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Faruq Z. Bey, 1942-2012

Faruq Z. Bey, a dedicated Islamist and influential jazz saxophonist, joined the ancestors June 1 He was 70.

Bey was born Feb. 4, 1942 to Jesse Davis, Sr. and Lina Davis, both now deceased.

Faruq served in the U.S. Navy and the Air Force and was discharged honorably. He accepted Islam as a way of life in 1968 and was one of the founding fathers of the Masjid As Salaam Community. He made important contributions to the establishment of the community by studying and teaching the Qur’an, Hadith, and Fiqh that was needed to form community structure and the appointments and functions of community leaders.

Before being called Masjid As Salaam, the community was called The First African Primal Rhythm Arkestra, and the Bey Family. The other three founding fathers of Masjid As Salaam were Imam Muhammad Abdul Jalil Bey, Imam Mubarrak Mutakalim and Imam Abdul Hakim Halim. In one two-week period in early 1971, Faruq helped to give 400 kalimah shahadas or initiations into Islam. From the Masjid As Salaam Community and its new converts came the Masjid Nur, Masjid Asr, Masjid Haqq and the Jamiyyatul Nasrul Ilm communities. He also initiated the Afro-jazz group Griot Galaxy and the Tariq Drummers and Dancers. His last performances were with an all woodwind ensemble called The Conspiracy Winds Ensemble, The Northwoods Improvisers, Speaking in Tongues and ML Liebler and The Magic Poetry Band. Some of his most noted releases are “Kins, “Opus Krampus” and “Live at the DIA” with Griot Galaxy; and “Auzar” and “Ashirai Pattern” with The Northwoods Improvisers. Faruq published two books of poetry, “Year of the Iron Sheep” and “Etudes in Wanton Nesses,” in addition to a theory book, “Toward a Ratio’nal Aesthetic” (1989).

Bey was preceded in death by his two brothers, Melburn and William. He is survived by two sisters, Barbara Davis and Betty Haggan; one daughter, Roshaunda Price; and three grandchildren, Quincy, 17; Courtney, 14; and Zachary, 11.

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