Bobigny and Paris are among the cities worldwide that have extended honorary-citizen status to Abu-Jamal, imprisoned since his Dec. 9, 1981, arrest.
Painemal, a Maputhe Indian activist in Chile, said that many in her country consider Abu-Jamal a freedom fighter.
This is a designation some Philadelphians find insulting. Others find it appropriate due largely to their having read something many Philadelphians have not: Abu-Jamal's perceptive social and political commentaries penned regularly from prison.
Noted Paris playwright Alain Fox incorporated passages from Abu-Jamal's writings into his latest work, which Fox said received "great reaction" when performed at France's largest theater festival this summer.
The politicized, polarizing Abu-Jamal case is cast in Philadelphia as a "whodunit," with some seeing it as guilty as charged, case closed.
But others from Philadelphia to Paris and beyond see the "who" of Abu-Jamal: his intellect, and he as a symbol of injustice in America.
Unbroken by death-row deprivations like isolation, Abu-Jamal has written acclaimed books and delivered recorded speeches from prison. This continues the legacy he began as a journalist before his arrest: as the "Voice of the Voiceless" - ironically, a mandate for all American journalists contained in the ethics code of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Prosecutors, police and politicians in Philadelphia dismiss Abu-Jamal supporters as uninformed or dupes.
But those questioning the propriety of Abu-Jamal's conviction know the profound problems with America's justice system.
In 1981, Philadelphia police and prosecutors charged five people with high-profile murders, proclaiming each guilty.
However, evidence later proved the innocence of four of those five - including releasing one from death row, leaving only Abu-Jamal imprisoned despite comparable evidence that courts have continually rejected.
Bobigny Mayor Catherine Peyge said that the street-naming is part of her city's fight for "respect and justice" for Abu-Jamal and others.
That Bobigny street-naming, the second in a Paris suburb, resulted from 10 years of effort, including the construction of a new street.
Rue Mumia Abu-Jamal intersects a major artery in Bobigny named after French author/journalist Paul Vaillant-Couturier.
Abu-Jamal's son, Jamal, who attended the ceremony, said that his father ultimately will walk on "this street of liberation."
Linn Washington Jr., a columnist for The Philadelphia Tribune and a professor of journalism at Temple University
, is a former Daily News reporter who has closely followed the Abu-Jamal case since 1981.