By Jibril Hough
As I walked into Bojangles Arena to hear Minister Louis Farrakhan, carrying my prayer rug a brother approached me and asked about the time for prayer. We quickly found a place to pray and a few other brother joined us. This is how the ‘main event’ began for me and the beauty of Islam. Strangers coming together, praying and fellowshipping for the sake of God. This is the beautiful by product of a day and gathering like this.
The weekend activities began with a unity Jumah led by Imam Sultan Muhammad, the grandson of the late leader of the Nation of Islam, Elijah Muhammad. This was a historic moment in the history of the NOI, for Sultan is their very first Imam, and was appointed by Minister Farrakhan to lead the community in religious affairs.
Sultan’s sermon gave a beautiful message of brotherhood and connecting with the world community of Muslims, while reserving the right to apply our unique perspectives as Muslims living in the wilderness of North America. As I listened to Imam Sultan lead the community in prayer and recite beautifully in Arabic, I thought this must have been the ultimate wish of his grandfather Elijah Muhammad and the direction he wanted the Nation to move towards. Sharing my prayer rug and supporting this Jumah gave a feeling of being on the right side of a historic moment. After the prayer I had the opportunity to connect with Imam Sultan and we agreed to support each other as we move towards a more unified Muslim community.
Unfortunately, members of the DNC host committee don’t understand the beauty of Islam. The DNC Host Committee kicked the Muslims under the bus by taking our Jumah at the DNC and related events off of their website in the final hour-only offering a state saying “organizer’s and speakers” were not appropriate for the DNC. The message given during the 17th Anniversary of the MMM what I called, “The People’s Convention” was one of empowerment, unity, claiming this country and speaking truth to power. Instead of kicking Muslims, African American’s and other’s under the bus, the message was more of one saying “get on the bus,” and do some driving!
Less than a month later, the almost 80 years old Minister Farrakhan was in Charlotte moving a multi-ethnic crowd. Farrakhan still delivers in the rarest of forms. He pointed out the missteps of U.S. foreign policy under Presidents Bush and Obama, religious matters, the debates and the growing racial undercurrent in politics and much more.
I do not see the Minister as a racist. I see him as one who exposes racism in a form that is hard for many to swallow, especially if they are harboring some of that racism. Public Enemy once rapped in “Don’t Believe The Hype,” “Don’t tell me you understand, until you hear the man.”
After hearing the man for close to 25 years, to understand is to get beyond the media sound bites, dramatic language and mental shackles that often hold us back. The first step to finding truth and understanding is “Don’t Believe The Hype”. We should apply this idea to so many levels in our lives. As George Orwell once said, “In a time of great deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”