[Editor’s note:  The following article contains an excerpt from a distillation of the hour-long message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as Part 24 of his 58-week Lecture Series “The Time and What Must Be Done.”  To order this message it in its entirety on MP3, DVD and CD or call 1.866.602.1230, ext. 200.]

In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

My dear brothers and sisters, right now as we speak:  Mumia Abu Jamal is absolutely a prisoner of conscience.  A “prisoner,” that if they get their way, they will sentence my brother, and order his death. 

But in a hearing, they wanted to give him a new trial, where his attorneys could produce evidence that might lead to Mumia Abu Jamal’s freedom!  But those that oppose it are seeking, now, to overturn the lower court ruling, and sentence my brother to death.  Mumia Abu Jamal is apolitical prisoner.


What is a “political prisoner”?  According to the American Heritage Dictionary, a “political prisoner” is “a person who has been imprisoned for holding or advocating dissenting political views.”  

When I was in Syria several years ago, in a meeting with the then-president Haffaz al-Assad, current Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s father, he shared with me a conversation that he had with former U.S. President George Herbert Walker Bush; that they were talking about “terrorism.” 

And, there are so many different definitions of what a “terrorist” is—Mr. Assad asked Mr. Bush, “Define the term for me.”  And guess what?  The “terrorist,” to America, is the freedom fighter:  Those who fight for liberation. 

Nelson Mandela was looked upon by the regime in South Africa as a “terrorist.”  Today we look at Nelson Mandela as a universal hero; a man of stellar character.  A man who served 27 years in prison for a crime that he did not do—he just was standing up for the liberation of his people. 

When I was in Zimbabwe, when it used to be called “Rhodesia” when Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabewere fighting for the liberation of their people, I read the papers written by Europeans, who had usurped their land!  And these Europeans called the fighters for liberation “terrorists.” 

Oh America:  You have just picked people up in different parts of different countries, and brought them to Guantanamo Bay.  You won’t even charge them, but you just hold them.  President Obama:  You said that one of the first things you would do when you became president was to close down Guantánamo Bay—“free the captive”!  This has not been done.

Have you heard of my sister “Joanne Chesimard,” also known as Assata Shakur?I’m using her “slave name,” but her real name, that is an African name, is Assata Shakur; shesaid that it means “one who struggles, who fights for her people.”She isa “political prisoner,” and now she is looked upon as a “domestic terrorist.” 

I met her when I was in Cuba.  I talked with my sister.  She is now 65 years of age…  She “terrorizes” nobody.  Why, then, would the Justice Department of the government of the United States make this sister a “domestic terrorist”?  The F.B.I. is offering $2 million for her capture.  

And nowthat she’s labeled a “domestic terrorist”:  Will our government find out where she lives, and send a drone to kill her?  Will you send people into Cuba to try to harm her, and bring her back to America as a “domestic terrorist”?

Pay attention to Sister Assata’s words:  “…I had long ago become convinced that revolution was a science. Generalities were no longer enough for me. Like my comrades, I believed that a higher level of political sophistication was necessary and that unity in the Black community had become a priority. We could never afford to forget the lessons we had learned from COINTELPRO [the Counterintelligence Program of the United States government]

As far as I was concerned, building a sense of national consciousness was one of the most important tasks that lay ahead of us. I couldn’t see how we could seriously struggle without having a strong sense of collectivity, without being responsible for each other and to each other.”  She went on to also say:  

“I am a Black revolutionary woman, and because of this I have been charged with and accused of every alleged crime in which a woman was believed to have participated. The alleged crimes in which only men were supposedly involved; I have been accused of planning. They have plastered pictures alleged to be me in post offices, airports, hotels, police cars, subways, banks, television, and newspapers. They have offered”

at that time of her writing—“over fifty thousand dollars in rewards for my capture”—and now, as I fore stated, the reward is $2 million—“and they have issued orders to shoot on sight and shoot to kill.”

Let me ask a question:  What happened in the Justice Department that you would label my sister a “domestic terrorist”?  What did she do?She’s been in Cuba for nearly 30 years—who did she “terrorize”?  Who did she “involve in a plot” to overthrow this government that you could label her a “domestic terrorist”?  

My, my, my… Some of you have said you believe that she’s been “feeding” stuff to people that are against the government of America.  You “believe”?  You don’t classify people on a “belief”!  You classify people on actual facts!  

What are the actual facts of our sister—living in Cuba, because she can’t come back to the place of her birth because of what you have falsely labeled her?  I am really disappointed that our president, and our Justice Department under Mr. Eric Holder, would allow our sister to be named a “domestic terrorist.” 

But you know, there are many political prisoners, now, that I am saying in The Name of Allah and His Messiah:  They have to be set free!  Do you remember…

Leonard Peltier of “AIM” (the American Indian Movement):  Arrested for allegedly shooting a F.B.I. figure.  That poor man has been in prison for a long, long time.  When are you going to set him free?  You have given men like Leonard Peltier, and others, life sentences… 

Brother Imam Jamil Al-Amin:  I visited him when he was [at a maximum security facility] in Reidsville, Georgia.  You took from Georgia and put him in Florence, Colorado [at a “supermax” facility]—and he’s there for life.  For “life,” on a trumped up charge that “he murdered somebody”? 

Geronimo Ji Jaga Pratt:  A Vietnam veteran; a member of The Black Panther Party that the F.B.I. feared because he was decorated as a war hero.  You were afraid that he would organize Black youth…  He spent 27 years of his life in prisons, and when he was let out, and all charges dropped against him, he left America and went to Africa, and died a little over a year ago.  

Died in Africa—died after serving time in prison for a crime he did not commit!  My dear brothers and sisters: These are actions of a government that fears Black Liberation! 

