Skip to comments.29 Years Ago Today (9 March 1977): Muslims Take Hostages in Washington, DC
Posted on 03/09/2006 12:13:41 PM PST by Pyro7480
From 25th Anniversary of Terror; March 9, 2002
It came with the suddenness of September 11: a well-coordinated terrorist attack in the heart of the nation's capital, 25 years ago today. Twelve gunmen, Hanafi Muslims heavily armed with shotguns and machetes, storming into the then District Building on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, the offices of B'nai B'rith on Rhode Island Avenue NW and the Islamic Center on Massachusetts Avenue NW. Before the terrorist assault was brought to an end two days later, Maurice Williams, a 24-year-old reporter for WHUR-FM radio, had been shot dead, and dozens more had been injured, including three wounded by gunshots. Marion Barry, then a D.C. Council member, was among the injured. All told, in a 39-hour terrorist siege in Washington, 149 innocent people had been taken hostage. We forget the lesson of March 9, 1977, at our peril. Like the victims of 9-11, the victims of the violent March 9 takeover had no relation to the motives behind the assault. The Hanafi Muslims, an orthodox Islamic group, killed and took hostages in 1977 to force the government to turn over five Black Muslims convicted of murdering seven members of a Hanafi member's family four years earlier. The Hanafi Muslims also killed and maimed to stop the showing in America of the movie "Mohammad, Messenger of God" on the grounds that it was sacrilegious. Fifteen hostages at the District Building, more than 120 hostages at the B'nai B'rith building and a dozen hostages at the Islamic Center had absolutely nothing to do with the jailed Black Muslims or the showing of "Mohammad, Messenger of God." They were innocent targets of opportunity -- a condition not exclusive, but certainly common, to people living and working in the nation's capital.
The March 9 terror changed the way we live in this city well before that horror-filled September day came along. Because of the Hanafi takeover, armed guards and metal detectors were positioned where they had never stood before. Closed-circuit television cameras, identification badges and concrete barriers are now permanent features of our local scenery. Terrorism also permanently changed the lives of its victims. Bob Pierce went to work at the District Building 25 years ago as a legal intern for a council member. The day ended with him paralyzed for life, victim of a shotgun blast to the back as he lay with his face buried in the carpet.
The deep rage, the mindless, violent assault on the innocents -- all that this city saw then and last September, and in numerous bloody international incidents in between -- are solemn reminders of the scourge that can strike a power center such as Washington at any time. "I say throughout this country it can get worse and there's nothing nobody can do about it," said Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, the Hanafi group's leader in one of his apocalyptic warnings and demands in 1977. Evil forces of that day were defeated. But the lesson taught 25 years ago, which bears repeating today, is that leaders in Washington, as they build for the future, must -- in a world where terrorism seeks its day -- do no less than always prepare for the worst.
From Hanafi Islam
A sectarian dispute in the United States was transformed into a mass hostage taking by Hanafi Muslims in Washington, DC in 1977. The Hanafi Movement in the United States was founded by Hamas Abdul Khaalis in 1968. Khaalis, formerly Ernest 2X McGee, had been the Nation of Islam's first National Secretary and a friend of Malcolm X. He had converted to orthodox Islam and founded the Hanafi Movement with money donated by Kareem Abdul-Jabar. On 09 March 1977, Khaalis and about a dozen of his followers armed with shotguns and machetes seized control of seized the District Building [city hall], the B'nai B'rith building, and the Islamic Center, in the District of Columbia. Khaalis said they were seeking revenge for the murders of Khaalis' family members by Black Muslims in 1973. They held 134 hostages for more than 39 hours, they shot Washington DC city councilman Marion Barry in the chest, and they shot a radio reporter dead. The standoff ended and the hostages were freed after ambassadors from three Islamic nations joined the negotiations. The Hanafis were convicted and sentenced to long terms in prison.
Wow. Don't remember that incident at all.
And Carter did nothing
A little history lesson about Islam ping!
We've learned a lot since then eh?
And Carter did nothing...
Like any good appeasing, limp-wristed, pandering liberal...
Later read - I don't remember this
Yeah, I vaguely recall it; that was during the heavy drinking years.
I remember when this event in '77 happened. I was a senior in college in St. Louis and heard it on the radio. I called my dad, who worked in DC, and he assured me he was safe - fortunately, he worked some distance from the incident.
I don't remember it, either.
I lived right outside DC at this time & didn't recall it at all....but I was only 8 years old.
No calls for immediate withdrawal of police from the area?
James "Retreat And Surrender" Carter?
I don't remember this.
I don't remember this.
Frank: "Ya know what I oughta do to you's two scumbags with this here pool cue?!"
Dean (thinking): Whoa daddy, I hope Frank uses the fat end...