July 8, 2011
Nation of Islam Letter to Bureau of Prisons Re: Reps. Frank R. Wolf and Peter King
Dr. Thomas R. Kane
Bureau of Prisons
320 First St NW Rm. 642
Washington, DC 20534 – 0002
Dear Acting Director Kane:
I am general counsel for the Nation of Islam and legal counsel to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. This communication is being written to formally notify you of our objection to and opposition of the request from Congressional Representatives Frank R. Wolf and Peter King in their letter dated July 5, 2011.
The letter requests that you immediately remove all written, audio and video materials produced by the “Nation of Islam” and Louis Farrakhan from all BOP facilities.
The United States Constitution, First Amendment, is clear that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech … . The request from these two congressional representatives violates the prohibition stated in the First Amendment. We are committed to ensuring and protecting our rights through all areas of redress that the law permits. In fact we have already litigated this matter in federal court and our first amendment rights were upheld.
During the June 15, 2011 hearings referenced in the congressmen’s letter there were no facts or evidence presented that Islam as taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad under the guidance of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan leads to radicalization, terrorism or extremist ideologies. The truth is the Nation of Islam has been recognized for over 70 years for reforming inmates and former inmates spiritually, morally, intellectually, and economically, and producing law abiding citizens who are positive contributors to their community. These individuals have a very low rate of recidivism. Moreover, there has not been one member of the Nation of Islam during our eighty year history in America that has been charged with an act of terrorism against the United States. We are taught by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to respect the laws that govern our Nation.
Contrary to the congressmen’s assertion that prisons in the US have been a fertile breeding ground for violent ideology leading to radicalization, the testimony and evidence presented at the hearing proved exactly the opposite. For your convenience I have attached the Testimony of Professor Bert Useem, of Purdue University, one of the presenters at the hearing.
The conclusion reached by this expert clearly contradicts the assertions in the July 5th letter. It states in pertinent part;
My core argument, then, is that U.S. prisons are not systematically generating a terrorist threat to the U.S. homeland. … . The claim that U.S. prisons will generate scores of terrorists spilling out onto the streets of our cities appears to be false or, at least, much overstated.
More specifi cally and most importantly, Professor Useem was pointedly asked by Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee (D) Texas, a member of the Homeland Security Committee whether he viewed the Nation of Islam as promoting, in the current 21st century, the undermining of this nation? Professor Useem stated; No, I don’t. For your convenience I have attached an excerpt of the transcript of this specificline of questioning.
We further categorically reject the perverse interpretation given by the congressmen regarding the alleged quote attributed to Minister Farrakhan as anti-American and anti-Semitic propaganda, or that the video titles cited purportedly belong to the Nation of Islam.
We continue to provide spiritual and reformatory services to inmates, male and female, in many federal correctional facilities throughout the United States. Thus, we request to meet with you to engage in a dialogue regarding policies and procedures that will allow us to work together in a cooperative manner to achieve the rehabilitation of the inmate population we serve.
We believe these discussions will be beneficial especially in regards to your regulations concerning Incoming Publications, Religious Beliefs and Practices, and your Chaplains services.
We look forward to your response.
Abdul Arif Muhammad,Esq.
General Counsel to the Honorable
Minister Louis Farrakhan
and the Nation of Islam
7351 S. Stony Island Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60649
cc: The Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20530-0001