Jamil Al-Amin Framed? 

By Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, Ph.D.
Minaret of Freedom Institute


It has been over a year since the arrest of Jamil Al-Amin, the former civil rights activist turned Muslim community leader. The seriousness of the charge against him ("cop-killing," for the murder of Deputy Ricky Kinchen), has paralyzed many Muslims into a wait-and-see attitude, restricting their comments to simple demands for a fair trial. But, bit-by-bit, information that has trickled out in the intervening months has begun to form a picture of a shocking frame-up.

Consider that shortly after Imam Jamil's arrest, a man named Otis Milton Jackson confessed to the FBI that it was he who killed the Fulton County (Atlanta, Georgia) Sheriff's Deputy. Jackson was put into solitary confinement, recanted two weeks later, and now walks the streets. 

Police had earlier claimed that the perpetrator had been wounded, leaving a trail of blood that led to an abandoned house. Imam Jamil was unwounded at the time of his arrest.

The vehicle shot-up in the incident has been repaired, with all the bullet holes removed, despite judges' orders to preserve the evidence.

The perpetrator of the crime was reported to have gray eyes, while Imam Jamil has brown eyes. There is a claim that Jamil confessed to a fellow prisoner, who alleges that Jamil used gray contact lenses over his brown eyes. I somehow doubt that any claim that brown eyes can be made to appear gray with contact lenses will stand up in court.

What is going on here? Why is Imam Jamil being targeted? Mauri' Saalakhan (2001), head of the Peace and Justice Foundation, has suggested a compelling explanation. The evidence Saalakhan has assembled as to the motivation for his persecution is as follows: 

Roughly one month before the events that lead to the arrest of Imam Jamil, the National Review published a piece by Daniel Pipes in which Pipes identified a number of American-born Muslims that he considered to be a threat to the American way of life. Number one on the list was "the one-time radical H. Rap Brown, now known as Jamil Al-Amin," who characterized the U.S. Constitution as being "in its main essence, diametrically opposed to what Allah has commanded." 

Pipes called for "journalists, intellectuals, clergy, and academic specialists, to awaken Americans to this still incipient, but rapidly growing problem."

The assertion that the U.S. Constitution is incompatible with Islam will surely alarm the readers of the National Review, but is that Pipes' real concern? During the administration of former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, National Security Advisor Zbignew Brzezinski assembled a classified document with two primary objectives. The first was to devise a strategy to keep African-Americans out of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The second concern was regarding "the possibility, however remote, that black Americans interested in African affairs may refocus their attention on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Taking into account the African descent of American blacks, it is reasonable to anticipate their sympathies would lie with the Arabs who are closer to them in spirit, and in some cases, related to them by blood. Black involvement in lobbying to support the Arabs may lead to serious dissention between American Blacks and Jews" (Saalakhan, 2001). This white paper was drafted March 17, 1978.

The evidence suggests a motive for the persecution of Imam Jamil. The forces that destabilized the apartheid regime in South Africa have the potential to destroy the apartheid of Israel. We Muslims of America have it in our power to create a movement that would touch a nerve in the American consciousness on the Palestinian issue in a way we have never succeeded before.

The most effect preventative is the age-old strategy of divide and conquer. The device of secret evidence used against immigrant Muslims like Mazen An-Najjar, Nasser Ahmad, and Anwar Haddam cannot be used against an American citizen like Imam Jamil. Instead, they have to resort to the devise of a frame-up. African-American Muslims stood staunchly beside the immigrant community when the aforementioned were imprisoned on secret evidence. Now all Muslims must stand together and demand justice for Imam Jamil (there is a web site devoted to his cause at ImamJamil.com).

One last final observation relating to this case is the call for a moratorium on the death penalty discussed in a previous column. The fact that the district attorney in Imam Jamil's case has demanded the application of the death penalty in this case clearly demonstrates that the death penalty in America is, in the words of Imam Jamil's brother Ed Brown (2001), "an instrument of oppression and terror against people who are least prepared to deal with it." 

It is an Islamic principle that we judge a society not by how it treats its most powerful members, but by how it treats the least. Muslims would be wise to remember that the secret evidence provisions were part of a bill called the Counter-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act. We would also be wise to remember that on the day before then Texas Governor George W. Bush executed Gary Graham amid great controversy, his brother Jeb executed a Muslim in Florida.


Brown, Ed 2001. Lecture at Council on American-Islamic Relations program on Jamil Al-Amin (in New York, June 29).

Pipes, Daniel 2001. National Review (Feb.) 40-41.

Saalakhan, Mauri' 2001. Lecture at Council on American-Islamic Relations Program on Jamil Al-Amin (New York, June 29).