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NYC Jails Imam Suspended for Saying ‘Terrorists’ Occupy White House

NEW YORK — The head Islamic chaplain for the New York City jail system was suspended yesterday after he claimed Muslims were being tortured in Manhattan lock-ups, and declared that the “greatest terrorists in the world occupy the White House.”

The action against Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, the executive director of ministerial services for the Department of Correction, came in response to a story in yesterday’s Post. Mayor Bloomberg and City Correction Commissioner Martin Horn put Abdul-Jalil on paid administrative leave from his $76,602-a-year job, pending the outcome of an investigation into his remarks.

Outraged lawmakers demanded Abdul-Jalil be fired immediately, but Bloomberg said he is a civil service employee.

“We have to remove this cancer and make sure it is never allowed to spread again,” fumed Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens), who chairs the City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

Abdul-Jalil, 56, who is also imam of the Masjid Sabur mosque in Harlem, is one of the city’s most prominent Muslim leaders and has participated in a number of high-profile events with major city and state political figures – including emotional 9/11 memorial services at Ground Zero.

He has been at the Correction Department since 1993 and was appointed head chaplain overseeing 40 chaplains of all faiths in the spring of 2004.


Earlier this week, he initially denied the remarks. Later, he conceded he probably made them but his words were being “taken out of context.”

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