National News

A united effort and long journey to bring peace

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Aug 13, 2013 - 3:35:20 PM

What's your opinion on this article?


CHICAGO ( - For decades, Tony Muhammad, the Western Regional Representative of the Nation of Islam has been heavily involved in efforts to establish peace among the street organizations in various areas in California.

“Uncle Tony” as he is affectionately called by them, is always available to mediate disputes, provide spiritual direction and counseling or to deliver a word of inspiration to those who see no way out of a dark journey through life with prison, or death at the end.

Inspired by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s life-saving initiative launched in the summer of 2012 in which he led the members of the Fruit of Islam into the streets of America, the consistent efforts of those on the West Coast has paid off. As a manifestation of that spirit and adhering to right guidance, a movement has emerged.

Over a year ago, Mr. Muhammad was returning from a Dianetics auditing session at the Church of Scientology’s Celebrity Centre, and a remarkable sight caught his eye.

“I’m on my way home sitting in traffic and all of a sudden this band of bikers—maybe seventy-five in number—just rode by me in a procession that was so beautiful and orderly that the cars were getting out of the way,” said Mr. Muhammad. “These brothers were riding and I was so impressed that it came to my mind I said—that’s the cavalry.”

Cavalry is defined as: a highly mobile unit using vehicular transport; Troops trained to fight on horseback and/or branch of an army made up of such soldiers.

(L-R) Rev. Alfreddie Johnson, Stanley Clarke, Tony Muhammad, UPFest committe members, CeaseFire participants and Rizza Islam (in Black suit). Photos Courtesy of UPFest, Inc.

Mr. Muhammad said it occurred to him that these “warriors for peace” could unite with the members of the F.O.I. who were the ground troops knocking on doors, walking through parks and basketball courts in a ground operation.

“That was the idea, and I knew of a brother in the mosque—Brother Omar—who rides and I went to Omar and I said ‘Brother, I need for you to take me to the biking club.’ I told him of my idea and he knew the bikers’ language. He said ‘Well Minister Tony you might be able to get the bikers to ride but I don’t know if you’re going to get Harleys riding with sport bikes, that’s a no-no in the biking world.’”

A sport bike is a lighter motorcycle optimized for speed, acceleration, and handling. Those bikes are different from the Harley-Davidson touring and cruising bikes that are  often seen on the road, which are more optimized for comfort and stability.

He went to meet with members of a motorcycle club called Rare Breed, which, according to Mr. Muhammad is the biggest Black Harley Davidson riding club in the country. They dismissed the idea.

“When I pitched the idea they laughed at me like ‘Brother Minister Tony thank you but no thank you. We don’t ride with sport bikes. It’ll never happen; you’ll never put us together with those.’”

He said he was shocked to see the motorcycle clubs were involved in the same type of divisive factionalism seen amongst the street organizations. He reminded the brothers about the Million Man March, and how many said that it could not be pulled off. Despite the critics and naysayers, all different ideologies and religious faiths united for a righteous and worthy cause on that day in 1995.

“I asked them: ‘Have you all had any members killed by gang violence? You mean to tell me us coming together and uniting is not bigger than your differences with the sport bikers?’ I told them Allah wants to unite us. God want us to come together.”

Brother Tony unwavering and undeterred in his quest for unity said it reminded him of those who believed the dry bones in the valley noted in the Book of Ezekiel, would never come together. Then, he had another idea. He challenged them asking them if they would reconsider if he agreed to learn to ride a motorcycle. They maintained their skepticism.

Fortunately, Brother Omar was a member of the Street Heat motorcycle club consisting of sports bikers, and in one week, Mr. Muhammad learned how to ride a motorcycle.

They assembled the first ride in October 2012 consisting of approximately sixty riders. The Fruit of Islam from Muhammad Mosque No. 27 went into Watts in the areas of the Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens projects knocking on doors handing out the Million March Pledge and custom made copies of “The Way to Happiness,” a non-religious booklet of moral precepts written by L. Ron Hubbard.

“When we rode in there the FOI went out in advance and they cleared the way,” he said.

Displaying the United in Peace Logo, the bikers rode in ranks. Brother Tony said the people cheered, brought out their children and as the bikers rode by and threw up the “peace” sign, the residents responded in kind. He said it totally surprised them when they saw it was him riding one of the motorcycles.

“When I took off my helmet the crowd went wild,” he said laughing. “And the other bikers had such a great experience—the love that came to them—they were blown away and they started calling other biking clubs.”

At the next month’s ride, there were 150 bikers. The next month 300 bikers and growing.  As he was making preparations and organizing the fourth month of activities, Mr. Muhammad received a call from Pastor Claude Powe, head of the Called to Destiny Ministry and a prominent member of the Central and Southern California biking community. Pastor Powe delivered good news and said he had a surprise.

