Masjidullah Inc. held its second annual pre Ramadan banquet featuring the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan as guest speaker Saturday night.
An estimated 900 guests attended the event at the Hilton Hotel on City Line Avenue, which organizers said had a three-fold purpose.
“Before most of us were born, Minister Farrakhan has been trying to uplift our people,” said Michael Rashid, Masjidullah board chair. “We want to acknowledge him for a lifetime of service. He has turned around drug addicts and criminals.”
Another purpose of the banquet was to raise money for improvements to the Masjidullah, which includes purchasing an adjacent parking lot. Masjidullah is located at 7401 Limekiln Pike.
“Our congregation has grown and in order to be good neighbors, and not crowd out others with our cars, we need a parking lot,” said Rashid.
Rashid said some of the funds raised at the banquet would be used for other improvements, which could include a school. During the banquet, Masjidullah took in pledges to reach toward its goal of $300,000.
The final purpose was “reconciliation.”
“It’s about the reconciliation of us as a people,” said Rahimah Abdullah, a member of the Masjidullah board. “It’s about reconciliation amongst Muslims, Christians and Jews and a reconciliation amongst the Nation of Islam and followers of [the late Elijah] Muhammad — coming together despite any differences they have for the common good of humanity.”
“We don’t agree with everything the Nation of Islam or Christ says but we want to work together,” said Rashid. “The school district didn’t ask whether our children were Muslim or Christians when they closed the school. And a drug dealer doesn’t ask a person whether they are Christian or Muslim.”
In his address, Farrakhan stressed unity, especially to improve the plight of African Americans and Muslims.
“I am a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” said Farrakhan. “I can not thank him enough for his merciful intervention in our affairs and for him to start us on our journey to Allah. I thank Allah for prophet Muhammad and the path he laid down.”
Farrakhan said he supported Masjidullah for the work it has done in Philadelphia. The Nation of Islam donated $10,000 to the Masjidullah.
“I am honored to be here,” said Farrakhan. “This is something that has been in the works for nearly 40 years.”
In speaking on the significance of the Masjidullah growing, Farrakhan noted it was a key opportunity for unity.
“We have an opportunity today to be an exemplary example of not what Islam looks like, but what Islam is,” he said. “This meeting tonight is important because it comes in front of Ramadan. If you can’t feel the pain of the Muslim, Christian, Jew, agnostic dying under unjust circumstances, you are either numb or dead. We support Masjidullah for the work that it is doing for Philadelphia.”
Fatimah M. Ali, Jathiyah Lash, Bahaaudin Mahmoud Ibn Adib Abdullah and Samir Bilal Muhammad were honored by Masjidullah for their community activism.
Sybrina Martin, the mother of the late Trayvon Martin, attended the banquet and was recognized. She was presented with a plant as a gift.