It’s past time for us to demand the freedom of Imam Jamil Al-Amin!

Young-Kairi-and-Al-Amin, It’s past time for us to demand the freedom of Imam Jamil Al-Amin!, Featured World News & Views
Young Kairi and Al-Amin.

by Minister of Information JR Valrey 

With the upcoming release of political prisoner Ruchell Magee pending and the recent passing of former political prisoner Dr. Mutulu Shakur, political prisoners have been a hot topic in the community from coast to coast as of late. 

We can’t talk about the so-called 50th anniversary of Hip Hop without talking about the man whose political rap was so cold that the U.S. Congress wrote the H. Rap Brown laws to stop him from crossing state lines to make speeches because they were continuously ending in rebellion. As a veteran of the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee and the Black Liberation Army, Imam Jamil Al-Amin converted to Islam. 

In 2002, he was unjustly convicted of killing a Fulton County, Georgia, police officer and, while another man by the name of Otis Jackson confessed and evidence points to the Imam’s innocence, Imam Jamil Al-Amin has been sitting and rotting away in a cement box, currently in Arizona, for the last 21 years, as retribution from the U.S. government for his past political career standing up in the Black Power movement. 

Much like other political prisoners such as Mumia Abu Jamal, Ed Poindexter, Veronza Bowers, Kamau Sadiki, and more, Imam Jamil Al-Amin is being unjustly held so that his captivity would strike fear in the hearts of future freedom fighters. But quiet as kept, the longer the Imam is locked away, the more the chant “Free Imam Jamil!” will be on our lips and minds and the more people his message will reach. 

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If you don’t know who Imam Jamil Al-Amin is, you owe it to yourself to discover what this man did for Black people in this country. All of us reading this should do something in support like: write him, send him some commissary, send him a donation for his legal expenses etc. Check out his son Kairi Al-Amin as he talks about his father being a prisoner of war. 

JR Valrey: Can you talk a little bit about some of the work he did at Howard University? Can you also talk about his work with SNCC?

Kairi Al-Amin: Of course, but in actuality the work at Howard was spearheaded by my uncle, my father’s older brother, Amir Brown, formerly Ed Brown. My father was inspired by the work his brother was doing and took it to another level after leaving school at Southern in Louisiana. 

My father was a trenches activist – front lines where the people needed him – so he could be found in places like Lowndes County, Ala., fighting the good fight. As a member and chairperson of SNCC, his work continued in the same vein: using the inherent culture of organization present in universities to be able to mobilize and ultimately make a difference. 

JR Valrey: Can you talk about your father being drafted into the Black Panther Party back in the day?

Kairi Al-Amin: My father was never an actual member of the Party but the mutual respect was there, which is why they gave him the title of Minister of Justice for the Party. Real recognize real, as we say. 

JR Valrey: Can you give us a brief history of how the H. Rap Brown laws came about?

Kairi Al-Amin: My father is one of the most powerful speakers and orators in modern history. The powers that be did not appreciate him using that talent to galvanize our people, and so when at the end of a particularly fiery speech in Cambridge, Maryland, in July 1967, a riot broke out. 

While my father did not call for a riot, he was blamed as the catalyst and a bill was passed in response making it illegal to travel across state lines with the intent to incite riots and that’s how my father’s amendment came to be. They wronged us and then got upset because we got upset. 

JR Valrey: When and why did Imam Jamil become Muslim? 

Kairi Al-Amin: Imam Jamil became Muslim in the late ‘70s while in prison in New York, Attica, I believe. My father says the brothers inside approached him consistently about Islam but when he finally sat down and started to study, that’s when he realized he had basically been living this life anyway and it was a no brainer for him from there. The rest is history. Islam gave him the direction he needed. No longer by any means necessary, but by the means Allah deems acceptable.

JR Valrey: Can you talk about what COINTELPRO is and how it has been used against your father?

Kairi Al-Amin: COINTELPRO or the counter intelligence program is just that and I think we should stop abbreviating it because it takes away from the impact of what it actually is: a spy organization within our government designed to spy on us –  as unconstitutional as it gets. 

They are the arm of the government that doesn’t have to follow rules. Those secret operatives in movies – they exist. It’s called COINTELPRO and it’s why EVERY leader we get is neutralized. It’s crazy to think how normal their presence in my life is. To be a kid and know your phones are tapped is wild, but to make jokes about it ‘cause that’s just your life is wilder and that’s my life. 

JR Valrey: Can you talk about your father being a political prisoner and the discrepancies involved in his case? 

Imam-Jamil-Al-Amin-H.-Rap-Brown-sits-outside-his-Community-Grocery-Atlanta-070490-by-Tami-Chappell-AP, It’s past time for us to demand the freedom of Imam Jamil Al-Amin!, Featured World News & Views
Imam Jamil Al-Amin (H. Rap Brown) sits outside his Community Grocery.

Kairi Al-Amin: My father is innocent. He’s accused of a murder he didn’t commit. Another man confessed and the victims described the other man. No physical evidence links my father to the scene – no fingerprints, no gun residue, nothing. And yet, we’ve forgotten and/or turned our back on him. We say we haven’t but him being where he is says we have. What are we gon’ do about it? All it takes is caring enough to make noise.

JR Valrey: Where is his case now?

Kairi Al-Amin: His case is currently being reviewed by the conviction integrity unit. We’ve proven his innocence time and time again, but they want to see if the people still care. And to this point, we have shown them we don’t and so they won’t move. We the people are the missing piece. 

JR Valrey: How is your father’s spirit under the unjust and oppressive circumstances?

Kairi Al-Amin: I truly hate this question to be honest. He’s in prison though lol, I tell folks go sit in the bathroom for 24 hours with the door closed. That’s how he’s doing. Free my father so he can be at peace. He ain’t right now.

JR Valrey: How can people write to your father? How can people keep up with the case?

Kairi Al-Amin: To keep up with the case and action items to help Imam Jamil, follow @_freeimamjamil on IG, and to write him the address is below: 

Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin #99974-555

USP Tucson P.O. Box 24550

Tucson, AZ 85734.

JR Valrey, journalist, author, filmmaker and founder of Black New World Media, is also the editor in chief of the San Francisco Bay View newspaper. He teaches the Community Journalism class twice a week at the San Francisco Bay View newspaper office. He can be reached at