Written by: Sis. Mariah X – Sis. Student Protocol for Muhammad Mosque #98

The Honorable Minister Farrakhan gave the order—make our communities a safe and decent place to live. “We need 10,000 fearless men to go inside the Black community, and stand in between the guns of the gangs, and then settle this with conflict resolution. And then, bring peace in our community,” Minister Farrakhan told a standing-room-only audience during a, “Justice or Else” address at Rosemont, Illinois on September 6, 2015. Since being introduced to the Nation of Islam, mosques and study groups have worked diligently to establish conflict resolution centers in their respective cities, in an ongoing effort to decrease violence and offer a secure and safe environment for people to come and peacefully resolve their differences.

Inspired by the Minister Farrakhan’s lecture entitled, “We Must Accept the Responsibility to Reform the Community”, Student Captain Bro. Dennis Muhammad spearheaded the Peacekeepers Violence Reduction Initiative. This laid the blueprint for the conflict mediation program. Witnessing the positive results of the program, the “Squash the Beef” Conflict Resolution Program was launched by Muhammad Mosque #46 in New Orleans Louisiana. Minister Farrakhan adopted the “Squash the Beef” model to be the blueprint for the 10,000 Fearless Conflict Resolution Training Initiative. 

Most recently, seeing the benefit of conflict resolution in other cities, and how it could benefit the increase of gun violence in her own city of Pensacola, Florida, Sis. Student Captain Candace Muhammad led, with the support of local student laborers in her city, in the organization of 10,000 Fearless Pensacola—with an immediate focus on conflict resolution. “I see the 10,000 Fearless Conflict Resolution Center in Pensacola being different because other efforts [in the city] being made are seemingly appealing to outside people, outside organizations to solve our problems”, said Sis. Captain. “But the conflict resolution center of the 10,000 Fearless is actually getting to the root. Which is, the mis-understandings that our people have…We’re not enemies… That means having the parties sit down and discuss the reason for the conflict, getting to the root of it and coming up with a solution themselves to solve it.”

Pensacola recently hosted Bro. Student Minister Willie Muhammad, the New Orleans (Muhammad Mosque #46) representative of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Student Minister Willie facilitated an interactive training where participants learned, and put into practice, the importance of clear and proper communication, de-escalation and the steps of the mediating process. Since 2015, he has dedicated his time to promoting the implementation of conflict resolution centers across our Nation, and says that one hurdle that he is determined to overcome is making conflict resolution the new norm in our community. “Members of our community have seen issues handled in a violent way for so long, that they doubt we as a people have the ability or desire to resolve “beefs” in a non- violent way”, Minister Willie said. One definite challenge in Pensacola, according to Pensacola’s Bro. Student Minister, Tarus X, has been getting other organizations on board in a unified effort. “We are taught that our unity is more powerful than an atomic bomb”, said Minister Tarus. “Sometimes, other organization have to come to see that, in the end, we have the same goal—saving the people. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has made the way. We just have to follow. It’s that simple.” Minister Willie believes the way to show the success of the resolution efforts are in the numbers. 

According the statistics routinely calculated by himself and his team, a total of over one hundred conflicts have been resolved nationally, with that figure expecting to rise as more centers are established and more mediators are trained. Alyssa Stewart, 18, was in attendance for the most recent training in Pensacola at Muhammad Mosque #98. Alyssa, now a part of the over 1,200 trained mediators, believes the conflict resolution skills she acquired, will play a vital role in her interactions with her fellow peers.“I think conflict resolution skills will help solving issues with others”, Alyssa said. “I think that perception plays a huge part in conflict resolution. Something that was perceived one way, may not be the right way.” Sis. Jameelah Ali, another Pensacola attendee, said the skills she learned were valuable, not only in the community, but in her own home dealing with her children as well. Sis. Jameelah was so inspired, by the training, she forwarded a testimonial afterward. “…I had been having issues with my son and nothing settled our issues. I literally applied the points of the workshop to have a better relationship with my son. Later that day, I heard him tell his friends, ‘My mama grounded me this morning, but we have an understanding… He is 16 and that is huge. This world has a tendency to appear fair-seeming.”

According to the trace.org, a firearm is used in nearly 500,000 crimes every year in our country—resulting in 110,000 injuries and/ or deaths. Minister Willie believes that it has become so common, that guns now outweigh citizens. “We are battling a culture”, said Minister Willie. “When I think of this battle, I reflect on the words of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad when he talked about the power of a consistent drop of water on a stone. He said if consistently done, the water can cause a hole in the stone. We, in this battle against violence, must be consistent in our efforts, like that drop.”

The benefit of our reaching beyond the mosque walls is that we bringing the vision of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan into reality. Making our communities a safe and decent place to live isn’t the responsibility of only the Muslims. It is the responsibility of humanity. Minister Willie reflects, “The Black stone was returned to its position with the help of four other members of the community and Muhammad. Not just Muhammad alone”.