Monday, May 9, 2016

On Leadership, Satisfaction and Dissatisfaction


by William P. Muhammad
williampmhmd@att.net

The article below is taken from page 103 of the book: “The Harvest is Ripe: A Guide to Study Group development," by William P. Muhammad, first published in 1999. Orders may be acquired by contacting the author via e-mail.

            The 66th Sura of the Holy Qur’an, Al-Tahrim (The Prohibition), unfolds on two levels (in two sections), as most Islamic scholars will agree. While it initially addresses the domestic life of the Holy Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH) and a temporary breech of confidence between himself and two of his wives, it also sheds light upon the definition of “duty” between leaders and followers. For example, the dynamics of a Muslim’s marriage and his married life is not unlike the dynamics between responsible leaders and followers.
            It is through the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad that we can address the “science” of Sura 66, while at the same time observing its relevance in the world, as the Judeo-Christian West antagonizes the world of Islam from behind the fa├žade of peace.
            In the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s book: The Fall of America, in chapter 23 titled, “The Dissatisfied,” we come face to face with ideas on leadership, satisfaction, dissatisfaction and change, and how these states-of-being lead to either positive or negative change: belief or disbelief, obedience or betrayal and virtue versus hypocrisy. For instance, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad writes:

No one is satisfied though they may be righteous. They are not satisfied because they are living among unrighteousness. So the whole entire world of the wicked and the righteous is upset due to dissatisfaction. The dissatisfied are gaining everyday more and more among the people whom they hope to bring into the same condition that they are in. And today nothing is made more clear to the chief maker of dissatisfaction, (The Fall of America, page 101).

          This means the disbelievers suffer from the presence of the righteous and the righteous suffer from the presence of the unrighteous, whether it is in our homes, our communities or on our planet in general. Through a war of attrition, the enemies of Islam (disbelievers and hypocrites) expend their energy to exploit weaknesses among the believers in order to foment division (to undermine a united front), to create negative connotations in controversy (to cloud true issues and actual facts), to promote envy and jealousy (which destroys from within) and ultimately, to kill the messengers of truth in the hour of confusion (although Allah promises us they will not be successful). Also, this is why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said: “The devil never sleeps.

Courtesy The Final Call Newspaper
           Daily, we are bombarded with the filth of Satan’s world (scantily clad men and women parading themselves in public, drunkenness, lewd dancing, gambling, the consumption of swine flesh, filthy jokes, homosexuality, fornication and adultery – there is hardly any end to it) as we are instructed through universities, weak religious leaders and the American popular culture that to obey Allah (God) makes you less acceptable in society, but to submit to the ways of the unbelievers makes you more acceptable.
            It is through a thorough comprehension of these opposing forces that an examination of Sura 66 will make sense.
            Dissatisfaction, so teaches the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, is the agent of change – either a change for the better or a change for the worse. If you are attempting to be “right” (on the salat-ul-mustakeem) in a world that is against righteousness and the doing of righteousness (through shariat), then the full force of the enemy and his system will be brought to bear against you (which is why the servants, prophets, and messengers of Allah have been beaten, killed, slandered and imprisoned all throughout history).
            Furthermore, those who are weak in faith (in both their Iman and their Deen), those who are “faking and fronting” Islam (for ulterior motives) and those who lack knowledge (because of ignorance) will not be able to withstand the audacious, deliberate and scientific opposition that is crafted, formulated and wielded by the enemies of Allah (God). It is through this reality that “dissatisfaction” in a weak believer causes a shift toward disobedience to the Will of Allah (God) and His apostle; therefore, it allows chaos, confusion and hell into the Ummah (or Nation of Islam – which is a world-wide reality).
            Although we will not delve into the details behind the temporary separation between the Prophet (PBUH) and two of his wives, A’isha and Hafsah, the greater principle that we must examine is how the connect (bond) between leaders and followers is interrupted by their individual or collective states of satisfaction and dissatisfaction (which leads either to obedience and submission to Allah or to mischief-making and hypocrisy) and perhaps, ultimately, the possibility of estrangement from the Mercy of Allah, (see Sura 66:3-7).
            Looking at the example of dissatisfaction between the wives (followers) of Noah and Lot versus the wife (subjects) of Pharaoh and the daughter (subjects) of Amran – Mary, the mother of Jesus – we must ask ourselves:

1)      Why did Noah’s wife rebel against her husband when he was instructed by Allah to build the Ark?


