By Toure Muhammad Contributing Writer
CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) – It was Saturday afternoon during the last few days of Ramadan. The sun was bright and hot as more than 50 women in the Nation of Islam–for the first time ever–joined just as many men going door-to-door to offer expressions of love, friendship and to extend a special invitation to a free meal and Block Party at Salaam Restaurant located in the heart of the poverty stricken Auburn Gresham community.
Their work was also part of ongoing Nation efforts to increase peace and lessen tension.
Led by Student National M.G.T. Captain Sandy Muhammad and dressed in a variety of bright, lively and beautiful colors, the women were well received by residents who rarely get to meet Muslim women in this manner.
Located on the city’s South Side, Auburn Gresham is more than 98 percent Black and its problems with violent crime and murder have been the focus on national news in recent years. Between June 20 and July 20 of this year there were 86 violent crimes and 151 non-violent crimes, which include drugs related offences and 171 property crimes in the area.
“The purpose of today is to continue our ongoing effort that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan initiated last year which is going out into our community to bring about greater peace in the community and to help our people know who they are, their origin in the world and the time and what must be done, for us as a people to change our own condition,” explained Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad of Mosque Maryam. He is the national assistant to Minister Farrakhan and led the group into the community.
“We are especially honored to have with us today in this effort the mighty, beautiful M.G.T. of the Nation of Islam and Mosque Maryam. And we know that when our sisters in the community meet the women in Islam, we believe that they will be inspired and that they would be encouraged by the Muslim women to make the change in their lives,” he said.
The community received the sisters with open arms, welcoming them into homes, businesses and even a church.
“It’s a very good thing that the sisters are out in the community. I really appreciate that,” said resident Beverly Napier. “They are going out in unity. I like that and they look beautiful, elegant,” added Michelle Holmes.
The sisters in the Nation could hardly contain their excitement and joy about the outreach efforts.
“My experience was so wonderful. When you see them you know you are looking at God. The little girls would run up to us and say, ‘You are so pretty’ and we’d reply, ‘You are so pretty too!’ ” said Aliyah Muhammad, a 16-year-old student at Muhammad University of Islam.
“I was so honored to be out in the community with the brothers today. One brother we met at the door was very respectful and pleased of the work the brothers have been doing in the community,” said Marlo X. “The brother only stuck his head out the door because he didn’t have on a shirt and said he didn’t want to disrespect me.”
“I’m so excited. I loved talking to the sisters. It was so beautiful,” added Jantreze Muhammad.
“It was a wonderful experience getting out into the community today. I have always wanted to go out and get our people and it was great being out there and knowing we had the F.O.I. protecting and securing us,” said Samiyyah Muhammad, 16, who also attends the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad University of Islam, an independent school.
The men enjoyed and appreciated the women, which made regular outreach even better. “It was beautiful to see the sisters going door to door. We have never gone inside someone’s house, but with Sis. Sandy, the people were like ‘come on in, sit down’ and wanting her to talk to her entire family. Everybody was receiving them well,” said Samad Muhammad, a Muhammad University graduate.
The Block Party, which will also recognize the end of Ramadan will occur between 12 p.m. to 5 p. m. Saturday, August 10, at Salaam Restaurant and will provide free food, while supplies last, live music and entertainment. Salaam Restaurant is located at 706 W. 79th St. in Chicago.