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"Abused people go one or two ways: They either self-destruct or make a difference, you feel me? I’m gonna make a difference."
August 9, 2012 2:28 PM   Subscribe

'In 2002, five years before journalist Chauncey Bailey was murdered by members of Your Black Muslim Bakery, (Previously) a woman identified only as Jane Doe No. 1 stepped forward to report decades of sexual abuse, welfare fraud and violence by the bakery's leader, Yusuf Bey Sr. She was prepared to hand over to Oakland police DNA from her three children -- evidence that Bey had impregnated her, the first time when she was 12. This was a risky move, but the woman had powerful motivation: her daughter, then 18, had alerted her that Bey was trying to abuse her -- his own child. Now, Jane Doe No. 1 has decided she no longer wants to be nameless. Her name is Kowana Banks and she is the first of Bey's victims to speak publicly.' Video interview. Transcript. (Via) This post recounts experiences of rape and sexual abuse. Topics may be disturbing to some readers.

2007 essay by the late Christopher Hitchens: Brutality by the Bay: The faith-based thugs of Oakland's Your Black Muslim Bakery.
posted by zarq (8 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow. I had never heard of this before.

Cults gonna cult chill my blood.
posted by Mezentian at 4:21 PM on August 9, 2012


oh boy. she is commendably brave. I live in Oakland, mere blocks from the site of the fatal shooting of Antar Bey (my husband was on the jury for the Philips' trial too, strangely) I could never bring myself to spend money on at Your Black Muslim Bakery or buy the pies, once I knew about these abuse charges, on top of charges of running guns and drugs in Oakland, from an ostensible pillar of the community. the last thing my city needs...
posted by supermedusa at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


This needs to be a movie with Densel Washington.
posted by PJLandis at 6:05 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Pillar of the community "? I'm trying to think of a single project of YBMB that benefitted anyone other than Bey and his gang of unrestrained thugs.
posted by ergomatic at 6:35 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Killing the Messenger by Thomas Peele is an excellent book on the history of Your Black Muslim Bakery, and the horrific events leading up to Chauncy Baily's assassination.
posted by scelerat at 6:43 PM on August 9, 2012


"Pillar of the community "? I'm trying to think of a single project of YBMB that benefitted anyone other than Bey and his gang of unrestrained thugs.

These two things are not mutually exclusive. As far as I know, the Bakery didn't get caught doing anything sketchy until the mid-90s and was regarded as an important community organisation probably until the women in the post came forward and it became apparent what Bey was up to.
posted by hoyland at 6:58 PM on August 9, 2012


"Pillar of the community "? I'm trying to think of a single project of YBMB that benefitted anyone other than Bey and his gang of unrestrained thugs.

Per wikipedia, "it was held out as a model of African American economic self-sufficiency."
posted by zarq at 7:21 PM on August 9, 2012


Wow. That woman, Kowana Banks, is incredibly strong. The abuse she went through, and yet she learned bookkeeping, taught math to others, got her GED, got out, fell in love and got married! And all that after having three kids as a teenager...that's just amazing. And inspiring.

I like that the center now teaches self defense to kids, too. That seems fitting, like some kind of cosmic justice. Karma.
posted by misha at 7:55 PM on August 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


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