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Prominent Chaplain Suspended, Accused of Anti-Americanism Based on Secret Tapes

Reported by Marie Therese - March 10, 2006

Wow! The right wing - not content with attacking academics - is now focusing its blinking red "Big Brother" eye on any person of faith who doesn't agree with their sanitized version of Christianity and has the nerve to speak his mind. On this morning's FOX & Friends the Wonder Bread trio of Doocy, Hill and Kilmeade announced to its righteous Christian viewers that New York City Prison Chaplain, African-American Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, has been suspended pending an investigation into remarks taped during a talk he gave at a conference in Arizona. Imam Umar is the Director of Ministerial Services for the New York City Dept. of Corrections (a title I had to look up on the internet because the dweebs at FOX couldn't bother to give the man's official title).

Before you read the transcript below here are some pertinent facts about Mr. Abdul-Jalil:

Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil serves as the Executive Director of Ministerial and Volunteer Services for all correctional institutions in the New York City area. As Executive Director, Imam Umar supervises chaplains of all faith groups that work for the Department of Corrections, oversees volunteer services, and assists in weekly visitation between prisoners and prisoners, children who are in foster care. Imam Umar also runs the prison: Fatherhood Program, which seeks to educate men in prison on how to be good fathers. In addition to his work for the New York City Department of Corrections, Imam Umar serves as the Imam of a masjid in Harlem, New York. (from MSA [Muslim Students Association] West Zone Conference 2005)

Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil has a 27 year distinguished career in ministry and with the New York City Department of Correction (DOC). Umar began working for DOC in 1977 as a volunteer and currently serves as the Executive Director of Ministerial/Volunteer Services. Umar was intrumental in starting the first Islamic studies curriculum at the DOC which has become the model for City and State Correctional Serices. As Director, Umar also manages the ACS Children's Visitation Program for Incarcerated Parents and supervises the Inmates Parenting Skills Program. (from Department of Citywide Administrative Services Leadership Institute Class of 2005, cached copy, original not available)

BRIAN KILMEADE (reading): Let's talk about this Imam, Umar Abdul-Jalil. He is in control of at least 40 chaplains ...

STEVE DOOCY: Was.

KILMEADE: He was, I should say.

EDITH ANN "E.D." HILL: Here in New York City.

KILMEADE: Here in New York City. He goes to prisons and and gives some people some consultations. Has some people answering to him here in New York City. Now the problem with this Imam - if you do see it as a problem - is he tends to spout some hate speech and it really caught the attention of a counterterror organization called The Investigative Project so they showed up with a tape recorder and they said: Let's just listen to this guy without him knowin'.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism is the brainchild (or devil's spawn) hatched in the mind of self-proclaimed terrorism expert, Steve Emerson, a FOX News Terrorism Analyst, who has appeared numerous times on every conceivable FOX News Channel show. Kilmeade also left out that the original report was published in the New York Post, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch. The trio also neglected to mention that the 2005 Conference was for Muslim students.

DOOCY: Well, but the big question is: Is it hate speech? He's got a freedom - as an American, he's got certainly the opportunity to say what's on his mind but he's also an employee and he's a government official. So, let me ask you this. Is this hate speech when he said last year to a Conference of Tuscon Arizona students he said: "We have terrorists defining who the terrorist is because they have the weight of legitimacy behind them. They can get away with it." He goes on to say, "We know that the greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House, without a doubt."

HILL: Now he is ...

DOOCY: Is that hate speech?

HILL: He is the head of all the New York City Department of Corrections chaplains, so if you are a rabbi, an imam, a minister, they all report to this guy. So he goes and makes that statement. It is caught on tape. What can New York City do, because he's a civil service employee?

DOOCY: Yeah.

HILL: Well, they're not sure. So they suspended him with pay right now, at least for the day, while they to try to fig ...

DOOCY: He still gets $76,000 a year!

HILL: $76,000 a year. But this is - I loved his response to it. He's caught on tape sayin' this stuff and he goes (she mimics false concern as she reads): "What hurts me is to have my patriotism questioned ..."

DOOCY (sarcastically): Oh, yeah.

HILL (continuing to read): "That hurt more than anything else. As an American, I have a right to disagree. It is up to the clergy to speak on matters of the soul."

KILMEADE: Really? I just wond - well, I'm just concerned that he might be talkin' to guys like Ramsay Yusef, who's also in New York City, and the blind Sheik, who's also in New York City, two masterminds of the '93 World Trade Center and would be a massive explosion here, in and out of New York.

HILL: He also made the claim, on tape, that there were Muslims being tortured at federal jails in lower Manhattan.

DOOCY: Right. Exactly.

HILL: So now he's making claims, not just "Here's my opinion," but he's claiming that, factually, that there are Muslim inmates ...

DOOCY: Right.

HILL: ... being tortured in federal jails there.

DOOCY: That's extraordinary. So, keep in mind. A chaplain at a prison is there to offer spirituality and help somebody through the rough patch but if, you know, is that hate speech? And what is the City of New York gonna do? Mayor Bloomberg has suspended him and, in the meantime, the City lawyers are goin' through the agreements with him to figure out: Can we fire him? Or is he entitled to say that kind of stuff?

KILMEADE: This is the third such incident like this. This is the most powerful one of the three in New York City over the last three years, so we've gotta find out what's happenin' in there.

HILL: And we know that's a ...

KILMEADE: $76,000. He didn't take a take a vow of poverty, I'll tell ya' that!

HILL: It's also an area where there's concern that that is where they're recruiting - in jails - is where they're recruiting fundamentalist Muslims.

COMMENT

Alberto Gonzales appeared yesterday on F&F giving a softball pro-Patriot Act interview. I wondered at the time why. Now I think I know. What better way to "impeach " the Imam's testimony regarding torture than to preemptively paint him with the terrorist brush using a hack like Emerson, citing a quotation for a year ago? What do you all think? Was this a set up?

Also, do you think it's time to fight back? Do we need liberal snitches - covert operatives who can "pass" as white-bread conservatives, daring individuals willing to go undercover, infiltrate country club cocktail parties, golf excursions, board meetings and cruises, armed with a tiny concealed tape recorder, prepared to expose the rabid fanatics of the right wing, who'd sell their grandmother for a greenback?

The Democrats scored a BIG ONE with the DPW port takeover. The conservatives are itching for payback and obviously have operatives, paid and otherwise, willing to do just this sort of thing. Why can't our side take a page from their book? Don't we have any intrepid teenagers or passionate progressives out there capable of taping some right wing nut spouting hate speech against gays or blacks or women?

What do you all think? Is it time to STOP REACTING and START ACTING? Or is that just sinking further into the slime pits?


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