By Starla Muhammad -Managing Editor-
Minister Farrakhan addresses City of Grand Rapids, Michigan
The sanctuary of True Light Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan was filled to capacity Sept. 24 for a message delivered by Minister Farrakhan five years after the mysterious and troubling death of Student Minister Robert Dion Muhammad. Photos:Andrea Muhammad
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a serious and sobering message of warning to the City of Grand Rapids from the pulpit of True Light Baptist Church to a packed audience. The time is up for the powers that continue perpetuating injustice in the world, he cautioned.
Even before doors of the church opened, lines of people began forming outside anxious to hear and see the Nation of Islam minister. His Sept. 24 visit came five years after the mysterious death of Student Minister Robert Dion Muhammad, who served as the local representative of the Nation of Islam in Grand Rapids. The 40-year-old’s body was pulled from Muskegon River, September of 2014 after an outing with co-workers.
A wrongful death lawsuit filed against seven of his co-workers by his widow Yreva Muhammad was dismissed but there is hope it will be reviewed by the Michigan Supreme Court. Authorities state her husband accidently drowned, but the lawsuit alleges Robert Muhammad’s co-workers assaulted him.
Attorney Sa’ad Alim Muhammad Photo: Haroon Rajaee
In November 2017, Judge J. John Rossi dismissed the case stating there was not enough evidence presented to go to trial, calling the claim “frivolous.” He also ordered that $1 million be paid to the other side as a judgement. But, Atty. Sa’ad Muhammad added, the judge assigned the judgment and attorneys’ fees without reviewing any documentation about the other side’s costs for legal representation. An appeal of the case was subsequently filed with the Michigan Appellate Court, which was denied, explained Atty. Sa’ad Alim Muhammad. A petition for the case to be reviewed by the Michigan Supreme Court is pending.
“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, ‘when truth fails to bring justice about, truth should always lead us to a just conclusion, but if the forces of evil are so strong that truth falls in the street and is not allowed to bring about justice, then the God of truth and the God of justice must physically remove from power the forces of injustice,’” said Min. Farrakhan. That time has arrived! he stated.
“I don’t come to this city or any city in America like a beggar who doesn’t know power to remove the wicked! No. No. I came here tonight to let you know the end has come,” said the Minister, taking his subject from the Book of Revelations, Chapter 11 verse 18 which states, “The nations are angry, and thy wrath has come. It is the time of the dead that they should be judged and given justice.”
In the U.S. and Middle East and other countries of the earth, anger is brewing due to the injustices perpetrated by those in powerful positions on the backs of Black people, women and the poor, he explained.
Min. Farrakhan touted the bravery and outspokenness of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden, who along with other young people mobilized millions of people around the world in a global climate strike. The teen recently rebuked world leaders in a Sept. 23 address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York at the Climate Action Summit.
Those in power are not the author of the climate and cannot do anything to change it, the Minister explained.
“The young girl, Miss Greta Thunberg from Sweden, was addressing the rulers and I have to tell little Greta, they hear you, but they don’t have the power to change the climatic conditions. But you went to the right people because the rulers have created the climate of war and hatred and bloodshed on the earth so the response from heaven is now answering the cry of the children.”
God’s anger has been kindled, He is angry and His wrath is here, as it is described in scripture.
“He’s angry and His anger is strong and vengeful. It’s retributory punishment for many offenses, it is the beginning of a divine chastisement and that’s why I chose to come to this city to tell the Black and the White, the Brown, the Red and the Yellow, the rich and the poor, the powerful and those who have no power, your days of playing with God is finished!”
Jesus, the woman and trials of the Believer
The Bible and Holy Qur’an are both full of examples of the trials and tribulations experienced by people of faith. Those who call themselves Believers regardless of whatever faith traditions they practice are not exempt from trial, Min. Farrakhan explained.
“You cannot think that because you’re a Christian or a Muslim that you shouldn’t be tried. We’ve come under a time of great trial. So, the Qur’an asked the question: ‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying we believe and will not be tried while others were tried before you? This is so that we may know those of you who are liars from those who speak truth,’ ” he continued.
