By Richard B. Muhammad

What you do matters.

It is typical today for people to say nothing can be done and to walk away from challenges. The feelings of powerlessness, apathy, or perhaps both are stronger than the desire to see a wrong made right or to press forward for a just cause.

Thankfully activists, Muslims and advocates did not take that route when it came to conditions and health problems suffered by Imam Jamil Al-Amin, formerly H. Rap Brown, a onetime Black Panther and Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee leader and longtime fighter for freedom, justice and equality. He is also a respected Muslim leader.


Imam Al-Amin was incarcerated in an underground Supermax federal facility in Colorado after a controversial conviction on a state charge of murder in Georgia. His family and supporters say not only was the trial verdict unjust, but the decision to move the religious leader across country and away from his loved ones and helpers was another horrible injustice.

The imam suffered from health problems in prison, including some painful dental problems, then it was learned that he suffered from cancer. The imam was not receiving health care so a campaign to have him moved to a facility where he could more easily obtain treatment was launched.

The effort, which included an organized effort of phone calls and other actions, media interviews, activity by families, supporters and fair-minded people along with strong editorials on his behalf by The Final Call and progressive publications, lead to the imam’s transfer to a federal facility in Butner, N.C.

“It is through your efforts that the Imam (Imam Jamil) has been moved to Butner and we want to thank each and every one of you. This move is a result of YOUR calls and emails. This could not have happened without your efforts. We thank you, and the Imam thanks you,” said the imam’s family in a statement.

In Islam we are taught that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Peace Be Upon Him, once said that there are three levels of opposition to wrong: The first level is to be against the wrong in your heart. The second level is to speak out against the wrong. The third level is to act to right the wrong. The weakest response, however, is to only be against the wrong in your heart.

It took a strong level of opposition to wrong to act on behalf of Imam Al-Amin and a strong level of faith. Success during the Islamic holy month of fasting called Ramadan made the developments that much sweeter for Muslims. But all of us should be happy to see a man moved from inhumane conditions to better conditions–especially when the work of this man’s life has been devoted to the struggle for our advancement. We owe him a debt and must act on his behalf as he has acted for ours.

The struggle, however, is not over. Imam Al-Amin, prisoner number 99974-555, needs to immediately receive a bone marrow biopsy. He needs to confirm the stage of his cancer. There must not be any delay in the imam and his family receiving the results of that biopsy and the imam must immediately begin receiving qualified medical care necessary to treat his disease, as is his right.

“The BOP (Bureau of Prisons) needs to know that we will continue to monitor their care and treatment of Imam Jamil,” said Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Masjid Al-Taqwa and amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America.

For more information and to act, find Support Imam Jamil Al-Amin! on Facebook.

(Richard B. Muhammad is editor-in-chief of The Final Call Newspaper. He can be reached at [email protected]. Find him on Facebook   at Richard B. Muhammad and follow him on Twitter: @RMfinalcall.)