Muhammad and Mrs.Jones - Kenny Gamble's Philadelphia Muslim Enclave
December 31, 2007
Muhammad and Mrs. Jones - Kenny Gamble's Philadelphia Muslim Enclave
By Beila Rabinowitz
January 1, 2008 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - Kenny Gamble is best known for being "the architect of the Philly Soul Sound." His catalog of hits includes "Me and Mrs. Jones" and he and longtime collaborator Leon Huff are slated to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year. But Gamble is also the architect of a planned stealth Islamist enclave in Philadelphia where he is better known in Muslim circles as Brother Luqman Abdul Haqq.
Gamble has admitted that he intends to bring about the Muslim community in South Philadelphia through his "Universal Companies" and proclaims that his state and federally subsidized funded building endeavors are part of an Islamist blueprint, "We are not down here just for Universal-we are down here for Islam." http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3283
In 1975 after a personal crisis Gamble converted to Islam and took the name of Luqman Abdul Haqq. Founding an organization called "The United Muslim Movement," he opened a masjid of the same name. In 1993 he formed the "Universal Companies" specializing in urban revitalization projects. Both UMM and UC's mission statements are virtually identical. http://www.mana-net.org/pages.php?ID=activism&ID2=&NUM=18
Recently the United Muslim Masjid which Gamble founded and built "hosted" a conference call from Jamil Al Amin, the former H. Rap Brown, now serving a life sentence for murdering a police officer:
"...A highlight of one meeting, for example, was when we had Imam Jamil Al-Amin on speaker phone talking to us from his Georgia prison. MANA and its members have raised and donated several thousands of dollars to his family and legal defense team. Imam Jamil has recently been transferred to a "supermax" prison in Colorado, and we ask that you make du'a for him." [source, http://www.mana-net.org/pages.php?ID=&NUM=164]
Gamble is also a member of the Majlis Ash Shura Council of MANA, the Muslim Alliance in North America, which is led by Siraj Wahhaj. MANA was created to support cop killer Al Amin. Siraj Wahhaj is perhaps most infamous as having been named as an unindicted co-conspirator in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 by Federal prosecutor Mary Jo White.
"The catalyst for the founding of MANA was the arrest of Imam Jamil in March, 2000. Imam Jamil's arrest placed Al-Ummah (Imam Jamil?s organization) under intense pressure. In April, 2000 the leadership of Al-Ummah met in Philadelphia and decided that they needed to expand the base of the organization and to get more people involved to help in the efforts to free Imam Jamil and in the efforts of dawah and other Islamic work...On April 21 an executive committee was elected, which included: Imam Siraj and Imam Talib, in addition to Luqman Abdul Haqq, Asim Abdur Rashid, Amir al-Islam, Ihsan Bagby, Zaid Shakir and Hamza Yusuf…We ask Allah (SWT) to increase the good efforts of Universal Companies, United Muslim Movement, MANA, and others committed to helping our people, our communities and society-at-large." [source, http://www.wrmea.com/archives/july01/0107082.html]
It's hard to imagine how such a problematic proposal has gone this far without intense public scrutiny. Aside from considering the wisdom of creating what might amount to a little Somalia in a major urban center, there are the obvious questions regarding government funding - under the transparent guise of urban renewal - of what is clearly a hard-core Muslim da'wa [faith spreading] program.
Everything about Gamble's stealth plan for a government subsidized Muslim ghetto - "one of the best kept secrets of Muslim America" - suggests a need for concern; indeed one wonders if Pennsylvania taxpayers are even aware that their tax dollars are going to help Gamble's plans to build "jihad central" while calling it "a Neighborhood Transformation Initiative," a so-far effective strategy, having garnered $1.6 billion in government and private grants and funding. http://www.phila.gov/nti/govorganizations.htm
Now that the secret is out, it's time that Pennsylvanians move to stop Gamble's participation in this project. His motives are self-serving, thoroughly inconsistent with the concept of the American melting pot and obliterate the separation between church and state. http://www.phila.gov/nti/communitypartners.htm
For more on Kenny Gamble see:"Kenny Gamble aka Luqman Abdul Haqq's radical Islamist /black surpremacist ties "We are not just here for Universal-we are down here for Islam" http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3283
For more on the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative see:"Kenny Gamble the United Muslim Movement and Universal -Islamist payola in the City of Brotherly Love" http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/3305
MIM: An announcement about the NTI.
MAYOR STREET LAUNCHES $1.6 BILLION NEIGHBORHOOD TRANSFORMATION INITIATIVE;
Philadelphia, PA, April 18, 2001 — In a bold and historic move to challenge the status quo and reclaim neighborhoods from urban decay, Mayor John F. Street, today announced the most ambitious and important program in his tenure as mayor. The program, entitled the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI), and budgeted at $1.6 billion over the first five years, is designed to implement policies and programs that will preserve and restore all Philadelphia's neighborhoods by eradicating the city's significant inventory of vacant, deteriorating buildings and trash-strewn lots. The initiative also includes a comprehensive, strategic redevelopment plan for Philadelphia, which, among other things, is expected to reverse a 50-year-long pattern of population decline the City has experienced.
"I will not let it be said that on my watch the battle for neighborhood preservation in Philadelphia was lost," said Mayor Street. "The choice for us as a city is very clear. If we continue to do things the way that we always have, we will have the same results we've always gotten. In my opinion, we have little choice other than to adopt this bold and innovative new approach. Our city clearly needs this initiative and the time to act is now!"
The City of Philadelphia, which claims some of the country's most attractive and highly regarded middle-class and upscale neighborhoods also reported the nation's highest per-capita vacancy rate for the year ended December 2000. Since 1950, the City's population has declined from just over 2 million to 1.5 million persons, and through the decade of the 90's, the City lost 4.6% of its population. Mayor Street anticipates that a successful neighborhood transformation program will assist in reversing those trends and Philadelphia's population will grow by 5%, or 75,000 persons, over the full 10-year life of the program.
