[sixties-l] AL-AMIN'S 'LETTER FROM FULTON COUNTY JAIL' (fwd)

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Date: Mon Jan 21 2002 - 17:56:17 EST

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    Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 13:05:44 -0800
    From: radtimes <resist@best.com>
    Subject: AL-AMIN'S 'LETTER FROM FULTON COUNTY JAIL'

    AL-AMIN'S 'LETTER FROM FULTON COUNTY JAIL'

    [Col. Writ. 1/16/02] Copyright '02 Mumia Abu-Jamal

         The U.S. Civil Rights Movement has, as one of it's
    highlights, the searing letter, written by the Rev. Dr.
    Martin Luther King, Jr., from the sweltering stench of
    a jail in Montgomery, Alabama. In it, Dr. King lacerates
    the inability of his white, fellow Christians, to see, and
    act against the great injustice of the American
    Apartheid system of segregation in the South. His
    indictment of them, for their condemnation of his
    participation in civil rights protests, stands the test
    of time as a record of resistance to the evils that
    States perform, with the silent acquiesence of the
    well-to-do. It was smuggled out of jail, and served
    to spur that movement forward to greatness.

         Recently, another African-American clergyman
    sent a letter to his fellow believers about matters of
    great import and state injustice, yet this clergyman
    was punished by the state for daring to write from
    his cell in protest of a great social evil.

         That clergyman is Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin
    (formerly a youthful associate of the late Dr. King,
    then known as H. Rap Brown).

         When Dr. King wrote and smuggled out his letter,
    he was a man convicted of violating the civil laws
    of Montgomery. Imam Al-Amin is convicted of
    nothing, but the hallowed 'presumption of innocence'
    means nothing, for the State, the very entity that
    seeks to take his life and freedom, bids him to
    be silent.

         But it matters to the State, because Al-Amin is
    a Muslim, in a time, and in a place that such a faith
    is perceived, by the wider society, as an unclean
    violation, a dimly-felt precurser to the scourge of
    terrorism. In the tradition of one of the mentors of
    his radical youth, Imam Al-Amin speaks truth to
    power, both to those who follow his chosen faith
    (Islam), and to others who do not. He proudly
    proclaims his innocence, and states clearly the
    state's objectives: to kill him:

                 It is a violation of my most basic rights as a
             citizen, as a human being, and as a servant
             of Allah (God) to prevent me, as an accused
             man faced with death, from speaking the truth
             that can set me free.... O you who believe,
             you with whom I have fasted during our sacred
             month, Ramadan, you with whom I have
             broken my fast and have shared from the
             common plate of Allah's bounty, you with
             whom I have prayed and shared my faith with,
             you with whom I have struggled to build a
             better world, hear me when I declare that
             I have committed no crime before Allah or
             man, that I have violated no law, civil or eternal,
             that the life or the blood of the men I am
             accused of injuring and killing is neither on
             my hand nor my conscience for I have done
             them no harm.

    Imam Al-Amin expresses regret for the loss and injuries
    to the men, and then writes of the sacredness of all
    human life. He then eloquently condemns capital
    punishment:

                 State executions are little more than ritual
             murders that mock justice, a blood lust, a
             blood sport, a spectator sport, an act of
             State-sponsored terror rooted in avarice,
             hatred and revenge, without the benefit of
             moral sanctions or the capacity for justice.
             It is the willful arbitrary act by the State
             perpetrated against the poor, the powerless,
             the penniless and the despised. There are
             no millionaires on death row. It is as evil
             and cruel a punishment as the Roman circus
             feeding men to lions. It is no less arbitrary
             and no less brutal. It is no less a sacrilege
             than the ancient practice of human sacrifice.

         He asserts, proudly, that the power of his religious
    conversion has meant that he is no longer the man
    known (through news clippings, at least) as H. Rap
    Brown. Where once he was a political rebel against
    the American way of apartheid, he is now a being of
    faith, and his resistance is spiritual:

                I have languished in the dungeons of their
             prison. I have walked through the "shadows
             of death" and "I fear no evil". I remain
             unbroken and unbowed before the powers
             of principalities, kings, and of State. I fear and
             bow only to Allah.

         For words, the very words you have now read,
    Imam Jamil is under a judicial silencing order, which
    restricts his communication with the outer world.
    Imagine the exquisite irony of the Imam being
    punished for doing one of the things that made
    Dr. Martin Luther King an icon in American society
    -- standing up against social and legal injustice.
    If that irony could not be made more profound,
    remember that he is being held incommunicado
    during a period that intersects the very birthday
    of Dr. King. (What a difference a few decades
    make!)

         Meanwhile, the movement to insure a fair trial
    that leads to his freedom continues unabated.

    ---Copyright '02 MAJ

    [Note: Imam Jamil may be written to at: Imam
    Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, (0013284-ST-06-06),
    Fulton County Jail, 901 Rice St., Atlanta, Ga.
    30318; The Int'l Committee to Support Imam
    Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin -- (770) 215-2152;
    website: www.imamjamil.com.
         The full text of Imam Jamil's letter is
    available from: southwidemediagroup@onebox.com]



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