Day 2000 weekend brings many joyous surprises
by Askia Muhammad and
Eric Ture Muhammad
new day in Islamic history dawned over America Feb. 27.
The nation’s principal Muslim leaders—Minister
Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam and Imam W. Deen Mohammed of the
Muslim American Society—embraced before a total capacity crowd at the
Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day observance, then pledged to spread the
word about the universal appeal of their faith throughout the United
States and beyond.
"I am full of joy because our family is coming
together. Where differences separated us yesterday, we enter the new
millennium as a united family," exclaimed Minister Ishmael Muhammad
of Mosque Maryam and coordinator of this year’s Saviours’ Day
convention. "We are one family, one ummah, one community, one
nation serving one God whose proper name is Allah."
Deafening cheers of "Allahu-Akbar" and
"Long Live Muhammad" filled the United Center as the Honorable
Minister Louis Farrakhan emerged from the center of a stage length,
five-story high motif of the historic Million Man March, crowned with
the official logo of this year’s Million Family
March. The rostrum he
spoke from replicated the marble railings on the West Front of the U.S.
Capitol, where two million men gathered in 1995. The stage design came
from Min. Ishmael and the Million Family March logo was designed by the
Minister’s son, Louis Farrakhan, Jr.
It was an inaugural gathering set for a head of
state. Dozens of international and local Islamic and Christian scholars,
and ministers representing Min. Farrakhan in over 200 cities across
North America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Europe were present. Retired
Mayor Marion Barry and wife Cora were seated on the dias, as was U.S.
Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.). In the VIP area of the arena, hundreds of
dignitaries from all walks of life—political, entertainment, cultural
and revolutionary—were all present to witness the return of Min.
Farrakhan and the end of a quarter of a century division between the two
foremost representatives of Islam, Qur’an and Blacks in America.
For his part, Imam Mohammed emphasized unity built on
enduring respect between the two leaders. "This is truly a sign
that Allah (God) has always been with the sincere ones, the ones who
kept faith. We are a family. God has made us to know that the human
family is one family. So let us work as Muslims to work to serve one
Rabbis stand with Muslims
Tears and cheers continued as Min. Farrakhan, dressed
in a dark brown, pinstripe suit and gold bow tie, bolted onto the stage
after a six minute video clip introduction of the leader’s 1997 World
Friendship Tour III, detailing for many in the American public for the
first time the Minister’s representation of Islam and Black people
outside of America, the world’s reception of him and insight into the
sufferings of countries under inhumane and unlawful sanctions initiated
primarily by U.S.—and United Kingdom—led United Nation resolutions.
As cameras flashed, Min. Farrakhan and Imam Mohammed
fell into each other’s arms repeatedly kissing and hugging, a public
show of unity that nailed the coffin shut on a 25-year separation.
"Muslims are one nation," commented Dr. Akbar Muhammad, a son
of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Mother Clara. "We all belong
to it and I think we all individually and as organizations must keep
that unity. For those who don’t like it, to hell with them," he
Saviours’ Day 2000 proved to represent more than
just the crowning event of Black History month. It establishes the
"close the gap" agenda of Min. Farrakhan and ushers in the
"Year of the Family."
With an English translation performed by Min. Rasul
Muhammad, Sheikh Ahmed Tijani opened the program with prayer. Next,
Reverend Willie Wilson, of Union Temple Baptist Church of Washington,
D.C., gave greetings and welcome to the sold-out, standing room only
audience of 28,000.
"I am here and we are here today because we are
one family, one people" with one God, aim and destiny, he said.
"We are together with you today in unity and solidarity. May Allah
bless all of you."
Another development, which came as a surprise to many
in attendance, was the participation of several orthodox Jewish rabbis
of the Neturei Karta community. Spokesman Rabbi David Weiss repeatedly
declared before convention attendees that Judaism and Zionism are not
synonymous and that Min. Farrakhan is not guilty of anti-Semitism.
"To our precious Arab cousins worldwide who are
with us via satellite, I am truly grateful to the Honorable Minister
Louis Farrakhan. May he have long, healthy years to come for giving me
so graciously this wonderful opportunity," Rabbi Weiss said.
"Zionism was a rebellion against God," he
said. "Although you have never heard of us because of the power of
the media and the Zionist control, we get beaten in Israel for
protesting against the state of Israel," he added as he urged a new
unity between Muslims and Jews, who he said historically were friends
before the creation of Israel.
Dr. Munir El Kassem of London, Canada, on behalf of
the 2nd International Islamic Conference scholars, led a delegation
which read a nine-point resolution drafted by the conferees, reaffirming
several sacred principles and several policy objectives (see page 5).
The weekend weather was tremendous. Clear skies, mild
winds, and warmth filled the air throughout the confab, which began Feb.
24 with an opening and welcome from Min. Farrakhan.
"Being here, you can think more about self. It
also brings you closer to God," said Sharon Smith from Hartford,
Conn. "I think what Minister Farrakhan is doing for his people is a
good thing," she added.
