Contributions to Islamic Faith

Contributions to Islamic Faith
February 25
00:00 2016
Above: Photo by Timothy Ramsey- Sister Margaret Murray Muhammad accepts her award for her contribution to the Islamic Community at the Delta Arts Center on Saturday, Feb. 20.

By Timothy Ramsey

For The Chronicle

The Islamic religion has been around in the city of Winston-Salem for more than half a century. On Saturday, Feb. 20, Fleming El-Amin, along with the American Coalition for Good Government for which he is Mid-Atlantic regional coordinator, honored three individuals who were instrumental in spreading the Islamic Faith in the city and surrounding area.

The honorees were Imam Irvin Shakir, Sister Margaret Murray Muhammad, and Brother Ghuneen Furquan, who all played pivotal roles and made significant contributions to the Islamic and African- American communities of the Triad region.

The crowd was filled with family and friends of the honorees. Music was provided by “The Healing Force,” a family musical group who celebrates African culture through storytelling and music.

Shakir, who was raised Christian and accepted the Islamic faith in 1956 after a chance encounter at his place of employment, was elected minister of his Temple at the young age of 27. He was instrumental in establishing the Sister Clara Muhammad school in Winston-Salem and served as director as well.

Shakir said, “It means a lot to me in the sense that I’ve spent most of my life in Al-Islam. And for people to give me some kind of recognition for what I’ve done in the spirit of Al-Islam and for the city, I really do appreciate it.”

Mrs. Murray, who as a child was told that African-American history began with slavery, said she knew even then we had something greater than our history in slavery. Murray is the founder, owner, and operator of Vital Link Learning Center of Raleigh, which is a private school for students pre-K through elementary school. African-American studies is not an elective; it is at the core of the school curriculum. Murray has also been a talk show host for “Traces of Faces and Places” for over 25 years on Saturday mornings on WSHA radio.

“It’s quite an honor when your peers honor you. It’s something you just know you were born to do and you do it. I knew that I always wanted to show our history did not begin in slavery, so along with doing my research on the subject, I wanted to start a school to teach our history and the great contributions we have made,” said Murray of how she felt about being honored.

Furquan became a Muslim in 1960 and later became a captain in the Nation of Islam and served the Islamic community in many capacities. His primary focus was as a businessman. Furquan is the founder of the Pyramid Institute of Barbering in 1978 and ran it for over 37 years, until he retired. He estimates Pyramid has had about 8,000 graduates through the years. He went on to say that he wanted to help young people make money and to be able to take care of themselves.

El-Amin, who was one of the organizers and master of ceremonies, said he decided to put this event together because he felt as though we don’t say thank you enough to our senior citizens and those who laid the foundation to enjoy the things we enjoy, and that it was beyond time to say thank you to them.

According to a history, the Coalition for Good Government (CGG), currently known as the American Coalition for Good Government (ACGG), was established in 1997 after a landmark address by Imam W. Deen Mohammed on community responsibility. The event took place in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mohammed outlined a blueprint for political involvement and emphasized the importance of representative government and the obligation Muslims to shoulder their public responsibility.

ACGG established eight regions nationally and executed numerous political support activities for people seeking office through the ACGG national network.

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