They weren’t your ordinary thugs. Dressed in bow ties and dark suits, nearly a dozen men carrying metal pipes entered a corner store, shattered refrigerator cases and smashed bottles of liquor, wine and beer, terrifying the clerk but stealing nothing.
The just wanted to leave a message: Stop selling alcohol to fellow Muslims. In urban America, friction between poor residents and immigrant store owners is nothing new. Nor are complaints that inner-city neighborhoods are glutted with markets that sell alcohol and contribute to violent crime, vagrancy and other social ills.
But the recent attack at San Pablo Liquor — and an identical vandalism spree at another West Oakland store later that evening, along with an arson fire there and the kidnapping of the owner a few days later — have injected religion into the debate.
Apparently theocratic punks aren’t the only ones commiting extortion, as the city council seems bent on determining which private enterprises stay in business, and under what terms:
The City Council president and the city attorney vowed to crack down on nuisance liquor stores, and recently forced a store to agree to a plan to curb drug activity on the property. Also, at a recent community meeting, Christians and Muslims pledged to work together to bring better businesses to their neighborhoods.
Of course, officials would deny that they commit extortion. Instead, they use the same mechanism used in many eminent domain cases, the subjective term called blight:
“If there is a location that is a blight on the community, we want to work with the police and the community to address the situation,” Ernst said. That can include revoking a store’s liquor license.
Now back to the other set of alleged criminals. Arrested was the 19 year old son of Yusuf Bey, the now deceased Muslim leader who was accused (the charges were later dropped) of raping young women between 1976 and 1995.
Apparently six people have been arrested, so far. If the problem persists, they obviously haven’t caught all the bad guys. In order to prevent any future occurances, my thought is that the business owners should provide therapy for those busting up their stores — 9mm therapy, that is.