MENLO PARK - Your Black Muslim Bakery was once an establishment that symbolized self-reliance and black empowerment in Oakland.
Now, it's a skeleton of what it once was and has lost its level of contribution in society many years ago, said Imam Ben Ahmad of Menlo Park.
"Something obviously happened," said Ahmad, who once bought a bean pie at the Islamic bakery 15 years ago. "If there was criminal behavior, that's totally contrary to the tenets of Muslim beliefs."
Ahmed refers to recent media reports on 21-year-old Yusuf Bey IV, the head of Your Black Muslim Bakery, who not only has been accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman, but also of filing false documents, forgery, grand theft, and identity theft.
Additionally, Devaughndre Broussard, a 19-year-old handyman at the bakery, currently is being held on charges that he killed journalist Chauncey Bailey in downtown Oakland on Aug. 2.
Because of these incidents, Ahmad said, there will be a distortion of the public's perception of Muslims who, like himself, are African-American.
One of the fastest-growing Islamic groups, African-American Muslims make up 30 percent of all American Muslims, according to ReligionLink.