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I was blessed to speak with three members of the Nation Of Islam’s Fruit Of Islam (FOI) from Chicago regarding their recent launch of the “Red Shirt Detail”, which has spread all over social media. Brothers Dwayne, Darryl and Arshad share how it all began, the response from the community and the impact their presence is making not only in the streets of Chicago, but all over the world by the direction of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the spirit of God. We pray you enjoy the very special H2H magazine exclusive!
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): Tell me about the moment you heard the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan speak about the FOI’s accountability of the killings taking place in Chicago.
Dwayne Muhammad (DM): When the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated that we should shoulder the responsibility of some of the violence in the Black community to the Fruit Of Islam (FOI), I knew we were already out in the street, yet, I had a different idea about how we should move in the street. When you think about organizations and how they move among the people, the FOI should be indicative of the Time we live in. No organization should move quicker and more effectively than the FOI.
The [Red Shirt Detail] idea came from my experience in college when I stepped on the campus. I remember the fraternities stomping the yard. Their purpose for stomping the yard during the first week of school was the attract the new student or potential candidate for pledge. Having that experience I pledged Phi Beta Sigma, because they were more attractive. You always saw them and they had more members. Even if their performance was not as good as the Omegas or Alphas or Kappas it didn’t matter because they had such large numbers.
In my coming into the Student Regional Captain seat of FOI, I reflected on that experience. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is the shining example of leadership and no one “stomps the yard” like him. When Minister Farrakhan speaks, people listen. When he moves, people watch. So in taking the FOI out into the community I wanted us to be noticed and to be attractive. Therefore, I took my college experience, added it to the movement and tailored the image of the FOI.
The idea of the red shirts came from that experience. The red, in my thinking, represents the state of emergency the Black community is in. It’s a shirt that’s less intimidating than the Class-A suit and bow-tie. This is done to attract youth.
When the youth see the FOI in the red shirt, they’re more likely to approach us than when we’re in the suite and bow-tie. The red shirt is not intended to take the place of the suite and bow-tie. So we never stand on street corners selling The Final Call newspaper in red shirts. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan stated once that we have to come up with new ways to attract new people. So by adding videos, using modern equipment, and a less intimidating image with music we can go after the youth and capture the youth.
EM: What has the experience and interaction been like with the community during the Red Shirt Detail? How many FOI are present?
DM: We are now moving with numbers between 50-80 brothers. We’ve added the full blown training that comes with being FOI; military drill, martial arts, boxing and exercise. This is not only attractive to the youth but men and women in general. As we make the call to the brothers the numbers continue to grow.
While we’re in the community we notice that younger boys and girls are drawn to us partly because of our numbers and partly because of our mission. The youth are always looking for family. In the Black community there are so many broken homes. The FOI represents the father figure, the uncle and brother figure that a lot of our boys are yearning for.
We’ve received calls from mothers asking how their son can join the FOI. With the older men in the community there’s more pride. Some are happy to see the FOI, but you have others who are slow to give us encouraging words and acknowledgment.
Overall, our interaction in the community is a pleasant one.
EM: How many days out of the week does the Red Shirt Detail take place in Chicago?
DM: This takes place two days out of the week, Thursday and Saturday, and it is mandatory. These are training days and field activity for the FOI in Chicago.
EM: Are there plans to expand the Red Shirt Detail among FOI in other regions and cities in the Nation Of Islam?
DM: I was told by the Student Supreme Captain to implement any innovative ideas that I have. He said that we’ll try it out in Chicago and make it mandatory for the other cities. Our main focus for manhood training will include money management, military maneuvers, how to take care of your wife, martial arts, fight training and a major spiritual component; studying, praying and fasting.
We plan to open up free centers dedicated to the teaching and training of manhood, morals and manners. This will be the focus of our classes now. We’re taking two FOI trainers of manhood, morals and manners into the community. The children can come to this center and learn military drill, martial arts, boxing and proper deportment.
That’s what Minister Farrakhan said is missing in the community. The manners of the men have become so bad. The FOI should always look at the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as the example; finger nails, shoes, diet and incorporate that into our everyday life.
EM: Wow! When will this training begin?
DM: I wanted the training to start as soon as possible; this Saturday. I want to make sure that this aspect is pushed throughout the [Central] region and all over the United States.
EM: When exactly did the Red Shirt Detail launch?
DM: I was installed as the Student Regional Captain on the 22nd of June. We’ve been in red shirts for two months.
EM: What effect have you seen in those two months of the FOI being in the community in this fashion?
DM: When the FOI is present it curtails some of the violence in the Black community. We were instructed to give a clear warning. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan points us to the Bible where Ezekiel is told to give that clear warning so that the people’s blood will not be required at his hand. So even though we’re not able to measure the crime rate as it relates to our movement in the community, our job is just to deliver that clear message.
Minister Farrakhan said that he wants us to get out into the community and let the people know that they can come to the Nation Of Islam when times get hard, and they’re going to get hard.
EM: Thank you very much dear brother for all of your hard work and dedication! How may we learn more and keep up with the FOI in Chicago during the Red Shirt Detail?
