Tuesday, October 16, 2018

From The Final Call Newspaper

Minister Farrakhan issues challenge to Trump, White America and Black America in return to Detroit

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor-

DETROIT—The 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March (MMM) and Holy Day of Atonement, with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at the Aretha Franklin Amphitheater here Oct. 14, was itself like another holy day.

And then, there was a miracle of sorts. The Weather Channel had predicted for two weeks that there would be rain in Detroit on Oct. 14. The temperature was a brisk 52 degrees Fahrenheit when the program began. When Min. Farrakhan entered the arena 45 minutes later, wearing a brown suit and gold bowtie, the temperature had increased to 54. The Minister assured the audience that “the God we serve is the master of climate and climate change,” promising that it would soon “heat up.”

Sure enough, within four minutes the thermometer had climbed to 55 degrees, and just seven minutes later, the temperature was 57, where it remained for the duration of the Minister’s remarks, remarks he concluded with a warning that if America does not atone to the Black descendants of slaves in this country and to Native Americans who were annihilated in the conquest of this country, climate calamities and extreme weather would continue, and get worse, with devastating earthquakes which would flatten entire cities, yet to come.

“I’ve been telling you for three years. Now, watch the weather,” the Nation of Islam (NOI) minister warned. “Now watch. This is my backup,” he said, gesturing to poster-size portraits of Master Fard Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, who he insisted, are masters at controlling the weather and natural calamities. Detroit is the birthplace of the NOI. It was here that Master Fard Muhammad, founder of the movement, met and taught then Elijah Poole.

In 1934, Master Fard Muhammad “disappeared,” and one year later the Honorable Elijah Muhammad relocated the NOI headquarters to Chicago.

“Your suffering is not because you, or your parents did something wrong,” Min. Farrakhan assured the attentive audience. No, the suffering and affliction was prophesied, he explained. “After that time I (God) would come, first to judge the nation which afflicted you, then to raise the nation of Black, Brown, and Red (people), like dry bones in the valley.”

The 1995 Million Man March, Min. Farrakhan explained, was intended to lead Black men into “atonement, reconciliation and responsibility” for their own lives and for their families. “Those three words are the root of why we’re here today.”

Whites directing affairs of Blacks is over!

Decorating the stage—with the scenic river view, and occasional Canadian Steamship Lines transports gliding silently by in the background—were the two spiritual, soulful portraits of Aretha Franklin which were “divine,” and which appeared on the cover, and on the page accompanying Min. Farrakhan’s tribute to Ms. Franklin in the memorial edition of The Final Call newspaper.

“One God, One Faith, One Baptism” are the words in one of her portraits as well emblazoned on the podium of Greater Grace Temple Church of God in Christ (COGIC), where Bishop Charles Ellis III, former Presiding Bishop of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World, is the pastor. Ms. Franklin’s home going service was held at Grace Temple on Aug. 31, and it was there that Bishop Ellis took Min. Farrakhan by the hand to a seat on the dais which had his name on it, next to the Revs. Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and former President Bill Clinton.

There was a flurry of concern at the time—“especially White folks”—wondering how Min. Farrakhan got seated on the stage. At the same time there was little public concern that Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder was an honored guest. Gov. Snyder was part of a “genocidal plot,” which was responsible for the crippling water crisis which literally poisoned thousands of people in nearby Flint, Mich., and which led to criminal prosecutions of several state employees. “You ought to shut your mouth,” Min. Farrakhan said to those critics. “Your day of directing our affairs is all over!”

In the cities of Detroit and Chicago, Master Fard Muhammad, and the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad played a role in the establishment of proper education systems for Black youth Min. Farrakhan explained. “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad paid a price for you to have an independent Afro-centric education today. Someone paid a price!”

In both Detroit and in Chicago, both Master Fard Muhammad and the Honorable Elijah Muhammad were jailed because they took the Muslim children out of the public schools to be taught in the Muhammad University of Islam. Master Fard Muhammad and the Hon. Elijah Muhammad were also both run out of Detroit by their enemies who did not want Islam established in the hearts and minds of Black people. And those two cities, said Min. Farrakhan, can “turn the whole nation (of Black people) around.”

