From left, Nick Cannon, Sister Amina Lei and Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad at June 23 “Blessed Are The Peacemakers” event in Los Angeles. Photos: Sherman Muhammad

by Charlene Muhammad and Mustapha Muhammad

LOS ANGELES—In the hot, hectic and fast-paced city of Los Angeles, Nation of Islam Western Region Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, celebrity Nick Cannon, and the believers of Muhammad Mosque No. 27 honored street leaders who keep the peace.

The June 23 event, themed “One Nation United Under God,” followed a soul-stirring mosque meeting, which featured keynote speaker, Brother Abel Muhammad, Student Minister of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam who serves as representative to the Latin American community.

“I’m a member of the community and to whom much is given, much is required and it’s just an honor and a pleasure to be here amongst such esteemed individuals,” said Mr. Cannon to The Final Call. 


“It’s a powerful gathering,” he stated, as he also reflected on the mothers on hand who have lost children to violence.  “I share my sentiments with them more than anything because to be in this environment,

I know they are the light, the motivators that keep us all going, and to see these brothers receiving these awards is also a very powerful thing too, because we’re upholding and honoring their leadership within the community,” continued Mr. Cannon.

Min. Abdul Malik thanked Naim Shah and his brother Khalid Shah, some of the pioneers of the Nation of Islam, who have worked for decades to stop the violence and increase the peace in Los Angeles.

“The greatest honor that I could show you all is to continue the work you started.  And any other person who was in the Nation, prior to ’75, we thank you, for the dry bones are coming together now,” stated Min. Abdul Malik. 

He then announced the honor to the “real peacekeepers” and “first responders,” men and women who put their lives on the line with their own “homies” to try to spread peace, and mothers who have “lost their children due to our ignorance, that we can begin to repay them by spreading peace.”

Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad with members of the Cease Fire Committee.

He and Mr. Cannon presented silver framed awards to more than 100 individuals and organizations in recognition of their “exceptional service and dedication to keeping peace in the streets of Los Angeles, demonstrating remarkable bravery, an unwavering commitment to promoting peace and ensuring community safety” and for playing “a vital role in creating a secure environment where people of all backgrounds feel safe on the streets of Los Angeles.”

Each award displayed verses from the Bible (Matthew 5:9) and Holy Qur’an (Ayah al-Imran/“The Family of Imran” 3:103), because “religious gang banging” must end, said Min. Abdul Malik.

An aim of the historic gathering was to unite the Black, Brown, Yellow and Red—Indigenous communities.  It was to also display the power and importance of Black, Brown, and Asian unity, more specifically in gang culture across the city of Los Angeles.

“Peace and what we are feeling right now, the goodness of it … the enemy hates this!  And we have never, because we’re loving in our nature, we want peace in our nature, we couldn’t understand that … how somebody looks at peace and love between brothers, love between sisters, and in their heart they’re already plotting, how do we destroy this,” said Min. Abel. 

“We cannot fathom that kind of wickedness and that’s exactly why we need the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, so you can see one another and our enemy as they are, because whether you want to accept it or not, we have real enemies,” he stated.

Amina Lei, a Chinese Muslim artist and activist, as well as surprise VIP guests, helped to send shock waves emanating from this historic peace awards ceremony throughout the world.

Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad and Nick Cannon with members of the Youth Justice Coalition.

She thanked Allah (God) for choosing one from among the ex-slaves, the Black man and woman of America, who taught in the wilderness of North America, including children of anti-colonial liberation movements across the world, that there is a liberating force that comes from righteousness.

“The old world must be destroyed.  There is a universal struggle.  The old world is trying to block a new one from coming in.  But are we going to let them win?” asked Ms. Lei.  “No! Absolutely not,” some replied.

“We are a sign today that they won’t because the God of Justice is here and He is determined to annihilate the enemy of the Original family,” said Ms. Lei, who cited scriptures from Bible and Holy Qur’an to make her case.

“The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan taught me that the nature of God has no beginning and no end. May our light from today, like the softness of a light of dawn of a new day, grow brighter and brighter and stronger in our unity so a new world will come based on freedom, justice and equality for all,” continued Ms. Lei. 

Quoting her favorite line from martial arts actor and legend Bruce Lee, she concluded, “Under one sky, there is but one family.”

The award ceremony, facilitated by long time peacekeepers James Muhammad (Mosque No. 27 Student 1st Officer) and William Muhammad (F.O.I. Captain Emeritus of Mosque No. 54 in Compton), was truly a family reunion filled with tears of joy and a new stepping stone into the right direction for peace and prosperity not only in Los Angeles but also the West Coast in its entirety.

“I think the way was excellent, outstanding, and it was greatly needed.  Today showed that unity is the key and it breaks that old glass object about Black folk can’t unite.  We can unite on things that are important to us, things that we need to understand for our children, and things that if we don’t unite, we’re going to be destroyed,” stated Mr. Naim Shah.

More than 500 people attended June 23 mosque meeting themed, “One Nation United Under God,” which was followed by a special “Blessed Are The Peacemakers,” awards program.

“I feel elated, excited, honored to have this award from the Nation of Islam, a very, very dear organization and institution to my heart and this work.  Cease Fire is very grateful today,” stated Rev. Benny “Taco” Owens, co-founder of the Cease Fire Committee.

“I am so impressed today,” said awardee LaWanda Hawkins, founder of Justice for Murdered Children.  “When I saw Minister (Abdul Malik) bring all of us together, I mean gang-bangers, people from different communities and the moms and the car clubs, motorcycle clubs, pastors, ministers, all for peace, it was awesome,” she said.   “Then the guest speaker, Min. Abel, coming from Chicago!  That was the topping,” said Ms. Hawkins, a South Side Chicago native. 

“It was just a miracle!  And what he said about our history and not know the division among us, I am thankful I was able to hear word for word what he had to say,” she added.

“It’s very educational, inspirational.  This was something I never knew,” remarked Kevin Ngo, who said it was his first time at a Nation of Islam meeting.  Concerning Black-Asian, Black-Hispanic unity, and steps forward, he said, “As long as we help each other, anything’s possible.  Unity.  One Nation.”

“First, it must start with ourselves, we must make peace with ourselves, and then spread the unity out to the kids and people out there in the streets so we don’t create more hostility. We want to stop it because we can be our own intervention, speaking to others on the things we’ve been through so we can put a stop to it ourselves” said Brother Kiki from the Watts Life Lowrider Club.

Na’il Muhammad contributed to this report.