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Militant Islam Monitor > Articles > James Ujaama revisited: jailed Al Qaeda operative had been honored with James Ujaama Day and award from Harry Reid

James Ujaama revisited: jailed Al Qaeda operative had been honored with James Ujaama Day and award from Harry Reid

March 20, 2006

MIM:In light of the recent case of 'Jeep Jihadist' Reza Al Tahieri, the case of James Ujaama, an American born community 'activist' who became an Al Qaeda operative bears rexamination. Both had promising careers, and both chose to wage Jihad against America. Ujaama spent time in The Finsbury Park Mosque in London under the tutelage of the now jailed Abu Hamza Al Masri, and appeared on a videotape promoting Islamism. Unlike Al Tahieri Ujaama did not erupt in a sudden murderous rage, but it is noteworthy that he, appeared to be a model citizen, and a role model honored for his community activism. After there arrests both Al Tahieri and Ujaama contacted the media from jail. In the case of Al Tahieri he wrote that "I didnt do it because I hate Americans, but out of love of Allah'. In the case of Ujaama he wrote that"

It is also worth noting that he mentions Zacharias Moussaoui in the 2002 letter, who was also a follower of Al Masri and was at the Finsbury Park Mosque when Ujaama was there.

Which once again raises the question which non Muslims cannot help thinking, as Dr. Daniel Pipes highlights in his most recent article:"Sudden Jihad Syndrome"."from whence the next Jihadi"?



From community activist to alleged terror conspirator

SEATTLE, Washington (CNN) – For years, James Ujaama was known as a prominent community activist in Seattle, working to help the city's poor and promoting entrepreneurship as a way up the economic ladder.

Ujaama, a 36-year-old U.S. citizen whose birth name is James Earnest Thompson, has written at least three books on how to succeed in business, including one titled, "The Young People's Guide to Starting a Business Without Selling Drugs."

In a 1991 profile, The Seattle Times newspaper called him a role model. On June 10, 1994, then-state Rep. Jesse Wineberry issued a certificate declaring James Ujaama Day in the state of Washington.

But, according to U.S. authorities, there is another side to Ujaama.

A federal indictment charges Ujaama with conspiring to aid Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda terrorist network since 1999. The indictment says part of the conspiracy was to establish a training camp in Oregon for terrorists to prepare for "violent jihad."

According to the indictment, Ujaama also established one or more Web sites that advocated beliefs "concerning the need to conduct global violent jihad against the United States of America and other Western nations."

In a statement released by his attorney Wednesday, Ujaama said, "If I have broken any laws and am guilty of crimes against the American people, then I must be held accountable. The fact is that I am innocent of any wrongdoing and am fully prepared to face my accusers and defend myself in a court of law."

Ujaama's uncle told The Seattle Times that Ujaama converted to Islam in the mid-1990s.

Ujaama has attended several mosques that have been investigated to determine whether some attendees were part of an al Qaeda cell operating in the United States, according to a law enforcement source. He has lived in both Seattle and London in recent years.

Sources describe Ujaama as a "smaller fish" caught in a larger investigation of Sheikh Abu Hamza, a radical British cleric who has praised the September 11 terror attacks. Investigators believe Hamza is actually a senior al Qaeda recruiter, an allegation he denies.

While in London on one trip, Ujaama attended the Finsbury Mosque, where Hamza preaches, officials have said. Zacarias Moussaoui -- the only person facing a public U.S. trial in connection with the September 11 attacks -- and Richard Reid, who is accused of trying to blow up a flight with explosives in his shoes, also have attended the mosque.

Ujaama also traveled to Afghanistan in 1999 to study Islamic code, according to family friends.

Earlier this month, his brother, Mustafa Ujaama, said his brother's travels should not raise suspicions, and that it was "completely, completely impossible" he has ties to terrorism.

"James Ujaama's biggest problem is that he's so damn inquisitive that he'll go anywhere, anyplace, anytime," Charlie James, a family friend, told the Denver Post. "I think that's what got him into trouble."

Friends and family have spoken out against Ujaama's indictment.

"This is a big shock," his mother, Peggi Thompson, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer newspaper. "I thought things would be dismissed in his favor."

A family spokeswoman was critical of the handling of the case, claiming Ujaama has been held secretly and indefinitely as a material witness.

"James had been more than happy to cooperate with a grand jury," family spokeswoman Leila McDowell told CNN. "He had said he would be happy to testify and give any information that he might know that might be relevant."


James Ujaama, aka James Earnest Thompson,was a black convert to Islam who was a follower of Abu Hamza Al Masri at the Finsbury Park Mosque in London. Abu Hamza Al Masri was jailed last month of charges of inciting to murder the US is demanding his extradition for various attacks including that on the U.S.S . Cole.

