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The Loss of A Giant

As-Salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu

May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of Allah (God) Be Upon You

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un

From Allah (swt) we come and to Him do we return.

We have lost another brilliant mind in our community! The founding lead organizer and advocate for the release of aging prisoners in the prison system of America, Br. Mujahid Farid has passed away.

Mujahid served thirty-three years in prison for a crime about which he claimed his innocence but was convicted and sentenced to serve 15 years to life. He did an extra 18 years because he was repeatedly denied parole. Even though he was a model prisoner and completed many programs while incarcerated, it took an additional 18 years before for his release.

While in prison he was one of three prisoners who developed the first HIV/AIDS peer education program in New York State prisons i.e., PEPA, which later became the widely acclaimed state-wide program called PACE (Prisoners AIDS Counseling & Education). Br. Farid was one of the participants in the creation of a college certificate program offered by New York Theological Seminary, and he taught Introduction to Sociology courses for people training for Alcohol & Substance Abuse (ASAT) counseling certification. He was the Open Society Soros Justice Fellow in 2013. He received many accolades in prison and outside of the walls.

The Southeast Queens Muslim Collective (SEQMC) was honored to partner with Release Aging People in Prison (RAPP) On a clear Saturday, July 9, 2016 the Southeast Queens community along with many attending from boroughs around New York City spent meaningful time listening and participating in an informative program regarding the plight of an aging prison population still held in New York State prisons albeit they are obviously no threat to themselves or the public. Many are in fact in failing health about which being close to their families from which they had been separated for so long would be a poultice at this time in their lives.

Upon his release from prison in 2011, Br. Mujahid brought to light many of the injustices that have transpired and been inflicted upon those who are doing time. He assisted in changing some of the legislation that has produced changes for those are in correctional facilities.

I can’t help but wonder what his accomplishments would have been had he not been taken off the streets or if he had been released after serving his minimum sentence. Too many of our African American men and women have been separated from their families for far too long. Each of us, regardless of ethnicity can assist in helping to carry on the battle of assisting those who are aged and incarcerated released. Just imagine what their contributions will be to our society if they were on the outside. Just imagine the joy to be felt to be connected with their families for the remainder of their lives.

To read more about Br. Mujahid' journey, please see the extensive obituary published in the New York Times today (November 28, 2018) here. We understand there will be a memorial held at some time in the future to be planned by the RAPP Family, insha'Allah. We will stay tuned so we can announce and share the date. We look forward to participating in a demonstration of recognition and appreciation for our dear Brother in Al-Islam whose intellect, compassion and outreach to all was expanded by the Mercy and Grace of Allah (swt).

Our condolences go out to Br. Mujahid’s family. We at the SEQMC will keep him in our du'as (prayers) and wish that he be granted Jannah Firdaus (the Highest Level of Heaven).

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