“He said ‘brother I’ve been hearing about what you’re doing, and I’m a Christian but I’ll join you.’” Mr. Muhammad recounted.

When Pastor Powe arrived at the Peace Ride, he showed up with eighty Harley Davidson riders.

“From there it really took off !”  said Mr. Muhammad.

It has now grown to over 3,000 bikers of all different races, colors,  and creeds. Mr. Muhammad said for the first time in the history of the biking world in that geographic area, sport bikers and Harleys are riding side by side.

However, there is more. During the eighth month of Peace Rides, they rode down the high profile Crenshaw Boulevard, which is well known in Hip Hop music and many popular movies.

Members of the Low-Rider community saw the bikers.

A Low-Rider is a car or truck modified so that it has minimal ground clearance, usually accomplished by modifying the tire size and the vehicle’s drive train. When they identified Mr. Muhammad as being a primary organizer and riding among them, they asked if they could be a part of it.

Again, “Uncle Tony” found himself in the role of a peacemaker and unifier because the motorcycle riders did not want to ride with the Low Riders.

“Anything on wheels that wants to roll for peace—I’m bringing them in! Trust me! This is going to work,” he told them.

The Low Riders brought 250 to the next Peace Ride, and despite the very real tension that existed between the groups, they rolled together in peace. The community, realizing what a momentous occasion it was seeing all of them riding together celebrated.

“The streets went off seeing bikers and Low Riders ride together,” said Mr. Muhammad. “It wasn’t easy. It was very tense. But when we went to the street and they saw how the streets responded, now sports bikers and Harleys and Low Riders are hanging out! They’re embracing!” he said.

The sight of Black, Brown, White and Latinos in a united effort to establish peace caught the attention of congressional officials leading them to deliver a proclamation noting that the movement is getting results and bringing peace to the streets in areas where  Peace Rides have taken place.  

Musician Stanley Clarke, has performed, the legendary Stevie Wonder recently endorsed the movement and has agreed to perform at the upcoming one-year anniversary in October. In addition, Mr. Wonder has challenged other entertainers to get involved and work to help the movement spread nationally, which actually is already happening.

“We’ve got bikers calling us now from New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona wanting to know when the next ride is!” said Mr. Muhammad.

Not only has the Nation of Islam’s Western Regional representative received accolades for uniting the bikers and Low Riders, but the peace effort has also forced law enforcement officials from five different municipalities to reach unprecedented levels of cooperation.

Plans are underway for a 2013 cross-country Peace Ride starting in the West Coast, then picking up motorcycle riders along the way traveling to the Southwestern states, then the Southern States then up the East Coast through the Midwest ultimately arriving in Chicago with the goal of 50,000 bikers and possibly as many as 100,000 bikers.

Immediately following a short presentation Mr. Muhammad delivered to the entire Nation of Islam at a recent business meeting, Mr. Muhammad spoke with Minister Farrakhan and said the Minister was very happy and inspired by what is taking place on the West Coast.  In fact, he plans to travel to Los Angeles and wants to meet the Peace Riders and those participating in the gatherings, even suggesting he might be interested in direct involvement in one of the upcoming Peace Rides—as a rider.

“He said he would probably try to ride a three wheeled motorcycle...he alluded to that,” said Mr. Muhammad. “But he definitely wants to come and be in the atmosphere of the Los Angeles riders and feel the energy,” said Mr. Muhammad.

Observers have remarked that Mr. Muhammad is speaking and moving with a level of energy and vigor that hadn’t been seen or heard from him in quite some time. He was humble and forthright in his explanation.

“I would call it a second resurrection. A shedding off the old man and putting on the new man and recommitting myself,” Mr. Muhammad continued, “I’m submitting myself entirely—not half-way, not part of the way—but entirely to Master Fard Muhammad and the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and through auditing and Dianetics and getting some of that technology, it’s opening up the Supreme Wisdom as well as the meaning of the Holy Qur’an,” he said.

Minister Farrakhan has spoken about the manner in which it was revealed to him that Dianetics could be an effective tool to help members of the Nation of Islam. The Minister has even remarked how his Western Regional representative, and others who have participated in Dianetics auditing have been freed from things previously weighing them down. Many have testified of feeling energized and renewed.

“Now I know the mechanism of what it takes to go inside and find all of my demons and cast them out. Because we have a technology now right along with our Supreme Wisdom that allows me to better see my demons so that the spirit of Allah, the spirit of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the spirit of Minister Farrakhan can dwell within,” said Mr. Muhammad. “I made an agreement with Allah to just totally submit and allow myself to be used, because I tried it my way and it didn’t work, so now I want to try it His way and it seems to be working,” he said.

(For more about the United in Peace Fest, including video from previous Peace Rides, go to Tony Muhammad is on Twitter @BroTonyMuhammad.)