About a dozen African-American men wearing suits, white-collared shirts and bow ties – a trademark of the Nation of Islam – entered a liquor store in Oakland, Ca. located on West Street about 11:30 p.m on Nov. 25, 2005 and began to destroy it.
These men swept dozens of shelved liquor bottles to the floor and smashed glass refrigerator doors with long, slim metal pipes, breaking beer and wine bottles inside the cases. The whole incident from start to finish was caught on surveillance tape.
The men warned the store clerks to stop selling alcohol to African-Americans. Although the men did not identify themselves as Black Muslims or members of the Nation of Islam, police suspect that’s who was behind the attacks, based on the attackers’ attire .
"They run into people’s stores like that, anything can happen. Somebody is going to get hurt. It’s like somebody running into your house- I don’t know why they tried to destroy my life" said Abdul Saleh, owner of the liquor store for twenty years.
According to another report, they asked the sellers if they were Muslim, and then asked how they could sell liquor.
The communities’ reaction is one of shock. Jocelyn Sutton, 22, a native Oakland, said, “I don’t what they were they thinking. I don’t understand the rationale. Destroying a mini mart in the ghetto isn’t going to curb the problem of alcoholism in the Black community.”
Daniel Vickers,55, an Oakland resident said, “I lived in this city for two decades and this is one of the stupidest things that I have ever heard. They could have thought of a more effective way to get their message across. They could have handed out fliers or organizaed an anti-liquor campaign around the city. Storming a liquor store and destroying all the liquor is simply absurd."