By Charlene Muhammad CHARLENEM
KINGSTON, Jamaica (FinalCall.com) – The Muslims came not for a vacation, for rum, to chase women or catch ocean waves. They came to show the reformative fruit of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s wise guidance.
“I’ve heard him many, many times. Today was a special message. He gave out his soul, his heart, his intellect, his spirituality. He gave out his love. He gave out obviously his commitment to Caribbean people. And he gave us something that will last long after we have passed this earth, and that is most important to all Caribbean people,” said Calypso King Dr. Anthony “Gabby” Parker. The popular performer came to the National Arena Oct. 19 and performed on the stage where the Minister also spoke.
“And to think, for him to have that energy to stay there that long and never be boring at one single second and give us such a wonderful message, we are eternally grateful to him and the Nation of Islam and the wonderful brothers and sisters who have come to Jamaica, to the Caribbean to bring this special message,” Dr. Parker told The Final Call.
Minister Farrakhan’s statement that he was a Muslim and a Christian resonated with Lanceroy Ho-Shing, who works towards cultural unity and particularly, for the unification of the 6th Region of the African Union, the Diaspora.
He found Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam visiting Jamaica, which is a Christian nation, remarkable. Prophecies and revelations are being fulfilled as the two children are coming back together, Mr. Ho-Shing continued.
“It is significant for Christianity and Islam to come together. And we, the true people of the world, will show the rest of them that it can be done if you can put away your little pettiness,” he told The Final Call.
Rosemary Reddix of For the People Entertainment Las Vegas, Nev., hosted a Reggae Unity Concert for the youth on the eve of Minister Farrakhan’s address.
“I come to Jamaica quite often so I know some of the issues here as well, and the way he touched it was just beautiful in explaining and letting the people know,” she said.
The Nation of Islam’s culture had a great impact, she added. “Just the comments from the people on the streets saying how, number one, beautiful the women looked and very impressive. And they also talked about how disciplined everybody seemed and carried themselves and didn’t talk loud when they were out in public, so that was very impressive. And this is just hearing things from the hotel workers and everybody being so polite to them. I love that! I thought that was really good,” Ms. Reddix said.
Shahid Muhammad, author, educator, and a student in the ministry at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, was mesmerized and humbled by the poverty he saw firsthand in the streets of Kingston.
It’s an experience every Believer in the Nation should have, Shahid Muhammad said. He called Minister Farrakhan’s presence a beacon of light that shows the universality of the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
“Just as it resurrects the Black man and woman in America, we see that it has the same effect and power here in Jamaica,” he said.
From open markets, to cafes or Muslims touring the city in buses and in cabs, the presence of the Nation of Islam was felt.
Husani Bogle, 19, saw Student National M.G.T. and G.C.C. Captain Sandy Muhammad and Muslim women downtown near the Captain’s Bakery. He knew instantly that they were Minister Farrakhan’s followers. He rushed over to receive the flyer they were handing out.
He told The Final Call he follows Minister Farrakhan’s work, as well as Malcolm X and other freedom fighters. “I have to come tomorrow! I’ve been dying to come ever since I heard about the Million Man March anniversary,” Mr. Bogle said. “I’m a very pro-African liberalist and the fact that Farrakhan comes here and do all of this, I’m really, really proud of it.”
When he first heard Minister Farrakhan was coming to Jamaica, he was elated. “He’s like a celebrity to me and though I’m not necessarily of the Muslim faith, I do respect their idealistic views upon the world and us as Black people,” Mr. Bogle added.
“Like, Farrakhan made a statement on the radio, if you’re a Christian then fine. If you’re a Muslim then fine. If you don’t believe in a god, but at least be a good Black man, you know what I mean Black woman, Black man,” he said.
Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, student national assistant to Minister Farrakhan and a son of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, said while the Minister’s visit to the Caribbean is still unfolding, Jamaica is the heart of the Caribbean, and as the heart pumps the life fluid throughout the physical body, so is Jamaica to the region.
Many leaders in the history of the Black liberation struggle have come out of the Caribbean that inspired the liberation movement in Africa and in the Diaspora, he said.
“I think that the Minister’s coming will energize now the Reparations movement that is here in the Caribbean, but it will energize and ignite the movement for liberation and justice in the United States and Africa and for Black people on our planet,” he said.
