Three Times a Charm, but Eighteen is Ridiculous
by PATRICK DUNLEAVY
August 30, 2011
Charles Fuller during his latest arrest.
They say that history often repeats itself. When it comes to the subject of Islamic prison clergy, its more like a broken record that plays over and over and over again.
Case in point; Last week NYPD conducted a sting operation they called “Operation Losing Proposition” designed to target individuals soliciting sex for money. Numerous suspected “johns” were arrested, among them Charles Fuller. Fuller, also known as Aziz ud din Bilal, is a chaplain at the New York City prison complex on Rikers Island where he has worked for over twenty years. This was not Bilal’s first run in with the law. He has been arrested 18 times for charges including robbery, grand larceny, and bribery of a public official. In July of last year law enforcement officers found a loaded 9mm semi automatic pistol in his vehicle, which is a federal crime for any convicted felon to possess, however as of yet, no criminal charges have been filed against him and the investigation is ongoing.
In addition to his job in the prison, Bilal is also the spiritual leader of Masjid Al-Hamdu-Li-Lah in New York City. The mosque has an extensive outreach to inmates in the New York State Correctional System where the inmates use the phone home program to contact Imam Bilal for guidance.
He is a member of the Islamic Leadership Council also known as the Majlis Ashura, located in Wyandanch, New York. This is the same organization that is used to certified all of the Islamic clergy in the prison system and they are not adverse to certifying former inmates for prison chaplain positions nor are they strangers to having some of their members arrested
while working inside the walls.
In 2003 Osameh al Wahaidy was indicted (pdf) by the US Attorney’s Office for providing material support to suspected terrorist organization through a fictitious charity. At the time he was the Imam at Auburn State Prison. He had been certified for employment by the Islamic Leadership Council.
Zulqarnain Abdu Shahid.
In 2010 Zulqarnain Abdu Shahid was arrested for attempting to smuggle dangerous contraband into the Manhattan House of Detention.
Subsequent investigation revealed that he had previously served 14 years in prison for murder. At the time of his arrest he was a Chaplain for the New York City Department of Corrections. And the organization that sponsored his employment was the Islamic Leadership Council.
The organization has a history of supporting and endorsing violent criminals as spiritual leaders, as in the case of Imam Jalil al Amin convicted in the shooting of two Fulton County Deputy Sheriffs in 2000 and also Imam Luqman Abdullah of Detroit killed in a shootout with FBI agents in 2009.
In June of this year the House Committee for Homeland Security held a hearing on the threat of Muslim -American radicalization in the U.S. prison system. One of the recommendations made was the need for a national standard of certification of prison chaplains. When cities or states are left on their own to try and find a way of vetting potential candidates for employment, they often rely on uncertified organizations like the Majlis Ashura or the Islamic Leadership Council.
Last week the Assistant Amir of the Council, Imam Talib Abdur Rashid, himself a former prison chaplain at Sing Sing, was at the forefront of a coalition group calling for the Department of Justice and the Senate Intelligence Committee to investigate the NYPD for allegations of “profiling” and “spying” on the Muslim Community. Perhaps the real need for investigation is for the organizations certifying convicted felons to work in the prison system as spiritual leaders.