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Activists accuse Israelis of racial profiling

By Saeed Shabazz -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Dec 10, 2009 - 9:27:07 PM

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Dhoruba Bin Wahad
( - When the International Jericho Movement received an invitation to send representatives to the International Conference on Prisoners and Detainees in Israeli Prisons, the organization sent Dhoruba Bin Wahad, a former U.S. political prisoner and Naji Mujahid, a Washington, D.C.-based activist, journalist and student.

On the morning of Nov. 23, the two men boarded a tourist bus in Amman, Jordan, but were forced off by soldiers of the Israeli Security Force at the Allenby/King Hussein BridgeÑone of many checkpoints manned by the Israelis at the border of the Occupied West Bank.

Naji Mujahid
According to the National Jericho Movement, Mr. Bin-Wahad and Mr. Mujahid were detained for 11-hours, stripped searched, property confiscated and then sent back to Amman.

“Clearly we were stopped because we are Black,” Mr. Mujahid explained to The Final Call. “We were the only two Blacks on the bus, and they had no idea who we were until they ‘Goggled' Dhoruba,” he added.

“We were not surprised we were denied entry, because as Dhoruba said in his statement, it is about keeping people from sharing ideas,” said Mr. Mujahid.

“The Israelis did not deny us entry into Palestine for legitimate security reasonsÑbut to prevent the ideas of freedom and human rights from infecting their own people,” Mr. Bin-Wahad wrote on Nov. 25 in an email distributed by the Jericho Movement.

“Ultimately we were barred because of what we think and not for any other reason,” said the former Black Panther and U.S. political prisoner.

The Israeli authorities needed an excuse to ban the Jericho representatives from the conference so there were questions about religious beliefs, personal associations and family relations, he said.

Mr. Bin-Wahad was convicted of attempted murder of two New York City police officers in 1971, spending 19 years in jail, seven in solitary confinement. In 1990, a New York judge cleared him of all charges, stating federal agents fabricated evidence against Mr. Bin-Wahad as part of the Counter-Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO).

Since his release, Mr. Bin-Wahad has become an outspoken political activist taking on such issues as the War on Drugs and political prisoners in the U.S. The New York-based Jericho Movement was formed in 1996, to gain recognition of the fact that there were political prisoners and prisoners of war in U.S. prisons.

“Dhoruba was sent to represent Jericho and report back on the conference; also to convey to the Palestinians that we are in solidarity with their right to self-determination,” Ashanti Alston, Jericho spokesperson explained to The Final Call. The Jericho Movement has supported Palestinian groups in the U.S., he added.

“One of our main reasons for sending representatives to the conference was to get more information back to the Black community concerning the Palestinian struggle,” Mr. Alston said.

Mr. Mujahid admits he thought he understood the Palestinian struggle, but what he actually experienced really opened his eyes.

“I have been racially profiled and detained by the police in the U.S.; but the atmosphere that the Zionists and Israelis keep the Palestinians under 24-7, is alot more intense,” he said. “I now share a deep connection with the Palestinians. We as Blacks can understand their situation.”

While he and Dhoruba Bin Wahad became international news, the plight of the 10,000 Palestinians in some 30 Israeli jails goes unreported, said Mr. Mujahid. “These detainees are isolated, not able to contact their familiesÑeffectively disappearing,” he added.

The New York chapter of the National Lawyers Guild sent a formal protest to the State Department over the treatment of both activists and has called on the Israeli government to end its racist and unjust detention and interrogation policies.

Calls by The Final Call to the State Dept. and the Israeli Mission to the United Nations were not returned.

Mr. Mujahid argues that there is more work to do beyond issuing statements. “We were invited to the conference because of our struggle to keep the political prisoners issue on the radar screen; and now we have to get the word out about the Palestinian struggle,” he said.

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