Reports are that Minister Louis Farrakhan will be visiting Belize next weekend in his official capacity. This is very good news for Belize, especially our black community, because the honorable Minister is a man of regional and international credibility amongst the roots masses. We have been experiencing some frightening problems with our young people, and for sure Minister Farrakhan will grab the attention of our “challenged” youth.
Minister Farrakhan joined the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam (NOI) sometime in the 1950s. After Hon. Elijah died in 1975, one of his sons, Warith Deen Muhammad, became leader of the Nation, and he moved the organization into orthodox Islamic theology. Under Hon. Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam had followed some beliefs which were not completely consistent with the Koranic teachings of orthodox Islam, but beliefs which had been embraced by an ever growing body of followers, primarily in the United States of America.
Minister Farrakhan had submitted to the authority of Warith Deen Muhammad, but after a couple years he moved away and re-established the Nation of Islam in the mould of Hon. Elijah’s original organization.
Minister Farrakhan’s new Nation of Islam grew rapidly, and much of that has to do with his charismatic personality and exceptional speaking ability. He may be considered the most powerful black leader in the Western Hemisphere, his influence extending far beyond the strictly religious sphere. (Please understand, Barack Obama, for instance, is not a black leader: he is a leader who is black.)
Minister Farrakhan’s socio-political impact is ironic because it was such a reach into socio-politics which got Malcolm X into trouble with Hon. Elijah Muhammad in late 1963. This was a time when the civil rights movement was surging forward in black America under the leadership of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., a Christian pastor. Malcolm, who was the Nation of Islam’s most brilliant Minister at the time, had begun to comment on socio-political and economic issues. He went as far as to comment publicly on the assassination of U.S. President John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November of 1963. Malcolm said that the assassination was a case of “chickens coming home to roost,” because of America’s climate of violence.
Hon. Elijah felt that Malcolm had gone too far, and he suspended him for 90 days from Malcolm’s ministry at Harlem’s famous Mosque No. 7. The rift between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam began to grow worse and worse, but the huge bulk of the Nation, including Minister Farrakhan, remained loyal to the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. It was in a climate of violent hostility between the Nation and Malcolm X that Malcolm was assassinated in February of 1965 in New York City.
In Belize, the teachings of the Nation of Islam arrived in British Honduras around 1961 when the late Charles X Eagan, also known as “Justice” and later known as Ibrahim Abdullah, was deported from America after serving time in Atlanta State Penitentiary. The colonial authorities here went so far as to send Justice to the insane asylum (the old Seaview Hospital), but he gained two loyal converts during his ministry. These were Ismail Omar Shabazz (formerly George Tucker) and Rudolph Farrakhan (formerly Rudolph Trapp).
When the United Black Association for Development (UBAD) was established in February of 1969, Justice and Shabazz were founding officers. UBAD benefited substantially from the experience and teachings of Justice, Shabazz, and Farrakhan.
In January of 1971, Charles X Eagan was sentenced to jail after being convicted in the Supreme Court. He was still in jail when Nuri Muhammad, who had been a UBAD member from May to August of 1969 when he was named Bert Simon, had been appointed by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad as Imam of Belize’s Muslim community. In November of 1972, Ismail Shabazz resigned from the UBAD executive to work for the Muslim community under Imam Nuri’s leadership.
Minister Louis Farrakhan first visited Belize in 1975, at which time he was a guest of Belize’s Muslim community under the leadership of Imam Nuri Muhammad. The PUP Government of Belize and the UDP City Council of Belize City gave Minister Farrakhan official honors on his visit.
When Minister Farrakhan made his second visit to Belize in 1986, it was under the auspices of the Society for the Promotion of Education and Research (SPEAR), which was being led by former PUP Cabinet Minister, Assad Shoman. At that point, if I remember correctly, Nuri Muhammad had been replaced as Imam of the Belize Muslim community.
On the occasion next week of Minister Farrakhan’s third visit to Belize, Kremandala extends maximum respect to the honorable Minister. Our black community is in the worst condition I have ever seen in my lifetime. Minister Farrakhan’s message will do us good.
Power to the people.