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8.21.2014

"What we're trying to do is keep people from dying."-- Richard Muhammad, Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call


Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call Richard B. Muhammad who is at 'ground-zero' in Ferguson, MO 

If you are relying on CNN, MSNBC and FOX to tell you what is going on in #Ferguson, then you don't really know what's going on.

I just conducted an exclusive interview with the Editor-in-Chief of The Final Call Richard B. Muhammad who is at 'ground-zero' in Ferguson, MO and has been there for quite some time delivering direct information to the public.

Not only is he conducting top-notch reporting and sending pictures documenting what is taking place, but he is also doing his duty as a Muslim, an advocate and protector of our people.

During this brief interview, he delivers his candid perspectives on the following:

- The reality on the ground, which is not being reported by the “mainstream media” and the role of the Nation of Islam in preventing the loss of life

- The presence of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

- White agent provocateurs creating mischief among peaceful Black protesters

- The importance of institutions like The Final Call when it comes to telling our stories

- His discussion with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on the unrest in Ferguson

- The militarized police presence in Ferguson

(The audio runs a little over 16 minutes.)

7.31.2014

God's Influence in Hip Hop and Consciousness Survey


I got alot of feedback from the 'God's Influence in Hip Hop' article and I'm still receiving it. Thank you. Overwhelmingly positive, some negative, but ultimately all good. As I work on follow-up articles in the series, you can help by answering the 3 questions on this short survey. I'm trying to give everybody a chance to weigh in and have their voices heard.

Take the survey here:  http://tinyurl.com/mh4qmvg

Whether in the barbershop, on the corner or at a party, asking a question about Hip Hop greats and their influence, or attempting rankings automatically leads to spirited and passionate discussions.

7.21.2014

God and Hip Hop examined in this edition of The Final Call (FinalCall.com)


Cover of The Final Call Volume 33 Number 42
Many rappers and members of the Hip-Hop Nation will readily admit that even though they are not registered members of the Nation of Islam or self-identified members of the Five Percent Nation, they have been influenced by both in very significant ways.

In Black communities, particularly major metropolitan areas, it is not unusual to hear the greetings of “As-Salaam Alaikum” coming from the mouths of little children, Christians, and many who are not Muslims. Within the culture of Hip-Hop, you will hear many using the phrase “Word is Bond” who have never in their lives seen the Supreme Wisdom Lessons by Master Fard Muhammad nor the 120 Lessons of the Five Percent Nation.

For many, during the late 80s and mid-90s, their first exposure to the voice of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan may have come from hearing his speeches mixed over beats, or perhaps a lyrical reference in a group’s Hip-Hop song. The fundamental teachings that a man, God himself, came to identify and deliver Black people in fulfillment of the prophecies, is at the root of any Black liberation theology being taught or heard today.

Through his lectures and writings, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad shattered the myths of the White God, the White Jesus and White Supremacy cloaked in the religion of Christianity. It was the teachings of the Nation of Islam that brought Black people face to face with the fact that what they were reading in the pages of their Bibles represented prophecies that had yet to be fulfilled and symbolic pictures of people, places, and events in the future.

The old gospel songs about Moses asking Pharaoh to “let my people go” and the deliverance of a suffering people seeking redemption are not Jewish melodies, but Black freedom songs, so it is fitting that Hip Hop would be the musical vehicle as modern day gospel songs to the youth, carrying forth these important truths and newly discovered realities.

Black people were taught about the holocaust of European Jews, but nothing about their own Black Holocaust. Black people knew U.S. History, but very little about their history before slavery. All that would change with the injection of consciousness raising lyrics that would not only inform, but also educate. 

You'll get a megadose of #HipHop reality in this week's editoin. I spoke with  Lord Jamar of Brand Nubian, Wise Intelligent of the Poor Righteous Teachers and linguistic scholar Dr. Wesley Muhammad. The Gods weighed in. I think you'll enjoy their analysis.

Read it in this edition of The Final Call. In digital and print. http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_101629.shtml

7.16.2014

Israel’s Latest Genocidal Assault Against Palestinians is Nothing New (FinalCall.com) #GazaUnderAttack


The Final Call Vol. 33 No. 41 with coverage of the latest Israeli assault on the Palestinian people.
Israel’s Latest Genocidal Assault Against Palestinians is Nothing New
By Ashahed Maliki Muhammad (@AshahedM)
NEWS ANALYSIS

The launch of Operation Protective Edge by the Israeli Defense Forces July 8 represents only the latest genocidal aggression targeting the Palestinian people.

