Nation of Islam Hosts First Annual Save Our Boys Conference
Lee Edwards | 4/29/2015, 12:25 p.m.
The Nation of Islam (NOI) will host its first “Boys to Men: Save Our Boys Conference” for African American and Hispanic youth at Mosque Maryam, 7351 S. Stony Island Ave., on May 9. The day-long conference is from 11 a.m. through 4 p.m. and is free admission for boys ages 8 through 17.
The Nation of Islam was founded on the basis of peace and as an answer to a prayer of Abraham to deliver his people who would be found in servitude slavery in the Western Hemisphere according to its website.
Shahid Muhammad, a conference organizer, told the Chicago Citizen Newspaper that he believes that the conference is a good method of tackling a wide array of issues facing young men of color.
"The conference that we have planned is to do something to change around and alter the course of our young Black and Hispanic boys and other boys of color," said Muhammad. "It's not one issue, it's a combination of different things so we needed to have a format where we could touch on one thing and then something else and try to give them a more holistic view on the problems."
The conference will address an assortment of issues including police brutality, financial literacy, defining manhood, etiquette while with women, health/hygiene and self-defense.
The Chicago Citizen Newspaper asked Muhammad if there was any concern from organizers that the NOI’s national profile may dissuade some parents from allowing their sons to attend the conference. He replied by saying, "Everyone knows our reputation and people are looking for solutions for their young boys so they're not caught up in the fact that the nation is putting it on and that we might be Muslims and that they might be Christians,” said Muhhammad. “The principles are universal regardless of religion, you need to pull your pants, respect women, respect your mother, become intellectually strong, you need to do for self. These are principles that we are giving the boys regardless of ideology.”
Conference organizers are encouraging all participating men to mentor at least three of the young men in attendance after the conference concludes. Muhammad said that the conference can accommodate more than 2,000 individuals and will provide a free lunch.
To learn more about the Nation of Islam visit http://www.noi.org/.