Najee Ali, founder and director of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. (Helping Oppressed People Everywhere), a leading Los Angeles advocacy group, recently announced plans to step forward and fill the void left in the American Society of Muslims leadership that has existed for nearly three years since the Sept. 9, 2008, death of Ali’s former father-in-law, Imam W.D. Mohammed, who was the national leader of more than 1 million African American Muslims.
No successor was named or had emerged heretofore. The American Society of Muslims community has since been disorganized without leadership. Ali plans to unify the indigenous community and expand the work of Project Islamic H.O.P.E. He has selected a national board of directors comprised primarily of a diverse group of young adults from across the nation who are the most learned, skilled and talented in the Islam community. They will be responsible with forming chapters across the country, and will provide input on issues that have a bearing on American Muslims. The name of the national organization will be Project Islamic H.O.P.E.
Ali has launched two national grass roots initiatives that are designed to return the indigenous Islamic community back to its roots as a social reform movement in the tradition of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad–father of W.D. Mohammed–and Malcolm X. “Our goal is to help unify the indigenous community that is in total disarray, this new national Islamic movement is going to be led by the youth of Islam. We are prepared to carry on the legacy of my dad (Imam Mohammed) with grassroots Islamic activism that hopefully will be inspirational and demonstrate we’re confronting the needs of humanity in a positive manner with meaningful contributions.
“I don’t see myself as my dad’s sole successor, but I have no doubt under my leadership and our collective effort with this organization and its supporters, we should all view ourselves as his successor. Islamic hope will bring relevance back to our movement. We’re going to continue the Islamic work he envisioned and expand upon it by taking Islam back to the streets with social and political activism, being a champion for the people in need in the spirit of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali,” stated Ali.
“Everything that I have experienced in my life has led me to this moment, I feel that I’m well prepared to carry on the burden and obligation that is before me in attempting to keep the indigenous Islamic movement alive.”
Anti-prostitution is the first initiative, which is currently under way in Los Angeles, and will begin in other urban cities across America in August. This new initiative is designed not just to protest against prostitution, but to work with social service providers to help provide support and referrals for women who need help to overcome homelessness, domestic violence and substance abuse problems.
The second initiative is a national summit between Latino and African American leaders that will be held in Los Angeles this year. The purpose is for the two groups to find common ground over a host of issues that have found them directly at odds in recent years: jobs, housing, education, healthcare, and gangs.