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.
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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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