Young man learns about self-defense during recent conference at NOI National Center in Chicago.

CHICAGO—The 5th Annual Boys to Men Conference returned to Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago, with the theme, “Save Our Sons.”

The event was organized by Nation of Islam Student Minister Shahid Muhammad. He explained to the young men present some of the dangers facing them and how to counter those dangers.

“They have launched an all-out assault on Black people. Whether you know it or not, you are walking around right now with a target on your back. They want you dead mentally, they want you dead spiritually and mentally. The enemy would not spend time destroying you if you were not important,” said Student Min. Shahid Muhammad, who is also a math teacher and affectionately known as “The Math Doctor.”

“They want you to remain a boy. They want you to be a 15-year-old boy, they want you to be a 20-year-old boy, they want you to be a 50-year-old boy, and that’s why they call us boys. This is why we must go from boys to men,” he explained.


The conference began with Brother West Muhammad of Baltimore welcoming everyone in attendance. He is 12 years old and a budding writer having had articles published in The Final Call newspaper. Bro. West Muhammad is homeschooled and co-hosts a weekly podcast, WHID-FM (What Has Islam Done For Me), that airs Sundays at 7:00 p.m. EST on Facebook. For more information about the podcast, text 74121.

Brother Shahid “The Math Doctor” Muhammad presents valuable information to young men who attended
the 5th Annual Boys to Men Conference in Chicago
on June 11 at Muhammad University of Islam.

“Man’s purpose in life is not just to play basketball, not to just sing, or whatever you like to do in your spare time. These things are not our purpose in life. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan taught us in his lecture, ‘Let Us Make Man,’ that a man’s purpose is to be a producer,” stated Bro. West Muhammad.

Judy Thompson accompanied her 13-year-old son to the conference. “I’ve been seeking out more positive influential things to introduce my son to, so that he can be around real men. This way he can see more than just the negative things that’s around him. I believe my son definitely enjoyed the conference, and he was able to take away a lot of positive information, and I would like to bring him back for more,” she told The Final Call.

“I think the speakers gave some very powerful information; they told the young men how they can get started on doing things right now, as far as working,” she added.

The conference featured speakers and workshops emphasizing the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s program of “do for self,” based on entrepreneurship and pooling resources among Black people.

Participants practice drill salute at recent youth conference in Chicago. Photos: Haroon Rajaee

Brother Talib ul-Hikmah Karriem is interim director of Muhammad University of Islam. He is also a photographer and he presented a workshop titled, “Power of Images,” to the young men and boys present. “What we’re seeing is tremendous dissatisfaction and I think a conference like this helps to stimulate different aspects of entrepreneurship; in construction, in medicine, graphic arts and photography. It allows young people to see that there are other avenues that they can take to be successful in their lives,” stated Bro. Talib Karriem.

“This is a beautiful event, I wish I was 12 years old again, I think the trajectory of my life would have been different. This is powerful for teenage boys and young men to see something like this and come and get this type of information. With this type of information, better choices can be made,” stated Bro. Cedric X.

The edutainment segment consisted of Bro. Qadir Hakim, also known as “Goalden Chyld,” and Hip-Hop Detoxx featuring Bro. Shawn Muhammad, also known as “Gat Turner,” providing knowledge-based lyrics. There was also an FOI (Fruit of Islam, the men of the Nation of Islam) drill demonstration.

There were also hands-on martial arts demonstrations and attendees were shown several key self-defense moves and were taught the importance of conflict resolution.

“This is my third year participating in the conference, and I really like that conflict resolution is in the program. I think this program is absolutely necessary and vital in our community; we need to have more events such as this,” said Bro. Celeritas Muhammad, a martial artist who demonstrated self-defense techniques and facilitates conflict resolution.

With the theme “Saving Our Sons,” the 5th Annual
Boys to Men Conference returned June 11 to Muhammad University of Islam in Chicago. Boys, men
and even toddlers took part in the event.

“I believe conflict resolution is the most important part of the conference but since things get further than the resolution aspect, I think we are absolutely obligated and have a God-given right to defend ourselves. Martial arts is not something that’s always physical, martial arts is also mental, it’s spiritual,” he added.

Dr. Robert J. Muhammad facilitated a health care workshop, “Serving Our People and Saving Lives.” “To see young people desirous of and have the opportunity to engage in and be exposed in that which will put an impression on their hearts, minds, and souls, that may be what is needed to change the trajectory of their life; that’s what, with the Grace of Allah (God), what we witnessed today,” he said.

“To witness the young people so engaged, so enthralled in various presentations, you can see the impact taking place. So, this event was very powerful, I’m thankful to Allah for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan in his consistency, in his sacrifice he has made for us now to come forward and try to do something to help him for which he has given his life for,” added Dr. Robert Muhammad.

The conference included representatives from Genesus Construction Training Center and uplifting and spiritual guidance from Nation of Islam youth Student Minister Jair Muhammad. Brothers Ibrahim Muhammad, Amzi Muhammad, Tyrone F. Muhammad, Raymond Muhammad and Troy 5X conducted a technology workshop. NOI Student National Secretary Sa’ad Alim Muhammad who is an attorney conducted a law workshop. Brothers Arthur Muhammad, Rondell Muhammad, and Dr. Abdullah Hasan Pratt, an ER physician, also presented and participated in workshops.

Food was served at the end of the conference.

For information in having a Boys to Men Conference in your city, contact Shahid Muhammad at [email protected].

Shawntell Muhammad can be contacted at [email protected].