February 19, 2016

Nation of Islam returns to its Detroit ‘Mecca’

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Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

DETROIT

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as “Justice or Else” to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

— In the summer of 1930, a man from Asia named Wallace Fard Muhammad arrived in Detroit and started preaching in African-American neighborhoods such as Black Bottom, saying that black people were part of a superior race.

From his teachings came the beginnings of the Nation of Islam, a group founded in Detroit that grew into the biggest black nationalist organization in the U.S. still existing today.

Now based in Chicago and led by Minister Louis Farrakhan, the group is holding its annual convention this year in Detroit, from Friday through Sunday, when Farrakhan is expected to address up to 16,000 people at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

The annual meeting — expected to gather up to 25,000 over its three days — is usually held in Chicago, but was held in Detroit in 2014 and will be again this weekend. Known as Saviours’ Day, it celebrates the birthday of its founder, Wallace Muhammad, seen as God in the flesh, according to the Nation of Islam.

“Detroit is the Nation of Islam’s Mecca,” said student Minister Troy Muhammad, who leads the Detroit chapter of the Nation of Islam, one of the most active in the U.S. “This is a very significant convention for the Nation of Islam, to have it in Detroit twice in three years, showing the minister’s commitment to the city of Detroit.”

Farrakhan, 82, has been encouraging Nation of Islam members and others to move to Detroit and invest in the city, whose population is 79% African American. Farrakhan’s message of black self-empowerment resonates with many in the city, attracting crowds that go well beyond his Muslim base. His talks in churches and arenas in Detroit are often standing-room only.

Flint resident Ruby Adolph carries bottled water in Flint, Michigan The lead contaminated water supply there will be one of the issues discussed at the Nation of Islam conference in Detroit Feb. 20. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Rebecca Cook *Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FLINT-FAITH, originally transmitted on Jan. 19, 2016.

Flint resident Ruby Adolph carries bottled water in Flint, Michigan The lead contaminated water supply there will be one of the issues discussed at the Nation of Islam conference in Detroit Feb. 20. Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Rebecca Cook
*Editors: This photo may only be republished with RNS-FLINT-FAITH, originally transmitted on Jan. 19, 2016.

The upcoming convention will attract people from “all over the country and world,” Muhammad said. It will include a range of workshops and discussions, including town hall meetings on the Flint water crisis and on challenges facing Detroit such as education and crime, including two recent assaults of elderly people that have outraged many, Muhammad said. It also will feature concerts, historical exhibits, and hundreds of vendor booths promoting black-owned businesses.

Farrakhan has been encouraging African Americans to form “10,000 fearless men” who can help reduce crime and keep peace in cities. In October, Farrakhan led the “Justice or Else” event in Washington, D.C., marking the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March.

This year, Farrakhan has drawn notice for his interview in January with controversial radio host Alex Jones in which he said he understood Donald Trump’s call to vet Muslim refugees. He visited Iran last week, meeting with Iran’s former foreign minister and praising the Islamic Revolution in Iran.

The title of Farrakhan’s Detroit speech is “Divine Instructions: Commands for 2016.” In his Detroit convention speech in 2014, he called for African Americans to form their own courts if they can’t find justice in American courts.

Farrakhan said in a recent interview that he wants to offer actions to take, according to a recent issue of the Nation’s newspaper, The Final Call.

Farrakhan said: “There are a lot of people that have listened to me for generations and some of them have been bold enough to say ‘We’re tired of speeches, Farrakhan. I don’t want to hear one more speech.’ As I heard such criticism and thoughts, I said, ‘You know everything that needs to be said, I have really said it. It’s now not things to say, it is things to do.’ ”

There’s been speculation among observers about what will happen to the Nation of Islam after Farrakhan dies or steps down, but for now, he appears healthy and still speaks often.

For Troy Muhammad and other members, the convention is a way to reconnect the past to the present. Fard Muhammad’s chief disciple was Elijah Poole, later renamed Elijah Muhammad, who went on to lead the Nation of Islam from 1934 to 1975. The first Nation of Islam temple was in Detroit and today it’s located on Detroit’s west side, Muhammad’s Mosque No. 1.

“Master Fard Muhammad met Elijah Muhammad and out of that meeting, you have Malcolm X, you have a Muhammad Ali, you have the Million Man March, you have a Minister Farrakhan,” said Troy Muhammad. “All these significant people came out of that meeting in 1930. So that’s why we call Detroit our Mecca.”

(Niraj Warikoo reports for the Detroit Free Press)

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  • Philip A. Zehrer

    Christians need to read Koran 4:157 and 5:110 that Contradicts the eye-witnessed Holy Living Infallible Word of God and Blasphemes and claims “the Crucifixion of Jesus [the Christ; Son of the Living God to the Glory of God the Father] never happened. All from a false prophet who lived 632 years +/- after the fact and is not a credible witness nor prophet of God Most High!

    The Law of Non-Contradiction tells us two opposing arguments cannot simultaneously be true!

    The Law of Greatest evidence tells us “Trust the 13 men who first died a peaceful pascal victim redemptive suffering martyrs death for the truthful witness to the passion, crucifixion, death, burial and GLORIOUS RESURRECTION OF JESUS THE CHRIST!

    MAKING islam A FALSE CULT OF ONE SELF-GLORIFYING FALSE PROPHET! THE QUESTION IS HOW MANY BILLIONS OF SOULS HAVE BEEN LOST TO ISLAM THAT WILL HAVE TO BE RESCUED, REDEEMED AND RESTORED BY FATIMA; THE TRIUMPH OF THE SORROWFUL AND IMMACULATE HEART OF BLESSED VIRGIN MARTYR…

  • Rev. LM Harris, MTS

    Actually, the verses to which you are referring in chapter 4 when taken in context are ambiguous at best. Those in 5 reflect a conversation between God and son Jesus that affirms God’s authority over Creation. Neither are subversive.

    True Muslims have tremendous respect for Jesus as a child and prophet of God. They just don’t accept him AS God, suggesting instead that Jesus never actually died on the cross. Instead, they extend to him a recovery and low profile life elsewhere in the world, having completed his task assigned by God. Muslim scholars also proof text just as you have, proving in “evidence” that Christ never died for our sins.

    As Christians we obviously don’t ascribe to this belief. Historians note that survival after several days of crucifixion is nearly impossible. But here lies the reason so many apologists point to the resurrection as the defining factor of our faith over others. In fact, if Christ never died and never rose from the dead, they’d be right.

  • How many rhetorical regilious wars must humanity continue throw. As the human intellect and Man spirit redundantly ascribe a supernational Existence vs Man’s desire to control and manipulate ourselves. Show me something of supernational existence in Man. Until this happens.. only thing Man can is Fight..Kill..Lie to one another!! Was in training to become a minister once…that is high and righteous calling.. A true minister does not cause strife…He let’s go of all Man nature… I could not will myself..at time..to do such a righteous thing.. I would not not allow myself to bastardization in the name of God..Jesus…Holy Spirit..

  • yoh

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/2016/02/20/researcher-finds-that-the-old-and-new-testament-are-both-more-violence-than-the-quran/?repeat=w3tc

    Researcher Finds That the Old and New Testament Are Both More Violent Than the Qur’an

    “The Old Testament of the Bible is significantly more violent than the Quran, with more than twice as many mentions of destruction or killing, according to his algorithm. Even the New Testament is slightly more violent than Islam’s holy text.’

    -go figure 🙂

  • Just Sayin

    It’s only fair then, to send 1 million Detroit residents to Mecca and call it New Detroit.