Abdul Hamid, known to Harlem merchants as “the black Hitler,” yesterday denied that he is carrying on an anti-Jewish campaign in Harlem in an examination by Assistant District Attorney Edwin J. Talley.
While the examination was in progress, a delegation from the Harlem Merchants Association was calling on Aldermanic President Bernard S. Deutsch at City Hall to ask for protection against the “coercive activities” of Abdul Hamid’s Negro Industrial Clerical Alliance which is avowedly attempting to force Harlem merchants to hire Negroes.
Mr. Deutsch dictated a memorandum to Mayor LaGuardia requesting police protection for the merchants and said he will call a conference between “responsible colored associations” and Jewish merchants to settle amicably whatever difficulties may exist.
A MOHAMMEDAN ‘FRIEND’
At the District Attorney’s office, Hamid declared that he has “nothing against the Jews.” He pointed out that he is a Mohammedan and therefore would not try to harm the Jews.
He was read clippings from Jewish newspapers containing what purported to be a stenographic report of an inflammatory speech delivered on the corner of 125th street and Seventh avenue on September 21.
“Hitler don’t want the damn Jews in Germany,” the report quoted him as saying. “We don’t want them in Harlem. We will run them out of Harlem like Hitler ran them out of Germany, and if it’s war they want, they’ll get it. In fact I’ll start it, and no one can start a war better than myself.”
THREATENS LAW SUIT
Hamid denied making the statement, and said that he will institute civil action unless the newspapers which published the quotation print a retraction.
Seymour Graubard of the office of the President of the Board of Aldermen told Talley that, in company with Louis Lande, chief examiner for the President of the Board of Aldermen, he attended a street meeting of the Negro Industrial Clerical Alliance. The chairman of the meeting, he said gave vent to several anti-Jewish utterances, although Hamid refrained from making inflammatory statements.
The Alliance, it was brought out, is not incorporated. Its name, however, is registered in New York County.
The hearings were indefinitely adjourned pending investigation by Talley into Hamid’s past.
Hamid was asked after the hearing about his reaction to the examination. He characterized the charges of anti-Semitism made against him as “malicious.”
“Of course, you answered them in the negative?” a reporter who had not been present at the hearing asked him.
“Certainly not,” he replied. “I answered him in the affirmative. I told him no.”
Asked about the inflammatory speech he was alleged to have made, Hamid appeared grieved at having been the subject of what he termed “a vicious misquotation.”
“How could a person be so malicious?” he asked a reporter.
Francis Minor, Hamid’s chief lieutenant, said he saw the stenographer taking notes at the meeting on September 10. “We were going to initiate the dirtyâ€”” he said, “but he got away.”
“I’ll take civil action against him,” said Hamid.
“We’ll take care of him in our own way if we get him,” said Minor. “It’s a darn sight quicker than court action.”
It was learned yesterday that Abdul Hamid recently applied to the West 135th Police Station for a pistol permit and was refused.
James MacMahon, secretary of the precinct, told the Jewish Daily Bulletin that in applying Abdul Hamid said he was born “down South.”
In an interview with the Bulletin Monday, Hamid said he was born in Egypt.
MacMahon said that Hamid has been deported from the United States four or five times to Africa, Spain, France and other places. The governments of the respective countries always send him back, MacMahon said, because the United States cannot prove that he was born in one of those countries.
Hamid told the Jewish Daily Bulletin he is a naturalized American citizen. MacMahon said that Hamid told police when applying for the pistol permit that his parents were Arab and that they were visiting the United States when he was born.