Wet Weather and Low Attendance Fail to Dampen Spirits of Jamil Al Amin Supporters
Just a few hundred people turned out for a rally in Atlanta this past weekend in support of Imam Jamil Al Amin and in spite of a rainy start, organizers are calling the event a success. The rally was organized by ardent supporters of the imam in hopes of pressuring authorities to drop their case against him.
Imam Al Amin is currently awaiting trial in a Georgia detention facility for the murder of a Fulton County sheriff's deputy, and for the shooting injury of a second deputy. The imam, who is widely considered a respected figure among Muslim American activists, maintains he is innocent and is the subject of an U.S. governmental conspiracy.
In spite of the lower than expected turnout, organizers say the event was a success because attendees traveled from all over the U.S. to rally in support of Imam Al Amin.
Supporters close to the imam say authorities harassed and intimidated members of Al Amin's family during their investigation. Family members were reportedly handcuffed and interrogated by police and were visited by FBI agents at work. Supporters say the government has been conspiring for years to put him in prison.
"The government's records show that an attempt was made to link him to the World Trade Center bombing and various other major crimes...The records show that an expert from the anti-terrorism task force investigated Imam Jamil for several years," said Kaukab Siddique, Ameer of Jamaat al-Muslimeen, and event organizer.
Al Amin's criminal defense attorney, Michael Hauptman, agrees with the conspiracy theory, noting that "Given all that has gone on in his life, he [Al-Amin] would have to be an idiot to believe that he was not targeted by the police."
The emergence of new evidence in the case earlier this summer shed even more doubt on the case against him.
Imam Jamil Al Amin is so far the only suspect in the shooting death of Deputy Ricky Kinchen and the wounding of his partner Aldranon English, during a shoot-out in Atlanta's west side March 16. But according to a sheriff's dispatch tape recorded during the gun battle, a second possible suspect was wounded.
In addition to the tape, the wounded deputy has said in reports he shot the assailant as both parties exchanged fire. But when Al Amin was later apprehended, he was not injured.
Furthermore, witnesses say they saw a wounded man five blocks from the scene begging for a ride just minutes after the shooting, and a 911 call was made by another witness reporting an injured man in the vicinity.
Evidence at the scene also supports the second suspect theory. An Atlanta officer had reportedly discovered blood drops at an abandoned house near the scene. Police are said to have searched the area for a possible second suspect, but produced no arrests. Al Amin's defense attorneys are reportedly searching for this man.
But it is not the facts in this case that have stirred emotion among American Muslims, but rather Al Amin's recent efforts as a Muslim activist.
Beginning in the 1960's, Al-Amin, then known as H. Rap Brown, emerged as one of the best known black activists. Although his activism was credited for inspiring many African Americans during an important period during the American civil rights movement, he caught the watchful eye of many law enforcement agencies.
Al Amin was eventually arrested and while in jail, he converted to Islam and adopted an Islamic name. In 1994, he wrote Revolution by the Book, and became a Muslim activist, promoting strong families and joining the war on drugs. Additionally, he has spoken at many Muslim conferences in the U.S and around the world and has generated a strong following.
Supporters have vowed to continue their efforts beyond last weekend's event. A group dedicated to supporting Al Amin, The International Committee to Support Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin (ICSJAA), has called on Muslims to dedicate Friday prayer services to him, and the Jamaat Al Muslimeen has launched a petition campaign for his release. The group aims to collect one million signatures to present to U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno demanding among other things, that he be freed and the reported FBI files on him be released.
Topics: Al-Amin, Crime And Justice, H. Rap Brown