The trip was also very rewarding for the Believers, Ishmael Muhammad observed. It’s the first time many have even traveled outside of the United States, he noted.
“It’s that we see that we are an international people. (The Minister) has a worldwide mission. So this exposes the believer and broadens their horizon and keeps us from looking at the mission of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad narrowly,” he said. “Now we can see that our work extends far beyond the borders of the United States but our people are suffering here in Jamaica, suffering in the Caribbean, suffering in Central and South America.”
Student Minister Hugh Muhammad of Mosque No. 8 in San Diego was born in Jamaica. He worked diligently on the planning and execution of the Nation’s visit to his native country. “The impact is tremendous because the issues that we see that were relevant in 1995 are the same issues that are facing Jamaica today,” Hugh Muhammad said.
A positive movement for local change is in motion, he said.
A movement is being reignited 19 years later and the economic impact is huge by having approximately 2,000 people come into the country, he observed.
Jamaican tourism officials have projected a $15 million infusion of money during the Muslims’ travel and stay in the country.
“But I think more importantly, what the Believers look like, that impact is much greater than the financing … When you see the sisters in their wonderful, beautiful garments, and you see the brothers at the hotels in their suits and being well mannered, the hotel said to me this has been very eye-opening, because of how mannerable the believers are.
“You have the economic impact, but the social impact is much greater. On the 19th, that will start the beginning of the work,” he said.
Minister Farrakhan’s visit comes at a time when people are struggling for jobs and facing issues that need to be addressed, said Clarion Phillpotts, a Muslim in the Nation of Islam and the Lady President of the Universal Negro Improvement Association St. Andrew Division, Jamaica since 1996.
“We’re spending our money with everybody. We buy food from the Chinese, right. We buy appliances from the Indians downtown. So, the Jews are here. Everybody’s making money but we are the ‘conned-sumers’–not just consumers. We have been tricked and so we need to understand the power of our dollar and we need to be just as jealous about our dollar as everybody else is,” Ms. Phillpotts said.
She added, “The Minister’s visit will help to legitimize the work of the UNIA. It’s going to put those issues back to the center to say listen, we have a rightful place in this country. We want to be respected and we want to be treated with respect.”
Asheda Dwyer, a researcher at Liberty Hall and on the legacy of Marcus Garvey, said Minister Farrakhan’s message to Jamaica is timely, especially his call for unity. “We’re looking forward to how to work together and I think that’s the biggest thing, recharging ourselves to work together and working out our so-called differences, focusing on what we have in common, and really working to overcome our enduring brutalities as African people across this world right now,” said Ms. Dwyer.
Dr. Donna McFarlane, director and curator of Liberty Hall, explained that it is the only museum in the world dedicated to the life and work of the Honorable Marcus Mosiah Garvey.
She knew undoubtedly Minister Farrakhan’s message would be uplifting, one that would make Jamaica reflect on where it’s at in the 21st Century and one that would inspire forward movement.
Abdul Khadir Muhammad, who oversees the Nation’s Mosque No. 4 in Washington, D.C. and the Mid-Atlantic Region, saw shades of the 1995 march mobilization and the visit to Ghana for an International Saviours’ Day Convention in Ghana in 1995.
Derrick Robinson, who prefers to be called “Black X,” told The Final Call he set out at 6 p.m. on Oct. 18 and walked approximately 50 miles to hear Minister Farrakhan.
He’d already been on a grueling, barefoot journey which he began Oct. 6 from Port Maria in St. Mary to the gates of King’s House in St. Andrew. His mission was to petition the government to have Tacky (a chief taken from Africa’s West Coast and sold into slavery in Jamaica) designated a national hero, according to the Gleaner newspaper.
“The Million Man March anniversary is the first time outside of the United States and he choose to have it in Jamaica. That’s a tremendous honor to the people of Jamaica,” he said.
The activist said he’s drawn to Minister Farrakhan’s militancy–which he called the same as the spirit of Chief Tacky, who lived in the 1760s. “The same message, that what was transmitted by the Honorable Marcus Garvey, that what I see in the Nation of Islam. That what I see with Malcolm X. It’s one straight line.”
He added, “Remember, chikungunya is in the country at this time. People are on the brink of panic. Ebola is threatening. Everybody is uncertain and I know Minister Farrakhan comes with a message of great hope.”