The value of women

After confessing that he cried, watching the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford concerning now Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the Muslim leader taught about the sacredness of the woman, and even the artistic, violin playing component in his own personality. Dr. Ford accused Mr. Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were in high school years ago. The #MeToo movement founded by Tarana Burke, a Black woman, has catapulted the very real scourge of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and abuse of women and girls into the spotlight. During his remarks, the Minister stressed upon the value and sacredness of the female and how God views her.

“Sisters, you are a universe within yourself. You are a world within yourself. The worst mistake you make is when you open your legs and let a man take advantage of you and leave you with a baby. You really need God in your life, and not a spook god.”

His goal is “showing women their place, not as a woman of man, but as a woman of God!” the Minister said. The female vaginal track is “the road to the workshop of God.” That workshop is the womb, where the answer to every single prayer is produced in the form of a person born of a woman who answers the prayer or solves the problem.

“Breast cancer is a scourge, which someone needs to come up with a cure for. How will that happen? It will be answered from the womb of a woman, a child.

“Every great person came from your womb,” and we all must “make death for those who violate that sacred place.” The Muslim leader mused that he is called “misogynist.” “I had to look it up.” But, he said as he was taught by Mr. Elijah Muhammad, “every knock is a boost,” and he thanked his critics, especially the Jewish persons who have falsely accused him of being anti-Semitic, for making his name known all over the world.

“You cannot find one Jew, on whose head one hair has been harmed, or one synagogue which has been defiled,” by anyone associated with the Nation of Islam. “They call me anti-Semitic. No! You are anti-Black.”

Min. Farrakhan said he believed Dr. Blasey-Ford’s testimony and he called the situation she endured, a “real injustice.”

“That lady was a victim of something,” the Minister said. If Mr. Kavanaugh had apologized for his alleged conduct, Dr. Blasey Ford likely would have forgiven him. Mr. Kavanaugh has denied all allegations against him, the Minister said.

“When that woman stood up and went through the horror of what Mr. Kavanaugh is alleged to have done to her, she had to relive it, because that kind of thing—when you experience it, you don’t forget that.

“Your sacredness has got to be respected by yourself,” Minister Farrakhan said to women. “Every prophet of God was born from your womb. Women are sacred. If you don’t see that, Satan has robbed you of the knowledge of who you are.” To the men, the Minister said: “We are busy destroying the virtue of our women.” He said men must be the protectors of women.” Men and women must avoid thinking that fast sex is the path to true love or intimacy.

“As fast as sex is over, that’s how fast marriage ends, because it was never love, it was always lust. After the lust is completed, then what? Have you ever wondered if there’s more to life than this?”

Min. Farrakhan also addressed rapper Kanye West, who has come under blistering criticism for his support and meeting with President Trump. Min. Farrakhan said the rapper was right in saying the 13th Amendment is a trap door. It outlaws slavery, except as punishment for commission of a crime, he said. (See Final Call pages 16 and 17 for more coverage.)

To President Trump, Min. Farrakhan said the time is coming soon, when he and key figures must talk to him. The Minister said he is loathe going to the White House, but announced that his address is at 4855 South Woodlawn Avenue in Chicago, and that Trump administration officials can meet with him there.

“I’m saying to Mr. Trump, ‘You’re planning genocide.’ I want you and the people of God to watch how God is working. When earthquakes come, we’ve got to talk about letting Black people go. A few Negroes in high places is not atonement,” not sufficient reparations for White America’s sins.

“We’re ready to serve. We’re ready to help clean up, along with our Moorish Science brothers, and all those who mean well. The Nation of Islam is the hope of our people,” Minister Farrakhan said in his conclusion. “We are not trying to make you a Muslim. You are already one. You just don’t know it yet.”

Sonya Weaver, owner of Deals with BOB (Black Owned Businesses) was elated that she accepted the invitation from Student Minister Troy Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 to hear Min. Farrakhan. His coming back to Detroit, and his focus on the woman and Black unity touched her deeply, she told The Final Call.

“I’m excited, because I feel a shift. I’ve been feeling a shift in my spirit for the last couple years, knowing that I had a mission, a purpose, and assignment pertaining to God’s people, and knowing that it was a time for them to stop wandering in the wilderness, and take their place in the promised land that has been given to them,” said Ms. Weaver.

