Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Detroit Demonstration Against Repression Outside Renaissance Center During Attorney General Holder's Visit

Demonstration in Detroit Demands Justice For Slain Imam and 10 Muslim Defendants

MECAWI, grassroots groups protest outside dinner while Attorney
General spurns meeting with local leaders

by Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire

Detroit--United States Attorney General Eric Holder was the keynote
speaker at the Marriot Hotel at the Renaissance Center located in
downtown Detroit on November 17. The speech was the highlight of the first awards dinner for the Advocates and Leaders for Police and
Community Trust (ALPACT), an organization that consist of 50 groups representing the Arab, Muslim, African-American, Asian and civil rights constitutiencies along with 50 officials from local, state and federal law-enforcement agenices.

ALPACT has been in existence for 13 years and promotes itself as a
medium for dialogue between the Detroit community and law-enforcement officials. The awards dinner came in the aftermath of the assassination of African-American Muslim leader Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, who was killed by FBI agents in Dearborn on October 28.

Another ten members of the Masjid Al-Haqq, which was led by Imam
Abdullah, have been indicted on criminal charges of alleged illegal
firearms possession, dealing in stolen goods and tampering with
vehicle identification numbers. A 44-page criminal complaint issued by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District
contained language which described Imam Abduallah as a radical with links to Imam Jamil Abdullah al-Amin, formerly known as H.Rap Brown.

Imam Al-Amin is currently serving a life sentence in federal prison
after being framed-up in 2000 for the killing of a deputy sheriff in
Georgia. Al-Amin was the former Chairman of the Student Nonviolent
Coordinating Committee during 1967-68 and was a victim of the FBI's counterintelligence program (COINTELPRO).

Al-Amin was driven underground in March 1970 after two other leaders of SNCC, Ralph Featerstone and Che Payne Robinson were killed when a bomb was placed in their vehicle in Maryland. Al-Amin was to stand trial in 1970 in connection with an arson charge during a rebellion in Cambridge in July 1967.

Al-Amin was captured in New York in 1971 and sentenced to prison. He was released in 1976 and continued his activism as a leader of the Islamic community in the United States. After his conviction in the
Georgia case in 2002 involving the death of a deputy Sheriff, he has
been held on lockdown 23 hours a day.

The ALPACT dinner was co-chaired by FBI Special-Agent-in-Charge Andrew Arena of the Detroit Field Office and Nabih Ayad, Chairman of the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC).

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) describes ALPACT as "an organization that examines issues affecting police and community relations and the discriminatory enforcement of laws, such as racial profiling, police discretion and use of force, recruitment and training, citizen complaint processes, community partnering and police leadership and management of disciplinary practices; to develop recommendations and best practices; to develop recommendations and best practices designed to enhance the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve." (Michigan Citizen, Nov.8-14)

MECAWI, Grassroots Groups Hold Protest

Outside the Renaissance Center on November 19, members of the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI), the Detroit MLK Committee, Latinos Unidos, the family and friends of Imam Abdullah, members of Masjid Al-Haqq, and others, protested against the murder of the Muslim leader and the government prosecution of the other defendants.

Imam Luqman's son, Omar Regan, expressed his appreciation for the work being done by MECAWI in organizing a political response to the assassination. Members of the family of Imam Luqman have set up a web site to build a legal defense campaign in support of the defendants. The website,, has been up and running since early November.

MECAWI in its call for a demonstration at the Renaissance Center
proclaimed that "We Don't Dine With FBI Killers! The ALPACT dinner at the Ren Cen comes at a time when the FBI has shot down a respected Detroit Muslim leader.... They have arrested 10 other Muslims on wild charges and media hysteria reminiscent of the Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) that tried to destroy Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement and others."

This statement went on to say that "United States jails are filled
with victims of frame-ups, and death row inmates are legally lynched.
Political prisoners languish in lock up such as Mumia Abu-Jamal,
Leonard Peltier and the Cuban 5--all victims of police frame-ups. This is no time to break bread with the FBI."

In conclusion, the MECAWI statement demanded justice for Imam Abdullah and the conducting of a real independent investigation into his death, freedom for the Detroit 10, an end to the ICE raids and deportations, freedom for Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, the Cuban 5 and all political prisoners, and the end to racial profiling, harassment and police killings."

The demonstration on November 19 was covered by the Detroit Free
Press, Michigan Public Radio, the Michigan Citizen, the Huffington
Post and a film crew from Eastern Michigan University that is shooting a documentary on the life of Imam Abdullah.

Inside the ALPACT dinner Attorney General Holder was reported to have emphasized the Obama administration's opposition to racial profiling and the targeting of Muslims for selective prosecutions and frame-ups.

However, the Attorney General refused a request from the Council on
American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for a special meeting to discuss the murder of Imam Luqman and other issues. Holder said that he had a scheduling conflict that did not allow him to meet with the community leaders.

Imam Dawud Walid, the executive director of the CAIR Michigan office, stated in an interview on the "Fighting for Justice" radio program aired over 1310 AM on November 22, that "we had sent a letter to Attorney General Holder requesting a meeting" However, the meeting never took place and Holder was rushed out of the Renaissance Center and flown back to Washington.

MECAWI is working with the Abdullah family to launch an online
petition campaign demanding justice for the late Muslim leader as well as the dropping of all charges against the Detroit 10. There are plans for a public meeting in December in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the assassination of Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton in Chicago.

The public forum will point to the continuation of the federal
government's targeting of African-American leaders and other groups
within the Islamic community as evidenced by the murder of Imam
Abdullah and the prosecution of Muslims on false charges.

Hampton, who was 21 years old when he was killed in his sleep by the Chicago police, had been a victim of the FBI's COINTELPRO efforts which targeted the Panthers and other revolutionary groups during the time period. The FBI had infiltrated the Panther chapter in Chicago.

An informant William O'Neal provided to the FBI the floor plan of the
apartment where Hampton was killed. O'Neal also drugged Panther
members and other occupants of the apartment so they would not be able to defend themselves against the violent police attack which resulted in the murder of both Fred Hampton and Mark Clark of Peoria.

Four other people were wounded in the police raid and residents of the apartment were charged with felonies even though the police and FBI staged the entire operation. The charges were eventually dropped against the Panthers and their supporters.

Many years later an out-of-court settlement was paid to the survivors
of the December 4, 1969 raid on the Panther residence where Hampton and Clark were killed. However, the federal government, the Illinois State Attorney's Office and the local Chicago police never accepted responsibility for the attack on the Panthers or was anyone ever prosecuted for these crimes.

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