2)      Why did Lot’s wife look back on Sodom and Gomorrah?


3)      Why did the wife of Pharaoh reject the ways of her husband when he saw himself as a God besides Allah?


4)      What made Mary’s womb worthy of Allah’s Blessing?

The behaviors of disbelievers and hypocrites are rooted in either their satisfaction in the temporary rewards of this life (dunya) or through the temporary rewards of turning against the truth and turning against those who reject “this world” (see James 4:4) for the promise of the “Hereafter” (here on this earth after the reign of Satan has been destroyed – see Sura 18:31).

The above statement will perplex the disbelievers and the hypocrites because their hearts have been sealed – through the seeking of rewards, validations and honors from Satan’s system (instead of seeking the path of Allah).

            According to the Christians’ Bible, Lot was warned by the angels (people of high intellect and wisdom) that Allah was displeased with the abominable behavior of the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (men going to men with lust in their hearts as they should for women) and that they were commissioned by God to destroy these cities. As the story continues, Lot flees the city with his family under the instructions “don’t look back,” and none looked back at its destruction except for Lot’s wife – and according to the Bible, she turned into a pillar of salt.
            What does this mean? The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad instructs us through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan “not to get spooky” when we read the scriptures and worship Allah (God). Doing so only mystifies the truth, which reduces your ability to reason and it hinders your ability to understand the true nature of God, which is the true nature of yourself.
            For instance, if we examine the purpose of salt, as a preservative (there were no refrigerators 4,000 years ago), this is how “animal flesh” was kept in its desired state for eventual consumption. A pillar of salt, therefore, could signify the preserving of a hidden lifestyle or mindset (that is opposed to Allah’s Will) and as such, it allowed mischief and deviant behavior to creep into the new society built by those who rejected the ways of the Sodomites. The wife (meaning the followers) of Lot allowed dissatisfaction (with Allah’s way) to wear down, redefine and ultimately change the system of Prophet Lot (PBUH) and his people over time.
            While the Holy Qur’an’s version of Noah and his wife differs somewhat from the Biblical account, the fact remains that the people of Noah were mockers of his “God given mission” (which was ironically for their own benefit). Also, the Holy Qur’an tells us how the ark was made of only crude planks and nails, but it nevertheless saved the lives of those who saw its value and heeded Noah’s “final call.” Again, in these stories, we are looking at the relationship between satisfaction with “this world” and dissatisfaction with Allah’s promise of “the world” of the hereafter.
Now, what about satisfaction with the way of Allah (God) and His straight path?  This is where we must now examine the wife of Pharaoh and the mother of Jesus (Isa).

            Imagine being the citizen of a nation that has no equal or rival on the earth – and all must bow at its feet. Pharaoh’s wife, from her privileged position, as an Egyptian, really had no incentive for rejecting the ways of Egypt, as the privileged wife (follower/subject) of a leader who saw himself as a God beside God (think on that).  Why would she reject a life of ease and comfort? Would it be easy to agree that she was (they were) satisfied with the material wealth and riches of the most powerful nation on earth? Does inordinate materialism and relative ease not distract the people of the Western world today?
            In this case, “dissatisfaction” was positive on her part, and this led her to reject the ways of the arrogant, haughty, proud and boastful Pharaoh (who Allah drowned in the Red Sea) according to both Bible and Qur’an – as he chased down the Nation Of Israel (NOI) for the purpose of preventing it from inheriting the “Promised Land”).
            According to the Qur’an, Pharaoh became a believer as he was drowning and that was enough for Allah to spare his body (but not his life) and for it to serve as a sign and as an example for the generations, leaders and nations that would follow.
            How many civilizations, peoples and powers followed in Pharaoh’s footsteps? How many follow “the modern Pharaoh” in today’s most powerful nation? How many will fail to learn this valuable lesson and subsequently subject themselves to the hellfire of bloodshed, war, death and destruction, if not the chastisement of Allah?
            Finally, Sura 66:12 tells us how Mary guarded her chastity, which is the primary duty of a believer. The Honorable Elijah Muhammad teaches us through the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan that the female has two wombs and that the male has only one. The mind is the womb from which new possibilities come forth, and the state of a woman’s mental a spiritual womb determines the state and product of her physical womb.
            If we are quick to criticize the behavior of promiscuous women, because of the social and spiritual ramifications of fornication and adultery, then what does this say of men who offer their minds and attention to impure thoughts, ideas and activities?
            What unbalanced and confused offspring will his MIND create? When he lies down (mentally) and offers his mind to that which Allah (God) is displeased with, then what is the difference between these women and men? What type of world will such men produce? Will they establish heaven on earth (as the Khalifa) or will they establish more hell on the earth (as rebellious devils)? Will they make straight in the desert a highway for their Lord, or will they continue the crooked and serpent-like path of the mischief-makers and deceivers?