Planning for the NTI has been under way since January 2000, but the concept was introduced by then-Candidate Street in February 1999, when he announced his mayoral campaign. Mayor Street, who was elected to his current office after serving for 19 years as a Philadelphia City Councilman, the last seven as Council President said, "My interest in helping to identify suitable housing opportunities for neighborhood residents led me to run for political office. As a member of City Council, I represented a district that combined some of our City's most upscale communities and some of our City's most economically challenged communities. I believe my 20-plus years of public service have prepared me especially well to lead this effort. "
"While some might call our NTI goals ambitious, I believe they are sufficient scope to address our residents' desire to live in stable and well-maintained neighborhoods, to send their children to good public schools and to have access to jobs and economic opportunities. NTI, as we have structured it, will allow us to address each of those issues. And, if NTI works as we have planned, and we have every confidence that it will, it should make Philadelphia a national model for comprehensive municipal development," Street added.
Over its first five years, the Initiative is expected to produce nine specific outcomes:
"Membership in this crusade is free but the service will not be easy. Active and responsible participation in this effort will require a commitment to real change in the way we all do business," Street said. "There's probably a healthy level of cynicism out in the community as far as government-assisted neighborhood development is concerned. Implementing this initiative will require that we exercise unusual political courage. If this initiative is to be successful the entire community — businesses, developers, residents and government, itself — is going to have to rid itself of the notion that blighted conditions are inevitable and irreversible in a major city. Once every Philadelphian adopts this new ‘can-do' mind-set, we will ask that they get personally involved in the process. "
Essential to that process is the Mayor's personal commitment to bring sweeping changes to the way in which the City organizes its government, allocates resources, adheres to a strategy, facilitates development, leverages private capital and interacts with its "customers."
According to Mayor Street, NTI is distinguished from previous such programs in that it will include, in conjunction with its physical plans, components that seek to generate sweeping improvements in: commercial development; public education; children, youth and social services; faith based initiatives targeted at helping newly released prisoners; job creation and workforce development.
NTI's Director Patricia L. Smith stresses that the program will be fundamentally different from traditional urban development approaches. "For the most part," said Smith, "the urban renewal programs of the 70's were defined by demolition, a massive gentrification of traditional neighborhoods and by a substantial lack of meaningful involvement by neighborhood residents."
"Ironically," Smith added, "those programs contributed significantly to the creation of vacant lots and other blighted conditions here in Philadelphia and in other cities across the country. We have learned from the failure of those programs and will absolutely not repeat their mistakes."
The program will be initially funded through the issuance of $250 million of government, private activity and taxable bonds, but it will also receive blight elimination funding ($492.5 million) and housing resources ($887.4 million) from public sources, over its initial five years of operation. While the program's initial funding will be drawn from government bonds and other public funding sources, the Mayor strongly believes that the true success of the program will be recognized once the private sector becomes involved in creating new markets for Philadelphia housing and commercial development.
The first visible activity of the NTI actually took place in February of last year, when Mayor Street launched an unprecedented and highly successful effort to remove 40,000 abandoned vehicles from Philadelphia's streets, over a 40-day period. Not only was that goal achieved, the City administration has continued aggressively to tow abandoned cars from Philadelphia's neighborhoods and, to date, more than 66,000 such vehicles have been removed from the city's streets.
"NTI's first year of operation will include, among other things, the recruitment of 500 new block captains in neighborhoods across the City, the removal of 4,300 dangerous street trees, the hiring of six community planners, the launch of a short dumping initiative, the clearing of all 31,000 vacant lots in Philadelphia, the launch of a citywide anti-litter campaign and the launch of a new tree planting campaign," added Smith.
To focus the Initiative's efforts, the Street Administration has developed a strategic framework that involves the classification of every section of the City into one of six real-estate "market clusters," ranging from "Regional Choice," (highest city property values, older housing in excellent condition) to "Reclamation" (substantial population losses, ranging as high as 30%, low property values, a vacancy rate of 22%).
Philadelphia-area business leaders and nationally significant residential housing developers who have reviewed the plan, have expressed strong support and are encouraged that the NTI will play a significant role in attracting private investment. Charles Pizzi, president of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber Of Commerce, said "It's within everyone's interest that we form a bi-partisan effort to ensure the execution of the Mayor's vision. Because the effort is market-driven it could very well have a positive effect on all homeowners in the city."
Barry M. Edelman, president, K. Hovnanian Companies, of Red Bank, New Jersey, said: "This is an impressive program whose outcomes should be very appealing to major housing developers. Given the uniqueness of the effort and its great upside potential we believe that the private sector will be watching Philadelphia's progress with great interest."
M. Brad Ingerman, president, The Ingerman Group, an affordable housing developer, said: "I believe the improvements for Philadelphia anticipated from this new initiative will clear the way for significant developer participation."
Local community development corporation leaders say the NTI represents precisely the kind of leadership local residents have long wanted to see from municipal government. Kenneth Gamble, chairman, Universal Companies, a Philadelphia-based community development organization, said: "I think this is exactly what Philadelphia needs. Many people have talked about revitalizing Philadelphia, but I think Mayor Street has the plan to actually get it done."
Latino community leader Patricia DeCarlo, who has been active in the City's Norris Square community in North Philadelphia said, "I like the fact that the program is comprehensive and focuses on getting people involved in preserving and maintaining their neighborhoods. I firmly believe that, from the point of view of the Latino community, the reinvestment must occur according to the rate of the devastation. This program will put the resources where they are needed the most.