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Muslim holy man or cop killer?

By Alan Caruba
web posted January 14, 2002

It's a murder trial that is tailor-made for the leaders of the US Muslim community. They have announced they will rally around a man who first came to fame in the 1960's as H. "Rap" Brown, the "minister of justice" for the Black Panther Party in 1968. A year earlier, he had incited a crowd to burn down several city blocks in Cambridge, Maryland. By 1970 he was on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin looks up at the opening of jury selecton on January 8, 2002 in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta at his murder trial
Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin looks up at the opening of jury selecton on January 8, 2002 in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta at his murder trial

This man's only connection with "rap" is a rap sheet as long as your arm for various criminal indictments, plus six years in jail from 1970 to 1976 as the result of a bungled robbery and, guess what, a shoot-out with New York police. In prison, H. "Rap" Brown become a Muslim and took the name Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. He continued to have run-ins with law enforcement. He did, however, become an imam for an Atlanta mosque and leader of what the Associated Press describes as "one of the nation's largest Black Muslim groups, the National Ummah."

Al-Amin is on trial for the killing of Fulton County Sheriff's Deputy, Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of his partner, Deputy Aldranon English. They were both shot in March 2000 while attempting to serve Al-Amin with an arrest warrant. Both police officers are Afro-Americans. He fled to Alabama where, for the second time in his life, he made the FBI's Most Wanted list. Arrested there within days, police found the guns whose ballistic tests reportedly linked him to the shooting and a car with a telltale bullet hole in it. According to Al-Amin, though, it's all part of "a government conspiracy."

Now, you might think the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America, and the Muslim American Society would issue a statement decrying such behavior, but no. Instead, their statement said "First, we wish to remind everyone of Imam Jamil Al-Amin's longstanding role as a community leader who had a positive impact on the lives of so many people. The charges against Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim." It does appear that, as a spiritual leader, he worked against drugs and prostitution, and for community betterment.

His behavior is best known, however, as that of a career criminal, an inciter to arson, thief, and, following his conversion, as head of a mosque whose members received paramilitary training. And that's just the short version of his various misdemeanors and felonious history. With one dead Black cop and another seriously wounded, there is more than a little irony in the title of his autobiography, "Die, Nigger, Die."

"This trial is of great concern to Muslims and the Muslim community," said Ibrahim Hooper, the spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, DC advocacy group. "We see this trial as a barometer on whether a Muslim can get a fair trial, free of bias, and whether a jury will make decision based on external factors or look at the facts of the case." If they look at the facts, Al-Amin is in big trouble. And, yes, a Muslim or anyone else in American can reasonably expect a fair trial. It goes on every day in America.

Daniel Pipes, one of the most knowledgeable and outspoken experts on Islam in America and around the world, calls Al-Amin "a Muslim O.J." We all remember how it took a largely Black jury in Los Angeles only a few hours to spring O.J. Simpson. Some Blacks thought it was justice. Whites thought it was a travesty of justice. A later civil trial found him guilty of killing his ex-wife and a friend of hers.

Apparently, if you're a Muslim in America, you're supposed to believe you can't get a fair trial. That, at the very least, is the clear intent of the Islamic groups that have lined up to defend Al-Amin. They could, as Dr. Pipes points out, have shown their concern for the dead police officer by raising money for the family he left behind in the line of duty. Instead, they raised money to insure a lawyer's circus for a man who believes that "the main essence" of the US Constitution "is diametrically opposed to what Allah has commanded." America's Muslim's should thank Allah that Al-Amin will receive the full benefit of the US Constitution and its protection.

Be watchful now as Muslim organizations seek to make this trial a litmus test of "fairness." Al-Amin does not face trial because he is a Muslim. He does not face trial because he's Black. He faces trial because he is a suspected cop killer.

Alan Caruba is the author of "A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam" and writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", both available at www.anxietycenter.com, the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

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