by Rasheedah Salahu-din Muhammad
While in the Tampa area earlier this summer, Nation of Islam Student National Prison Reform Minister Abdullah Muhammad and prison ministry delegation visited with inmates at the Medium Complex of the Federal Correctional Complex (FCC) in Coleman, Fla. (see Final Call Vol. 42 No. 47).
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.
In his address to the men, Student Min. Abdullah also mentioned the new album by hip hop artist and businessman “Killer Mike,” titled “Michael.” The new album contains some highly conscious lyrics that Student Min. Abdullah shared. During the question-and-answer period, an older inmate told Student Min. Abdullah that he made his day because as an older man, he thought he was the only one his age that enjoyed conscious hip hop.
During his message, he discussed several issues and topics and shared words by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. He encouraged the brothers to give up the “spook God.” As we are real, so is Almighty God Allah real, Student Min. Abdullah expressed. At another point in the discussion period, the brothers asked about the Nation of Islam Prison Reform Ministry halfway house project and future plans for the project which will include urban farming as a part of its re-entry program.
He also told the brothers that the focus of politics and economics should not supersede the knowledge of the reality of God and his plans for our salvation. A Christian brother stood up and said, “I’m a Christian, but I study Minister Farrakhan because he is the only one who deals with what the scriptures represent in real-time as the prophets did.” The brother also shared that he read the testimony written by Brother Zachariah published in The Final Call newspaper “about how Islam saved your life.” This brought Brother Zachariah to tears. This is a testimony to the impact of the many articles written in The Final Call newspaper.
Due to the many questions posed and answered, the meeting went beyond the allotted time. Chaplain Upton, who is White, granted them an extra hour of service which the delegation was grateful for.
The third part of the visit was to Pen 2. As Student Minister Abdullah and the delegation approached Pen 2, the correctional officers said they had not been informed that they were scheduled to be at the facility. One of the correctional officers whose last name was Shabazz (praise be to Allah!) began to make calls to help rectify the situation. Also, a beautiful Black woman, Chaplain Smith, assisted.
After an hour and a half of waiting, the delegation was processed in and escorted down a long, barb-wired corridor where some of the inmates were on the yard. As the brothers on the compound saw the delegation walking toward the chapel, a brother ran up to the fence and told them nobody informed the inmates they were there.
Student Minister Abdullah told the brothers to spread the word about their visit. As the delegation was waiting for the doors to be opened a beautiful, dark brown Puerto Rican brother who was an inmate approached them. He was waiting to attend the African/Latino Christian faith meeting called Santa Maria. He approached Student Minister Abdullah and said he wanted to know more about Islam. Student Minister Abdullah told him that he wanted to learn more about his faith traditions. The brother began sharing with the delegation that the Afro/Latino Christian religion was taught to him by his great-grandparents who were from Africa. He said he has great respect for Islam because it was also taught to his people in Africa.
Due to the facility not announcing the meeting, only three brothers attended the Pen 2 service. Although only three attended, it was as if Student Minister Abdullah spoke to a large crowd of brothers. After opening prayer Student Minister Abdullah began to teach. He shared with the brothers from the Holy Qur’an that Allah (God) knows what our mind suggests to us. Student Minister Abdullah quickly bonded with the brothers and commissioned them to share with the others what he was sharing with them from Minister Farrakhan.
The tone of the meeting resembled a highly spirited study group session. Brother Marcell shared that when he was in the ADX facility in Colorado, he met Larry Hoover, co-founder of the Chicago street organization called the Gangster Disciples. He shared that when he met Larry Hoover, the organizational leader gave him a Final Call newspaper.
Student Minister Abdullah closed the meeting by telling the brothers they should strive to share what they have learned with others. He also told them, that persecution accompanies revelation and that one mighty in power has taught the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan.
He reminded the brothers of Minister Farrakhan’s words and disposition:
1: Love ye one another even as I have loved you.
2: Jesus was asked, ‘how many times shall I forgive,’ 70 times 7 times.
3: At the end of the day, the best religion is to do unto others as you want done unto you.
At the end of the meeting, Brother Rich Adams said in a strong and loud voice several times, “I like what I’m hearing!” Brother Rich said he was glad that he came and that Student Minister Abdullah really touched him.
He said Student Minister Abdullah gave a good presentation of what Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam is about, and he’s interested in helping and learning more.