“What really stood out to me was men understanding their role as strong men and women understanding their role as beautiful women, and each other understanding that, respecting, and protecting it,” she stated.

“When he said men protect women and women protect one’s self, that just resonated with me the most, because if we just get back to the basics, everything else kind of falls into place. It’s not that difficult,” the young entrepreneur stated.

“I thought it was one of the most motivating speeches that I’ve heard,” shared Michael Roberts, Sr., chairman and CEO of Roberts Riverwalk Hotel. “He sent a tremendous message, calling for the people of Detroit to really continue to work to make Detroit number one again. He gave a historical perspective of Detroit and the origin of how Black folks got here,” said Mr. Roberts.

“The Minister did a fabulous job of bringing attention to prospects and the possibilities … I’m delighted to be here. I am very happy that this was the location for the 23rd Anniversary of the Million Man March, and I’m particularly happy that it launched with planning in my hotel,” Mr. Roberts added, referring to a town hall in its newly renovated Grand Ballroom.

“Wonderful,” exclaimed Donetta Simpson in a word to describe her experience. “He’s saying that we all need to stand up as our own Black people, and stop wanting someone to give us a hand and that it’s our moment at this time, and that we can change our condition,” continued the non-party affiliated candidate for Congress.

“We can change our neighborhoods. We can change the language to come off our tongues. We can change the way we live, eat, drink and treat each other! But we can’t do it without us getting into our own self-government,” Ms. Simpson added. (Starla Muhammad and Charlene Muhammad contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

From The Final Call Newspaper

Killer cop’s conviction brings relief and calls for action

By Bryan Crawford and Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad The Final Call

CHICAGO—Jurors in the murder trial of police officer Jason Van Dyke for the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, after listening to three weeks of testimony from the prosecution, defense, and even from Van Dyke himself, deliberated for a little more than a day and reached a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder.

He was also found guilty Oct. 5 on all 16 counts of aggravated battery—one for each shot the officer fired into the teenager. Jason Van Dyke became the first Chicago police officer in almost five decades to be convicted of murder in the shooting death of an individual while on duty.

Protesters outside courthouse for trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. 

The trial was closely watched by people inside and outside of Chicago. In the days and months leading up to the trial, community activists and organizers took to the streets calling for a conviction of officer Van Dyke and justice for Laquan. The guilty verdict on Mr. Van Dyke seemed to accomplish both goals—up to a point.

But, a saga involving Chicago police department personnel who were on the scene that night will continue: Just one day before the guilty verdict, a judge unsealed prosecution documents in the case of three officers—Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh and David March—are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct. They are accused of helping to cover-up what happened between officer Van Dyke and teenager McDonald on that fateful night.

“I’m so grateful to God. I know the whole country is looking at Chicago right now, but it was only because of God that we got justice,” said William Calloway, who filed a lawsuit to get police video of the McDonald shooting released to the public. “We did a lot of praying. We did a lot of work. We were peaceful when we didn’t want to be peaceful. There were so many shootings that happened after Laquan McDonald, and we remained peaceful. After the tape was released, we still remained peaceful. And I thank the community for remaining peaceful and non-destructive. But we want everybody to know the buck stops here in Chicago.”

After the guilty verdict, people gathered downtown to march in solidarity and celebrate a semblance of justice finally being served.

“This sentence is going to reverberate through the policing community on two different levels,” Corey Pegues, a former New York City police commander, told The Final Call. “The overwhelming majority of police feel like they don’t do anything wrong. But I can promise you there’s a small segment of police—Black, White, Asian and other ethnicities—saying that guy needed to go to jail because it was one of the most vicious crimes ever viewed on television. No cop in their right mind agreed with officer Van Dyke. Secondly, a lot of policing around the country is hands off because of the body cams and people recording them with their cameras. No one wants to be on the front page of the newspaper, but they still need to go out and do their jobs. But if any of them do what Van Dyke did, then they need to go to prison.”

During three weeks of testimony, the defense seemed to place blame on young McDonald for his own death. Mr. Van Dyke echoed this sentiment himself when he testified on his own behalf.

