It was the promise of food, not drugs, that brought neighborhood residents out to a recent murder scene on Worsham Street. More than 50 people stood in line for a free fried fish dinner at the Quick Check and Deli-Café on Saturday.

The occasion: Muslims cooking out in the name of peace, offering fish and the fixings and hopefully a way out of the lifestyle of gangs, drugs and attacks that are gripping the North Main Street neighborhood. Two police officers stood by to ensure violence didn’t break out in what organizers called “one of the most violent places in Danville.”

“See those empty houses,” Imam Shams said, pointing to a row of boarded-up houses across the street. “People go in and out of the basements to do what they do. At night they congregate in front of the houses. We want to help bring awareness to the crime problem. This place is a cesspool for crime.”

Drug deals take place along Worsham, Shams said. So do shootings, stabbings and all kinds of violence. He wants to see it stop.

So do Muhammad Muzzammill, Alfonza Muhammad, Yusuf El-Amion and members of the Danville Masjid Islamic Center. The Center and Bennett Memorial Church sponsored the weekend fish fry, and hope to hold additional such events in the future. Both organizations are urging residents to speak to police with their questions, complaints and concerns, and to work with the center to find a way to reduce the violence.

Islamic Center members have been going door-to-door for months, speaking to residents and handing out flyers and pamphlets explaining the Islamic faith and urging neighborhood residents to visit the center to learn how to help clean up the neighborhood.


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