           Islam cannot progress among the believers until and unless we guard our prayers and become the quintessential example of civilized men and women: “enjoining that which is good and forbidding that which is evil.” It is only then that Allah (the Most High) will reward us with success and grant us the final victory that he promises to the faithful.
Surely We have revealed the Book to thee with truth that thou mayest judge between people by means of what Allah has taught thee. And be not one pleading the cause of the dishonest, and ask the forgiveness of Allah. Surely Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. And contend not on behalf of those who act unfaithfully to their souls. Surely Allah loves not him who is treacherous, sinful.
They seek to hide from men and they cannot hide from Allah, and He is with them when they counsel by night on matters which please him not. And Allah ever encompasses what they do.
Behold! You are they who may contend on their behalf in this world’s life, but who will contend with Allah on their behalf on the Resurrection day, or who will have charge over their affairs? And whoever does evil or wrongs his soul, then asks forgiveness of Allah, will find Allah forgiving, Merciful. And whoever commits a sin, commits it only against himself. And Allah is ever Knowing, Wise.
And whoever commits a fault or a sin, then accuses of it one of the innocent, he indeed takes upon himself the burden of a great calumny and a manifest sin. 
Holy Qur’an 4: 105-112).

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

From The Final Call Newspaper

Rebuilding The 'HoodBy Richard B. Muhammad, Eric Ture Muhammad and Kenetta Muhammad -The Final Call- | Last updated: Apr 12, 2016 - 11:30:33 AM

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(L-R) A child wears 10,000 Fearless onesie. | Volunteer puts paint brush to work. | Photo: Rashaad Muhammad | Clearing brush and landscaping is part of beautification efforts. Photo: Erick Muhammad Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad and Rev. Timothy McDonald are making a difference in The Bluff. Photo via Facebook

ATLANTA—“God is in The Bluff,” a long ignored part of a city once called the New Mecca for Blacks, but it’s no spook or spirit, it’s live men, women and even children on a mission to resurrect this neighborhood known for drugs, violence and poverty.


The phrase was coined by Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, head of the local Nation of Islam mosque and its Southeast Region, who works in tandem with Reverend Timothy McDonald. A fruitful Muslim-Christian relationship is making the community a decent place to live—following a directive from Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan from the movement’s headquarters in Chicago and in major addresses in Detroit and Chicago earlier this year.

Speaking at a special meeting webcast from Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Student Minister Sharrieff Muhammad passionately shared the work of the 10,000 Fearless Men & Women in his city, which is credited with bringing more change in months than in 50 years.

“The thing we have to do is obey the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan,” said the former Nation of Islam Supreme Captain pushing the rebirth of The Bluff. The Minister called for 10,000 Fearless to restore Black communities last year during and in the run-up to the successful Justice Or Else! 20th anniversary gathering of the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., last October.

Blacks are suffering regardless of their religious affiliation, observed Rev. McDonald, who spoke April 5 at the same special meeting in Chicago.
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Patrol vehicles and transportation vans used by the 10,000 Fearless working to make a Black community a decent place to live. Photo via Facebook

Min. Farrakhan shared his joy at the work underway in Atlanta and called for it to spread across the country. Brother Sharrieff Muhammad was given a command and found a way to produce the desired results, said Min. Farrakhan.
                    
