Opposition failing to derail Farrakhan visitBy Starla Muhammad -Staff Writer- | Last updated: Apr 5, 2012 - 12:43:31 PM
Live Webcast: April 10, 2012 @ http://www.noi.org/webcast/
Minister Farrakhan is scheduled to visit the historically Black college established in 1875 by a former slave, to motivate and inspire the hearts and minds of young, aspiring students and will address the subject, “The True Meaning of Education” at the nearly 5,000 seat Elmore Gymnasium on campus.
“The students are fired up and ready to receive the Minister by Allah’s permission, and the community as well, but I know that the Minister’s desirous to speak to the students,” Phillip Muhammad, Student Minister for the Nation of Islam in Huntsville, Ala. told The Final Call.
When publicized that Min. Farrakhan was confirmed to speak, almost immediately, elements bent on interfering in the affairs of Black people, reminiscent of the typical but manufactured controversy surrounding his recent lecture at University of California Berkeley began surfacing.
“There is positivity coming from this, I don’t believe he’s (Min. Farrakhan) going to come here and bash the Jews,” Kris Taylor, president of the Alabama A&M Poetry Club told local news affiliate WHNT News 19.
The Nation of Islam and Huntsville Study Group, Decatur Study Group, Rising South Literacy School, in conjunction with the AAMU Poetry Club, AAMU Democrats and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. are sponsoring the event.
Predictably, local Jewish leaders expressed “outraged”. One such leader falsely accusing Min. Farrakhan of attempting to “poison the minds of Alabama A & M students,” calling the event a “real disaster to the community.” At Final Call press time, Jewish leaders were reportedly attempting to meet with university officials to “ask them to reconsider” the invitation to Min. Farrakhan.
Fear has been stoked based on propaganda and deliberate misinformation that has been cultivated and spread about Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam they are actively combating the forces said organizers. Huntsville’s population is approximately 180,000 with Blacks accounting for 31 percent and Whites, 60 percent.
“Just to show you the state of mind, one of the sponsors had invited an Alabama A & M employee to come to the event and the employee replied, ‘No, no, no. I think it’s going to be a lot of mess and I might get shot’” said Dedra Muhammad who has been active in helping to facilitate the event. There are some really scared people in Alabama because people are misled about Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam in the media added Mrs. Muhammad who is also the wife of Phillip Muhammad.
The Alabama Democratic Party recently distanced itself from the Minister’s visit in a statement issued by the group’s executive director in which he said the AAMU Democrats are not officially affiliated with his organization.
Not to be outworked or bow down to pressure from outside malcontents and mischief makers, organizers are anticipating a capacity crowd and are planning logistics for a possible overflow room or outside screen.
Demonstrating a united front, local religious leaders representing diverse ideologies, local politicians and representatives from several student groups are expected to attend despite attempts to thwart their efforts.
Several pastors emailed the administration of Alabama A & M in favor of Minister Farrakhan said Mr. Muhammad, adding he even received notice from a Seventh Day Adventist congregation that plans on coming out to hear the message.
Dr. Wayne Snodgrass, president of the Greater Huntsville Interdenominational Ministerial Association told The Final Call he plans on coming to hear Min. Farrakhan and that though he has not always agreed on everything, the architect of the Million Man March is an “historical figure for our time,” he said.
“You have a guy who has endured such a degree of ridicule from people but yet has maintained some civility in the midst of all of that and I think that’s an admirable person,” said Dr. Snodgrass.
Black college students need to hear from someone transgenerational that lived through historical times like the Civil Rights Movement and Min. Farrakhan represents that he added.
“Here’s a person (Min. Farrakhan) that can stand toe to toe with some of the greatest minds of our time and stand firm. I think those are reasons that this new generation needs to see, needs to hear,” said Dr. Snodgrass, also a local pastor.
Dr. Snodgrass admits he was contacted by members of the Jewish community that wanted him to publically speak out and oppose Min. Farrakhan but he refused to bend to their demands, telling them he had never personally heard any anti-Semitic statements from the Minister.
“As I told each person, as far as I’m concerned you’re my friend and you will be my friend and I said if something like this causes us to divide just because I says I think you know that was a weak friendship in the beginning,” said Dr. Snodgrass.
Organizers vow to keep pushing efforts to ensure the events success in the face of fierce antagonism and criticism from outside agitators.
“I knew the Minister had the desire to speak to the students so we just kept pushing, kept applying pressure,” said Mr. Muhammad.
The event is free and open to the public and is scheduled to be webcast live @ http://www.noi.org/webcast/
Farrakhan at UC Berkeley: Reigniting Black campus activism (FCN, 03-13-2012)
Students respond to Farrakhan's message at UC Berkeley (FCN, 03-13-2012)