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Farrakhan posters on D.C. busses

By Askia Muhammad -Senior Editor- | Last updated: Jun 2, 2014 - 9:33:36 AM

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Ads promoting Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan’s popular online lecture series, “The Time and What Must Be Done” are on over a dozen bus routes in metro Washington, D.C. Photo: Askia Muhammad

WASHINGTON - “Look mommy. There’s Minister Farrakhan on the bus,” the daughter of a member of Muhammad Mosque No. 4 in Washington exclaimed when she noticed an overhead poster on a D.C. Metrobus, advertising the Muslim leader’s popular “The Time and What Must Be Done” online series now being rebroadcast on the Internet.

Sister Tawan Muhammad has received several similar reports, from Nation of Islam members, her neighbors and others who know she is responsible for a drive which took a whole year to execute; placing placards announcing the continuation of the broadcast of the Minister’s 58-part lecture series available for viewing via the Nation of Islam's website at http://NOI.org/thetime.

The ads appear on more than a dozen bus routes in the city, including Numbers 52, 54, 60, 62, 63 and 64 in addition to the D-1,  D-3, H-8, H-9, S-1, S-2, S-4 and S-9. Those routes go through the heart of the Black community, as do the 32 and 36, the longest bus route in Washington, which goes from the Hillcrest neighborhood in Southeast Washington along Pennsylvania Avenue in front of Mosque No. 4, past the White House on Northwest Pennsylvania Ave., through pricey Georgetown, and past American University in the far northwest corner of the city.

The campaign started from an idea from Wali Muhammad, one of the conveners of the daily early morning Final Call Prayer Line.

“What are we doing to get the word out?” Wali Muhammad would ask participants almost daily. He would encourage listeners to tell the public to view Min. Farrakhan’s then-live weekly broadcasts by encouraging them to “get excited.”

Wali Muhammad shared the technical artwork for the posters with Tawan Muhammad, and launched his own radio program, re-broadcasting the addresses every week.

Tawan Muhammad then facilitated getting the posters to display on buses as had been done in other cities around the country.

Washington, D.C. is a city which Min. Farrakhan has shown considerable favor, speaking annually Rev. Willie Wilson, of Union Temple Baptist Church’s pastoral anniversary celebration. In addition, early in his ministry, Min. Farrakhan even came to Washington once a week for six months speaking at the Phyllis Wheatley YWCA.

The bus advertising campaign began the week of the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, when ridership on public transportation was especially large, and continued for four weeks, and has been extended for another four weeks until June 4.

In recent years, bus and subway advertising has become a new battleground in the so-called “marketplace of ideas.”

The NOI campaign followed a separate bus campaign by American Muslims for Palestine which criticized U.S. support for Israel on buses and subways in New York City as well as in Washington. Such advertising could have the effect of convincing “well-meaning viewers (to) conclude that the US should stop supporting Israel,” the Israeli support group “Stand With Us” confessed in a press release.

Successful bus and subway campaigns, as well as billboards criticizing Israel were first launched in San Francisco, Houston, Montana, and Washington and in New York in 2007, then again in 2009, and in 2013, according to Stand With Us, as well as in Albuquerque, Chicago, Denver, and in Chapel Hill, N.C., according to Stand With Us.

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