Baltimore, Laila Al-Hakim

CHICAGO—The sanctuary of Mosque Maryam in Chicago was filled to capacity on October 15 with members of the Nation of Islam, visitors and guests to commemorate the 28th anniversary of the historic Million Man March. In 1995, nearly two million Black men from various backgrounds gathered in Washington, D.C. responding to the call of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan under the theme of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility.

Washington, D.C. Nasser Muhammad

Nearly three decades later, “Atonement and The Great War,” was the title of the keynote message delivered by Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad, the National Assistant to Minister Farrakhan. The message was streamed live online and was also broadcast on Final Call Radio.

During his serious and profound message, Minister Ishmael explained in detail the deliberate actions of the United States in planning and carrying out a war against Muslim nations, Black people—specifically Black youth—and the Nation of Islam. These actions have spanned the administration of several U.S. presidents, from Ronald Reagan to Joe Biden.

He explained these plans were revealed to Minister Farrakhan in his more-than-a-vision experience in 1985 from his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad on The Great Mother Wheel. 


Minister Ishmael’s message resonated with those who viewed the program live from Mosque Maryam.

“When Minister Ishmael began to say that the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad spoke to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan from The Wheel, that was all that I needed to know. There is no doubt, there is no denying that the Teachings are real; they are true and they are good for our people. I am grateful for this Holy Day of Atonement. I am grateful for the Teachings of the Nation of Islam. I am so full,” Keva Danyelle told The Final Call.

For Dawn Beasley, what stood out to her was when Minister Ishmael highlighted the war against Black people and how Blacks must stand and fight against the enemy to preserve themselves.

“The war is real. He spelled it out, how the government has been coming against us for decades, and we must stand together,” she said. “During Saviours’ Day, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated that the war (Armageddon) has begun, and so Minister Ishmael really put a fire in all of us to band together to continue the fight because we will win the war.”

Philadelphia, Michael Z. Muhammad

Anthony Martinez is a member of the Brown Beret National Organization. He was invited to Mosque Maryam by Student Minister Abel Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s representative to the Spanish-speaking community. Mr. Martinez said the points Minister Ishmael shared are similar to what his people have also been enduring through the years.

“Through Fred Hampton, the Black Panthers, the Brown Berets modeled ourselves after them and we have the same struggles. This was very educational. We appreciate coming through. We are very honored to be here,” he said.

Rev. Albert Sampson of Fernwood Methodist Church in Chicago was a key organizer of the 1995 Million Man March and was acknowledged during the program for his work.

“Today was important and I hope we figure out a way to get that analysis that Brother Minister Ishmael Muhammad did, out. It is powerful and needs to be broadcast to the Black community through Black media and The Final Call. The Million Man March was a great moment in history and I love the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and will always be there for him,” said Rev. Sampson, who brought 15 bus loads to The Million Man March in 1995 and was also a speaker at the March. 

Yosef Ben Prince Asiel, is the son of the late Nasik (Prince) Asiel Ben-Israel. He told The Final Call Minister Ishmael delivered a beautiful and timely message. “You can tell that he has truly been taught well by his father, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his spiritual father and teacher, the Honorable Brother Minister Louis Farrakhan,” said Mr. Asiel.

Mosque No. 29 in Miami opened its doors for residents to view the program. Photo Tony Muhammad

“The way he succinctly went through that timeline, from when the Minister went on to The Wheel and got the revelation from the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad as well as everything that has happened since, that the Messenger told the Minister would happen; and how it ties into their attempt to annihilate the Nation of Islam and the Black race specifically targeting the Black youth, and how the Nation of Islam, in particular, has been a buffer between the enemy and his insidious plan to destroy the Black family, in particular, the Black youth.”

From the East to the West

Around the country, believers at Nation of Islam mosques and study groups invited people in the community to view the program.

In New York at Muhammad Mosque No. 7, most of the first-time guests who came out were not around in 1995 to witness the nearly two million Black men who came to Washington, D.C. led by Minister Farrakhan.

“This lecture by Minister Ishmael Muhammad enlightened me to a lot of things that I didn’t know on what’s happening in America. I learned a few things about the killings of world leaders and also the killings of Black leaders by the FBI and some by the former presidents. I learned how the government is targeting us for no reason. Now I know I have to learn more so that I can teach my son and be there for him,” Kevin Campbell, 42, said.

MM27 HDOA Rear audience

Danny Smith, a 30-year-old attorney from Queens, said: “What really resonated with me was about the wars on the Islamic governments and how the wars were predicted to happen. I liked the scriptures Minister Ishmael referenced to tie it all together. It was a good experience being here at Mosque No.7 today. This is my first time here, but it won’t be my last. I am glad I was here for the 28th Anniversary of the Million Man March.”