“He could’ve thrown that knife away and ended it all right then and there,” Mr. Van Dyke said, saying teenager McDonald ignored his commands to drop the knife. Mr. Van Dyke was among many officers at the scene and when he arrived other cops appeared to be waiting for an officer with a taser to arrive. “His face had no expression, his eyes were just bugging out of his head. He had these huge white eyes, just staring right through me,” said officer Van Dyke, who exited his vehicle and emptied his weapon into the young man who was acting erratically. No other officer fired a shot.

Activist Will Calloway (middle) was unrelenting in fighting for justice for Laquan McDonald. Mr. Calloway along with others filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that eventually lead to the court-ordered release of dash cam video showing Off. Van Dyke shooting the 17 old to death in a hail of bullets.

“They always want to blame the victim. Here this poor kid was savagely murdered, and they tried to blame him for his own death, thinking it was going to sway the jury. That is common practice, and you see this all the time in policing whenever there is an officer-involved shooting,” explained Mr. Pegues. “Luckily, God took care of this one. And no matter what dirty tactics they tried to use, he was still found guilty of murder.”

Mr. Van Dyke, while on the stand, made a series of statements that could be viewed as outright lies, particularly when prosecutors cross examined him. Mr. Van Dyke testified that he and McDonald maintained eye contact the entire time and he never saw him turn and walk away from officers. When asked if it was his testimony that Mr. McDonald never turned his back to Van Dyke, the officer answered yes. “Then how did you shoot him in the back?” a prosecutor asked.

In the aftermath of the verdict, Chris Southwood, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge president, issued a scathing and tone deaf statement condemning the jurors and the judicial process.

The murder trial of Off. Van Dyke was monitored closely by activists in the city.

“This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant,” Mr. Southwood wrote. “This sham trial and shameful verdict is a message to every law enforcement officer in America that it’s not the perpetrator in front of you that you need to worry about, it’s the political operatives stabbing you in the back. What cop would still want to be proactive fighting crime after this disgusting charade, and are law abiding citizens ready to pay the price?”

Kevin Graham, president of the FOP Chicago Lodge 7, said, “We are certainly not blaming the jury, but we do think that as we had requested, and has been done countless times throughout the country, that we could’ve had a change of venue which was not granted to us.”

“There will be an appeal. Mark my words. We think that Jason has a tough road to go, but he’s not standing alone. The Fraternal Order of Police is standing with the officer who we believe acted as a police officer and did the best he could that night.”

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police chief Eddie Johnson, released a joint statement following the verdict. “Today, the jury reached its verdict. As we absorb their decision, let us continue to hear each other and partner with each other—as public servants, police and members of the public—and let us ensure our collective mission is what endures for generations to come … . While the jury has heard the case and reached their conclusion, our collective work is not done. The effort to drive lasting reform and rebuild bonds of trust between residents and police must carry on with vigor.”

Activists and community organizers also carry on with vigor, even with the conviction of Mr. Van Dyke. The fight for justice and police reform is far from over—at the grassroots organizing level and in the voting booth during upcoming elections, they said.

“No Black alderman showed up for this trial. No city council people or no Black elected official showed up. It was just us. Not one of them came for one hour to sit in this trial, not once. All of them need to go,” said Mr. Calloway. “Black Chicago, we have to make sure all of these Black elected officials are voted out in these 2019 elections.”

Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked Mr. Van Dyke’s bond and set his sentencing for Oct. 31. The former Chicago cop’s mug shot was taken and he was jailed after the unanimous decision by a 12-member jury. Sitting on the jury was one Black, seven Whites, three Hispanics and one Asian.

With the verdict announced on a Friday afternoon, activists and Chicagoans had awaited the trial outcome. They marched in victory downtown and the jury’s decision drew national and international attention.

Independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, activist Will Calloway, and University of Chicago Law School professor Craig Futterman, who led a successful Illinois Freedom of Information Act request for release of police dashcam footage showing the horrific shooting. It took 13 months for the video to be released. The video only came out after a contentious mayoral election victory by Rahm Emanuel and quick payment of a multi-million dollar settlement to Laquan’s family. Before the video was public, some police officials and others saw it. Heat was out on then-police chief Garry McCarthy, police higher ups and then-District Attorney Anita Alvarez for not taking action in the shooting.

