While the world watches Muslims killing Muslims in what many deem as completely anti-Islamic, Muslims in the “City of Brotherly Love” are working to settle their differences and promote unity with the “Reconciliation Conference: The Next Steps,” Friday, Sept. 5 through Sunday, Sept. 7, hosted by the Masjidullah Center for Human Excellence and the Nation of Islam.
“Too often, we have people who could quote the imam [Warith Deen Muhammad], who could quote the minister [Louis Farrakhan], but those practical programs that they initiated were not being administered. So our idea is to bring together 200 members or workers from both groups who will come to the conference with the purpose of developing strategies going forward,” explained Masjidullah Imam Emeritus Muhammad AbdulAleem.
The conference is a follow-up to Farrakhan’s visit to the city during the June 2014 Pre-Ramadan banquet, also hosted by Masjidullah. His message encouraged reconciliation between the various Muslim communities represented at this historic occasion.
“We who came apart for whatever reason, in due season, would find our way back to each other, because we are Muslims. And even though we had serious disagreements, it never caused us to shed the precious blood of another Muslim. The whole world of Islam can learn from our example,” said Farrakhan.
The conference kicks off Friday, Sept. 5, at 1:30 p.m. with Jumu’ah (open to the public), the weekly congregational sermon and prayer. The guest khatib (speaker) is world-renowned Imam Siraj Wahhaj of Brooklyn’s Masjid Taqwa.
Imam Mikal Shabazz, the resident imam at Masjidullah, will open the conference and introduce the Nation of Islam International representative, Abdul Akbar Muhammad, who will focus on the significance of the growing reconciliation between Muslims in the United States, while at the same time Muslims in other parts of the world are at war with one another.
Friday evening, Muslim media professionals will gather for “The Pen is Mightier than the Sword,” a panel discussion exploring the influence of media on the masses, how the Islamic community can grasp and control its own image and, lastly, combat propaganda about Muslims and Islam. Panelists include Ayesha K. Mustafa, editor, Muslim Journal; Richard Muhammad, editor, Final Call; and Jesse Muhammad, social media expert.
Saturday, the conference hosts a series of panel discussions covering specific areas of concern, including human growth and development, education, economics and politics. Economist Cedric Muhammad will join the panel “From Dust to Industry,” which will focus on commerce and the financial welfare of the Islamic community.
“Here, we would lay a premise by the help of Allah that America is the laboratory by Allah’s design closest to Arabia in the time that Prophet Muhammad established Islam. We raise the question, what economic steps in Mecca and Medina did our prophet take which lay down principles for community and nation-building which we find in the economic blueprint and work of the honorable Elijah Muhammad,” he said.
“Politics 101: Hearing Our Voice with Action” will focus on the basics of political involvement and participation. “In a city where Muslims are over 40,000 strong, in a nation where Islam has always existed from slave ships to plantations, throughout reconstruction and the civil rights movements, all the way through present day state and federal offices, our collective voices represent a great political power,” said Aleem. “We have to harvest it in a manner that is beneficial to us as other religious communities have done in recent years.”
The conference concludes on Sunday with breakout sessions, where conference presenters and participants will develop strategies for going forward and develop a report from each session.
“Unfortunately, far too often there are grandiose events, conferences, conventions and meetings that involve lots of discussion but no action. The Reconciliation Conference is different. Its sole purpose is to develop a plan for next steps and move forward to a designated goal. It’s a working, hands-on, interactive conference,” said conference co-chair Arifah Shaheed.
Fellow co-chair Jehron Muhammad agreed, saying, “While it appears the whole world of Islam is at war with itself, here in America the followers of Imam Warith Deen Mohammad and the honorable Elijah Muhammad, under Minister Farrakhan’s direction, are not only settling their differences, they are finding ways to pull their resources and begin to work together for the common good of the human family.”
Registration is $50 per person. Proceeds from the conference benefit the Masjidullah Early Child Care Academy. For a full listing of the conference’s schedule, visit www.masjidullah.org.