Fruit of Islam
The Fruit of Islam (FOI), or "Fruit" for short, is the male-only paramilitary wing of the Nation of Islam (NOI). The Fruit of Islam wear distinctive blue or white uniforms and caps and have units at all NOI temples. Louis Farrakhan, as head of the Nation of Islam, is commander-in-chief of the Fruit of Islam, and his son, Mustapha Farrakhan Sr, is second in command. The women's counterpart to the Fruit of Islam is Muslim Girls Training (MGT).
The Fruit of Islam draws its membership from male members in Nation of Islam temples. While NOI does not release membership figures, estimates for total membership in the NOI range from 10,000 to 50,000.
The Fruit of Islam is one of the original institutions of the Nation of Islam, created by its founder W.D. Fard in 1933, shortly before his final disappearance. The men, mostly young, active members, were considered the "fruit" of the new nation. At the time the Fruit was created to help defend the members of the NOI and all others. It existed until the death of Elijah Muhammad in 1975. When Warith Deen Muhammad took control of the Nation of Islam he disbanded the Fruit. The organization was then reorganized by Louis Farrakhan when he reestablished the NOI.
N.O.I. Security Agency
In 1988 the Nation of Islam created a separate security agency using members of the Fruit of Islam. The agency received contracts primarily to patrol and staff public housing complexes in tough urban areas like Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago, and Los Angeles and received at least $20 million in the 1990s for security work. NOI Security had notable successes in Washington, D.C. projects particularly, but had difficulty in others and faced opposition by some members of Congress and the Anti-Defamation League, among others. It also faced scrutiny from federal agencies for racial and gender preference in hiring and from the IRS for failure to withhold taxes from employees.
The Fruit of Islam says its mission is to teach civilization, and teach what they know to those who do not know. A Nation of Islam website urging men to enroll in the FOI describes members as "brave fighter[s] for Allah" engaged in "a unique war for the very heart and soul of a people." The site explains, "The responsibility of the F.O.I. is that of a head of house: protection, provision, and maintenance of the Nation of Islam (all Original People). The F.O.I. are militant in the sense that our operations are done as a unit."
- Lawrence A. Mamiya, Article on Louis Farrakhan in Encyclopædia Britannica 2007: also quotes at the high end of 50,000 in the NY Times on February 26, 2007
- Gardell, Mattias, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, Duke University Press, 1996, p.55
- Charles Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1994
- U.S. News & World Report, "Propagandists or Saviors?", September 4, 1994
- Mattias Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad, Duke University Press, 1996
- N.Y. Times, "As Farrakhan Groups Land Jobs From Government, Debate Grows", March 4, 1994
- Ralph B. Taylor, Breaking Away from Broken Windows, Westview Press, 2001
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- Federal Funds for NOI Security Firms: Financing Farrakhan's Ministry of Hate. Anti-Defamation League, 1996