Protests rocked the city alongside calls for the removal of the mayor, the police chief and the district attorney. Police chief McCarthy was fired. The district attorney lost a bid for re-election. Mayor Emanuel is not running for another term in office.

Mr. Van Dyke faces a minimum of four and a maximum of 20 years in prison on the second-degree murder conviction, of which he is eligible for probation. The aggravated battery with a firearm convictions carries a minimum sentence of six years and a maximum of 30 years in prison for each count, with no eligibility for probation.

It is unclear if Mr. Van Dyke’s conviction will lead to any kind of sweeping police reforms. A consent decree outlining mandatory reforms for the Chicago Police Department, which came as a result of a Department of Justice investigation into the department after the McDonald shooting, has been finalized, but has yet to be enacted, pending approval from a federal judge. Still, the guilty verdict has brought some measure of relief to many of those who worried another police officer would get off with killing another Black man in America.

“This is a gratifying verdict,” said prosecutor Joseph McMahon. “Today our justice system fulfilled its obligation to justice for all.”

“We celebrate today but the fight continues because we have to do police reform, justice reform and equity of the South and West side,” Father Michael Pfleger from St. Sabina Church told The Final Call.

“There’s thousands of Laquans in Chicago … the fight continues, it’s good to get a win every now and then but we have to continue to fight.”

Wallace “Gator” Bradley, a 67-year-old activist was equally pleased to hear the conviction after so many years of officers not being held accountable. “God made it possible for all of us to see how the man was murdered with the release of that video. … It’s been 50 years since a Chicago police officer has been guilty of murder,” he said.

Downtown Michigan Avenue, a major shopping district, and some universities shut down at noon, shortly before the jury’s announcement of a guilty verdict. Some were relieved but still angry.

Afrika Porter, an activist and media personality, echoed those who said the struggle for justice has to stay alive.

“People are comparing this to O.J. Simpson, that moment,” she stated. “I’m somewhat relieved because second-degree is better than not guilty but first-degree murder would have given him a larger sentencing from what I understand.”

“We can’t take a vacation because we have so many others whom we have to continue to fight for,” she continued. “We can’t fall asleep at this time. We are excited, we have a reason to feel a load has been taken off; however, we have to continue to fight.”

The mayor is very clever to not run again, Ms. Porter concluded. “We have to be even more wise as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us.”

“We want peace in the streets regardless of how the verdict came out,” Mr. Bradley added. “What it should say to our young, African-American millennials (is to) push for the continuation of justice with the inclusion of telling other young African-Americans to stop killing one another.”

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

From The Final Call Newspaper

Welcome Back Minister Farrakhan

By Katrina Muhammad @KatrinaMuhammad - The Final Call

Downtown Detroit

DETROIT—For the first time in history the Million Man March Anniversary will take place in Detroit, Michigan, at the newly-named Aretha Franklin Amphitheater, previously known as Chene Park. On October 14, thousands of Muslims from the Nation of Islam (NOI), family members, friends and supporters are expected to converge in the city which will be a homecoming for the 88-year Islamic movement

This October marks the 23rd Anniversary of the Million Man March and Holy Day of Atonement. The mosque community as well as residents of the City of Detroit are very excited about the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and Nation of Islam returning to the city of its founding.

The historic event is expected to take place with weekend long activities starting on Friday, October 12 - Sunday, October 14. The keynote address by Min. Farrakhan will take place on Sunday, October 14.

Pastor Maurice Hardwick greets members of NOI Executive Council.

Key leaders in Detroit, community activists and organizers, clergy, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, educators, government officials, entertainers, Muhammad Mosque No. 1 Believers and other hard-working residents attended a town hall planning meeting about the Holy Day of Atonement at the only Black-owned hotel in Detroit in the Roberts Riverwalk Hotel newly-renovated Grand Ballroom.

It was a beautiful atmosphere with a view of the waterfront. The energy in the room was filled with excitement and anticipation of the discussion. Once the entire Nation of Islam Executive Council walked in the room to take their seats and start the Sept. meeting, the room filled to standing room only with approximately 300 people in attendance.

