Big Men on Campus: F.O.I. defend a brother and support college studentsBy Jawaan C. Ali | Last updated: May 23, 2014 - 8:35:54 AM
RALEIGH, N.C. - Master Fard Muhammad, the teacher of Nation of Islam patriarch Elijah Muhammad, said, “Make all men and boys join the F.O.I.”
One of the key duties of any F.O.I. (male members of the Nation are called the Fruit of Islam) is to meet and overcome all obstacles in his path. The F.O.I. did just that here at approximately 10 p.m. on April 28.
Over the previous two and a half months Student Minister Allan X had been working diligently to establish the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad on two major HBCUs in Raleigh, N.C.
Through this effort, young men and women have entered into the processing class to officially join the Nation of Islam. Na’Eem Wilkins, better known as Brother Na’Eem, is one of those students.
On Monday night, April 28, after the weekly F.O.I. training class, Student Minister Allan X received a phone call from Bobby Griffin, also in the Nation processing class, alerting him that Brother Na’Eem had been arrested at Shaw University for refusing to leave the school library upon the request of campus security.
A growing issue for many at Shaw University is limited access to library resources during final exams. N.C. State University, Meredith College, and William Peace College, all neighboring schools to Shaw University and predominately White, have 24-hour library access for students.
Brother Na’Eem was charged with second degree trespassing late that Monday night. “He was like, ‘Can I have an extra 10 minutes just to finish this exam?’ ” said Tina Akunwafor, a Shaw student who was in the library when Brother Na’Eem was arrested. “He was calm. It wasn’t like he was causing a ruckus or arguing back and forth. She just said, ‘I’m going to call security’ and after that the police came and arrested him.”
Almost immediately the charges were dropped at the demand of enraged students and Brother Na’Eem’s supporters. Dropping charges against Brother Na’Eem wasn’t enough for Shaw University students, who began to protest on campus. Approximately 20 members of the Fruit of Islam marched onto the campus in defense of Brother Na’Eem, grabbing the attention of the students, faculty and halting traffic.
The sudden yet powerful presence of the Nation of Islam brought about a joyous outcry from the students as the squad of men moved across the yard to the administration building where they were met in the lobby by school President Dr. Gaddis J. Faulcon.
Through a respectful and peaceful dialogue, the university president extended the library hours through finals week so students could have adequate time to study. He also ensured that the hour extension would go into effect no later than the very next day.
Later that night Shaw University tweeted, “The Cheek library will have extended hours during final exams beginning tomorrow, April, 29.”
The event went viral. Many Shaw students took to Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to publicize their great appreciation for the Nation of Islam’s presence on campus.
One Shaw student, Jazmina Paris-Morris, had this to say on Instagram under a photo she’d taken of the F.O.I., “#ShawU sit in tonight #DrFaulcondoesitagain talking to the students and the #NationofIslam. Our President spoke about his plans to get WiFi connection on campus, adding a Masters program, and having more security available on campus. Our school president admits he has been on campus 160 days. Good thing it’s going down next semester.”
Bobby Griffin, a Shaw University student currently in the processing into the Nation of Islam, offered these remarks, “The Nation of Islam needs to continue their presence on Shaw University’s campus. Many of the students had never seen so many Black men dressed in suit and tie acting in such a professional manner. By the Nation of Islam’s presence that one night, the hours were extended, and many of the students finally got to see the president of Shaw, Dr. Gaddis J. Faulcon, who’d not been in the public eye much in the third month of his presidency.”
Brother Na’Eem said, “Upon my release the changes that were immediately made were extended library hours in which the library now closes at 1 a.m. from 11 p.m. Nonetheless, in the future I would like to see the students come together and actually utilize the extended library hours to further indulge in late night study groups where they can gain the appropriate over-standing of the curriculum where all students are able to succeed. My act wasn’t to bring a bad name to the institution but to bring change to the way things are operated and actually see the students come together to further fulfill the mission statement that the school has established. ”
“I felt compelled to go to the campus to ensure that the students of Shaw University received all tools necessary to gain a quality education. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan teaches us as Muslims to fight for the people,” said Student Minister Allan X.
Minister Farrakhan has said sometimes for progress, there may be a foot somewhere. The foot can be seen as force or pressure in a symbolic sense. On the night of April 28, forty feet were standing in the administration building with the uncompromising intent to establish progress for students.