Twin Servant of Peace Excellence in Broadcasting & Communications College Scholarship…
“If it is to be…it’s up to me.” – Imam Thomas Abdul Salaam (RA)
“The Twin Servant was blessed to make connections from the wisdom of Imam Dr. W. Deen Mohammed (RA) and he peered into the future to make one of the greatest connections our Community has ever benefited from…he connected us by integrating the vision of a national working intelligentsia with a powerful broadcasting medium… He sought to give all of us a voice to become a sounding and working group intellect within the respectful framework of Shuraa Baynahum.”—Mukhtar Muhammad, CWSC Executive Director
The Twin Servant of Peace Excellence in Broadcasting and Communications College Scholarship is awarded annually to a graduating, college bound high school senior, current undergraduate or graduate student who exemplifies a strong commitment to community service and educational excellence, especially in the fields of mass communication including radio and television broadcasting, journalism, film and print media including newspaper, magazine and book publishing, as well as new media digital production such as blogging, internet broadcasting and podcasting.
The Scholarship is established in honor of the late Imam Thomas Abdul Salaam (1953-2015 RA), founder of the American Muslim 360 Radio Broadcasting Network and the national nonprofit resource and intelligentsia network, the Community Wide Shuraa Conference, Inc.
Imam Thomas, widely respected and affectionately known as the Twin Servant of Peace and Mr. AM360, responded to the call of Imam Dr. W. Deen Mohammed (1933-2008 RA), who challenged the Muslim community to open up lines of communication within its group intellect. Thomas got busy building an internet radio station in 2010 with the support of his wife, Dr. A’isha Kareem, and with the hope of connecting Muslim voices across the United States.
He undertook a daunting task requiring initial and sustained capital investment, and even greater faith. Placing personal finances at risk and working literally from sun up to sun down, Thomas steadily and methodically built a national radio network appealing to an underserved American Muslim community. He would literally create the realtime pathways to not only connect an entire community, but he would indeed give them a national voice and a way to share ideas and engage in productive dialogue as never before. Male and female, imam and non-imam, youth to seniors, AM360 became a meeting of the minds stratifying all levels of education and social status; it was fast becoming an intellectual Madinah Munarawah as he brought annual themes to the forefront such as Year of the Qur’an and Year of Shuraa Baynahum to spur on critical new thinking and a renewed commitment to the concept of model community life, and what establishing that life demanded from each of us. All the while he gave generously of himself, his time, his wealth, and the station, despite receiving scant financial support.
Thomas had a vision and a mission and compassionate spirit of wanting to serve his community no matter how formidable the odds. By 2013, his perseverance, patience and dedication would begin yielding powerful results as he built a listenership and began attracting hosts and hostesses, and creating a line-up of ground-breaking programming that ran the gamut from faith, religion and politics, to music, culture arts and health. He gave his community a 21st century technology platform offering realtime coverage of events shaping our community life as well as an archival access to a treasury of Islamic broadcasting open to the world 24 hours a day.
Thomas would next, with A’isha by his side, take to the open road, promoting the station and sharing his vision along the way. A miracle was unfolding right before Thomas’ and A’isha’s eyes and their community’s, as AM360 began to garner attention from inside and outside the American Muslim Community. And then the breakthrough came…American Muslim 360 would be proclaimed a major media influencer and the #1 Islamic blogtalk station in the nation with over a half-million listenership level and accelerating toward one million.
The Twin Servant had done it! He had built a radio station that was now connecting Muslim and non-Muslim voices and providing such community services as daily Qur’anic recitation, reading and tafsir during the entire month of Ramadan and weekly live broadcasts of the Friday prayer service from more masajid throughout the country than any medium in history. Now those who had been otherwise disconnected from their community due to age, illness, or disability were suddenly actively engaged in the group intellect, as new and diverse voices permeated the airwaves pulling from a powerful reservoir of collective intellect honed and tempered by the Qur’an, the Life example of Muhammed the Prophet (S) and the leadership, language and logic of Imam W. Deen Mohammed. The future that Imam Mohammed spoke of for the American Muslim Community was suddenly brighter and filled with greater possibility.
