Veronica Brown-Comegys

I had a volcanic first encounter with the Nation of Islam in the 1980s. Subsequently, I screamed a vow, which I still honor.

I had left my receptionist job in a government office, and was heading to the bus stop. A member of the NOI was selling the organization’s newspapers across the street. He stopped walking and stared. In a rush he approached me and lashed out. Evidently, he was the “business attire police;” he shrieked, “You are out here trying to be the white man’s whore.” And, it was on. We stood face-to-face hollering. Finally, I stalked away.

At home I trembled with fury as I frantically dialed the NOI. I boomed my earsplitting rant, and ended by saying, “I’m not buying your newspaper again.” Decades have passed, and I’m still not a reader. Several days later at the same location, I saw the man. He was glaring at me as if he had murder on his mind. As I looked around for a brick, I thought, come over here and I’ll give you something to howl to Mohammed.

Furthermore, the grudge remains because in the 1990s unexpectedly, I needed an attorney, and a co-worker pointed me to someone in the building. I was unaware the lawyer was a Muslim. I would not have hired him, if I’d known. However, for several days we conferred. Suddenly, he began hounding me about attending the mosque. “I don’t like people bugging me about their religion,” I said. Next, he started another campaign; I was disgusted, and reminded him that he was married. His spouse was a diminutive Caucasian woman, who was always shrouded in white. In addition, she trailed several steps behind him with her head bowed. “She has been with me a long time,” he said. I thought, that’s only possible because she avoids looking at your face.

Eventually, we had a court date. However, three weeks beforehand the barrister disappeared. I sent him a letter, and he signed the return receipt, but remained out of sight. I obtained the services of another black man. When it became obvious that he was not on my side, I transferred to his sister. One year later I ran into the disappearing attorney.  I growled, “What happened to you?” His answer tripled the size of my animosity. He casually said, “Oh, I decided to move to Battle Creek for a job.”

Over the years, I tried to have a civil attitude; I listened to some of Minister Farrakhan’s speeches, and even corrected misinformation spouted by my Jewish graduate school professor. However, around 2014 along came eight-hundred-ton Raehunya barreling over me, spitting, snapping, snarling, condescending one minute, phony-friendly, and syrupy-voiced the next. I suspected she was proud to be black, but angry that she was dark-skinned. Without questioning me about my background, she launched into a lecture about “bettering myself.” I thought, I’m already better than you.

Amazingly, the following day the woman-beast expected me to return for more at my volunteer post in a professor’s home. But I did not show up. Instead I was home, sitting in my recliner, and enjoying a snack when she called. Sister Sweetness and Spite said, “Veronica, are you busy?” “Yes, I’m busy.” “We need the meeting room put back in order.” “Well I’m busy,” I said before violently hanging-up. Consequently, I no longer assist a certain man’s projects; his eight-hundred-ton, nausea-inducing, hanger-on is a pestilence. Instead, I visit African-American residents at a suburban nursing home, where the white staff appreciates my help.

So, what has the Nation of Islam unloaded on me? Disrespect, verbal abuse, character assassination, slander, patriarchy, unprofessionalism, invitations to have sex with a married man, rudeness, grossness, ungratefulness, and witchy behavior, with a capital B. Those black American Muslims make a strong impression. On the other hand, the people from the Middle East are always friendly and polite.

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