Ujaama appeared on a videotape made at the mosque and was later jailed for attempting to provide material support to Al Qaeda. http://www.lasvegassun.com/sunbin/stories/sun/2002/aug/29/513917002.html

His past as a youth worker was used to deny Ujaama's connection to Al Qaeda. He authored two books, "a Young People's Guide to Starting a Business without sellling drugs" and "Coming up". In 1991 he was profiled in the Seattle Times as a role model and , in 1994 the then State Representative Jesse Winberry proclaimed a "James Ujaama Day".


He "stated publicly that he had received a key to the city of Los Vegas" and was honored by Senator Harry Reid for "outstanding and invaluable service to the community"

James Ujaama was radicalized via the Salafists and Al Qaeda and returned to the U.S. to wage Jihad . He started a website called "Stop America". His morphing from a youth leader to Jihadi is a study in how radical Isla can cause someone whose previous work seemed to be antithetical to everything it stands for become one of it's most fanatical adherents.

Find this article at:


The following is the full, unedited text of the statement James Ujaama e-mailed to Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Robert L. Jamieson Jr. The P-I cannot vouch for the accuracy of Mr. Ujaama's declarations and allegations. For more information, see the related article James Ujaama speaks out against scrutiny.

Statement by James Ujaama

Friday, 19 July 2002

On Friday, July 12, 2002, the day of Islamic prayer gathering, Seattle Times published on its front page 'Seattle Militants investigated for possible ties to Al-Qaida -- Group may have scouted Oregon land for terrorist camp.' A few days prior to that article, my brother, was stopped by several police cars and searched. Both my brother and I were followed, our phones tapped, our emails read and movements monitored. Today, there is a notice to local law enforcement around the country to notify the FBI if any of us are stopped, further noting that we are armed and dangerous.

Just days before, some members of the minority-business community concerned about homeland security and ethnic profiling issues, promised funding assistance for a political action group I had started. Shortly before the newspaper article, I received a phone call from my panicked friend. He said, "The FBI came to my office and you should leave. They asked me questions about you and wanted to know about your travels. They told me not to have any contact with you." That was the end of our campaign aimed at mobilizing the community to put an end to 'America at War.'

Although the article did not name my brother and I, the description it rendered was hardly unnoticeable. In fact, people close quickly assumed they were speaking about us. This media crucifixion damaged our business and cast suspicions among those who did not know of our past achievements in the community. My business contacts refused to return or respond to emails. My mother was shattered. Family members, including an 80- year old grandmother nearly sunk into depression.

Friends who were contacted by the FBI were told that we were terrorists. The article and activities led one family friend to release an unauthorized press statement to the Seattle Post Intelligencer. However, his attempt to vindicate us and set the record straight was manipulated by the press in order to use our names and further damage our credibility. The press printed unsubstantiated and irrelevant information simply to please the FBI in an attempt to fully discredit and cast doubt on our successes as community involved, African-Americans. And their aim, aided by the FBI, actually did the job.

The headline alone from the Seattle Times was convicting enough, using an unfair adjective to describe us as militants. Militant has become a dirty word used by those with hidden agendas. But it proved to be most damaging to my brother and I, and our family name when the Los Angeles Times, CNN, and MSNBC all ran similar articles. I wonder where the freedom is when the media has lost all morality and conviction, acting in their best economic interests to fulfil political agendas and sell newspapers.

John Pilger, an accredited war journalist and author of many books, said: "It is not enough for journalists to see themselves as mere messengers without understanding the hidden agendas of the message and myths that surround it." I could not agree more with this statement. My brother and I have been tragically demonised by the irresponsible journalism promoted by this current federal government administration in order to carry out its war against innocent people of colour and end their rights to freedom of speech.

No reporter contacted my brother and I before publishing their damaging words in a major newspaper read by more than 5 million. I received an email from a friend as far as Turkey. He said his mother read it from Idaho. With issues of African-Americans accounting for disproportional imprisonment, unfair sentencing and profiling, police brutality, lack of representation in broad media, and other issues, it should be expected that Seattle's mainstream media would have resisted any attempts to discredit our community and those who have served it well. But instead, working along with the FBI, the media has done the work of assassinating our character and cast doubt on our community and integrity.

It cannot be disputed that both my brother and I have unselfishly and tirelessly served our communities for more than 15 years. We have a history of working with youth to improve our neighbourhoods and the lives of other youth. In 1986, as teenagers Mustafa and I started a business and donated our profits to starving children in Ethiopia. Some years later, we started, Be Your Own Boss, No Drugs and Gangs, teaching youth how to start their own business and clear away from negative groups and activities.

