By Adrian Morgan
The Black Muslims of Oakland, California, were in the news again on Friday, August 3, when SWAT teams raided the main premises of their bakery. Nineteen people were arrested from "Your Black Muslim Bakery" at 5832 San Pablo Avenue, and guns were seized. On the previous day a journalist, 57-year old Chauncey Bailey, had been shot dead in a street as he went to work. Mr. Bailey had recently been appointed editor of the Oakland Post, and had been working on a story on the Black Muslims. For two months the bakery, founded in 1968, had been under surveillance. Members of the sect were suspected to be involved with the murders of 31-year old Odell Robertson Jr., who had been gunned down on July 8 this year, and 36-year old Michael J. Wills, shot on July 12.
The Black Muslims have no connection with the better known Nation of Islam, though the founder of the group, Yusuf Bey senior, was inspired by the NOI's former leader, Elijah Muhammad. Among the 19 people seized from the bakery and private residences was 21-year old Yusuf Bey IV, self-proclaimed heir to the Black Muslims' business enterprises. This individual has had numerous brushes with the law, described later. Additional raids took place on Friday at addresses in three other locations in Oakland.
The bakery was found to have dead rats on its roof, and such unsanitary conditions inside, including rat droppings, that it was closed down by environmental health authorities. In December 2006 inspectors found breaches of environmental health regulations at the same premises.
One of the guns found during Friday's raids was linked by Oakland police to the murder of Chauncey Bailey, who had previously written for the Oakland Tribune newspaper. Bailey, originally from Detroit, had also appeared on cable channel Soul Beat TV. The journalist had received threats from members of the "Your Black Muslim Bakery" at this time, with many happening during Bailey's show, from callers while he was on air.
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