On April 9th, the National Coalition to Protect Civil Freedoms (NCPCF), a radical legal organization that advocates for the release of convicted terrorists, will host an event with Jalil Muntaqim, a recently paroled former Black Panther and Black Liberation Army leader, who served 43 years in prison for the 1971 murder of two New York City Police Officers, Joseph Piagentini and Waverly Jones.
Muntaqim, born Anthony Bottom, was convicted for his role in the ambush murders of Piagentini and Jones, after he and another BLA member Albert Washington, lured the police to a New York housing complex with a hoax 911 call and then opened fire. The murders were believed to be revenge for the death of Black Guerilla Family leader George Jackson who was shot by guards in a jail break attempt a week earlier. Both men were later caught after a car chase and gun battle with San Francisco police.
Muntaqim was paroled in October of 2020, after a change in parole guidelines made by embattled New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, despite strong resistance from the New York Police Benevolent Association and the slain officer’s surviving relatives.
The history of the Black Liberation Army has been of renewed interest in part thanks to the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has openly lauded former BLA leader Assata Shakur as a role model.
Last month, Muntaqim was again in the news after being investigated on felony voter fraud charges after attempting to register to vote in New York. As a convicted felon Muntaqim was not eligible to register to vote. A grand jury declined to indict however.
The organization hosting Muntaqim has a long reputation for supporting convicted terrorists. The NCPCF was founded by Sami Al-Arian, a former South Florida professor. Al-Arian was instrumental in leading a campaign against the use of intelligence evidence in the deportation proceedings of suspected terrorists just prior to 9/11. Al-Arian was himself was arrested and plead guilty to one count of supporting the terrorist organization Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
Evidence introduced by prosecutors at trial showed that Al-Arian was a leading organizer of the terror group in the United States and had helped to secure visas for PIJ terrorist leaders to enter the United States. Al-Arian was deported from the United States in 2015 after serving his sentence.
After Al-Arian’s arrest the NCPCF played a key role in advocating for his release, and subsequently expanded to cover other convicted terrorists. Several of the coalition’s member organizations have close ties to U.S. Muslim Brotherhood groups, including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Aafia Foundation (which advocates for convicted terrorists Aafia “Lady Al Qaeda” Siddiqui), The Muslim Legal Fund for America (MLFA) (founded as a defense fund for the notorious Hamas fundraising organization, the Holy Land Foundation), The National Liberty Fund (an Al Arian legal defense group), and the Islamic Circle of North America-Council on Social Justice (ICNA-CSJ) (A front organization of the radical Pakistan-based Jamaat-e-Islami with alleged terror finance ties).
The coalition does not just include Islamist groups supporting convicted jihadists. Other members representing the far-left including: The National Lawyers Guild (founded as a Communist Party front organization in 1954 and with a history of defending radical left terrorists and Antifa/BLM rioters), The International Action Center (led by Ramsey Clark and a front for the pro-North Korean Workers of the World Party),
Muntaqim will be joined on the panel with Mauri Saalakhan, who counterterrorism investigator Patrick Poole noted is a long-time defender of multiple convicted terrorists including:
- Fawaz Damra – convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad fundraiser, deported earlier this year;
- Sami Al-Arian – convicted North American Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader, currently in federal prison for reneging on his plea deal to testify against his terror-supporting co-conspirators;
- Sheikh Ahmed Yasin – founder of the terrorist group HAMAS, assassinated by Israel in March 2004;
- Mousa Abu Marzook – HAMAS deputy political leader, former HAMAS North American fundraiser, deported by the US government.
Saalakhan is also a defender of convicted cop-killer and former black panther Jamil Abdullah Amin the jailed leader of an African American Muslim group known as “The National Ummah”, which the FBI has described as a “group of mostly African-American converts to Islam, which seeks to establish a separate Sharia-law governed state within the United States.”
Islamist groups in the United States have continued to aggressively support the BLM movement, part of a larger historical effort by Islamists to court African American support that goes back to the 1970s.
Ambushes against police of the kind that Muntaqim perpetrated have been on the rise since Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement came to prominence. There are multiple examples of attacks against police be perpetrated by individuals steeped in both Black Identity and Islamist ideologies.
The decision to parade Muntaqim as a hero-martyr at the very time when ambush-style attacks against police officers of the kind he committed are increasing shows the true radical nature of the NCPF.