After two Cincinnati teenagers killed her son, a forgiving mother has vowed to stay in touch with the murderers to help them turn their lives around.
Suliman Abdul-Mutakallim died as a result of a headshot wound as he walked home with food for himself and his wife on June 28, 2015. His mother, Rukiye, has shown nothing but compassion toward the two teens who pled guilty to the murder, according to a USA Today report.
In an act of strength and bravery, Rukiye — a North Carolina native — asked Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Megan Shanahan for permission to hug Javon Coulter. She also hugged his mother.
All Abdul-Mutakallim had in his possession that tragic night was food and less than $60 that was split between three males after the robbery.
A then 14-year-old Coulter was caught on surveillance video pulling out the money from his front pants pocket after robbing the victim under a highway overpass in South Cumminsville. Also present was 17-year-old Valentino Pettis and a man in his 20s who police said was the third assailant, but he was never charged with committing any crime.
"His death was already ordained,” Rukiye told Coulter of her son. “Maybe the purpose is to save your life.”
She was able to see a larger picture beyond her son’s senseless killing and vowed to visit the teens in prison regularly and help them become better men.
“Those young men — although they took my son’s life in the manner they did — we need to fight for them because they are going to come back out. And they will be older. But if they have no light, then this same disease is going to repeat itself, and they are going to take another person’s child’s life and eventually their own,” Rukiye said, according to USA Today. “And every mother’s heart must feel this.”
Rukiye’s empathy should serve as an example to America’s criminal justice system. The 66-year-old said that the young men have been “infected by a disease,” according to USA Today. She is right to worry about the outcome of the lives of these young men who made a devastating decision that will impact their lives severely even after they leave prison.
“The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander stresses African-American men being kept in inferior prisons with no way to get back on their feet and start a new life as reformed citizens. It’s a good thing that Rukiye is concerned about their outcomes and is willing to do something to make a difference. Her act of humaneness will not go unnoticed.
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