Parallels Between Mumia Abu-Jamal and Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin

“The inability of an African American, or any other person of color to get a fair trial in America is a national scandal….All of us must never forget the loving injunction of Frederick Douglass in his Last Will and Testament to ‘Agitate, agitate, agitate.’ More than ever today, as the country is beginning to realize that all of our police officers are not Sir Lancelot’s and are energized by a virulent strain of racism, it is urgent that concerned citizens remain alert and energetic in their work.” – Retired New York State Supreme Court Justice Bruce Wright

ustice Bruce Wright wrote these words to encourage me and my comrades in struggle several years ago, as we entered one of the most challenging (and rewarding) phases of a case that rocked the Washington, DC, metropolitan area. This excerpt from his letter of solidarity found its place on the back of my book (written several years ago), entitled: “Criminal Justice In America…”

From time to time over the years I’ve reflected on this quote, as I do now when I draw parallels between the cases of award winning journalist Mumia Abu-Jamal, and the widely respected Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (formerly H. Rap Brown). The parallels are striking:

each case involved the death of a police officer and both were labeled “cop killer”
both were/are prominent warriors committed to positive societal change
both were feared, followed and targeted by agents of the establishment
each case involved police and (w/Mumia) prosecutorial misconduct
both were victims of cop rage – both were abused in custody
both are intelligent, thoughtful, and spiritually inclined
exculpatory evidence was conveniently ignored
each one targeted for the death penalty
both labeled militant “Black Panther”
both victims of media bias, and
both affected by judicial bias

Mumia has been a political prisoner in America for 20 years, with over 90 percent of that time on Pennsylvania’s death row! It is time for all those who today rally around Imam Jamil (esp. Muslims), to recognize the necessity of becoming involved in the struggle for justice for Mumia and a host of other political prisoners scattered throughout the United States of America. Imam Jamil is a critical link – a bridge if you will – between the political prisoners ( aka, prisoners of war) who have been locked down for the past 20 to 30 years, and the new generation of political prisoners who happen to be disproportionately immigrant and Muslim! It is important that we recognize this; and also recognize the opportunity that Imam Jamil’s imprisonment, and the political trial in Atlanta, affords us. Most of all, we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past. As Mumia has said:

“The struggle for the liberty of Atlanta Muslim leader Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin must take place now, before the cold fingers of the state can close around his neck… Al-Amin’s freedom lies in people who express their support now, instead of later. Fairness does not lie in reversing an unjust conviction; rather it lies in preventing one in the first place.”

PLAN NOW to join us for the NATIONAL MOBILIZATION IN ATLANTA, GEORGIA, MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2002. At least one bus will leave Washington, DC, on Sunday evening (March 17th), and arrive in Atlanta, Georgia, on Monday morning (March 18th). Insha’Allah, we will depart Atlanta on Monday evening, and arrive back in Washington on Tuesday morning. Seating will be on a first come first serve basis, and the cost will be $35.00 round-trip (which will cover the cost of renting the bus and driver). If supporters in the Richmond, Virginia area are genuinely interested in taking the bus, we can plan for one pre-arranged stop in the Richmond area.

This will be a “Day of Solidarity with Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin,” and an opportunity to draw attention to the pernicious problem of political imprisonment and civil liberties abuses in America. If by March 18th the trial has ended, and Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin has been exonerated of all charges, then within the rally will be a celebration of the release of our brother – but a celebration coupled with a renewed commitment to “Agitate, agitate, agitate,” until America lives up to the full meaning of its creed, and moves deliberately to become a land of “liberty and justice for all!”