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Love for the man, love for the message

By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Assistant Editor- | Last updated: Dec 6, 2013 - 9:41:02 PM

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INDIANAPOLIS ( - Nearly 5,000 people gathered at the Indianapolis Convention Center, many traveling hours to see Minister Louis Farrakhan’s first public message in over a month since health challenges caused him to cancel several appearances, including a previous planned date in Indianapolis.

Despite cold weather and holiday traffic, people were not deterred and were determined to hear the Minister’s Dec. 1 message.

Sheikh S.A. Tinnin-Bey of the Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc., of Subordinate Temple No. 4 in Indianapolis, was at the leadership meeting the day before the main address, as well as the Sunday message at the convention center.

The Minister’s call for unity was much needed, he said.

“We need unity so bad,” said Sheikh Tinnin-Bey. “Our people are sick from division and vices and the only thing that is going to strengthen us is unity. We’ve got an enemy that is keeping us divided through various religious faith groups and all this kind of stuff has got to stop.”

Autumn Smith, who attends the Indiana University School of Dentistry, was excited before the Minister came. She enjoyed his message to women and the need for women to protect their children from abuse. She also enjoyed how he laid out the root causes of the disrespect of the president and how war drums are about oil and resources—not external threats to America. “He did a good mix of geopolitical stuff, gender roles and following God, and the one religion which is to obey God and unity,” she said. Her pastor Rev. David  A. Hampton was on stage and hosted the Minister at a leadership meeting the day before the meeting at the convention center.

She would have liked to hear more for women in her generation, whom she feels are often lost—having children out of wedlock, acting more like men and who are devastated by the HIV-AIDS virus—and the state of the Black family. The Nation and Min. Farrakhan have been talking about HIV-AIDS for years, said the onetime organizer for AIDS education and engagement programs in Chicago. Dec. 1 was World AIDS Day.

The Muslims were extremely gracious and friendly and the event was well-organized and Ms. Smith was glad to “see a lot of young brothers and sisters come out to hear the Minister’s message.”

Ms. Smith, who is a Christian, felt unity across religious lines remains important and often elusive. We have so many different religious factions and denominations, it’s a sort of tribalism, she said. Labels are used to divide and perpetuate the Willie Lynch syndrome allowing outsiders to control Black behavior, she said.

“No matter what religion, we are suffering and under the same oppressor. A few of us get it but not enough get it,” she said. Those who get it need to share that information with those who don’t know, whether it’s about religion or reaching young people, said Ms. Smith. “The truth will always prevail,” she said. “We’re doing a lot of things to ourselves and we need to get to the core of it and break the vicious cycle.”

Hip-hop legend Doug E. Fresh brought his sons, his father, and his nephews from Harlem, New York to see and hear the Minister. “There are no words that could express how it feels to see Minister Farrakhan,” said the hip hop artist. “It’s a beautiful thing seeing him back up there doing what he does.”

Solomon Davis, Doug E. Fresh’s 25-year-old son lives in Harlem and reflected on the message. “I think it was real enlightening and I learned a lot sitting here listening to him and I’m looking at it from a different perspective as a young man coming from where I’m coming from. Hearing what he’s saying is giving me a different outlook on things,” said Mr. Davis. “It was real positive and I liked the energy and I just like the fact that he keeps a smile on his face, even when he was talking about how he was sick, he still managed to smile and always keep positive energy. I admire that,” he added.

His grandfather, Hammurabi Bey, of the Moorish Nation, enjoyed watching how his young grandsons and other youth received the Minister’s guidance.

“The Minister always has a great message, the people just have to listen to him that’s all,” he said. “I presently have a school in Mount Vernon where we’re teaching exactly what he’s saying—the men how to be men and the women how to be women. Then we can change the entire nation. The Nation of Islam is the only solid thing that we as people of color have in America with their discipline, the look, how they eat and how they carry themselves,” he said.

Rev. Esau German from St. James AME Church in Harlem also said the message resonated with him.

“I don’t have idols, but I have inspirations, and Minister Farrakhan is an inspiration and has been to me for over 35 years,” said Rev. German. “What he says reaches deep into us. I’m with him, and I hope God delivers him and protects him.”

Steve Burdine, originally from Chicago, recently relocated and lives in Indianapolis.

“It was a blessing and as always solid food for thought. It’s amazing how certain people have the ability to touch souls and the Minister has the ability to do that. I think he touches the spirits of the people,” said Mr. Burdine.

Hearing about the Minister’s health challenges surprised Mr. Burdine, but it was clear to him that strong men like the Minister need to be around to speak truth to those who need correction.

“I didn’t know all of that but I knew I hadn’t seen him in a while, but he’s still alive for a reason, and if you have a mission, you stick around and we need him around as long as we can keep him around. I really like the part where he talked about having big testicles because it takes big testicles to speak truth to power, and we do not have enough brothers or sisters speaking that truth to power anymore,” he added.

Jerry Jennings, 35, said frankly people need to stop being lazy and get up and make things happen. He was seated with his father after the program ended and they waited for DVDs of the Minister’s message. They were buying copies for some unable to make it to the event and copies to give to youth in their community.

“I think he brought the message that he needed to bring and our people need to hear it at this present point in time,” said Mr. Jennings.

Thomas Mooney traveled from Fenton, Mich. He drove over four hours to see and hear the Minister in Indianapolis. It was a long drive and cost a lot of gas money, but he felt “called to be there” and was able to get a seat up front.

“What stood out to me about the message is the power and the glory that backs Minister Farrakhan. Nobody teaches like he does. He’s a wise teacher that teaches about the science and the root of all things,” said Mr. Mooney. “No teacher can cover the scope of what he teaches and I see him in his role as a divine messenger and a divine warner, and he delivered some very important warnings to the powers of this world.”

Richard A. Hite, the chief of the Indianapolis Police Department, was on hand and said he liked how different groups from all walks of life came together to hear Min. Farrakhan’s message.

“I think it is important that all of the faith leaders come together and understand that we have to look at this as spiritual warfare and we have issues in our community that we cannot be divided on. As it was stated today, we have to take responsibility for our communities, and take responsibility for our young people in particular,” said Chief Hite.

Student Minister Abel Muhammad, Latino representative of the Nation of Islam, spoke for many who felt happy to see Minister Farrakhan looking and sounding strong. “We really need his guidance in particular as we go into the last month of this year that has been so critical and seen so much turmoil,” said Abel Muhammad. “I think we’re all happy to know that Minister Farrakhan is better. It’s the joy of knowing that God has given us Minister Farrakhan for a longer time.”

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