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“I would like to see the example of Brother Sharrieff and Rev. McDonald duplicated, triplicated, quadruplicated, quintuplicated all over this nation,” said Min. Farrakhan during April 5 Mosque Maryam meeting. Photo: Haroon Rajaee
The details about the assignment were not given but the commitment to do the work was there, he continued. You are more equipped to do things than you think, the Minister told Muslim members watching via the internet. Faith is required to do great work and Jesus admonished his disciples to have greater faith, Min. Farrakhan added.


When you are doing something others will come to help—even Caucasians eager to avoid God’s chastisement will assist, but you have to do something, he said.

Don’t be afraid to stand up in my name, Min. Farrakhan continued. Brother Sharrieff Muhammad was not afraid and is having success and God did not come for us to be unsuccessful, he said.

In March over 160 volunteers from 30 organizations worked beautifying The Bluff using paint and other supplies and equipment donated by Home Depot of Southwest Atlanta. The work is based out of the 10,000 Fearless Headquarters of the South, a home purchased in The Bluff. The English Avenue Community, commonly known as “The Bluff,” has the highest crime rate in Georgia.                     
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Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad, Ishmael Muhammad and Rev. Timothy McDonald at special meeting in Chicago. Photo: Rashaad Muhammad

In 2005, Student Minister Abdul Sharrieff Muhammad established People United For Change Inc., which partners with 10,000 Fearless Men & Women to bring free resources to the community at the headquarters housed at 801 Joseph E. Boone Blvd., in Atlanta.

People United For Change Inc., Home Depot, 10,000 Fearless, Muhammad Mosque No. 15, the Atlanta LOC for Justice or Else! and Sankofa United Church of Christ, under the leadership of Reverend Derrick Rice, united to create “Making Our Community a Decent Place to Live”  Day March 18 in The Bluff.

But the movement started by simply following the instructions of Minister Farrakhan: People United for Change and the 10,000 Fearless Men & Women of the South moved into the community together and started to help fix up houses. They started beautifying the neighborhood by painting houses, improving landscaping and even fixing siding on homes. Karriemah Muhammad went to hardware and paint stores asking for donations. A visit to Home Depot in Southwest Atlanta led to store manager Jeff Stallings joining the effort.

Student Minister Sharrieff shared how he told those offering to help that there would be no strings attached to any donation or assistance. They are not used to Black men standing up like men, he said.
As the environment improved, there was a decision to hide dilapidated homes behind a wall with a mural, he recalled. City officials fought the wall but eventually tore down the blighted structures. When city employees asked who gave permission for the wall and the mural, Student Minister said he responded: “God did!” Then he asked city officials: Who gave permission for neighborhood neglect to run rampant?

While providing free food and clothing, it became clear some in need or even homeless were military veterans, said Student Minister Sharrieff Muhammad. The group’s Ambassador for Veterans Affairs, Michael Duncan, did intake and discovered vets were having problems getting services, he said. Refusing to take no for an answer, or be given the runaround, led to a meeting with Veterans Administration officials and connections to ease the suffering of those who served this country, said the Nation of Islam student minister. He was joined in the meeting by Mr. Duncan.
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The headquarters for the 10000 Fearless of the South and the base for revitalizing a suffering Atlanta neighborhood. Photo: Erick Muhammad

In that meeting, Min. Sharrieff Muhammad added, Veterans Administration officials were told flat out that “Farrakhan’s man in Atlanta” was who they were dealing with. It resulted in promises to streamline veterans and promises for a follow-up meeting if the sit down didn’t yield results.


“I worked in this community 32 years ago,” said Mr. Duncan. He often felt alone, opposed by housing officials and felt indirect threats from police. He is a disabled vet, but after Barry Muhammad invited him to join the 10,000 Fearless, he found allies. “Now, it feels good to be in an environment where you are not the only one trying to do the work. I know this is God’s work. I believe that when you allow your hands, your mouth and your strength to be a tool for his purpose, he will lead you, he’ll take over,” he said.                     
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A youngster gets coaching as he helps out. Photo: Erick Muhammad

His evaluation of veterans logs their vital needs, branches of the service and their benefits denials. Many were in the VA database but were mistreated, ignored or turned away before Mr. Duncan started literally walking individual veterans through the bureacracy. It was traumatizing for these men and women being rejected after serving their country, he explained.