Chauncey Hunter, 41, is a master barber who moved to New York a month ago. “This lecture made a lot of sense. Though I was born a Christian, it seemed like I had to be here,” he said. “I wasn’t coerced or anything. I met a brother giving out flyers to this event and so I went inside to hear for myself. This knowledge is proof of what I learned. I actually saw The Wheel in the sky. I saw the lights before it disappeared, so I understood what was being said.”

“The most critical point that stood out was that our people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge. I used to watch Minister Farrakhan on YouTube until they took him off. But now, I know where this mosque is so I’ll be coming back here to learn more. I want to study and to understand more,” Mr. Hunter said.

Chaz Martin was in an Austin, Texas, elementary school in 1995 when the Million Man March happened. He knew nothing about it. However, now as an adult, he was able to make it to Muhammad Mosque No. 4 in Washington, D.C. to celebrate its anniversary.

Holy Day Of Atonement Oct.15th 2023 Photos By Haroon Rajaee

“Today’s lecture is very important because Brother Ishmael was able to connect the time we live in and connect it to the condition of the people. He let us know the time because he was able to connect reality to the scriptures. We say we believe that we can use both holy books as guidance today, he helped us understand the time,” Mr. Martin said. 

Forty miles up I-95 North in the city by the bay, Baltimore’s Mosque No. 6 also showed the live broadcast to a packed audience at Dorothy Height Elementary School. Guests who attended the 1995 March and those who knew very little were excited to hear the day’s lecture.

Marilyn Littlejohn told The Final Call she loved the message by Minister Ishmael. She was also impressed with what she heard about Minister Farrakhan. “The fact that Louis Farrakhan went through so much,” she said. “He jumped through walls, hoops and everything just to help Black people get where we are now. He sacrificed for the love of his people.”

Shaun Roberson viewed the broadcast at Muhammad Mosque No. 27 in Los Angeles. Mr. Roberson learned about the broadcast commemorating the historic Million Man March online. He told The Final Call he believes exactly what Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad said about the enemy’s war on Black people, particularly Black youth and Black men. “It makes a whole lot of sense. Our Black people have been oppressed for years and it is time that we start building our own. It was the truth,” he said.

Holy Day Of Atonement Oct.15th 2023 Photos By Haroon Rajaee

Additionally, Mr. Roberson said, that whatever Minister Farrakhan, at 90 years of age is doing in terms of still warning people from God and speaking truth to power, that is what Black people need to be following and doing. 

Matrecha McQueen stood up to learn more about Islam after hearing the message at Mosque No. 27. Though nervous, she was also anxious to get seated and take in the message. “I really didn’t have an expectation because I already knew that it was going to be what I needed it to be, but I’ve been trying to get here, and I just love that I came,” she said.

Southern hospitality and brotherly love

Muhammad Mosque No. 55 in Memphis, Tennessee, had standing room only to listen to the Holy Day of Atonement address. Among the first-time visitors were Lauren Reser and Joseph Bankston, who both expressed what resonated with them from the day’s message was just how far back the involvement of the presidency in the war against Black people went.

“The government brainwashed (us) and (is) trying to strike war against us and it’s been already started a long time ago. He said Elijah Muhammad tried to tell the folks and warn the folks about what they were doing and now how it is taking place and coming to pass, so I’m just listening at how it started with our presidents,” Ms. Reser said.

“How long it’s been taking and how they are bringing our Black men down, what they are doing to bring us down. They did so many things to us and now that’s what I’m looking at— how they are making Black men look ignorant with weed and chemicals and all of that,” she added.

“I knew it was the government doing it, but I just didn’t know it was from president to president to president. It was already out there, and each president has to keep on doing their part. I didn’t know that part. I didn’t know it was going on so long and that it was going to be happening to us 300 years and stay happening. So that’s why I want to come back next week and finish listening to that part,” she concluded. 

HDOA23-Memphis Donna Muhammad

The other first-time guest Mr. Bankston agreed.

“The connection of the presidents and the plan for war in the East and over here in America,” is what he stated stood out most to him. “A lot of it was familiar to me. I had been doing a lot of research, but I didn’t know all of it. It’s still a lot. I’ve got a lot of notes that I have to go over,” Mr. Bankston said.

Thomas Griffin shared brotherhood was the number one point he took away from the message. “So many topics that he discussed, but mainly, brotherhood. I think that’s the key thing to everything today. I look at that as we are lost and misguided and the Nation of Islam is one of the ones that has stood the test of time, so I think that’s the most thing that resonated with me,”

Said Mr. Griffin who also attended the program at Mosque No. 55. “We are under a lot of pressure as Black men, period. So the whole thing about it is uniting, be as one. And a good thing was like the Million Man March is the key thing. So, that brought out a real good point to me, in knowing that unity can solve problems.”

