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AMINAH AKBAR Printer Friendly Page

Muslim Put on Leave As Chaplain after Speech [Praising bin Laden as Hero]
By Michael Beebe
November 2, 2001



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  • Former chaplain at New York’s Albion Correctional Facility for women
  • Characterized Osama bin Laden as "a warrior for Allah" and "a hero to all Muslims"

About six weeks after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Aminah Akbar, a veteran female chaplain (approximately 60 years old at that time) at upstate New York's Albion Correctional Facility for women, told a crowd of about 120 inmates: "Bin Laden is a warrior for Allah, as all Muslims should be. Bin Laden is a hero to all Muslims. The Taliban are right in not letting the U.S. take bin Laden. The U.S. has no proof that he destroyed the World Trade Center." "The United States is a giant country," Akbar added. "Why are they bombing a country [Afghanistan] the size of a pea?"

Noting that "this event has been changed from Black Solidarity Day to American Solidarity Day," Akbar added: "I am not an American. I just live here. We have been beaten and harassed for over 500 years, and we should not take it anymore."

Akbar was booed by some inmates for her remarks about 9/11. Fearing that her rhetoric would exacerbate tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims at the penitentiary, prison officials fired her. But an arbitrator later ruled that the firing was unjustified, stating that Akbar had also provided a valuable service to the inmates -- like advising them on such matters as education, employment, and personal relationships.



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