Health forum urges healthy lifestyle, disease prevention and detection

By Brian E. Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Oct 22, 2009 - 1:26:42 PM

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Muslims in Memphis show off food bags that included a cookbook of healthy eating choices based on meals served at the Nation of Islam's National House.Photo: Calvin Woods
MEMPHIS ( - During the commemoration of the 14th anniversary of the Million Man March, the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation held a forum to highlight the importance of God, awareness, early screening and the need for proper nutrition in the battle against cancers prevalent in the poor communities of America.

The forum brought together several experts in various aspects of health care.

The foundation was launched in May of 2003 in conjunction with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan‘s 70th birth anniversary. The launch was themed “a party with a purpose” and drew attention to Minister Farrakhan's call to action for Black men to be proactive about the dreaded disease and their overall health.

According to statistics, Black men suffer far worse health than any other racial group in America. There are a number of reasons for this, including racial discrimination, a lack of affordable health services, poor health education, cultural barriers, poverty, no health insurance and insufficient medical and social services catering to Black men.

Statistics show that Black men live 7.1 years less than other racial groups. Compared to women they experience disproportionately higher rates in all leading causes of death. Forty percent of Black men die prematurely from cardiovascular disease as compared to 21 percent of White men and have a higher incidence and a higher rate of death from prostate cancer.

“It is awareness and lack of screening,” said panelist Maurice Muhammad, a state of Alabama magistrate and Nation of Islam Study Group Coordinator. Maurice Muhammad is involved in a partnership with health care providers in eight counties across the state to increase awareness and strongly advocate preventive action.

The forum was organized to recognize the need for men to address their health issues and make prostate health a priority. Dr. Charles Wallace, a urologist in Memphis, pointed out the need to tackle the problems with a holistic approach.

(l)Dr. Kaia Netumbe (r) Dr. Bruce Randolph Photos: Hassan Muhammad
“Treatment is one thing, healing is another,” said Dr. Wallace, adding when prostate cancer “affects the men it ultimately affects the family.”

Prostate cancer survivor Anderson Muhammad agreed that early screening and a holistic approach, that includes proper diet and prayer, works.

“Prayer works; you have to be a person of faith,” he said.

In 2005, he participated in the foundation's “Walk for Life” and took a PSA test made available at the event. Several weeks later he received a phone call from the doctor stating emphatically that he had prostate cancer. Mr. Muhammad attributed his recovery to belief in God, prayer, a determined will not to quit and alternative treatments.

One by one, the panelists spoke about the importance of awareness and prioritizing health in order to reverse the current numbers negatively affecting the Black and poor communities.

A surprise to all the attendees was the appearance of Min. Farrakhan, who expressed words of gratitude, guidance, personal openness and encouragement. The Minister graced the forum after addressing the members of the Nation of Islam in a three-hour session.

Maria Farrakhan Muhammad heads the prostate cancer foundation named in honor of her father. She packed for bags given away after health forum.Photo: Calvin Woods
“Thank you very much, to my daughter Maria, who has been the brains behind the Louis Farrakhan Prostate Cancer Foundation. And her desire today was, of course, to give free screening because from what she told me this area is an area where there is a tremendous spike in prostate cancer, particularly for young Black men as well as colon rectal cancer, breast cancer and lung cancer is devastating this area. Even though I worked very hard today and yesterday, I could not, not come because this is so important,” said the Minister.

The Minister revealed that the scourge of cancer on the poor was not by chance but by design, emphasizing the urgency of prostate cancer awareness among men as young as 25. Drawing from his personal experience with prostate cancer, the Muslim leader urged the men in the audience not to delay getting tested.

“I am a prostate cancer survivor,” the Minister said, then in reflection added, “when Almighty God blessed me to survive death three times—when they were writing my obituary and they were planning on CNN and the New York Times to say to the world that Farrakhan is dead—and Winnie Mandela, when she visited the United States a few years ago, she visited with me and told me that it was a big thing in the news in South Africa that Louis Farrakhan had, in fact, expired.”

Minister Farrakhan continued, “There were so many of our enemies who wanted and wished me dead, they couldn't wait for the evil accident of time to actually take place but they thought that that was it.”

“We used to think that at 40 years of age you should be tested, but today, we should start looking at prostate cancer from 25 (years old and) up because this thing is coming down now, and, dear brothers, I must say it's not an accident. This is a conspiracy and we know it from the prophecies of the Qur'an and the Bible.”

