Muslims offer solutions to violence in Mt. Vernon
LEROY BAYLOR Special to the AmNews | 6/7/2012, 2:14 p.m.
Last Saturday afternoon, Mt. Vernon, the city of 68,000 that sits on the northern border of New York City, became the first site of the "stop the killing" mission undertaken by Minister Louis Farrakhan's New York representative, Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad.
While appearing at a Muslim-sponsored rally in Mt. Vernon's Doles Center, Muhammad, whose base is Harlem's Mosque No. 7, explained that it is the Nation of Islam's duty to join with others to "correct the wrong," specifically the senseless crime that is creeping into this suburban community of tree-lined streets and family homes.
"Jesus was in the highways and byways reaching out for the people," he said. "Our job is to do the same.
"We're responding to the rise in fratricidal homicide, killing ourselves to the extent of becoming desensitized to our own savagery. So much so," he added, "that some Black youth have been heard to say, 'Why not kill each other?'"
The New York-bred minister characterized the response of "selected" political leaders to the problems plaguing the Black communities in and around New York City as weak, "just like a cat meowing at a lion." He called on Black men to "stand up," referring to a Mt. Vernon women's organization, Mothers Against Gun Violence, who have lost sons to shootings and have received threats because of their efforts. "How can we allow them to be threatened and not step up to defend them?" he warned.
Muhammad repeated Farrakhan's continuous call for religious leaders to go to the masses, because, he said, "Black people are the real children of Israel, in possession by another people. What price are we going to pay for murdering ourselves?" He cautioned youth that justice is the weapon that God is going to use against them and said they are in peril because they are killing their own people, "whom God wants to save."
The one-hour presentation was made to an audience of 300 that included Mt. Vernon Mayor Ernest Davis; Councilman Yahana Edwards; Mt. Vernon School Board members; the Peacekeepers; the Rev. Bill Mizel; the Faith Organization of Fathers; Constance Malcolm and Francelot Graham, the parents of Ramarley Graham; Kenneth Chamberlain Jr.; Mothers Against Gun Violence; and Damon Jones of Blacks in Law Enforcement.
Muhammad offered the city remedies, specifically:
- Black men must be involved in their children's lives
- Black people must not look for salvation from people who kept them in captivity
- Black women must respect themselves and choose carefully the Black man who is going to take care of their babies
- Black people should avoid preachers and ministers who are afraid of Black youth
- Parents must be mindful of video games and rap lyrics that program Black youth for violence and murder
- Know the side effects of medications such as Ritalin
- Beware of the consumption of malt liquor alongside marijuana laced with chemicals that harm the mind and lead to violence
Muhammad concluded with an invitation to parents to "send us your sons," given, he noted, the track record of the Nation of Islam in reforming and directing youth into positive directions.