The Holy Day of Atonement message was broadcast via webcast at Muhammad Mosque No. 15, the Southern Regional headquarters of the Nation of Islam, located in Atlanta, Georgia, and at Muhammad Mosque 15B in College Park, Georgia. Both mosques were packed with believers, friends, family and guests.

Jessica Jacques, 40, moved to Atlanta from Newark, N.J., seven years ago. She founded an organization that works with young women, teaching them life skills to aid in their success. After hearing the Holy Day of Atonement message, she accepted to be a registered member of the Nation of Islam.  

College Park, Georgia, Anisah Muhammad

“The thing that really stands out is that I know many of us in our community understand certain facts. The system is designed against us, and we know the ‘commercial words,’ but the facts that the brother (Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad) put into his speech; the stats that he put into his speech as far as our youth and the war on our youth, that is a fact,” she said to The Final Call.“They want to program our youth at a young age so that they do not grow up to be productive citizens, and we fight against that, so that resonated with me. So, I’m here. I’m a soldier. I’m here.”

Melody Walker, 34, attended the meeting with her 11-year-old son. “It just really opened my eyes to a lot of things that I wasn’t aware of things that I feel like I was kind of blind to,” she said.

Minister Ishmael also spoke on how each presidential administration has carried out the same plan and mindset of war toward the Black community.

“What stood out to me the most was some of the administrations that took place before I was born, that are still taking place now; and also, to bear witness of everything that’s happening that’s already been said to happen,” said Wilundra Redding, a 36-year-old reiki master.

Sandy Rogers took a lot of notes during the lecture. She described it as “extremely eye-opening, mind-opening, heart-opening.”

“I was actually present for the Watts riots, and so for the speaker (Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad) to go back during that timeframe and for all the exposure that he gave us about those that are involved in the different cruelties toward humanity, toward us, was very good,” she said. “I’m hoping that those that get a chance to listen to it will be just as encouraged to learn more as I was and to take a stand.”

Aisha Browder and Deborah Ann Browder usually view the Nation of Islam lectures from home, but the two wanted to attend in person and officially join the Nation of Islam. They both agreed to learn more and study to become registered members.

Audience views program in Tampa, Fla. at Mosque No. 47. Photo Facebook

“The overwhelming evidence of who Master Fard Muhammad is, who the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is and who the Honorable Elijah Muhammad is, it was made so clear, and it’s like, you can’t even refute it,” Ms. Browder said. 

The other Ms. Browder agreed, calling the message “very empowering.” “It was a wonderful lecture, and he was very thorough,” she said.

October 15 was the second Sunday in a row Brandon King attended the mosque in College Park. The first Sunday he attended, the student ministry of College Park issued a 30-day challenge to try out the Nation of Islam. He accepted the challenge.

“So far, it’s going to be a lot more than 30 days,” he said to The Final Call.

He described Minister Ishmael’s message as “the sound of the trumpet” and “a call to arms for us to let go of all of the BS we’ve been attached to and focus on something that’s bigger than us and for our community.”

Wazir Yasin viewed the broadcast from Muhammad Mosque No. 12 in the “City of Brotherly Love” in Philadelphia.

“Today, I’ve gained valuable insights and realized how relevant these Teachings still are today. Sometimes people mistakenly believe that they are outdated, but when he (Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad) spoke, it felt refreshing. It’s like a recurring truth, akin to the change in presidents every four years. It’s timeless wisdom, you know?” he said. 

For Aliyah Elliot, she told The Final Call that she “gained valuable insights into our collective history as a community, the inner workings of the government, and the factors contributing to the decline of the Black community.”

“Undoubtedly, I must confess that my quest for knowledge was met with considerable satisfaction. Among the numerous highlights, I was particularly intrigued by the concept of The Wheel experience and the extraordinary encounter between Minister Louis Farrakhan and his teacher. My curiosity in this subject knows no bounds, and I yearn to explore it further,” she said.

Atlanta, Azizah Muhammad

“As for what I take away from this experience, that is indeed an excellent question. Reflecting upon our time together, a fundamental truth resonates—we are strongest when united. It is imperative that we band together, mobilize against our collective adversaries, and above all, prioritize the welfare of one another. Such communal care is of utmost significance.”

Shawntell Muhammad and Toure Muhammad reported from Chicago; Charlene Muhammad reported from Los Angeles; Anisah Muhammad reported from College Park, Ga.; Azizah Muhammad reported from Atlanta; Daleel Jabir Muhammad reported from New York, Donna Muhammad reported from Memphis; Michael Z. Muhammad reported from Philadelphia; Laila Al-Hakim reported from Baltimore and Nasser Muhammad reported from Washington, D.C.