Yreva Muhammad Photo: Haroon Rajaee
Yreva Muhammad and her family are Believers, said Min. Farrakhan. “Don’t you ever think that because you try to do righteousness that God shouldn’t try you,” he added. “This is how God knows whether you’re his. He’ll bring misfortune into your life and watch to see how you handle it. Some of us can only follow God if he does everything we want him to do.”
God allowed Jesus to be arrested, put on trial, mocked, abandoned by his disciples and those that claimed to love and be with him and he was ultimately crucified. His finest hours were not the hours in Galilee, at the riverside or even when he was casting out demons, said the Minister. “His finest hours were when he was on the cross. Oh, Christians, I want you to listen to your brother since they don’t want you to believe that I know Jesus. That’s why they hate me because I know Jesus, very well.”
Women of the earth have also been abused and misused but are rising up, the Minister pointed out. The world was blessed through the womb of Mary, mother of Jesus, yet women are still relegated to second-class citizenship and mistreatment in most parts of the world, a reality Min. Farrakhan also addressed.
“Women have been catching hell a long time. I’m not going to let nobody that’s with me continue to make women suffer out of the ignorance of the world in which we live. We, the people. When did that take place? Women aren’t part of the people? We, the people and women just got the right to vote less than a hundred years ago, or a little more than a hundred years ago?” the Minister asked rhetorically.
“There has to be a revolution in the world to let the world know that the mistreatment of women has sentenced this world to death. You have the #MeToo Movement. How many women have been abused by men even men that they respected and honored, their own fathers? How many women and girls are being abused while we sit here watching girls being trafficked throughout the earth? Men selling young girls to be put into sex trafficking. That’s real. That’s going on. How do you think they should be handled?”
Family members of Student Min. Robert Muhammad. Front row from left: daughter Nikah 13; daughter Ilyasa 7; niece Zamina 8; daughter Shahada 11; daughter Mizan 5, mother Karla and wife Yreva. Second row from left: sister April; nephew Akil 10; son Najm 15; son Toussaint 17 and son Nioveh 21 with other supporters at True Light Baptist Church. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
A warning to the wicked and the manifestation of losses
As extreme weather events continue hammering the United States and abroad, none of the rulers or their scientists and meteorologists can accurately predict the weather, said Min. Farrakhan. “Something is going on,” he warned. “Six hurricanes lining up one behind the other in the Caribbean. What are you doing, Father? ‘I’m destroying your playground.’ ‘Please don’t touch Mar-a-Lago.’ He’ll let you worry about what you think you got but I’m here to tell you, the day of judgement has arrived,” the Minister cautioned.
Hurricane Dorian which struck the Bahamas in late August, was the most powerful storm cyclone on record to strike the islands and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. “When that hurricane lifted, nothing was left. People lost everything. Surely man is in loss. This is the day of the manifestation of losses,” said Min. Farrakhan.
“When I looked at the Bahamas and saw all my Black brothers and sisters, I wept and I begged God to show mercy—and He waited for me to calm down as if to say to me ‘have not you seen the abundance of mercy that I have sent to all of you?’ Do you think you’re alive because God has not shown mercy? And you continue to go your way and do evil as though you never have to pay for that. He wants to forgive you but some of us will not allow him to because we won’t repent.”
A man of truth and his resonating message
Student Minister Sultan Muhammad of Grand Rapids, Mich. delivers remarks. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
Min. Farrakhan’s visit to the second largest city in Michigan was highly anticipated but it was not without controversy. Baseless claims made by those who continue to misrepresent and misinterpret Min. Farrakhan’s uncompromising stance on truth rooted in scripture once again became an issue. The 86-year-old Muslim leader was previously scheduled to speak at a different church, but that church cancelled the invitation stating the Muslim leader’s “views regarding Jews and others” were “contrary” to their own. Local NBC affiliate Channel 8 posted a press release attributed to the church that stated it valued free speech but was “equally committed to defending the equality and dignity of all people, including women and those in the LGBTQ community.”
These are contrary to some of Min. Farrakhan’s professed values, the statement continued. Yet the Minister previously spoke in Grand Rapids at that church. No one went away with the feeling that “this is a hater,” said Min. Farrakhan referring to his previous visit. He thanked Rev. Dr. Carl Pace, pastor of True Life Baptist Church, and its board and congregation for opening up the doors and welcoming him to speak and thanked Sultan Muhammad, the NOI student minister in Grand Rapids.