The Minister cited former National Security Advisor and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who advocated reducing the population of the planet by billions of people.

“Kissinger, years ago talked about culling the population of our planet by over two billion people and those two billion people are not the well to do, they're us the Black, Hispanic, the weak, the poor.”

To counter the plan of elimination, Minster Farrakhan said prevention is key.

Youth help load trucks to deliver food distributed after health town hall meeting at the Cook Convention Center.Photo: Calvin Woods
“This body is the most magnificent of all creation. A wise God created this and, believe it or not, it is made to last so much longer than we get out of it, but it is because we don't know what it is and how to preserve it and protect it so the enemy can manipulate our taste buds and then sentence us to death by our appetites.”

“Hippocrates said your medicine is your food and your food is your medicine. Well, where did all of these pharmaceutical companies come from if your food is your medicine and your medicine is your food? If you look at this (the body), this was not created in a fast-food place, this was not created by a pharmaceutical company, this beautiful magnificent body was created from the water of the earth, from the stone of the earth, from the oxygen that surrounds our earth and this body needs pure water, pure food, pure air to get the best out of what a great and mighty God created for us.”

Dr. Kaia Netumbe said some studies found for most Black men high contents of meat and dairy products effect the prostrate. “They are writing prescriptions for concentrated Vitamin D to take. We should sunbathe which will eliminate toxins in the body especially for diabetes.”

Other solutions to gaining control of health outlined in the forum was to take the time to choose the right doctor; develop an interest in health care for self and especially male children; manage what you do regarding your lifestyle as well as eat to live, not live to eat utilizing a tenant from “How to Eat to Live,” a book by the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

“Health problems can be prevented and managed by establishing healthy lifestyle living. Holistic health is physical, mental and spiritual well-being. I am interested in the whole person. We are not just flesh and blood. What affects you spiritually will affect you mentally. God is ultimately responsible for the healing no matter when it occurs,” said Dr. Bruce Randolph, a Memphis-based physician who focuses on preventive care.

If you don't grow your own food even with right diet you will die, warned Min. Farrakhan. “Even if you know How to Eat to Live, you'll still die with these diseases because you don't produce what you eat.”

We “have forgotten the value of the earth, then you run away from grandma's land because we were sharecroppers and didn't get much” and “were robbed of a lot so we're through with farming,” the Minister.

Minister Farrakhan said the enemy has taken the land that Blacks had at the beginning of the 20th century leaving them all but landless. He pointed out how they are using sludge to help raise vegetables.

“They're not feeding the meat that you eat, the chicken that you eat, the lamb, the beef, the pork, whatever it is that you eat of meat it is being poisoned because they cannot afford the feed so they mix animal feed.”

“Those of you who know the value of raw milk, you ought to examine the cows that are producing the raw milk and how they are being raised. Because if you don't know that they're eating healthy grass, be careful of their milk. So we who are advocates of raw milk should also be advocates of a process that makes us sure that the milk that we are giving ourselves and our family is what the Qur'an says from between the blood and the dung a pure drink agreeable to the drinkers. God didn't say that because it has no value, it has value, but the key is a pure drink. How can it be pure unless the process by which the cow produces the milk is also pure?”

The Minister also advised pooling of resources to buy land. If you have land around your house, don't waste it, “think in terms of a family garden,” he added.

Using scriptural truths, Min. Farrakhan coupled the need to control and change dietary practices with the need to also think right.

“In truth, there is electrical energy, that's what this body is. At the root of it is electricity and the word of God has the highest content of electrical energy particularly if you can break open the word and give understanding, immediately you'll see a change.”

“The conversations you have with one another should be healthy. Not gossip, not slander, not back-biting, what's the latest filth and funk that you can find and spread that has very little electrical energy. In fact, it is so depleted of energy that it does not help you at all. That's why Jesus said ‘as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.' “

“Go on, brother, and get that exam, find out where you stand and even if its bad news, you say I thank God, I found it in time, then let's go to work as warriors to beat the cancer scourge. I'll do all in my power in the remaining years of my life to use my life to help those who are victims of disease and cancer, because all of it can be healed through eating the proper foods, drinking the proper liquids and thinking the proper thoughts,” said Min. Farrakhan.