Al-Amin, who was known in the 1960s as H. Rap Brown, was wanted on charges of fatally shooting an Georgia sheriff's deputy and wounding another when the two deputies tried to serve Al-Amin with a warrant March 16.
After fleeing the Atlanta area, Al-Amin was found hiding in a shed outside Montgomery, Ala. Al-Amin now faces charges of fleeing persecution in addition to the murder charge.
In Washington, the four Muslim groups pleaded for a fair trial for Al-Amin and stressed his past community service.
"We want to ensure that Jamil receives proper legal representation," the four groups said in a statement. "To that end, we will offer our services to his legal team in Atlanta."
The coalition--led by the American Muslim Council, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Society of North America and the Muslim American Society--after previously calling on Al-Amin to surrender to authorities, sought to portray Al-Amin as a community activist who had been falsely accused in the past.
"We wish to remind everyone of Imam Jamil Al-Amin's long-standing role as a community leader who had a positive impact on the lives of so many people," the statement read. "The charges of Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim."
In 1966, Al-Amin--then known as Brown--became a leader in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Alabama. At the same time, he was the honorary minister for justice in the Black Panther party during a temporary alliance between the two organizations. One year later, when SNCC leader Stokely Carmichael was ousted, Brown was given the post.
Brown converted to Islam while serving a five-year prison sentence on robbery charges. After being released in 1976, Brown founded a mosque in Atlanta and became the spiritual leader, or imam, for a small Muslim community in Atlanta's West End.
The following statement was released in Washington Tuesday by leading national Muslim groups concerned about the case of Imam Jamil Al-Amin.
MUSLIM GROUPS TO MONITOR TRIAL OF IMAM JAMIL AL-AMIN
Islamic leaders concerned that justice is served, facts be revealed
WASHINGTON, DC, 3/21/2000)--Leaders of national American Muslim organizations, along with representatives from the community of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, held a news conference in reaction to the arrest of Al-Amin and several others Monday night in Alabama. Authorities allege that Al-Amin was involved in a shooting incident late Thursday in Atlanta, Ga., that left one sheriff's deputy dead and another critically wounded.
A joint statement issued at the news conference read in part:
"We are not here today to judge the guilt or innocence of any party to this tragic series of events. Just as we do not prejudge, we ask that others wait until all the facts are known. In America, as in Islam, anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty.
"At this point, the role of the Muslim community is four-fold.
"First, we wish to remind everyone of Imam Jamil Al-Amin's longstanding role as a community leader who had a positive impact on the lives of so many people. The charges against Imam Jamil are especially troubling because they are inconsistent with what is known of his moral character and past behavior as a Muslim.
"Second, we want to ensure that Imam Jamil receives proper legal representation. To that end, we will offer our services to his legal team in Atlanta. This team will then address all aspects of the case.
"Third, we will see that his trial is monitored by observers who will insist that any legal proceedings be fair and impartial. We also believe that this process can best take place in a location that allows Imam Jamil to be tried by a jury of his peers.
"Finally, we make note of a past incident in which Imam Jamil was apparently falsely accused of a similar, though far less serious crime. At that time, the alleged victim recanted and claimed that he was pressured by the authorities to name Imam Jamil as the perpetrator.
"Our ultimate goal is to see that justice is done. As it says in the Quran, Islam's revealed text: 'O you who believe. Stand firmly for justice, as witnesses to God...'" (Quran, 2:135)
American Muslim Council (AMC)
Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)
Islamic Society of North America (ISNA)
Muslim American Society (MAS)