“At the time that I served it was during the U.S. invasion of Grenada. And if they were sending you there, you could not say you weren’t going. They’d put you in jail. Under their rules during a time of war, they could hang you for treason,” Mr. Duncan shared. “You have men who were subjected to that kind of treatment, who have rights who are entitled. So we are walking people back through this system and we are demanding access on their behalf to get them what they deserve.”

The Bluff restoration effort has included fixing roofs, putting up new fences, picking up trash, landscaping and creating a peace garden. Health screenings, food giveaways, conflict resolution and training to join the 10,000 Fearless are held at the 24-hour center. The headquarters also provides counseling, youth programs, culinary arts and other training. An “Occupy the Corner” initiative involving several groups trains to patrol The Bluff. The training suite is named after a longtime Nation of Islam pioneer, Minister Abdul Rahman Muhammad.

An April health fair, led by the Mosque No. 15 Ministry of Health and Human Services and Alternative Health Practitioners, was held at the 10,000 Fearless headquarters. The focus was health education and alternatives to traditional medicine. Passersby and residents waded through sidewalk tables and displays, had their blood pressure taken and were engaged in conversations about health. Louis Muhammad, Saabirah Muhammad and others are responsible for community outreach.                     
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Muslim woman lends hand to inspiring effort. Photo via Facebook

Lavania Morris, 63, was born and raised in the Bluff. For 15 years, she has needed dentures. “The impact of 10,000 Fearless on me and in the community is a godsend. Let the church say amen,” she exclaimed.  “It’s a nice program they have done wonderful work and a miracle for me,” as she proudly, showed off a toothless smile. “Sometimes, I help here with the food and clothing and whatever, and it feels good to work on our community first and make it proud and beautiful. Brother Sharrieff is so loving and kind. Brother Farrakhan taught him well,” she said.

“He (Brother Sharrieff) sent a man to make a mold for my mouth and he made me teeth and they are being given to me at no cost,” she added. “The sisters, Kenetta and Alicia Muhammad, have fitted me with outfits. I have always been dreaming on showing my culture. But the impact the brothers and sisters have had on me and this neighborhood has been so loving, so strong and I thank God.”

Chicago native Haroun Shahid Wakil lives in Atlanta and works with 10,000 Fearless through The Street Groomers, a collective of former so-called gang members working on freedom for U.S. political prisoners and those forced to live in exile. Mr. Wakeel frequents The Bluff headquarters. He assists with community patrols and educates residents about political prisoners. “It’s a bunch of guys that come from the streets—the GDs, the Stones, the Vice Lords—that decided to come together over common issues. Right now we are trying to get Imam Malik and Larry Hoover out, they both are political prisoners. But the work of the 10,000 Fearless, the fixing up and cleaning up is very positive,” he said.

Gerald Rose of the Atlanta-based New Order National Human Rights Organization stopped by for an impromptu meeting with Student Minister Sharrieff Muhammad and to lend support for the rebuilding work. “This is my first time over here, but I heard of the efforts toward saving this community. So I physically wanted to come over here and thank Minister Sharrieff and offer my support. I have known him for quite a while,” he recalled. “I come to congratulate him and to meet with him over how we can continue our work together.”

Reginald Ward, a 58-year-old Bluff resident, took a break from distributing food and clothes in front of the 10,000 Fearless headquarters. He lives on the streets and sleeps in nearby woods. When it rains, he rests on the front steps of a nearby church. He sat along a sidewalk, eating a bell pepper and watching people pick through donated clothes. He had just laid out the clothes for display.

“I have stroke on the brain, an enlarged heart, and emphysema. Smoking has destroyed both of my lungs. I have an enlarged prostate and vein damage in my legs. They are in constant pain. The doctors have to perform ultrasound just to get a pulse from my feet,” he told The Final Call.

“But God is my deliverer,” he said. “This has been a destroyed community. I see them working for us and I do what I can to help. I read the Holy Qur’an and the Bible and I find them both saying the same things. Our people need each other. It’s about choice. These people have done a lot” in a few months, he said.