Student Minister Troy Muhammad of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit welcomed everyone. Student Min. Troy Muhammad and members of the leadership team made calls to invite the community to have a seat at the table of planning activities and to receive their blessing by helping the man of God.

A divine movement in an historic city

“The response of the city was the response based upon the love and the heart of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. It’s a response based upon the coming of Master Fard Muhammad in 1930 because so many Believers were affected by the coming of Master Fard Muhammad that you can’t identify a family that doesn’t have a Muslim member in the family, so we are already familiar with those teachings,” he explained.

Though Chicago is the international headquarters of the Nation, and is where its flagship Mosque Maryam is located, Detroit is where the NOI was founded and established, July 4, 1930 with the appearance of the Great Mahdi Master Fard Muhammad. It was in Black Bottom Detroit where Master Fard Muhammad met, raised and cultivated thousands of Black men, women and children—among them, his top student, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Over the recent years, the Nation has hosted its annual Saviours’ Day Convention, commemorating the birth of Master Fard Muhammad in Detroit—the last gathering in the city coming in 2017. However, this is the first time the city will host the anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March called by God through Min. Farrakhan.

“When one comes teaching those teachings, it resonates with the people here, the words of the Honorable Louis Farrakhan resonate with our people here in Detroit, there is no question that the people will come out based on his name. I’m appreciative that they came out and I thank the people of Detroit for attending this meeting on behalf of the Minister,” Student Min. Troy Muhammad continued.

“People know that he donated 90,000 Final Call newspapers—and that cost, and that he wants to do a free event for the city of Detroit and everyone wants to do their part to alleviate the burden for the Minister. We chose the Riverwalk Hotel for this meeting because it is the only Black-owned hotel in the city, and because Mike Roberts is a strong supporter of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. If you want to attend this event and you live in Detroit, contact Muhammad Mosque No. 1.”

Min. Farrakhan gifted the City of Detroit with a special commemorative editions of the newspaper featuring the iconic Aretha Franklin, who called Detroit home. Ms. Franklin died Aug. 16.

Stu. Minister Ishmael Muhammad, National Assistant for Min. Farrakhan introduced each NOI Executive Council member and shared very important words about the history of the Million Man March and why Detroit is a special, spiritual and important city as Mecca to the Muslim followers of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.

"It gives me great joy to come back home, personally, because it’s the city of my mother. And this is where we buried my mother,” he said, reflecting on his mother, Tynnetta Muhammad, wife of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.
“This is the city of my father, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. So, I have roots here, and each time I come, to be honest, I start realizing more and more that I really am connected to Detroit even though I wasn’t raised here. But more than that, this city is such a sacred city, and it has so many great men and women in this city,” said Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad.

If Detroit is resurrected and rises in truth the whole of Black America will rise from Detroit, he explained. “It’s a sister city to Chicago. Detroit and Chicago when they rise, the whole of Black America will rise. So, I am excited that we have been connecting with Detroit over the last five years; three Saviours’ Days in Detroit over the last five years, and now to come back in the month of October which is the month of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s birth, and of course the 23rd anniversary,” he continued.

“I’m still grasping what this all means because the Minister is moved by a higher power, so it is not an accident that Allah (God) has put in him the spirit to come here, to distribute 90,000 copies, that means this city is loved by the God and He is making Detroit to know how much He loves Detroit through Brother Farrakhan.”

The Minister has a heart that is a heart after the heart of God, Stu. Minister Ishmael Muhammad stated.

A call for community

One of many Detroit residents who attended the gathering expressed excitement and heart felt sentiments about Minister Farrakhan coming to Detroit.
During the town hall meeting, Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad stated that the purpose of the community gathering was to announce a call for help from the community to work together in the spirit of love and unity, a theme of the Million Man March. Attendees applauded, and many began announcing their desire to support the event and help the Minister and the Nation.

Other members of the NOI Executive Council including Berve Muhammad, Student National Secretary; Leonard F. Muhammad, longtime aide to Min. Farrakhan; and Mustapha Farrakhan, Student Supreme Captain and son of Min. Farrakhan addressed the town hall.