“The common narrative that Israel is responding in self-defense is totally misleading,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s Central Council and founder of the Palestinian National Initiative political movement. “Israel provoked the actions, Israel is the one who started the airstrikes on Gaza, Israel is the one when there was no response made sure to assassinate people so there would be a response. Israel must be restrained,” he added.

Hamas is fighting back by sending rockets to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, but their weapons are no match for the bloody paralyzing military capabilities of the Israel Defense Forces. The Bonn International Centre for Conversion’s 2013 Global Military Index has Israel at the top of its list as the world’s most militarized country. The independent, non-profit policy organization uses several variables to determine the relative importance of the military apparatus to the society as a whole.

Attorney Tarek Khalil, a Palestinian activist, said the military mismatch is the main part missing from the Western and controlled media’s narrative and an important part of what is happening. “Palestinians are being killed by the Israeli government itself using a technologically advanced army. Whatever is done by Palestinians in response is a reaction to being attacked by the occupying forces of the Zionist government.

“It’s always presented as two sides with equal bargaining chips almost as if it is symmetrical and equal conflict between two sides who can equally defend themselves,” said Atty. Khalil. “Well, nothing could be further from the truth. It is absolutely ridiculous to even suggest that Palestinians are the aggressors. There is no such thing as aggression from victims,” he added.   

Many view Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas as somewhat weak, however, he is the preferred choice of Israel and the United States when confronted with the specter of having to work with Hamas, which handily won democratic parliamentary elections in 2006 and still maintains significant support. Most recently, as they continue to seek international support for Palestinian statehood, it was announced last month that a unity government between Fatah and Hamas had been formed, much to the chagrin of Israel and the U.S.

“Everything started since the Palestinian consensus government was announced and since the reconciliation took place,” Dr. Barghouti explained. “It was clear since then that Israel was planning a huge operation with specific political aims.” Decades of state-sponsored terror

Israel has been an occupying force in the Palestinian territories for decades, and this is not the first time they have maimed and injured innocent men, women, and children, without being called to account for their actions. Dr. Barghouti also believes ground operations are imminent, tanks will be rolling in and more soldiers, which means a repeat of the bloody massacres that took place at the end of 2008/2009 and 2012 that resulted in heavy Palestinian civilian casualties.

According to analysts, Israel’s goals are several: to break the Palestinians will to reject a long-term apartheid system, to end the political isolation currently being experienced by Israel, and to break up Palestinian efforts at establishing unity.

“Israel will not achieve their political goals, but the price is going to be very heavy. We are talking about the loss of thousands of lives,” Dr. Barghouti said.

Numbers can be deceiving, but in this case, they tell an important aspect of the story infrequently analyzed. Israel’s political leaders and people fear the demographic threat posed by Palestinians. According to 2014 statistics from the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the Palestinian population is estimated to be nearly 4.6 million. According to several human rights organizations operating in the area, nearly half of the  Palestinian population is under 20 years of age.

The recent actions of the Israeli military are “appalling” and suggestive of the type of imbalance that has occurred over the years, said Imam Sultan Rahman Muhammad of Mosque Maryam. Israel, by her actions, continues to make things worse, he noted.

“We’re looking at the Israeli government practicing what is known as collective punishment,” said Imam Muhammad. “The young Palestinians are growing up with revenge in their hearts, and we find that this is not bringing any resolution to the problem that has been existing since 1948, and the only type of resolution that can come is to stop the settlements and put an end to the apartheid type of government.”

The violence in the region did not begin with the deaths of three Israeli teens in June, nor is it a battle between two opponents of equal military strength. The United States of America supports reliably and delivers Foreign Military Financing to the tune of $3 billion annually, to bolster and maintain Israel’s quantitative and qualitative military advantage  in the region. A conservative estimate by the Washington Report on Middle Eastern Affairs found total direct aid to Israel topping $123 billion since Israel’s formation in 1948.

“There is no accountability in the Occupied Territories. Israeli officials and authorities operate with impunity,” said Brad Parker, staff attorney and international advocacy officer for Defence for Children International-Palestine, which promotes and protects global children’s rights in the Occupied Territories. According to the group, 14 children under the age of 18 have been killed. Two victims were 3-years old and two were only 1-year-old. When looking at the names and ages of the 41 who have been killed, many are in their 20s. No Israelis have lost their lives.

Israel’s Threats and Actions

Shortly after it was publicly reported that the three missing Israeli teenagers, Gilad Shaer,16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19, had been found dead, instead of pleading for calm, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whipped Israelis into an emotional frenzy using American-style dog whistle politics and calling for vengeance.

“Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created. Neither has vengeance for the blood of three pure youths who were on their way home to their parents who will not see them anymore. Hamas is responsible and Hamas will pay. May the memories of the three boys be blessed. They were abducted and murdered in cold blood by human animals,” said Mr. Netanyahu.

His strategy likely helped lead hawkish and bloodthirsty supporters into vigilantism. The death of 15-year-old Mohammed Abu Khdeir soon followed. He was kidnapped, tortured and burned alive by his abductors. Six Israelis are being held in connection with the death.

Then in a tragically ironic twist, the next day, Tarek Abu Khdeir, a U.S. citizen from Tampa, Fla., and Mohammed Abu Khdeir’s cousin, was viciously beaten by Israeli police. Video footage of the brutal beating emerged and has spread throughout media networks worldwide. There have also been reports of other attempted kidnappings of Palestinians, and now, Israeli youth are menacingly prowling neighborhoods loudly chanting “death to Arabs.”

Shortly thereafter, bombing of Gaza began.

Israel’s government and military have advanced the narrative that Operation Protective Edge is needed to dismantle Hamas and Islamic Jihad, however the entire population of Gaza and the West Bank find themselves punished with few defenders.

“This is not an attack on Hamas, this is an attack on all of the Palestinian people in Gaza. Gaza is completely under siege,” said Dr. Barghouti.

“Who is going to defend the Palestinians from this rage from the Israeli terror?” asked Hatem Abudayyeh of the United States Palestine Community Network. Palestinians are not going to sit by—in the Middle East or America—and watch as their people are killed, he said. The U.S. government must act against Israel’s state-sponsored violence and further retaliatory bloodshed, said Mr. Abudayyeh.

Many have called for a ceasefire, but Israel typically violates the terms and never respects any agreements. Dr. Barghouti, who was among those who sat with members of Hamas to work out details of the unity government, said on July 9 President Mahmoud Abbas made an official request to the United States to talk to Israel. He called for a complete and immediate ceasefire. Israel refused.

“It is now clear that Israel is the one that is refusing to have any ceasefire,” said Dr. Barghouti. “If Israel stops its airstrikes and stops its invasion, there will be no rockets. There was a complete ceasefire and complete calm and Hamas was not only not shooting any rockets, they also restrained and prevented others from doing so,” he added.

[Read the entire article with photos and video @ http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/World_News_3/article_101606.shtml]
#GazaUnderAttack

7.14.2014

'Live From Gaza Where Israel Rains Death' By Mohanad Nabhan



Mohanad Nabhan writes from Gaza 

'Live From Gaza Where Israel Rains Death' 
By Mohanad Nabhan
Gaza, July 10, 2014

Nothing is worse than the sound of explosions in the distance, the sound of a house crumbling to ashes, the sound of drones overhead and the sound of the radio calling out the names of the fallen victims. Some of the fallen are my age, some are younger, some are mere children, women, or elderly. Yet here I stand incapable of action or even a tender whisper goodbye to the friends I have lost at the hands of this cruel war.

Yesterday would mark the first night of many that people in Gaza would spend in terror, and the World Cup would present a pleasant escape from the violence. Two of my friends, Mohammed Khalil Qanan (26 years old) and Ibrahim Khalil (29 years old), went to watch the match between Argentina and Netherlands at a café on the beach.

What they thought would be a joyous night turned into a nightmare as they were targeted by the Israeli navy which shelled the Gazan seaport last night. Nine innocent people died in that incident. Nine people died, for merely wanting to watch a game. Nine people will not come home to their family, and I will never see my friends again.

I live in an open-air prison, where there is no place to hide. Two days ago, the IDF demolished a house that is a mere 100 meters from my own. I went to see the carnage, but my mind could not comprehend what my eyes saw. All it takes is a minute. One minute you could be sitting in your living room drinking tea with your family, and the next you are screaming but no one will hear the sound.

Its been four days since Gaza has been submerged into a war with horrors your deepest nightmares could not imagine. So far, Palestinian medical officials have confirmed the death of 89 Palestinian and the injury of 630 people, and more are yet to come.

For the world, these people are just numbers, for us these people are heroes, and for others these people are fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters that they can’t imagine life without.
Young brothers mourn those killed by the Israeli military and police.
(Photo: Ashahed M. Muhammad)

I watch as my little brother covers his ears with his hands, trying to block out the sound of rockets raining down on neighborhoods taking away the lives of more innocent men and women. I wonder if he is trying to block out the sound of the F16, or if in his innocent mind he believes that if he cannot hear our house shaking, our windows shattering, and our doors swinging, that his heart will grow steady.