“They are teaching us that God is real and without him, we don’t have anything. And we haven’t had anything for a long time, until the 10,000 has come. So, I spend a lot of time on the corners where the brothers be and I tried to teach them and show them what I know and tell them to help ourselves here. I thank God. He is real,” Mr. Ward said.

Joy Muhammad, 11, is youth ambassador for the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee and goes after young people in The Bluff. “The Joshua Generation is the forefront of the Nation and we are going into the community and will hear and obey the instructions of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. The goal is to go into the community with our modest clothing, and we will talk to the young girls and do community events together,” she said.

The success in The Bluff is an example of what can happen when egos are checked at the door, said Rev. McDonald, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church and chair of the Atlanta Local Organizing Committee of the Justice Or Else! movement. In 1995, Rev. McDonald served as Atlanta LOC head for the Million Man March.

Future plans call for technology centers and bringing in Black businesses to keep money circulating in the community, he said.

 “Islam is a religion of peace and it has been demonized by the likes of Donald Trump and others who play on the xenophobic paranoia of our White brothers and sisters,” said Rev. Anthony Motley, pastor of Lindsey Street Baptist Church for 35 years. “We welcome the Nation of Islam into the English Avenue community. The Nation of Islam has an excellent track record for taking Black males and ministering to them and giving them a sense of hope and discipline and dignity and introducing them to God through the Muslim faith, and we applaud that.”

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

From The Final Call Newspaper

It’s Time To Start Telling The Truth About FarrakhanBy Dr. Boyce Watkins | Last updated: Mar 22, 2016 - 10:50:45 AM

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The world is changing, and we owe most of this change to the Internet.  Ideas are being spread at lightning speed, and people have faster and more immediate access to perspectives and information than ever before.

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    In the age of the Internet, it’s also become more and more difficult to defend a lie, unless it happens to be a lie with which you’re most comfortable. In other words, the web is a place where you can either hunt down the truth or bury your head in the sand. This is one of the reasons that our nation hasn’t been this divided since the Civil War.

    One lie that was well-protected for many decades is the idea of Minister Louis Farrakhan as an anti-semitic extremist. Some have even used terms like “reverse racist”, which are designed to alleviate America of the guilt of what’s been done to Black people for the last 400 years.
    The release of important books like “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander and “Black Labor, White Wealth” by Dr. Claud Anderson, have unveiled the depth of abuse that Black people have endured since slavery, and how these transgressions impact our society today.

    One of the few leaders capable of connecting the struggles of our community with the trauma of the past is Minister Farrakhan. Farrakhan is one of the few members of the Black community who is respected by both his friends and enemies. He’s served well as a thinker, builder, orator, spiritual guide, mentor, father-figure and spokesperson for a community that has had to redefine its leadership over the last five years.                     
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    When rappers refuse to speak to one another, they respond to Farrakhan’s call for reconciliation.

    When the people of Baltimore and Ferguson refused to talk to most old school civil rights leaders, they still paid close attention to the words of Farrakhan.

    When Farrakhan has appeared on media outlets such as The Breakfast Club, the largest urban radio show in the country, the world stood still to hear what he had to say.

    When Farrakhan asked a million Black men to come to Washington, they came in droves and did it again 10 and 20 years later.

    The Minister can go into the darkest and most dangerous parts of any city in America and be fully protected by men of all age groups and socioeconomic backgrounds. No politician, advocate or police officer in the world can say the same thing. The reason Farrakhan is respected, especially by Black men, is that he gives us love in a society that is designed to hate, emasculate, criminalize and destroy us. For many of us, he’s all we’ve got.

    In some ways, Minister Farrakhan might be considered the president of the Black community. Of course, not everyone loves the Minister, and he has made a few mistakes over his 60 years of service. But even his harshest critics have a tough time thinking of anything the Minister has done in the last 30 years that has been anything short of productive and uplifting for Black people.

    If a critic is asked to quote any hateful remark Farrakhan has made over the last 30 years, they are left grasping for whatever they can, like a desperate drug addict trying to find money for crack. They are addicted to hating Farrakhan, even if there is little reason to do so, even if they’ve never heard him speak for more than 30 seconds. Brainwashing is difficult to overcome and it might be more painful to acknowledge the truth than it is to keep taking his words out of context.
                        