DM: We’re developing an official website for the FOI that all can come to, order red shirts and watch fitness videos as well as receive fitness tips. There will also be a place where they can learn what’s trending with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and stay abreast with current issues with the FOI.
As of now they can make inquiries to ChicagoFOICaptain@gmail.com or inbox Dwayne Muhammad on Facebook.
H2H also spoke with Brother Darryl Muhammad, the official videographer for the Red Shirt Details as well as Brother Arshad Muhammad, who is the hip hop artist on the soundtrack in the Red Shirt Detail video footage. Here’s what they shared!
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): What were your thoughts as you listened to the instruction and plan to go back out into the streets of Chicago, this time on the Red Shirt Detail?
Darryl Muhammad (DM): It was very interesting to me being that we weren’t in typical “FOI attire” so to speak. Usually when you see FOI in the community we’re wearing a suit and a bow-tie, but this was my and many of the brothers first time ever having an experience like this. I was absolutely blown away as to how we were received. Every brother in uniform, wearing the same red shirt, having the same spirit, disciplined, really exemplified a sense of unity that most of our people have never been exposed to. I honestly feel, as FOI, we’re more impactful when we push TOGETHER, our unity is powerful.
EM: What has been your experience capturing the detail on camera?
DM: I’m not sure if you’re familiar with NuWorld, but we’re a group of music artists in Chicago and we have a vlog which pretty much depicts our life. The Red Shirt Detail video that everyone has seen started off as the beginning part to one of our episodes. Upon watching it over and over, that part was soooo powerful that we decided to make it a separate video on its own! Our Student Regional Captain, Bro. Dwayne, is always on me about using my skills and talents in videography. “We have to become known” is what he always tells me. I knew the video would have a much greater impact on Facebook. The response to the video has been overwhelming! There was a sister who saw the video and made Bro. Dwayne tell every FOI that she loves them! That’s amazing, and I thank Allah we were able to capture that footage.
EM: How have the people in the community responded seeing you?
DM: Very welcoming! There is strength in our unity as I stated and it’s undeniable. In the video there were two young brothers who hopped a fence to join us! “Let us walk with y’all”. It doesn’t get any better that!
EM: Why is this effort and presence of the FOI important especially now?
DM: Our people need us, they have nowhere to turn. As the light bearers of the world it is our absolute duty to shine our light. The Honorable Minister Farrakhan has instructed us to take responsibility for every one of our people that’s killed in the city of Chicago. Our presence alone prevents that, so we have no idea how many lives are saved by us just being present. It is especially important now in preparation for 10.10.15. As we continue to mobilize and push for that day, we plan to bring more and more videos in hopes that it reaches far and wide to the people we didn’t get a chance to see :).
Ebony S. Muhammad (EM): What is the name and message of the Hip Hop group you’re in? What makes your music unique compared to what’s already out there?
Arshad Muhammad (AM): The name of the group I am in is Ak47 – “A” representing my name Arshad , “K” for Khalil my brother and the 47 is from the 47th Surah in the Holy Quran entitled “Muhammad”. We are a part of a six member group NUWORLD, where we have dedicated our craft to bringing a new sound, message, and energy to music.
We speak to the Time that we’re living in and the conditions of our people. Being young, Black, Muslim men from Chicago nobody is telling a story from that perspective in the music industry right now. So just staying true to who we are we can’t help but be different!
EM: What has the response been like for you on the Red Shirt Detail in the
community, in the mosque and online?
AM: The response has been great! The people are very receptive to the Justice Or Else push. Even the mosque attendance is going up! Every now and then I might see a person post online about how they don’t agree with what we’re doing, but it’s so minute compared to the amount of people that are fed up with the injustice that we have been faced with since the beginning of our time in this country, that it doesn’t even matter!
EM: What’s the title of the track in the Red Shirt Detail footage and how was it chosen for the video?
AM: The name of the track is F.F.Y.N, an acronym of “FIGHT FOR YOUR NATION”. We chose that song because it was so relevant to the Time! We understand that there’s more than just a physical fight that has to take place. Immediately after I finished watching the video of Eric Garner I was so angered and disgusted that it motivated this song to be created, with the help of Allah.
EM: How has this particular detail fueled your work along with the Minister Farrakhan’s words, “One song can raise a nation”?
AM: I literally live off of that statement. I know the importance and effectiveness one song can have. So I use whatever talent I have to bring my people to the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and to the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Doing the Red Shirt Detail is a way for me to not only help fish in our brothers and sisters but it also helps me stay in tune with streets and the spirit of the people.
EM: Do you plan to release an official Red Shirt Detail soundtrack for those who wish to support your music? How can people learn more about your work?
AM: That’s definitely a possibility. I’m working on that idea as we speak. The song FFYN can be downloaded from my Soundcloud. You can also hear my group’s newest project GOTUS on “ThankGodNuworld” page on Soundcloud. Also follow us on Instagram at “NUWORLDChi” and my account nuworld_astronautflood.
EM: Thank you both so much for your time and for all of the powerful work you are doing! May Allah continue to bless you!
AM: Same to you and thank you for this opportunity!
DM: Thanks so much Sis Ebony!
WATCH FOOTAGE FROM THE RED SHIRT DETAIL BELOW!