Speaker Imam (Arabic for religious scholar) Khalid Kriggs was stopped from coming to Montreal in North Carolina while trying to board his plane. Making it impossible for him to make it to the Hall Building for last Saturday’s United Muslim Students Association’s (UMSA) lecture geared at raising awareness and funds to help imprisoned Imam Jamil Al-Amin in his court appeal.
It was not made clear why Kriggs was stopped.
In Kriggs’ place was last-minute replacement Ali Shayan, an Ottawa-based student who was still able to speak at length on the subject of Al-Amin’s allegedly wrongful imprisonment.
“Imam Jamil Al-Amin is the model imam for everyone. This is not my opinion, this is known across the United States,” began Shayan.
Al Amin, formerly Hubert Brown, an African-American Muslim leader, was arrested on March 16, 2000, for the shooting death of Atlanta deputy police officer Ricky Kinchen and was later sentenced to life in prison.
In a video presentation on Al-Amin, various American imams spoke of him as a peaceful man who worked with different Islamic and non-Islamic communities. They spoke of how the American authorities were unfairly dealing with his case.
Shayan backed the claim with evidence that police officials were deliberately stifling uncertainties about who the shooter could have been. One such piece of evidence were reports asserting the shooter was wounded and left a trail of blood behind him, whereas Al-Amin was not wounded when arrested.
While going through Al-Amin’s life and education, Shayan pointed out that Al-Amin, while still named Brown, was involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s and was shot at and accused of starting a riot. Al-Amin then hid from the police but was later caught and spent five years in prison. In jail, Al-Amin converted to Islam. Shayan then specified that Al-Amin’s somewhat violent behaviour was “prior to any understanding of Islam.”
As a Muslim leader, “he (Al-Amin) established something very revolutionary; he organized his community to become self-sufficient from the non-Muslims, and that is why they were after him,” explained Shayan.
In a message dictated by Al-Amin and read by Shayan during the lecture, Al-Amin professed to the audience that “in an era where the kuffar (non-believers in Allah) have legislated confrontation, truth conflicts with what falsehood. This is not just a case concerning myself, just look at secret evidence!” According to Shayan, the U.S. government uses so-called “secret evidence”, which is hidden from those standing accused, as a way to imprison Muslim leaders without giving them a fair trial.
Shayan also said $100,000 in funds will be necessary for Al-Amin’s appeal and implored all Muslims to open their hearts and wallets to the cause. Shayan said he did not understand why Muslims in this North American ummah (Muslim community) were not rallying around Al-Amin “Is it because he’s black that we don’t want to support him? Is it because he’s a convert that we don’t want to support him?” he asked.
The most recent reports on Al-Amin say he has been moved from Georgia to an Alabama federal prison where he will be retried in federal court.
Amir Al-Shourbaji, president of the UMSA, felt it was important to bring the case to people’s attention because he believes the unjust jailing of Al-Amin was an attack on the Islamic community. “They (the U.S. Government) basically got rid of one of our leaders and they just put him away,” he said.