I sit on my bed and I stare at the swinging chandelier and I think of all the mothers who kiss their children good night, perhaps for the last time. I think of the husbands who hold their wives and pray for strength.

Then I pray for the children who wake up to find that they have no family left, and that the place they once called home is no more. I kiss my brother on the forehead and I pray. I can do nothing but pray.

How can I give my family comfort or peace, when my own heart is in my throat. Will I meet my maker tonight?

When I was younger, I would wake up terrified in a cold sweat from the sound. My father would stroke my hair gently and whisper, “Don’t be afraid baba. They are just fireworks”.

Out of the narrow gap of the window I can see lights twinkling in the darkness. Perhaps in ten years, I will tell my own child this lie so that they will be able to sleep. I really
wish those lights were fireworks, but they are missiles, death reapers that shower on my homeland.

Forget the innocence of youth, here our children learn of guns, drones and death before they learn to speak. What in the name of God have those children done to witness this barbarity? Why must a child become an orphan before he learns to pronounce the word mom? Here, our weddings don’t end in “Happily ever after”. Here a bride may say farewell to her husband before she has her wedding. “Wait for me” she cries, “I will see you soon”.

Yet here I stand… Still doing nothing. All I hear is that awful sound. The sound of explosions in the distance, the sound of a house crumbling to ashes, the sound of drones overhead, and the sound of the radio calling out the names of the fallen victims.

(http://www.existenceisresistance.org/)

6.27.2014

My experience with Sybrina Fulton, the mother of our beloved Trayvon Martin


Here with Sybrina Fulton, the courageous mother of Trayvon Martin, at the First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia.(Photo: FirstWork Media)

Over this past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet and have a brief one on one conversation with Sybrina Fulton, the courageous mother of our slain young brother Trayvon Martin.

Ms. Fulton means a lot to Black people and the experience is one that I will not soon forget. 

To be able to look into her eyes and see clearly that our sister still feels pain when thinking or talking about her son Trayvon. There is nothing like a mother’s love. They say time heals all wounds, but it doesn’t. Despite her pain, Ms. Fulton carries herself with a quiet dignity and strength that is remarkable and admirable.

I have watched women such as Coretta Scott King, Betty Shabazz, and Mamie Till, the mother of Emmett Till, and what I’ve observed is they have an inner peace and power that comes from understanding that they represent something greater than themselves because of their unique connections to individuals who have become martyred icons. Tragic circumstances forced them into those positions thrusting them into the merciless and unenviable world of those with highly visible public profiles. That was not their desire. They wanted to be wives and mothers and experience long life and old age with their husbands. In the case of Mamie Till, surely she wanted to see her son grow into an adult right?

Ms. Fulton represents the greatest injustice that we have witnessed in quite some time. She exudes a firm confidence and walks with a steady determination. Justice is coming and her son Trayvon will not be forgotten.

Minister Farrakhan shared some private words with her after his message at First African Baptist Church in Philadelphia on June 22. Tears rolled down her cheeks as he spoke to her, yet she remained strong. I will not share those private words. It will be up to Ms. Fulton to share them at a later date and time if it is her desire.

Despite all she has been through, and knowing the formidable challenges that lie ahead on the road to justice, she marches on in the memory of her son Trayvon and—as you can see in the picture—smiles. 

I find myself in awe, strangely bordering on amazement, when I think about the strength of the Black woman.


5.28.2014

Alpha Kappa Alpha Mourns the loss of Maya Angelou



Chicago, Illinois – Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority mourns the loss of beloved honorary member Maya Angelou. Speaking on behalf of Alpha Kappa Alpha’s 265,000 members worldwide, the Sorority’s International President Carolyn House Stewart borrowed a title from one of her poems in hailing her as a “phenomenal woman.”

Declared Stewart, “As a poet, author, actress, advocate, humanitarian and dispenser of wisdom, Maya Angelou inspired and uplifted everyone she touched. In her words and deeds, she was fierce, courageous and bold. Most of all, and at her core, she radiated love. This rare ability to give and receive love will ultimately be the legacy she leaves the world.”



President Stewart said that Maya Angelou was one of the Sorority’s most-heralded members. She was inducted into the Sorority on March 10, 1983 as an Honorary Member. During the ceremony, she was hailed as a distinguished woman whose works and contributions parallel AKA’s ideals of achievement and service. It is an ideal she maintained throughout her 86 years of life, said Stewart.

“Alpha Kappa Alpha extends condolences to the world community, which grieves the loss of this icon,” stated Stewart. “While we lament her passing, we join the world in celebrating her life, which will be forever etched in our minds and in our hearts.”