“What was the reason for my rejection? ‘He has views that we don’t agree with.’ If I could ask, reverend, what views do I have that you as a Christian disagree with?” asked Min. Farrakhan.
Audience listens to sobering message of guidance from Min. Farrakhan. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
“Do you mean to say if Jesus visited Grand Rapids, you would tell Jesus the way you talk, Jesus, about homosexuality or lesbianism, you can’t come to this church that bears your name? This didn’t mean that Christ did not love the homosexual community. That’s not true. He said he came to save his people from their sins. He didn’t come to judge us for falling away from the glory of God. He said, even though your sins be like scarlet, yet, he would wash them white as snow in His blood,” said Min. Farrakhan.
Jesus did not come to judge and punish people for their sins but save them from their sins, he explained. “So, the Jesus that I know, the Jesus that I am familiar with, he wouldn’t turn a homosexual away from him.”
Contrary to how Min. Farrakhan continues to be misrepresented and slandered those that filled the pews at True Light Baptist Church were touched by the key themes of his message.
Brittany Roland is a medical assistant and homeschooling mother from Grand Rapids. She found the Minister’s teaching on the weather riveting. “In Michigan the tornados and the different things that we’ve had here that we don’t usually have and the multiple hurricanes right behind each other. Everything he touched on was amazing. I’m looking forward to the winter here, to see what happens,” she said.
Rev. Dr. Carl Pace, pastor of True Life Baptist Church Photo: Haroon Rajaee
Ms. Roland attended the program with her husband Cam, a truck driver. “I resonate with his (Min. Farrakhan’s) whole spirit. Everything that comes out of his mouth, everything that he says, I resonate with. I’ve been listening to him for years. I brought my family along and they’ve seen the change in myself when I first heard the Minister. I was introduced by a brother of mine about four or five years ago and it just changed my life,” said Mr. Roland.
Pastor Idella Williams stated she along with another local pastor approached True Life about hosting Min. Farrakhan. “He’s Church of God in Christ and I’m Spiritual and now we’re coming in with the Muslims. God said he’s going to bring all of his people together. The war is now. It’s time for us. If we want justice, it starts with us and we have to make that change,” said Pastor Williams. She is Christian and appreciates the Minister’s exegesis on Jesus. “Jesus said he is that I am and so when he talks about Jesus it more assures me we’re on the right track.”
For Myron Guyton, a teacher and basketball coach, what stood out was the Minister’s views on climate change and the treatment of women.
“There’s a lot of bad things happening to women for years. They say we are the people, but a lot of women are unprotected. It’s good that he spoke on that. We come from women. They’re the heart and soul of our lives.”
Queen Roshae, a natural hair stylist traveled five hours from Columbus, Ohio. She too was moved by Min. Farrakhan’s view on women and appreciated what she called the “diverse simplicity” of his message.
Attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem and Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad were on the legal team for Yreva Muhammad. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
True Light Baptist Church was filled to capacity for the Minister’s message. Photo: Andrea Muhammad
“Being a sister and being a sister in the business of women and hearing many of my sisters’ cries of mistreatment, misjustice and then the suffering of women in general, I really appreciate when that is recognized and its imperative to our overcoming—the woman being in her rightful stature,” she said.
“I have six children of my own and I’ve had to remove myself, separate myself just to raise mine up in peace. Go off to the country, come out of the city, change friends, guard myself and I appreciate the brother standing and recognizing, because I’m tired of doing it alone,” she added, her voice quivering slightly and tears brimming her eyes.
The Minister’s revelation that Jesus’s finest hour was suffering on the cross, resonated with Student Minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad, “tenfold,” he said. “He (Jesus) came to make us into him so we have a cross and we run from it but that gives a perspective that our finest hour is on the cross,” he said.
“That just blew me away when he said that because all Black people suffer. Black people are in pain, but Jesus gives us an understanding of what Black people go through. What the family of Minister Robert Muhammad is going through, they are suffering but it’s their finest hour in the depths of their pain. That resonated so deeply with me,” said the author, researcher and member of the NOI Executive Council. (Read transcript of Min. Farrakhan’s message beginning on page 20.)