"Even though I am not a Muslim, I enjoy the
truth," said Tiffany Daniels of Chicago. "It is the truth.
That is what will set us free."
"I brought all four of my children," said
Wanda Ratcliffe of Richmond, Calif. "I’m elated. I can’t
believe so many of us were able to come together like this.
The reunion signaled the end of a sometimes tense,
22-year rift that developed at the departure of Hon. Elijah Muhammad
Feb. 25, 1975. He was the spiritual patriarch of the Nation of Islam and
led its progress for more than 40 years. Imam Mohammed was named
"Chief Minister" the day after his departure. The Imam then
instituted a number of doctrinal as well as ideological changes moving
the organization into full orthodox Islamic observation and practice.
In 1977, Min. Farrakhan announced that he would
re-build the work of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad in America.
Since returning from several tours of Africa and the
Muslim world—first in 1986, and then a succession of World Friendship
Tours in 1996 and 1998—Min. Farrakhan began directing change among his
following in America, as he simultaneously defended the primacy of Mr.
Muhammad’s role, and the role of his teacher, Master W. Fard Muhammad,
and the spread of Islam in the Western world.
Despite emotional, sometimes bitter differences
between the two groups over the years, there was never so much as
"a bloody nose" between members of the competing movements.
This can also be attributed to the great anticipation of believers in
both communities of one day reuniting.
"I am very happy to see the reunion, it is
fantastic," commented Soussan Ray, visiting from Monaco, a city in
France that borders the Mediterranean Sea. "The whole problem of
the world is the disunity of religion. We should all meet at a common
Comparing this year’s 2nd International Islamic
Conference to the first in 1997, Professor Muhyyiddin of Ghana declared
the weekend a great turning point. "Unlike the first International
Islamic Conference, more dignitaries and delegations from all over the
Muslim world have attended. We can regard this as a miracle. The Nation
of Islam has been reunited."
In 1999, though his spirit and voice were strong,
Min. Farrakhan was tremendously ill a year ago at Saviours’ Day. This
year and by his own admission he is not completely healed, yet he looked
robust, healthy strong and rested. He seemed to burst over with energy,
spilling that spirit into every room he entered.
Good family lives, as well as public policies which
are good for families was another important aspect of the weekend
On Oct. 16, this year, the fifth anniversary of the
Million Man March—just three weeks before the U.S. presidential,
senatorial, and congressional elections—Min. Farrakhan has called for
a Million Family March.
"Saviours’ Day 2000 is a historic
manifestation of Allah finding favor on us as we continue to struggle
for freedom justice and equality," commented East Coast Regional
Representative Min. Benjamin F. Muhammad. "It is a call for all
families to put God back in the center of our family life and transform
the United States of America into a more just society for all
Min. Benjamin, who opened the meeting with the
official announcement of this year’s Million Family March, declared
the gathering will represent the most pivotal, transforming moment in
this new millennium. He also introduced the 200-page Million Family
March "National Agenda," a treatise of public policy
issues, analyses, and programmatic action designed to govern the Nation’s
programmatic thrust for oppressed peoples in America from 2000-2008.
Not only was the theme of family reflected in the
workshops, it resonated throughout the weekend festivities.
The much anticipated Dinner Tribute to The Family of
the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the International Delegate Dinner
and Reception, a dinner and reception hosted for the wives of the
ministers under Min. Farrakhan’s leadership by First Lady Khadijah
Farrakhan, the ribbon cutting at the opening of the Nation’s children’s
fair; the drill competition, martial arts exhibition and the Qur’anic
recitals buttressed the call for the celebration of family.
Eighteen year-old Britiney McIntyre of Austin, Texas,
explained, "I’ve never witnessed an environment of so many nice
people. I really admired the women’s clothing. The sisters looked very
elegant and conducted themselves in a lady like way. The men were very
Another tremendously electrifying moment occurred
during Minister Farrakhan’s declaration to the world that the Islamic
world must respect the guides that Allah (God) has put in America in the
personage of both he and Imam Mohammed. "We need your help. But you
can’t guide us. You don’t know how to guide us to wake up the man in
America. That’s not your job. Your job is to help those of us whom
Allah has guided and given that message," Min. Farrakhan insisted.
Before asking Imam Mohammed to close the program with
a supplication (prayer) and Qur’anic recitation, Min. Farrakhan
introduced long time Muslim, Imam Mohammed Siddique, his wife Fareedah,
and four of their 15 children.
The Minister presented them a plaque honoring the
accomplishments of this extraordinary family and said The Final Call
would feature the accomplishments of this extraordinary family.
"Find out what he did and how he did it so we can publish it
because we need to do what he has done," he said.
(Melanie Muhammad, Earl 3X, Charlene Muhammad and
Nisa Islam Muhammad contributed to this report.)
Photos; #1- Minister Ishmael Muhammad,
#2-Rev. Willie Wilson; #3-Rabbis of the Neturei Karta Orthodox Jewish
community; #4-Minister Benjamin Muhammad.