American Muslim 360 was growing by leaps and bounds. Thomas had also integrated into AM360, social media platforms and weekly web-based journalism entitled Purple Politics and eventually evolving to the weekly Your Muslim World.
But Thomas understood the Qur’anic exhortation, “Therefore, when thou art free from thine immediate task, still labor hard,” for he refused to rest upon his laurels, and no sooner was he barely enjoying a moment of free time when he took up another even more monumental challenge, again inspired by the words of Imam Mohammed, to build a national working intelligentsia.
He accepted the mantle of leadership for the new effort, chiding, cajoling and sometimes fervently pleading for greater interdependence. At the same time, Thomas was completing his third full length work…this one entitled, The Power 2BU! and conducting on-site national mediation training to assist masajid with conflict resolution strategies and helping institutions build their capacity for teamwork through the implementation of Shuraa Baynahum, all while serving as executive producer and a talk show host for AM360.
It was during this period of work and introspection that Thomas recognized the infrastructure of American Muslim 360 could be the Community’s bridge to a national intelligentsia as envisioned by Imam Mohammed.
Between 2013 and 2014, Thomas laid the groundwork for a new network, one that would have the capability to help move from idea to reality, from dialogue to work, and from paper to people.
He would set himself busily to the task and attract allies of like mind to convene in Fayetteville, North Carolina where he again paid his own monies to finance the bulk of the work and he would later issue the call for a national townhall in the aptly appropriate Show Me State of Missouri and in the Gateway City of St. Louis; it was to be his last major event in person to galvanize the massive grass roots support that emerged from the airwaves and years of dialogue at AM360.
Thomas sensed that the community was ready to move toward a synergy of work to help remake the world with a sense of urgency and greater interdependence following the loss of Imam Mohammed in 2008. Thomas knew from studying Imam Mohammed that words must first make people and then the people must remake the world.
Thomas’ vision lent new meaning to his moniker the Twin Servant of Peace, for through his insight, he brought together in a magnanimous gesture the twin capabilities of our group intellect to both think and act interdependently at a national level of grass roots leadership when he entrusted AM360 to the CWSC.
The vision was timely, for Thomas had been battling unbeknownst to the community, a rare terminal cancer and given a prognosis eventually expressed in just months of life expectancy. As his health worsened and energy waned, as his voice weakened and breathing became labored, he would be forced to leave the host and executive producer’s chair at AM360. He spent his remaining days close to family and friends, while working to the last preparing both AM360 and CWSC for transition.
Today, Thomas’ vision inspired by Imam W. Deen Mohammed lives on. The vision of a national working intelligentsia combined with a powerful broadcasting medium has created a powerful shared freedom space and clearance house for new ideas and approaches to problem solving.
AM360 is a powerful voice on the frontlines of combating ideas that foment violent religious extremism, and distort the true message of Al-Islam, while addressing Islamophobia and other pressing issues of our time.
The #1 blogtalk Islamic station in the nation is now an integrated component in the CWSC national working intelligentsia; both are now financially supported by the believers around the country. CWSC is now comprised of a national resource directory and network allowing every believer and institution for the first time to tap into the vast group of skills and knowledge present in the group intellect; a national speakers bureau to extend our voices deep into the four birds of society; a national think tank and clearing house to help apply Qur’anic-based problem solving to the issues of our times; a national leadership advisory council strengthening intra-faith relations and consultation; national scholarship and history preservation program, internship, and leadership development initiatives to secure the next generation of our intelligentsia. And we have just begun to scale the heights of our capability as a community with a renewed spirit of interdependence and mutually supportive infrastructure girded with the Divine Gift of Shuraa Baynahum.
The Twin Servant of Peace Excellence in Broadcasting & Communications College Scholarship seeks to inspire a new generation of broadcasters, journalists and authors to think big, just as Imam Thomas did…to help remake the world.
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