From Paris with Love:
A one on one with Thierry Muhammad
Paris, France (FinalCall.com) – It’s the city where Black notables such as abolitionist Frederick Douglass, scholar and activist W.E.B. DuBois; painter Henry O. Tanner; America’s first Black novelist William Wells Brown; singer and dancer Josephine Baker; photojournalist Gordon Parks; writers Richard Wright and James Baldwin, found a warm refuge from the heated anger and torture of America’s racism. It’s also the city where Thierry Muhammad is spreading the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, brought to us today by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. The Final Call went one on one with Thierry Muhammad in Paris.
FC: What is it like to spread the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in Paris?
TM: It’s hard, because most of the material is in English and the people here speak French. We spend a lot of our time translating the speeches of Minister Farrakhan into booklets and sell them to the people and invite them to our meetings. We also have a website, www.nationdelislam.com, that we also use. We create French DVDs of the Minister. Viewers have a choice of watching it in French or English. Much of our work is focused on translations, so people can hear exactly what the Minister has to say. We want them to know his words, rather than what we have to say about him.
FC: How did you hear about the teachings?
TM: In 1995 before the Million Man March, I heard about the Nation of Islam on the news in Paris. Once every two to three years there is a documentary on Islam in the world. At the time I was at work reading a book on Malcolm X. A Brother came to me and said, “Are you in the Nation?” I said, “No, they are in the United States.” The Brother said, “No, they are here too.”
I wanted to find who that Brother was. I went to London and met Minister Hillary. I was really touched by the way they received me. “This is not normal,” I thought. It was good for me. I knew this was what I needed. The next year, I wrote my letter in English, then I recited in English. I didn’t even know what I was saying. In 1997, I came to Chicago for Saviour’s Day. I went to the Palace and met Minister Farrakhan. It was a good experience. I didn’t realize how great it was. Now, I realize how great an experience it was.
In 1998, I went to New York City and went to Muhammad’s Mosque No.7. Minister Benjamin was in charge. I learned to speak English and I learned to be an F.O.I. I worked in the secretarial department and ran the store.
FC: What did you like about life in Harlem?
TM: I enjoyed living in Harlem. I loved the culture. I was impressed with the smiles of the people. They have many problems, but they can still find something to smile about. The culture is different from Blacks in Paris, but the longer I stayed in New York, I found out that we really are closer than I thought. You don’t realize it until you travel to different countries. I really enjoyed the brothers and Sisters at Mosque No.7.
FC: Why did you leave New York?
TM: One day I realized that my place was in France. I know that country. I know that people. I speak French. For me, at first, the Teachings were about White folks being bad. In New York, I realized that the teachings were about me changing. I was becoming a better person. It helped me a lot. I returned to Paris and went looking for the Brothers in the Nation of Islam. I found a contact number and met Bro. Sidaty Lo in 2004. His family owns a French-Senegalese restaurant called Niomre. They weren’t having meetings at the time. Now we are and we meet every Sunday in the Chateaux Rouge section of Paris.
FC: What do you want your Brothers and Sisters in America to know about your work?
TM: Outside of America, there are people who love the teachings and love Minister Farrakhan. We want a French section of The Final Call similar to the Spanish section. We’re ready. We have enough material and a writer to produce more. We want to work with the Brothers from Montreal, who have also translated materials into French. We just need the right connections to do this. We are just like you.