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    Farrakhan’s greatest strength is his authenticity. He and the Nation of Islam have shown a type of unconditional love for Black people that even the Black community itself cannot comprehend. They stand by us when we are at our worst, and have been arguably the most consistent and self-determined institution in our community. The Nation of Islam shows us that Black people can prosper with dignity, and without begging others to save us. The capacity of members of the Nation to forgive and accept us for who we are is an extraordinary breath of fresh air in a world where we are taught to hate everything about our dark skin and ambiguous culture. Farrakhan and his organization make us PROUD.

    When the police, government and educational systems have abandoned us, the Nation of Islam was always there. When we’ve needed an economic program, they’ve worked to put one together. When our role models were being shipped away to American slave camps (aka prisons), the men of the Nation of Islam were the cleanest, sharpest, most articulate and polite men in the entire neighborhood.

    It is because Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam are so beloved and respected that many of us have a difficult time understanding why mainstream media has worked so hard to paint the Minister in ways that are not in the least bit accurate. The fact that a man can be so loved by Black people and hated by Whites is yet another reminder of just how deep the racial divide remains in America.

    The use of propaganda to defame one of the most respected men in the African American community wins absolutely no friends for the Anti-Defamation League. Their insistence that Farrakhan is not even worthy of a meeting is insulting and hurtful to the African American community and indicative of disrespect for the Black community as a whole. It is also reflective of a fear that revealing the truth through a direct meeting with the Minister would undermine many decades of propaganda that have been used to paint him as some kind of deranged and violent bigot.

    The same was done to the Black Panthers.
    The same was done to Malcolm X.
    The same was done to Marcus Garvey.
    The list goes on and on.
    How can you judge a man so harshly when you refuse to even hear him speak? What are you afraid of?

    This century is the first time in American or world history that Black people have been able to communicate with one another without going through media filters controlled by somebody else. We aren’t learning about Minister Farrakhan through CBS News or reading about him in the New York Times. We are hearing from him directly on the Internet, which means that his 20-plus year blackball from mainstream media outlets has come to an end.

    My own meetings with the Minister included a three-hour conversation in which he and I sat knee-to-knee in his office, discussing every topic under the sun, from the state of the educational system to issues in American politics. The entire time, I felt like I was speaking to my own grandfather, and it was a relief to hear from a senior Black man who didn’t live his life in fear, but at the same time, was able to possess enough love in his heart to forgive his enemies.

    Farrakhan is certainly NOT the hate-filled caricature that has been created in mainstream media. Such a fictional portrayal of one of Black America’s most respected leaders is not only one that is easily disproven by the Minister’s own YouTube channel, but it’s one that causes all of us to question the credibility of those who seek to feed such a lie to the American public.

    The ADL and other groups must realize that stubbornly refusing to meet with Minister Farrakhan does not reduce the impact of his legacy. It only speaks to the kind of arrogance that White supremacy creates in a world where Black people are perceived to be second-class citizens. The Minister is strong, even if you want to pretend that he does not exist.  He is the elephant in your room, and it’s better to coordinate with the elephant’s strength than to try to sweep him under a rug.

    Jewish leaders, even when they are at their most extreme, are respected by the American government and the Black community. Black public figures deserve the same respect. I cannot speak for Minister Farrakhan, but I highly doubt that there is any member of ADL leadership who would not be invited into his home for dinner and be treated with complete respect.

    The truth can set us free, but it also indicts those who’ve sought to protect a lie. It’s time to either start telling the truth about Farrakhan, or allow him to speak for himself. You can’t call a man anti-Semitic for 30 years without at least hearing what he has to say. Such behavior is deeply disturbing, counter-productive and perhaps even fraudulent. It’s time for bridges to be built and for seasons to change.

    It’s also time to start telling the TRUTH about Farrakhan.

    Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Finance Ph.D., and founder of The Black Economic Empowerment Tour, designed to share ideas on Economic Empowerment throughout the world. To learn more, please visit BoyceWatkins.com. This column was originally published on http://financialjuneteenth.com.