Larry Hoover:  Leader of the Gangster Disciples.  Afterhe changed that name to mean “Growth and Development,” he then started pushing members of the “Gangster Disciples” into school to get a high school education, and go on to do constructive things.  

He was more dangerous doing that than selling drugs—so you arrested him while he was in prison, and gave him six life terms!  Six!  You never intend for my brother to get out of prison!  You did the same to:

Chief Malik Ka’bah, a.k.a. “Jeff Fort” of the Blackstone Rangers [“Black P. Stone Nation”].  They’re all in the same prison in Florence, Colorado, maximum security; in prison 23 hours a day, with only 1 hour out.  But you have not been able to break them; 

Jamil Al-Amin is there because he fights for The Liberation of Black people, and he fights for Islam!  Soon, you will be released; otherwise, you would make God and His prophets “liars.”  The “captives” that are bound will eventually be set free.  Who else do you have behind prison bars?

The Cuban Five:  Cuban patriots who came to south Florida to find out who was plotting and planning, and bombing hotels and doing terrorism inside Cuba! 

And when President Fidél Castro sent an emissary to the F.B.I., and told them the information that The Cuban Five had learned about those “domestic terrorists” that were being used to destroy the influence of Cuba and to kill innocent people:  Instead of you arresting the real “domestic terrorists,” you arrested The Cuban Five. 

Some of them you’ve given life terms to, just for exposing the wickedness of some Cubans living in south Florida that are backed by a government that is not right.

Do you have a cell already set up for me?

America, your evil has entered The Ears and Heart of God Himself.  The evil that you do to people:Did you not know that you have to pay for that?  Did you not know that “God is not mocked”—that whatever you sow you’re going to have to reap?  These “political prisoners” should be set free…  Larry HooverChief Malik

They could do great work in the inner-cities, organizing young men not to be destroyers of their communities, but organizing them to do good for their communities!  You wouldn’t give them that chance, but your own White criminals, your own Jewish criminals:  You open a way for them. 

We thank God for Bobby Kennedy and John Fitzgerald Kennedy, but I don’t think their dad Joseph P. Kennedy was “holy” and “righteous”—but the money that he got through bootlegging:  He could make his sons “senators” and “presidents.” 

You wouldn’t allow those of us who have had a criminal past to even reform, and be redeemed!  But you say you “believe in God.” The hypocrisy of the United States government is about to be shown up.

Edward Snowden:  An example of a man ‘denying himself’ for a cause bigger than himself

In the early part of June 2013, do you remember on the news a young man named Edward Snowden, 29 years of age, who was working for a company (Booz Allen Hamilton, a management and technology consulting firm) that did work for the National Security Agency (“NSA”)—

And he “blew the whistle” on the NSA spying on American citizens?  Oh, they are trashing that young man today…  And some believe that they will seek him out to kill him.

I don’t know what his religious persuasion is, but if any man was a “follower of Christ,” it would be him.  Jesus said:  “If any man would be my disciple, he must first deny himself”—this young man denied himself a $200,000-a-year job; denied his girlfriend, denied his family;

Denied his place in his own country so that he could make the American people know that they are being spied on—and to listen to the officials of the National Security Agency on television, saying to the government:  “Oh, no… We are not doing this to the American people!  I mean, we are just looking, you know, where the ‘terrorists’ are!”  

You are such a noble liar!  You can’t help it; you love to lie.  But you know what?  The American people are not being fooled.  And I hope that the senators who are questioning the officials of the National Security Agency are not being fooled. 

That man denied himself, and picked up “a cross,” and is now being crucified…  Brothers and sisters, if you love The Truth:  What price are you willing to pay for The Success of Truth—and The Righteousness that comes, and The Justice that comes from believing in The Truth and acting on its principles?

We, in The Nation of Islam, have come forward, and have picked up “our cross”:  We deny ourselves on a daily basis for The Truth that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad has given to us for The Liberation of Our People by standing with Assata Shakur, by standing with Mumia Abu Jamal—by standing with those who have been imprisoned, and are political prisoners! 

By standing with The Cuban Five, by standing with Leonard Peltier!  By standing with all of those who are the victims of a government that has lost its soul.  And I’m sorry, “Black America”:You can’t be “the soul” of a soul-less nation.You better look at the 23rd Psalm,and get a “restoration” for your own soul—because The Enemy now is going “all out” with a “final assault” on those who tell The Truth. 

MayGod bless you pastors, to go into your scriptures and be true to The Gospel:  Preach what God has revealed, and don’t fear the censure of any censurer!  Stand up for The Truth, and let God protect you, if it pleases Him.  And if it doesn’t, then die on behalf of The Truth for that is the most important way to die: 

In sacrificing your life for The Truth!  This young man, Snowden, is like those in the Buddhist faith who were immolating themselves to teach a lesson…  That’s “all we have”—is our lives!  And when we are willing to sacrifice our lives for a cause bigger than our lives, then our lives and our deaths, and our sacrifice have meaning

Ask God to remove fear from our hearts!  Ask Him to strengthen us, so that we won’t be cowards!  Ask God to anoint us with His Spirit, that we will “cry aloud” and “spare not”; that we will stand up anointed with The Spirit of God and “preach the good tidings” to the Black man and woman of America; that He, and we, may rejoice that The Hour of Our Deliverance has come—and The Day of Vengeance of our God has also come!

Thank you for reading these words; and may Allah (God) Grant you The Light of Understanding—hoping that The Twitter Army will “tweet” till “the birds come home to roost” (smile).  Keep “tweeting”!  As I greet you in peace:  As-Salaam Alaikum.