What was conveniently left out, were the many achievements and awards that I personally, have received for dedication to youth and endless work in the community. For example, an urging of citizens to remember June 10th as James Ujaama day in the state of Washington; Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from U.S. Senator Harry Reid "in Recognition of Outstanding and Invaluable Service to the Community"; Recognition for outstanding dedication to youth from the Breakfast Group, a Seattle-based organization of prominent African-American Business and Community leaders; and a key to the City of Las Vegas.

In addition, I have received awards and recognition from Erskine Bowles, former Director of U.S. Small Business Administration; former Congressman James Bilbray, (NV) Small Business Committee chair; late Seattle Public Schools Superintendent, John Stanford; former State Senator Dwight Pelz; former Seattle Mayor Norm Rice; and many others.

Other achievements, the press failed to mention was the fact that I started the City of Seattle's first entrepreneur program for youth, and I am author of three books, mostly about entrepreneurship. I have been passionately involved in economic development programs since the age of 15. And my brother and I have always been politically and socially active in our community. I was Special Assistant to Jesse Wineberry at the time he ran for the U.S. Senate, and helped him to win a previous unprecedented bid for the State Legislature. Had the press contacted me, they would have found that I have not changed except that I chose to be Muslim and work on economic development issues overseas in communities where people are very economically disadvantaged.

It is obvious that the media rushed into judgement reporting, and engaged in dishonourable and discreditable journalism. But how can my brother and I regain our reputation and repair the damage that was done simply because we chose Islam as our way of life? How can 20 years of hard work be repaired with a few minutes of gross irresponsibility carried out by our government leaders who are on a mission to destroy any culture that gets in their way of world domination?

The reports of me being a cab driver were absolutely false; I never drove a cab. Many of the false allegations and rumours were circulated by the FBI, as a part of their fascist witch-hunt covered under the idea of a war on terrorism. Nothing of any good that my brother and I did was reported, instead only rumours and false allegations. While noting that my brother and I have never been involved in any serious crimes, another major blow against my own personal credibility was delivered. It was the irrelevant reporting of an incident that involved a $170 VCR. I was never convicted of stealing a VCR, yet the newspapers put me on trial without ‘due process' in an attempt to discredit me. Had they given me an opportunity to explain my side of the story, they would have found another case of store security harassment and racial profiling, spilling over into a major confrontation resulting in my arrest. Regarding the failure to appear, it was my understanding that the case had been dropped and no court case was pending. However, what did this incident that should have been settled in a Court Room have to do with the rumours of a Federal Grand Jury Investigation? I am supposed to be innocent until proven guilty!

My brother and I are not terrorists, and we should not have been charged in the media and harassed. Whatever involvement the government has alleged or leaked about us always has another side -- the truthful side!. We are prepared to challenge the government's charges in a Court of Law in a fair and impartial hearing. Currently, we have not been charged with any crimes, and at this point all reports are just rumours spread by mischievous people who have duped America into an unjust, racist and fascist war by appealing to people's worst fears.

Those who are leading efforts to remove civil and human rights protections, are themselves suspected of crimes for which they have not answered. I too often wonder how in a democratic and free country a confessed former alcoholic and governor who put to death more African-Americans than any State leader in U.S. history could win by a questionable margin from a state headed by his brother. I too often wonder how Americans can be so foolish as to trust a man who is at the centre of many shady corporate deals involving shareholder rip-offs and accounting fabrications. We still have not heard from President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney about their roles in Harken Energy Co. and Enron.

But here we have my brother and I under a bogus investigation, which is very familiar to many of the members of our community who fought for civil rights during the 60's and early 70's.

If my brother and I are guilty of any wrong it is because America's values have become switched as in the case of when American Japanese were hurried off into concentration camps and ostracised. And as in the case of our approval of going into Iraq and killing more than 500,000 children and babies. Or as in the case of national media coverage for a missing white girl, while virtually ignoring a similar case of a missing black girl. And as in the case of white police officer being suspended with pay after being caught on tape slamming the head of an African-American boy onto a car and striking him. We cannot ever overlook these crimes of prejudice and racism.

My brother and I have listened to every revolutionist from Mao Sae Tsung to Malcom X. Will we be charged for listening to people who speak their minds or let off steam for crimes our country has committed against other people? Yes, we are revolutionaries as in the case of all entrepreneurs. My brother and I have a long history of challenging authority when they are wrong and that will never end until we are dead.

Here we are supposed to be the most civilized nation in the world behaving more like barbarians after blood simply because we have anger in our hearts and revenge on our minds. Our country has more unprovoked aggravated crimes committed per capita than any other place in the world. Women and minorities continue to be treated unfairly even after civil rights progression. We speak of other countries and how they violate the rights of their people, but yet even in the world's most developed land, we still have racist police officers that will stop at nothing to beat down African-Americans and other people of colour. Have we forgotten about the man who was riddled with bullets and laid in a pool of his own blood, all because New York police claimed he was a carrying a gun? That gun turned out to be nothing but keys to his front door. And for a nation that prides itself on rights for women, a rape occurs in this country every 6 minutes. So where is the respect for women, especially when our children have learned to refer to their sisters, daughters and mothers as hoochie momma's and female dogs?