“Generally the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan recognizes this is our Mecca and to come back home to where it all began and the first time for the Day of Atonement address here is just befitting. The spirit moved him and it is apparent already that Allah and His Christ are guiding him,” said Berve Muhammad.

People shared testimonials of gratitude for the 90,000 Final Call newspapers and many stood up to express how Islam and words of Min. Farrakhan saved their lives and pledged their assistance in bringing the Holy Day of Atonement to Detroit.

Several city officials and Detroit Police Department representatives stood up and boldly professed that whenever Min. Farrakhan comes to Detroit, “we roll out the red carpet for him because we know who he is.” Many enthusiastically shouted their thanks to God and agreed wholeheartedly.

Fraternity and sorority members were also present. Lanre Musa Lee of Omega Psi Phi said bringing Holy Day of Atonement to Detroit is fantastic and something that is needed in light of high crime and violence plaguing Black communities.

“Definitely, the Nation of Islam has my support and also the support of my fraternity of the brothers of Omega Psi Phi, Incorporated. Anything I can do to assist in the endeavors of the NOI and to better our community as a whole I’m all for it.”

“I think it was a loving expression of brothers and sisters coming together for some greatness, because God we do some greatness in this city and throughout this country. I love Minister Farrakhan and I went to the Million Man March and I’m 62 years old. God is about love,” said Keith Williams, chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party.

“This is a great time to have the event here because the people in Detroit have suffered a lot, they have gone through a lot of ups and downs, where people have had money and where Detroit has had a down turn where people have struggled,” said Eric Sabree, Wayne County treasurer.

“I think that there are very strong people here, very resilient people, and with the Million Man March and Atonement, we have to look at ourselves with the Million Man March anniversary. It will help us look at ourselves and see how we can strengthen ourselves and take control of our community like we should,” he added.

One of the original organizers of the march 23 years ago also attended the meeting, Reverend Joann Watson. “This was magnificent, what an outpouring of love and respect and investment in our collective future. What a wonderful way to honor the Minister’s coming. We love Minister Farrakhan. We love him and honor him and thank him for choosing this location one more time, one more time,” she said.

She and others helped organize men in Detroit to attend the march. “I did not go, we helped brothers go, we sent our money off and packed lunches for them. I continue to meet with a group of men that formed a Million Man Alumni on the bus ride back home from D.C. I meet with them every Thursday, we are the ones organizing Black business bus tours. Many of the things the men planned to happen has happened. The Million Man spirit is alive,” said Rev. Watson.

Members of the NOI Executive Council at Detroit community leadership meeting, including: Front row l-r; Leonard F. Muhammad, Imam Sultan R. Muhammad, Student Minister Dr. Ava Muhammad, Student Minister Ishmael R. Muhammad, Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad. Second row l-r; Student National Secretary Berve Muhammad, Student National MGT Captain Sandy Muhammad, MGT Captain Emeritus A’ishah Muhammad, Student Protocol Director Thomas Muhammad, Student Minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad.

Many other Muslim leaders were present at the town hall and very pleased with the announcement. Imam Mikail Stewart Saadiq stated, “This is a wonderful gathering, and I’m grateful to Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Executive Committee for bringing all these leaders together from different faiths, people that care about the condition of Black people, and the City of Detroit.”

Imam Saadiq added the event will bring a good spirit into the city. The Million Man March was transformative, he explained. “It did a lot for me as a young person even though I wasn’t able to attend because of exams, I was very young at the time, and I still feel the effects on my person and also my direction towards becoming an imam and loving Islam, and my people.”

Pastor Paul Fudge who opened the meeting in prayer said he was honored to be a part of the leadership and community town hall.

“It is something that our city needs; it’s something that we as men need, the women need. We just need this unity. Detroit is in position now where there is a lot of gun violence, killings, our own Blacks killing each other, and we need a healing now,” said Pastor Fudge.

“I believe that Minister Farrakhan is anointed by God, and yes I’m a Christian and he is Muslim but I still believe he is anointed by God, and it is just his time to come here and give us a message of hope and it is just what we need and I’m looking forward to it. There was just so much power in this meeting tonight. I was just sitting there absorbing it, and now it is time for this power that has come together to now manifest!” (Final Call staff contributed to this report.)