not my student

Omar Mateen, it was reported, was a follower of Marcus Robertson, AKA Imam Abu Taubah, who was freed from prison last year. The Imam tells 'On the Record' he has never known Mateen, that he was never enrolled in his online school


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," June 14, 2016. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Police claim the terrorist who murdered 49 innocent people was on the website of a controversial Imam. That Imam is a former gang leader turned bank robber who served time in prison and was released from prison last year. And today Imam Abu Taubah and his lawyer went On The Record.


VAN SUSTEREN: Imam, and thank you both for joining us.


MARCUS ROBERTSON, AKA IMAM ABU TAUBAH: Thank you very much for having us.

VAN SUSTEREN: Tough time here in this community.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: Yeah, it is.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know the man who is Mateen?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: I do not. The person known as Omar Mateen, has been reports saying that he was a student of mine. That is totally not true. He never registered at our school. He never took classes at our school. I don't know him. Never met him those things are totally unfounded.

VAN SUSTEREN: Has he never been to your school?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: No, never. We are online institution. So we don't have face- to-face classes but we do meet all our students online.

VAN SUSTEREN: So even if he were online, you would know him.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: Yes, because we do face to face.

VAN SUSTEREN: Dan, have you learned anything to the contrary?

BRODERSEN: To my knowledge, Greta, there is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Mateen was associated with my client, was acquainted with him, was a student of his or, for that matter, ever met him. To the extent that he was a follower of my client, that is completely without our knowledge.

VAN SUSTEREN: Mateen, why is it, people are saying that, do you think? Or not Mateen, I'm sorry, Imam? Why are people saying that?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: You know there has been a false report. Someone erroneously put it out there that Omar Mateen was a follower of Timbuktu Seminary. I'm the main teacher at Timbuktu Seminary and people say these things. However, even went so far to say I was arrested and my companions were rounded up and that was untrue either. We haven't had any problems. We have been going on, doing business as usual. What we do teach is Quran. We don't teach paramilitary training or anything like that. We don't deal with politics either.

What we preach in the United States is that it is not proper for any Muslim to take the law or the Islamic law at that into his own hands. And I personally don't think that this person was going to that club to cleanse them or to kill them because they were homosexualities. From what I understand he was a constant person there. He was going there for three years. So, I doubt he had a problem with that. Even one of the people said they knew him there. And that they had seen him getting kicked out for being drunk. Drinking is the same type of crime as having homosexual relationships. So I doubt that he was there for -- maybe he had a problem with his lover or something like that, because I heard that his wife said that he was gay and his father had called him gay in front of her. I don't know. But I do know is that whatever he did, he didn't do it on behalf of Islam.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you disavow him? You disavow him as being a devout Muslim?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: I disavow the concept of anyone taking the law into their own hand. That is a terrible thing that happened to those people, 50 people getting killed, and 50 other people getting shot. Islam doesn't -- no one can justify that with Islam. Not using just Islam. There is no Islamic justification for that we can't even slap people in the face in Islam. You know, there are laws and there are rules. So, and that is a parent let alone as a law giver. The person was sick. The people or the person, because I also heard that, one of the guys that got shot 12 times said that, there were four shooters. So, I'm sure they are still doing their investigation, but, from what I see, whoever did that, they are trying to say they did it for ISIS or did it for Islam. That is not true. Islam does not stand for that I don't know about ISIS.

VAN SUSTEREN: How do you account for -- what's your theory on why he was close to the first American who went over, a bomber in Syria, a suicide bomber? What's your theory on that?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: You know, personally, it's very hard to interrogate a dead person, you know. We hear about these suicide bombings. I personally don't believe that all those guys are suicide bombings. That is my personal.

VAN SUSTEREN: What do you think they are?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: I don't know they are dead. We can't tell. You know, I mean I have different politics than that. I believe that those people get blown up and it helps policy to say they are blowing up something. But I don't know. Islam doesn't promote that so, you see, I have a problem when if someone said Muslims are doing something or doing something Islamic and saying they are doing it for Islam that is schizophrenia. So that doesn't make sense to me.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, what do you mean -- you have to admit there is an awful lot of terrorism associated with Islam, right or wrong?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: I do not agree.

VAN SUSTEREN: Not good, let's get back to this.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: I'm just saying.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. So Mateen didn't, is not one of your followers. He has never been to your seminary and never been online as far as you know.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: No, period. We know.

VAN SUSTEREN: Period, nothing. No. Have you checked?

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: Yes. We double-checked.

VAN SUSTEREN: Ok, double-checked. You are getting threats.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: Death threats.

VAN SUSTEREN: Death threats and people in the media are falsely reporting that Mateen is targeting.


IMAM ABU TAUBAH: They are promoting, you know terrorism. It's the people terrorizing us and we asked them to stop. We do not have anything to do, we are pleading with you. We don't have anything to do with this. Our heart goes out to the victims and we didn't ever train this guy, never met him. He is not a student of ours.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you condemn the act but you don't condemn him, Mateen, because your.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: From religious grounds we condemn acts. We don't condemn people. You know, we hate the act. We don't hate the person.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you hate this act.

IMAM ABU TAUBAH: And we hate this act. This is not the act that can be justified by Islam, ok at all.