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‘He loved Elijah Muhammad’

By The Final Call | Last updated: Jul 18, 2019 - 5:31:59 PM

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CHICAGO—The place he helped build and had others come to learn about the life, work and mission of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad is the place admirers came to say goodbye to Munir Muhammad.

A dedicated follower of Messenger Muhammad, he joined the Nation of Islam as a 22 year old. Munir Muhammad was a businessman, broadcaster and active in civic affairs.

Munir Muhammad

But he was best known for defending the man who changed his life and a man he could not bear to see written out of history— Elijah Muhammad.

As a co-founder and business manager of the Coalition for the Remembrance of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad (CROE), an educational and media repository and institution dedicated to the legacy and teachings of the Nation of Islam patriarch, he dedicated his life to sharing his love for the profound teachings and impact of a special man from Sandersville, Ga., whose work and students impacted the world.

Munir Muhammad passed away July 9, at age 69. And, a few days later, July 13, his body lie in state at CROE headquarters on the South Side of Chicago. Politicians, judges, activists, Muslims and everyday people came out to pay tribute to his life and impact.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was among those who came to comfort Munir Muhmmad’s family and organizational comrades. Besides aldermen and judges, there was Congressman Danny Davis, Secretary of State Jesse White, Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, city treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin and husband, 28th Ward Ald. Jason Ervin and a visit by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to pay tribute to his brother in the struggle and fellow defender of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.

There was a steady stream of people as the body of Munir Muhammad lay in repose from 12 noon through 6 pm.

His son, Jamil Muhammad, thanked everyone for coming and for their show of strength. But, he said, we will need your help in the future to keep CROE going.

Hurt by rejection of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and the elevation of his students over the master teacher, Munir Muhammad began with a simple idea: A billboard with a photo of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and a simple question: “Do you remember this man?”

(L) Secretary of State Jesse White and Aminah Muhammad, Munir Muhammad’s wife. (C) Sa’ad Alim Muhammad pays his respects at CROE. (R) Shahid Muhammad, a co-founder of CROE with Aminah Muhammad, wife of Munir Muhammad, with those who came to honor the work and legacy of her husband.

(L) Congressman Danny Davis came to CROE to pay last respects to Munir Muhammad. In yellow dress is Chicago treasurer Melissa Conyears-Ervin. (R) Jamil Muhammad, Munir Muhammad’s son, with Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad of the Nation of Islam.

From the idea and a strong desire to vindicate his teacher, there came an organization, CROE, and CROE Studios, which produced some 8,000 shows by Munir Muhammad over three decades. Every show would include something about or mention of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.

Wasim Muhammad and Muslims of Muhammad’s Temple No. 12 in Camden, New Jersey, came to pay their respects as well, having worked with Munir Muhammad over the years.

Dr. Aginah Muhammad and her mother, Aminah Muhammad, were among family members at CROE who embraced, shook hands and shared reflections about her father.

Halif Muhammad, who was Munir’s older brother, and Shahid Muslim, co-founders of CROE and other members were on hand to welcome everyone to the archive devoted to the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam. Countless pictures on the wall told the story of Messenger Muhammad’s accomplishments and the work Munir Muhammad and CROE did in his name. Photos included leaders like Min. Farrakhan and the Rev. Jackson and politicians like former President Bill Clinton, former Congresswoman Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black female to serve in the U.S., governors, mayors, celebrities and entertainers.

Founded in the mid-1980s, CROE included weekly classes in the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and eventually grew to include a full-scale TV studio next door.

Programs created at CROE’s studio propelled the organization and its mission even further into the spotlight with Munir Muhammad serving as host of The Munir Muhammad Show and Muhammad and Friends.

It took courage for Munir Muhammad and others to form CROE because after 1975 the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his teachings were thrown down in the hearts and minds of the people.

Munir Muhammad is survived by his wife of 49 years, Aminah Muhammad; sons Carlos and Jamil, daughter Aginah; siblings Halif and Aaisha; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, extended family and friends.

“When I heard Honorable Elijah Muhammad that day, it took me by storm. I hadn’t heard any explanation that made so much sense. The message was profound. Yusef Shah was teaching. He was so down-to-earth. He was hip and street-oriented. The other guy was Dr. Abdul Salaam, an intellectual and a dentist by profession,” Munir Muhammad once said in an interview.

Munir Muhammad’s show featured a Who’s Who of Chicago. Former Governors Pat Quinn, Rod Blagojevich and Jim Ryan were interviewed on the Munir Muhammad show, former mayors Rahm Emanuel and Richard M. Daley found themselves in the seat discussing the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.

Minister Farrakhan was a guest many, many times.

(L) Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot paid her respects to Munir Muhammad at CROE where his body lay in repose. The (mayor second from left) with Aminah Muhammad, Munir Muhammad’s wife, son Jamil Muhammad and brother Halif Muhammad. (R) Mayor Lightfoot embraces Aminah Muhammad.

Prince Asiel Ben Israel, of the Nation of Israel, a Black Hebrew movement, said, “Munir was a great servant for the redemption of God’s people. I intend to continue the work he did here.” He was regular guest on CROE TV and a friend.

CROE offers an extensive collection of historical photographs, films, interviews, videotapes, television specials and Muhammad Speaks newspaper archives.

Legendary Chicago radio host Cliff Kelly of WVON-AM told The Final Call, “I assisted with his group when they were on the far South Side before they moved to their new place. He will be truly missed. It was a shock, so sorry to lose him. I send praise to him and his family.”

(Compiled from Final Call staff reports and interviews by Nisa Islam Muhammad.)