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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

January 16, 1998

Muslim Journal

Imam W. Deen Mohammed's Impressions on the QIC Meeting Held in Tehran, Iran "In A Minute"

 (The following interview with Imam W. Deen Mohammed took place Dec. 22, 1997, as a capture of his impressions upon attending the recent Organization of Islamic Conference (QIC) Meeting in Tehran, Iran.)

Q: Brother Imam, could you share with us your impressions of the impact of the QIC Meeting?

IWDM: The QIC Meeting went very well. Our meetings were mostly with leaders from different parts of the world, not with government leaders but with religious leaders, Islamic leaders, community leaders and business leaders — Islamic leaders. It was a good opportunity to meet with some very important people. Some I had met back in 1967, and who are very important people now.

One of them is the head or the Secretary General of the Islamic Call Society based in Libya, a very good friend of our community. I met with the former head of Rabitat, too, The Muslim World League in Mecca, Dr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali. He is also head of the Islamic Bank and this is his third or fourth time as head of the Islamic Bank. We had contact with important persons who know about our community and had good advice for us, and to help and aid us in the directions we are in.

I only set in the Conference for one day, on Tuesday. I left on Wednesday. That day, the conference was being addressed by the new President of Iran and the Ayatollah Khameni, the new spiritual leader for the Iranian people, and other important people were there to listen.

I was very much encouraged by the address the President gave. He has also been chairman of the OIC now for three years. Mohammad Khatemi, President of Iran gave a great speech. His speech has now reached the world, and his message was a peace gesture toward the whole world and an expression of a desire to work with the world community for the promotion of peace and toward cooperation in the world.

To me it was a statement coming from the people of Iran, saying that they are moving from a time of war and trouble to a time that they hope will be a time of peace and opportunity for nations to cooperate for peace and justice in the world. That, to me, was the most impressive and most lasting one, I'm sure, will be that message of the new President of Iran to the Conference and to the world.

However, we have an interest in getting better acquainted with the Islamic leaders of Iran. They are, as you know, Shia, but they are also looking at the problem of disunity. In the interest of Muslim communities, they are looking at the problem of disunity that the Shia and Sunni present. To me, that indicates that they now want to de-emphasize the differences between Shia and Sunni, and they want unity of Muslims on the basis that we all are Muslims and have the same problems.

The religious heads of Iran, the Ayatollahs, are really rethinking their own image of the Shia community in the eyes of the Sunni Muslims. And in a subtle way, they are suggesting that the Sunnis, too, rethink what they want to be their image in the eyes of the Shia community and the community of Muslims throughout the world.

I think this is a time of soul searching, of rethinking our positions that Muslim groups take as political units and also as religious units — Sunni, Shia and others. It is a time for rethinking their attitude toward the West and toward their own positions as Muslim nations. How have they been respecting what is truly Islam? Have they been promoting Islam and protecting Islam and speaking in the name of Islam? Or have they, themselves, lost the way?

These are the serious questions before the OIC and the presenters who spoke to the Conference. And I would also add that these are the concerns before the religious leaders in America and throughout the world, not just for these nations. These concerns are becoming universal now for all serious religious leaders.

I welcome what I saw in the agenda of the Conference. And I welcome what I saw presented, especially from the new President Mohammad Khatemi.

(To be continued)