---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2002 13:05:44 -0800
From: radtimes <email@example.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
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
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
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;
The full text of Imam Jamil's letter is
available from: firstname.lastname@example.org]
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