With gun violence in urban neighborhoods appearing to be on the rise, Nation of Islam leader the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan encouraged male members of the Nation to hit the streets of North America, the Caribbean, Canada and the United Kingdom. Since his call, the Fruit of Islam (FOI) have conducted patrols in over 160 cities, making this one of the largest anti-violence, pro-peace actions in the country.
The minister’s recent attack on the scourge of drugs and gang violence infecting neighborhoods in New York City left a tremendous impression on the residents of the Big Apple, with a call for members of the historic Harlem-based Muhammad Mosque No. 7 to do more of the same.
The willing and capable Student Minister Abdul Hafeez Muhammad has stepped up to the plate. Not only that, to the author’s surprise, Muhammad’s “Stop the Violence” initiatives in New York predate Farrakhan’s most recent call for the men of the NOI to hit the streets of North America.
Discussing local NOI activity occurring in conjunction with the minister’s recent three-day visit, Muhammad, not hesitating, said that on Saturday, Oct. 6, he spoke at a “Stop the Violence” rally hosted by Doug E. Fresh and at the funeral of Harold Jackson, who was senselessly shot because of remarks he made to a young lady concerning her weight. He said that on top of attending the funeral, the FOI would seek to help resolve the growing tensions between the gang members on both sides of the shooting.
In addition, the leader of Mosque No. 7 and the FOI has responded to a potential turf war brewing in Harlem.
“There was a brother who recently passed away who controlled … territory in Harlem,” he revealed. “The word on the street to us–to the FOI–is brothers are fighting for that territory [and] they’re shooting at one another.”
Providing information concerning the local commitment of the FOI, Muhammad said, “We’re going into that territory in central Harlem to mediate with those brothers. … So our work is to go in and be honest brokers and to mediate these conflicts, so that the open enemy won’t have any justification for what he already plans to do.”
One of the plans he highlighted is the flooding of urban neighborhoods with guns. Farrakhan said during one of his many stops in New York that the enemy has flooded urban neighborhoods with guns and drugs. He emphasized that the residents of urban neighborhoods aren’t the makers and importers of the guns and drugs that plague the Black community.
The headline of an October 2011 Associated Press story highlighted this deplorable activity by, of all people, members of the New York City Police Department. The headline read: “5 NYPD Officers Arrested for Trafficking Guns, Cigarettes, Slot Machines.”
Responding to the arrest, Mayor Michael Bloomberg expressed his disgust, saying, “If the accusations are true, the officials engaged in a disgraceful and deplorable betrayal of the public trust.”
According to U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, “The men were eager and willing to smuggle the weapons and commit other crimes, so long as the price was right.”
Showing that this isn’t just an isolated case, a headline in the July 13 edition of the New York Times read: “New York Police Officer Charged in Gun Theft.”
The Times reported, “Prosecutors in the Manhattan district attorney’s office said Officer Mina, who had been on the force for four and a half years and was assigned to the 9th Precinct in the East Village, broke into the lockers of four colleagues in February and April and pilfered the police-issued weapons and a bullet-resistant vest. Officer Mina was also charged with buying and selling methadone (all for sale), according to an indictment.”
Expressing his indignation, Muhammad said, “The flow of guns has not stopped,” with these officers stealing guns and “putting them … on the streets.”
Concerning his willingness to work with other groups, he said, “We want to work with those who are unafraid to work with our young people.” He said that Farrakhan told him to “be careful of pastors who are afraid of our youth. So I’ll [only] work with those pastors who are unafraid to come out into the streets. But those that have a timidity of doing so–for whatever the reason–then we’re going to just keep moving forward because that would just slow us down.”
Jehron Muhammad, who writes from Philadelphia, can be reached at Jehronn@msn.com.