By Rasheedah Salahu-din Muhammad
The Tampa Bay Area was blessed with a visit by Brother Abdullah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam (N.O.I.) Student National Prison Reform Minister. His visit from July 7-9 began at the Coleman Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Coleman, Fla. It is one of the largest prisons in the nation, housing 7,120 prisoners, and it has 1,300 employees.
Nation of Islam Prison Reform Ministry staff of the 7th Region worked on coordinating Student Minister Abdullah’s visit since 2019. By the Grace of Allah (God) the visit happened. Student Prison Reform Ministry Coordinator Zachariah Muhammad of Mosque No. 29 in Miami and staff members, Student Minister Ali Salahu-din Muhammad of Mosque No. 47 in Tampa, Fla., and Brother Michael Muhammad of Mosque No. 66 in Jacksonville, Fla., were also part of the delegation that accompanied Student Minister Abdullah.
We are grateful and thankful to the warden and the prison chaplain. The visit was met with applause from inmates but included a few obstacles. En route to the prison, we received a call from another chaplain stating that Pen I was on administrative lockdown due to a stabbing.
So, the visit to that facility was canceled. Later that day, the delegation was received by Brother Terrance Staton, the N.O.I. inmate Study Group Coordinator within the Low Complex of the FCC.
Student Minister Abdullah spoke to an audience of 28 inmates that comprised of the Nation of Islam, Orthodox Muslims, Christians, El Rukns, and Black Nationalists.
After giving the salutation, with tear-filled eyes, Student Minister Abdullah told the men with a resounding cry that, “The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan loves you and he chose me to do this service because I love you too!”
His message was received with a thunderous round of applause from the audience. He continued speaking by encouraging the brothers to consider Allah’s (God’s) view of them and he told them they should stop organizational infighting.
Student Minister Abdullah also shared with the men about his time in prison and that he was not a bad person and was raised right by his mother, but that he ran away from home and began living a life contrary to what he had been taught. He explained that he was raised by a strong, very light-skinned mother who taught him very good values and instilled in him the love of being a Black person.
During the question-and-answer period, one of the first questions asked by one of the inmates was about the health of Minister Farrakhan and how he was feeling. The men were very interested in knowing about the Minister’s well-being.
With tears in his eyes, Brother Abdullah began to share with them the pain the Minister deals with daily due to health issues but that he is still doing the work of restoring and resurrecting our people and humanity. You can’t look at him and tell that he is in any pain, Student Minister Abdullah shared.
Day two of the tour began with a visit to the Medium Complex of the FCC. Student Minister Ali Muhammad opened the meeting in prayer and gave brief words as well as Brother Zachariah who then introduced Student Minister Abdullah. Brother Abdullah shared with the brothers how the enemy traps us in our desire to do something for self to feed our family.
As a result, some may accept options that land them in prisons instead of following the straight path of Allah pointed out by Minister Farrakhan who has been continuously warning and guiding. The audience included members of various religious backgrounds and from various parts of the country.
Brother Abdullah stressed the need for the brothers to find the common thread of unity. He shared that Minister Farrakhan is the Light in the darkness in the wilderness of North America and that they cannot be rightly guided if they are divided. Stay tuned for additional coverage in an upcoming edition of The Final Call.