By IMAM AL HAJJ TALIB 'ABDUR-RASHID, MANA Deputy Amir
THE recent revelation of the autopsy report on Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah (May Allah have mercy on him and reward him with jannat, amin), and the travesty of justice manifested in the guilty verdict against sister Aafia Siddiqui (May Allah preserve and protect and comfort her and her family, amin) serve to instruct and remind us as Muslims in America, of the reality of injustice and the existence of political oppression in the land.
Uncle Sam's official position on political prisoners is that they do not exist in America. We know better. In a country where slavery and apartheid were once legal, and resistance against them could and did result in felony charges or death; where John Brown is still considered to have been a domestic terrorist and Harriet Tubman could have been similarly identified, men and women still languish in prisons for daring to struggle in ways deemed unacceptable by a government which once identified Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as "the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today."
As an example, former members of groups targeted for their acts of resistance by COINTELPRO in the late 1960's and early 1970's, still languish in prison after 3 decades. Whether they belonged to the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense or the Black Liberation Army, the American Indian or Puerto Rican Independence Movements, their names form a long list.
They are unknown to too many Muslims in this land -- indigenous and immigrant alike.
Their ranks include Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, Mumia Abu-Jamal (still on death row) , Abdul Majid, Mutulu Shakur, Herman Bell, Anthony Abdul Jalil Bottom, Sekou Odinga, George Baba Eng, Ibn Kenyatta, Robert Seth Hayes, Russell Shoats, the survivors of the Philadelphia Move bombing (all of whom were sentenced to 100 years each) - Charles Simms Africa, Michael Davis Africa, Delbert Orr Africa, Debbie Sims Africa, William Phillips Africa, Edward Goodman Africa, Janet Holloway Africa and Janine Phillips Africa, as well as Sundiata Acoli (sentenced to life+ 30 years) , Sekou Cinque Kambui, Silvia Braldini, Ojore Nuru Lutalo, David Gilbert, Tom Warner, Mark Cook, Assata Shakur, Marshall Eddie Conway, Marilyn Buck, Richard Williams, Kamau Sandiki, Romaine Chip Fitzgerald, Yu Kikumura, Kojo Bomani Sababu, Ed Poindexter, Mondon We Langa, Oscar Lopez-Rivera, Veronza Bowers, Tom Manning, Leonard Peltier, Raymond Levasseur, Herman Wallace, Albert Woodfox,Hugo Pinell, Ruchell Magee, Eddy Hatcher, Eddy Zheng, Ana Belen Montez, Obafemi Senghor, and Nahanda Abiodun, and Mafundi Lake. Those who died during incarceration include Albert Nuh Washington, Merle Austin Africa, and Basher Hameed . Many of these prisoners were and are Muslims -incarcerated long before September 11, 2001. Uncle Sam calls them criminals. The People call them freedom fighters.
This month MANA's Social Justice Task Force organized a seminar on Saturday, February 13, 2010 at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Its purpose was to educate the Muslim community about the history and inhumanity of this type of punishment, and to join forces with other activists who are addressing this issue, so that ultimately we can all work to end this form of torture. It was a demonstration of our own awareness of this issue, and a call to all Muslims to address the ongoing injustice, through struggle within the boundaries of, and according to, the Qur'an and Sunnah.