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Commitment to service in a time of trouble

By Andrea Muhammad | Last updated: May 12, 2020 - 1:14:42 PM

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DETROIT—Since the spread of Covid-19 around the world, entire nations have been forced into quarantine. The disease has laid a path of death and destruction leaving countries struggling to keep their economic, health and educational systems from collapse. As leaders in the U.S. are found haggling over how best to manage the crisis, several metropolitan areas like New York, Chicago, Detroit and New Orleans are scrambling to find ways to respond to the needs of their cities.

Recently, Student Minister Troy Muhammad of the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Mosque No. 1 in Detroit gave a candid, update on how the coronavirus pandemic has threatened the lives and livelihood of his city and the response of grassroot organizations, business, local and state leaders uniting to aid a city in crisis.

(L) Student Minister Troy Muhammad prepares to deliver goods and supplies. Photos: Courtesy of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 (R) Detroit MGT volunteer packing supplies that will be distributed to those in need.Photos: Courtesy of Muhammad Mosque No. 1

As of April 28 according to, Michigan coronavirus cases were up to 39,262 with a death toll now at 3,567. Blacks make up 32 percent of the state’s infections and 40 percent of those that have died from the disease. Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced the state’s stay-at-home order will extend to May 15.

“We’ve been on conference calls with city and state leadership and Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s office. We have been asked to do a public service announcement to our people so that they know and understand how serious this virus is,” said Student Min. Troy Muhammad.

Members of the Nation of Islam in Detroit are involved in efforts to provide basic necessities and comfort throughout the city. “We’ve been working with local businesses, in particular, Ali Sobh, the owner of Fast Flash Car Wash. Through his charitable act, we were able to get over 500 safety masks and protective gear delivered to those who need it,” said Student Min. Muhammad.

“We have also been able to deliver food to our people in need throughout the city of Detroit and around our mosque.”

They also focused their efforts on the Latino community located in the Southwest part of the city, because, “many of them are not getting stimulus checks or unemployment because many of them work for cash and some are of what is called the ‘illegal status’ so we wanted to make sure that those families weren’t going hungry,” explained Student Min. Muhammad.

Nationwide schools have been forced to abruptly end the school year, leaving millions of school aged children without adequate academic support and resources during the shutdown. “We’re working with Lutheran Children’s Center, an agency for young people residing in youth homes and have delivered diapers, toys and things to keep the children occupied during the time of quarantine. So, the work for us has been constant,” he continued.

The senior citizen population continues to be one of the most vulnerable demographics of the pandemic. Because of advanced age and weakened immune system, many run the risk of contracting the disease from nursing facilities or from someone who is a carrier of the virus. The Muslims are also working with state representatives and state senators to deliver face masks and protective wear to senior citizen complexes and will be delivering food to seniors in the coming weeks.

“Of course, we have the great motivation to come out every week and try to give inspiration to our people,” said Student Min. Muhammad. “I’m seeing and hearing a lot of anxiety and fear in not knowing. This has really manifested a lot of our weaknesses even when it comes to our faith. When we direct people to our Nation of Islam webcasts with Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, I get more calls from the community because they want guidance.” The weekly broadcasts are available on

“With so many deaths, everybody that I know, knows someone personally who’s been affected by this virus. I’ve done four funerals now in a span of nine days. There is a lot of pain taking place in the community, a pain that will be carried throughout this year and beyond. There’s a point when we’re at a funeral and people can’t touch one another like they would want to. They can’t hug and comfort one another. They can’t hold a hand, it’s just a strange time. A lot of weight is being picked up from people not being able to see their loved ones when they pass or not being able to support them in a proper way.”

He goes on to say that, “It’s going to cause a lot of burden that will be on people. So, we try to give them the word of God.”

During the pandemic members of Muhammad Mosque No. 1 have remained diligent and committed to service in a time of trouble. The local mosque community is doing well, and leadership is conducting weekly checks to help those that may be in need. “We supply transportation to grocery stores where we go in groups. We are supplying the delivery of necessary items. We were blessed with navy beans from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and we distributed them in a fast, efficient manner to our people. We thank, Allah to be blessed in that manner,” he said.

Carl Muhammad and members of the local NOI Prison Reform Ministry are making calls to various correctional facilities. “We’ve been hearing from the inmates that we know personally and have found that some institutions are doing well under the circumstances, while others have problems. Each jail or prison has its own warden and is governed differently and there is no single set of rules to address or govern the prison institutions during a pandemic,” he explained.

He encourages the members of the Nation of Islam to continue to follow the guidance given by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and help try to make their community the best they can because, “We’re really the only thing that they have in this hour.”