World News

Akbar Muhammad suing Guyana government

By Brian E. Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Jul 26, 2011 - 2:54:14 PM

What's your opinion on this article?

Abdul Akbar Muhammad
( - Exactly two months to the day of the May 19 detainment on false allegations of plotting international terrorism and narcotic trafficking in Guyana, Washington D.C.-based attorneys representing Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam, announced legal action against Guyana and the government of President Bharrat Jagdeo for actions that impugned Mr. Muhammad's character.

“He is seeking damages for infliction of emotional distress and the destruction of his professional and personal international reputation,” said a statement from the attorneys.

“Mr. Muhammad's hope is that the world will take notice that innocent Muslims around the world cannot be thrown in jail on the flimsy excuse of supporting international terrorism or suspicious charges of drug trafficking,” they said.

Since the incident there has been an e-mail and letter writing campaign from friends and supporters of Mr. Muhammad appealing for a public apology from President Jagdeo on behalf of his administration. However during a July 7 briefing, President Jagdeo said no apology on behalf of his government would be forthcoming in light of undefined “investigations” in the Caribbean nation that led to the arrest.

“They arrested him; no one, excluding the president, is immune from being arrested,” Pres. Jagdeo told reporters, according to the Guyana Observer.

According to Mr. Muhammad, during the middle of the night when he was arrested at his hotel room, Guyanese authorities claimed they were acting on information received from the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), a claim the CIA has denied. But in an apparent shift at the briefing, President Jagdeo said, Mr. Muhammad was arrested based on information leading to intelligence that a number of “things” had been happening in Guyana, implying the arrest was justified.

But supporters ask why was Mr. Muhammad swiftly released if suspicions were legitimate and credible? And why the refusal to help curtail the now sullied reputation worldwide that his government set in motion through the press?

Also arrested was Philip Muhammad of Toronto Canada, who arranged the trip as part of the public work of the Nation of Islam, and Tyrone Seymour. Both were held and released after a single day. Nonetheless, media outlets carried the story globally, impugning the reputations of the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, A. Akbar Muhammad, and the Nation of Islam by connecting them to terrorism and drugs—an association that is false.

“They never asked me a question about drugs and terrorism,” said Philip Muhammad, who also facilitated Minister Farrakhan being broadcast on television daily.

“Why did I embrace Islam?” was the kind of question asked, he said.

At Final Call press time a July 19 press conference announcing the lawsuit was scheduled. A statement was issued by the law firm of Martin McMahon & Associates.

“He is well-known throughout the world as a man of peace who has always cautioned against drug use and violence. He has an impeccable international reputation that has been severely and irreparably damaged by this incident,” the statement read.

“He's (President Jagdeo) taken a hardened position and has shown no flexibility,” said Mr. Akbar Muhammad on a July 13 broadcast of The Sankofa Experience online radio show.

The hardnosed position against apologizing taken in the press briefing was in stark contrast to the commendable action exercised May 20 toward Mr. Muhammad's release after a telephone conversation with Minister Farrakhan. In fact, the Minister backed Mr. Muhammad's character and also expressed praise and gratitude for the president's swift attention to the situation.

“I informed His Excellency that Brother Akbar has been my friend and companion for over 46 years and I can say with truth and certainty that he is as far away from drugs as the far planet Pluto is away from the sun and that is four billion six hundred million miles, and as far as terrorism—he would never come to any country to inspire such acts,” Minister Farrakhan said in May.

Unfortunately, President Jagdeo followed his good with reproach, refusing to help right the wrong. He told Min. Farrakhan no man in his country would be charged with a crime and remain in prison who is innocent. But political opponents say he was being less than truthful and in Guyana under Mr. Jagdeo, the opposite exists. Observers said the arrest of the N.O.I. representative demonstrated the politics of Black social marginalization in Guyana mixed with Islamaphobia.

“President Jagdeo lied when he told Minister Farrakhan that they don't hold innocent people in prison—the prisons in Guyana are full of innocents, the majority being Black youth, who are also frequently executed in the street by this death squad regime,” said Gerald Perreira, long-time activist and critic of the ruling party.

In the e-mail response to The Final Call, Mr. Perreira further said the ruling powers have “implemented a form of ‘apartheid' in Guyana,” and charged that any organization or individual working to empower Black people will face the full wrath of the Jagdeo government.

For Noah Yahshuarun, who heads the Kingdom of Descendants of Manumitted Africans, said with national elections scheduled in a few months, the arrest was political. He suspects police were obeying political directives from the government in the arrest

“I think it (the arrest) was politically motivated because Brother Akbar had announced his schedule of meetings with the African community, and the government did not want that,” said Mr. Yahshuarun in a telephone interview from Guyana.

Related News:

Nation of Islam's Akbar Muhammad released in Guyana after unjust detention, false charges   (FCN, 05-24-2011)

The persecution of the righteous, and the protection of the faithful  (FCN, 05-24-2011)

Black American Muslims speak out against bigotry, hypocrisy and intolerance  (FCN, 09-07-2010)

Nation of Islam Targeted by Homeland Security  (FCN, 12-24-2009)

Guyana's PNCR wants"full public explanation" for visitors detention  (Demerara Waves , 05-23-2011)

Guyana: History, Geography, Govenment & Culture(Infoplease)