The United States of America has no right to accuse any government of crimes against humanity or to abolish their governments. This country has a history of unleashing bombs on other countries and fighting unjust wars hiding under a banner of false patriotism and false pride in order to justify our cause. Our cause is simply evil and hated all around the world. Our foreign policy causes us to kill and call it casualties of war; and when they kill, we call it crimes against humanity. And then we find that later we were behind their killing and supported it as we did in the case of the 7-year war between Iraq and Iran.

Our foreign policy also makes it okay to sell drugs and ship arms to a country that engages in apartheid and racism. We want to blame Palestinians for blowing themselves up and call them terrorist bombers. But how can a young boy or girl think about such tragedy if there hasn't been something extremely traumatic in their lives where living is no longer an option? It is extremely harsh and unforgiving that America supports terror on Palestinian boys and girls, while claiming to be fighting a war on terror. Israel's prime minister is no different than the Iraqi President accused of storing weapons of mass destruction and using it against his own people. Let us face it, America hates Arabs and other people of colour, unless they are protecting US interests.

Last year, Congress passed the USA Patriot Act, which allows the FBI and CIA unimaginable powers to wiretap phones, download computers, sneak into homes and imprison people who engage in speaking out against their government. These agencies have committed many crimes against foreign and American people, abusing their authority. And we are again allowing them to repeat history and unleash more crimes against innocent people.

Ms. Laura W. Murphy, Director of ACLU said in a statement referring to the FBI and CIA: "The historical record makes it clear that unchecked trust in government to spy on its citizens responsibly is misplaced. COINTEL-PRO -- created out of fear of growing social dissidence and operating under a veil of secrecy under Director J. Edgar Hoover, harassed and spied on a vast number of peaceful social protest groups. Few members of any of the groups targeted by COINTEL-PRO were ever charged with a crime."

The high profile Church Committee in 1976 essentially accused the FBI of thought policing. Referring to the activities of COINTEL-PRO, they concluded: "The government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power…Groups and individuals have been harassed and disrupted because of their political views and their lifestyles."

In the case of my brother and I, we fully understand that the government has taken an unfair hostile position toward us because of our culture, race, religion, lifestyle, political beliefs and our travels. We demand the media follow the advice aforementioned by John Pilger, when he discussed the role of a journalist.

According to National Association of Black Journalists, a new survey showed newspaper editors critical of international news coverage have charged, "in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, newspaper editors responsible for foreign news coverage say they are not satisfied with the job their news organizations and other media outlets, particularly television, are doing to cover international news."

My brother and I also understand that this war is prejudiced, racist, unjust and filled with fascist motivated greed and hate. Therefore, we demand that more African-Americans and other people of colour take a leading roll in the reporting of events surrounding 9/11. We understand that American media, made up of mostly white America, currently lacks the cultural sensitivity and responsibility necessary for fair and impartial journalism.

I also urge that Minorities support independent news, and minority and community owned media. Otherwise, the media will be owned and controlled by those who really control the government. And my last comment is that those who have taken a position to stay away from my brother and I, or to doubt our years of community service, we forgive you and understand that you have families. But, please remember that your children may one day be chosen by the government to be called ‘Militant' and undergo FBI and CIA harassment. Our advice is not to let it happen when it is too late. You must be diligent and stand out for truth and justice, even if you have to work behind the scenes. This is surely a runaway government administration that I strongly believe knew about the events of September 11 prior to the attack on New York, and refused to intervene in lieu of economic and political gains. I also do not believe that Zacharrias Moussoui had anything to do with those events, and that he and many others are being railroaded in an attempt to cover up the truth. And I do not believe that if Osama bin Laadin was in China, we would have been so bold as to attack their government the way we did Taliban. And China has a history of human rights violations according to U.S. officials.

If my brother and I end up being indicted or jailed, we will understand that many famous and great leaders before us suffered the same consequences. We are proud to stick to our Islamic convictions of standing out for truth and justice against all consequences. In the Quran, Allah has stated: "What is the matter with you that you do not stand up in the Cause of Allah (One God), and for those weak, ill-treated and oppressed among men, women, and children, whose cry is: "Our Lord! Rescue us from this town whose people are oppressors; and raise for us from You one who will protect, and raise for us from You one who will help." Surah A-Nisa verse 76. My brother and I will join those who fight in the cause of Allah for truth and justice to be supreme, irregardless that some American thinking that it is more patriotic to accuse and convict without a fair and just trial.

Thank you.

E. James Ujaama
Founder of www.StopAmerica.org

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