by David Muhammad and Toy Muhammad
NEWARK—The colorful pink and white awning still stands with “Salaam Ice Cream Parlor” adorned across the top and an expanded menu containing images of delicious sweets and treats posted in the window facing the street. This Muslim-owned-and-operated business is still a bright light in the community and recently celebrated five years in business with a community celebration.
It was on August 27, 2017, in the South Ward of Newark, New Jersey, that Salaam Ice Cream Parlor opened its doors to its first customers. Salaam Ice Cream Parlor is the vision of the late Sister Doris Muhammad (May Allah Be Pleased with her) and her two daughters, Shikhana Muhammad and Cushanda Muhammad. “I always ran businesses. I came from Cleveland, Ohio, and when I got here, I just wanted to open a business in the community to be a reflection of what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad wanted us to be a reflection of,” said Doris Muhammad in a previous 2017 interview with The Final Call.
On August 27 of this year, local elected officials, members of the Nation of Islam, friends, families and customers joined Salaam Ice Cream Parlor in celebrating five years in business. In appreciation and gratitude to the community and their customers, Salaam gave out free ice cream cones to children, food, and slices of a five-year anniversary cake.
“We are so blessed to be able to continue our mother’s vision as well as serve and give back to the community,” co-owner and founder Sister Cushanda Muhammad stated.
Councilman at-large, Lawrence Crump, stopped by to join the celebration. “Salaam is an important business in our community. Not only do they serve amazing ice cream and desserts, but they are leaders and support our community. Salaam has sponsored and has been a part of so many events in our neighborhood. We need more businesses that are not just about the bottom line, but also support those that support them.”
Community leader and author Imam Qasim Amin Nathari sent a congratulatory text. “It’s such a blessing to have a place where we can get ice cream and all kinds of desserts without having to leave the neighborhood,” he wrote. “The offering of flavors and varieties is amazing, the service is great and as one raised on the original bean pie since childhood, I affirm that they have the best bean pie in the city,” he added.
Deanna Keith who said it was her second time coming to Salaam Ice Cream Parlor was happy and excited as she enjoyed her ice cream cone. “I really love this place because they sell vegan ice cream and it is delicious. It’s a little different than regular ice cream but it tastes great!”
Thanks to Mayor Ras J. Baraka providing grants to small businesses, Salaam was able to endure the economic devastation of the pandemic. While others had to close their doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Salaam Ice Cream Parlor made minor adjustments by reconfiguring their walk-in/sit down business model to a walk-up window, which allows for equal service while practicing social distancing and business increased.
Salaam has an extremely broad customer base represented by satisfied patrons from all walks of life. Whether it is the Williams family three blocks away, New Jersey Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver or a family from Paris stopping by on a layover at the airport, Salaam Ice Cream Parlor not only provides great ice cream, but it has also established an environment of peace (Salaam).
South Ward Councilman Patrick Council expressed his support. “Five years ago, the spirit of Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) showed up on Bergen Street by way of the Salaam Ice Cream Parlor and helped transform the spirit of a neighborhood,” said Councilman Council. “We are proud five years later to celebrate the transformational work that has been done by Sisters Shikhana and Cushanda to help revive the spirit of community.”
One of the greatest highlights during the past five years was when the Nation of Islam celebrated the 22nd Anniversary of the Million Man March in Newark in October of 2017. The keynote speaker was the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and his message was, “Separation or Death.” Many believers came from all over the world and many stopped by to enjoy the different treats and sweets that Salaam Ice Cream Parlor provided.
In 2021, Salaam Ice Cream Parlor expanded its brand with Salaam on Wheels, an ice cream truck which services community movie nights, outdoor festivals, private parties, and employee appreciation events. In the fall, Salaam Ice Cream Parlor will have an ice cream stand inside Newark Beth Israel Hospital.
“I am thankful to Allah in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan for an economic blueprint,” stated Sister Shikhana Muhammad, co-owner and co-founder.
“I thank Minister Roland Muhammad, former minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 18 in Cleveland, Ohio and Sister Velma Muhammad for embracing my mother and my eight siblings and showing us how to make the economic blueprint a reality. I am thankful to my mother Sister Doris Muhammad, my two fathers, Horace Mapp, Henry Hayes, my husband of 30 years, David Muhammad, my children, siblings, and extended family for helping us with our vision to ‘Do For Self,” she added.
When in Newark or to find out the scoop, check out Salaam Ice Cream Parlor on Instagram @salaam_ice_cream_parlor and on Facebook at Salaam Parlor.