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NYT Bemoans Closure Of Black Muslim Bakery

From those defenders of the faith at the New York Times:

In Oakland, a Black Pillar Dissolves in Unrest

Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Your Black Muslim Bakery in Oakland, Calif., grew into a string of successful enterprises that included a community school.


Published: August 12, 2007

OAKLAND, Aug. 10 — A federal judge’s order to liquidate the assets of Your Black Muslim Bakery will shutter one of this city’s black nationalist institutions, a step called long overdue by many members of the clergy and community activists…

“They had veered far, far away from the basic tenets of the Muslim faith,” said Amos C. Brown, senior pastor at the Third Baptist Church in San Francisco. “They had become agents and perpetrators of terror and vigilantism.”

The bankruptcy ruling late Thursday to pay off some $900,000 in debt and back taxes came a week after the killing of a local journalist, Chauncey W. Bailey Jr., a case in which a handyman employed by the bakery is a prime suspect…

Yusuf Bey opened the bakery, famous for its bean pies, in the late 1960s, becoming a well-regarded figure by relentlessly advocating black self-reliance.

Mr. Bey and his descendants drew their inspiration from Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam leader. Several black Muslim clerics in the Bay Area recall that Mr. Muhammad excommunicated Mr. Bey in the early 1970s, but the reasons were murky.

They claimed Islam but they were absolutely not Muslims,” said Delmont Y. Waqia, the director of Islamic studies at Al Salaam mosque in Oakland and Mr. Bailey’s brother-in-law, noting that Mr. Bey did not worship at any mosque.

Still, Mr. Bey copied the Nation of Islam in its ideology and appearance, the men wearing suits with bow ties and the women headscarves. The slice of the group’s creed he emphasized was that African-Americans had to make their own heaven on earth — there was no afterlife — with proof of righteousness embodied in a good business and a Cadillac, other Muslim leaders said.

His message was welcomed, particularly given Oakland’s role as a font of black nationalist organizations like the Black Panthers.

Community activists raised in Oakland remember Your Black Muslim Bakery as a beacon that became a string of enterprises including a community school, which is now closed, and numerous bakery outlets.

“There was a time when it was full of brothers and sisters coming in and out, and it seemed like it was thriving,” said Jakada Imani, the executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. “There was a magnetism — everything was new and shiny and clean and pretty.”

But in weekly sermons broadcast on the first black-owned local cable television channel, Mr. Bey made racist attacks against whites.

When Mr. Bey died in 2003, the bakery’s reputation was severely tarnished because he had been charged with raping a 13-year-old girl a decade earlier. He died before the case came to trial, but local news reports said DNA evidence linked him to the woman’s child. His death sparked a bloody fight for control of the business empire, with two men killed and the youngest, most violent members asserting control, said A Saleem Bey, who described himself as Yusuf Bey’s “spiritual son.” He said the elder Mr. Bey fathered some 45 children, but his closest followers considered themselves kin, adopting his surname.

His death left a vacuum. “All they knew was that black man was God, that there was no afterlife and you can do what you want,” Mr. Waqia said. “They had no leadership, no direction and no way of evolving. Their response to any disagreement was violence.”

Yusuf Bey IV, now 23, was arrested in 2005 and charged with vandalism and a hate crime after police said he smashed liquor bottles and other merchandise in Muslim-owned stores in Oakland. Islam forbids alcohol.

“It was just an impulse that we are tired of these Arab folks getting rich off black people’s misery, so let’s go tear a few of their stores up,” Mr. Waqia said. “You have action after action like this — they were violent, ignorant and misled.”

At their height, the various organizations employed more than 100 people, A Saleem Bey said, but that had shrunk to less than 20 this year.

The charges that have accumulated against Yusuf Bey IV, a younger brother, Joshua, 21, and another man include kidnapping, carjacking and torture. In April 2006, Yusuf Bey IV was charged with assault after being accused of trying to run over several bouncers who had evicted him from a strip club in San Francisco… 

Still, the bakery continued to draw support from elected officials. In part Mr. Bey’s heirs were living off the bakery’s reputation, and they were as adept as the father in accusing City Hall, the police and other institutions of racism. Among the more widely publicized problems associated with the bakery was a $1.1 million loan from the city for the parent company to start a home health care business in 1996. The business never materialized and the loan was never repaid…

The Oakland police have repeatedly denied turning a blind eye to the bakery, and Mayor Ron Dellums bristled at a question about City Hall’s longstanding support for it. Mr. Dellums’s spokeswoman, Karen Stevenson, said a widespread investigation had been started since Mr. Dellums took office in January.

Representative Barbara Lee, a Democrat from Oakland, issued a statement on Thursday expressing regret for endorsing the bakery’s efforts to gain more time to solve its debt problems.

“Like many people,” Ms. Lee said, “I historically supported the bakery because it has been an important institution in the community. But it is clear that is no longer the case.”

When was this operation ever a “pillar” of anything besides murder, rape, shake-downs, racism and anti-American propaganda?

That The Times would laud their schools is absolutely laughable.

From the “Elijah’s [Muhammad] Educational Center” school information page:


The school operates year round 365 days a year. Regular school hours are from 7:30a.m. – 6:00 pm. Traditional holidays (i.e. Christmas, New Years, Easter, etc.) are not observed. Children should be in school by 8:45am. Class instruction begins at 9:00am sharp.


While we are not a secular school, our school is based on Muslim principles and practices as taught by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. A range of developmentally appropriate courses are designed to help students achieve academic excellence and promote independent learning…


Savior’s Day is a special day, celebrating the birthdays of Master Fard Muhammad (February 26)  and the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad (October 7).  Special programming will occur should those days fall on a week day for those students who choose to attend school. 

Students will participate in a Savior’s Day Program which is televised on SoulBeat and Bay Area TCI Cable Channels.  Our program is an academic showcase of our children’s ability.   Each Saviour’s Day has an educational theme.  Student presentations are based on curriculum taught to them previous to the events.  We will be holding many fundraising events during that time.

Muslim Environment Daily Prayer    

Excellerated [sic] Academic Program    

Dress Code for Boys and Girls    

Healthy, Hot Lunch Served Daily

Close Order Drilling For Discipline    

Health and How to Eat to Live Class…

As I have noted previously, Mr. Muhammad was the founder of the Nation Of Islam and the author of the texts which comprise its dogma, including: The Tricknology of the Enemy, Yakub: The Father of Mankind, and The Mother Plane.

Does the New York Times believe it is a good idea to teach Elijah Muhammad’s “principles and practices” to impressionable children 365 days a year?

Do they miss the “close order drilling”?

Of course they do note Mr. Bey’s love of children.

He said the elder Mr. Bey fathered some 45 children…

Another trait he shared with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. (And a hobby that Malcolm X was murdered for noticing.)

Still, the article does manage to mention a few of the cult’s shortcomings. And the racist buffoons such as Ron Dellums and Barbara Lee who enabled them — with millions of the taxpayers’ dollars.

They even dare to note that Mr. Bey and company were followers of the Nation Of Islam, which I believe is the first time I have seen that minor detail mentioned anywhere outside of S&L.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, August 12th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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