New Africa Radio Logo
W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

Beware Of Psychological Warfare

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this presentation at the Annual Conference of the Islamic Committee for Palestine using as example the African-American plight. He compared it to the possible outcomes the Palestinian people face. This conference was held at McCormick Inn of Chicago on December 23, 1989.)

We praise Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Sustainer of us all. We seek Him for guidance. We ask His Mercy and Forgiveness and we pray always that the prayers and the blessings be on the Last Messenger of Allah. Mohammed, and on his descendants, his family. And I acknowledge what follows the most excellent salutation to the noble universal Prophet Muhammed.

I want to say that it is an honor for me to be invited to address you on this occasion. Regarding the plight of the Palestinians, I don't think that I am any different from other Muslims in America who are sincere. I am sure that all of us share your concern as your brothers in the Religion. Though we are African-Americans, we are Muslims. All Muslims should be having the same heart and the same aspirations for the Muslim people wherever they are on earth. Whether they are in America, in the Middle East, in the Far East, or in Africa, the hearts of Muslims are united. If we are truly sincere, the Qur'an, which is the Word of Allah, and Muhammed, who is the Messenger of Allah, bring us into unity. We should have one heart and shared aspirations.

I am conscious of our plight in America as "Blacks" or as African-Americans. We are not comfortable with any of these racial names for us. We have been called Negro, Colored and Black. On my father's birth certificate his race is noted as "Colored." I recall at the time of my youth most African-Americans called themselves Colored. I didn't, because with justification, we were the racial (race-conscious) rebels.

The Honorable Elijah Mohammed aroused, shaped, and directed us. He also was deprived and misinformed. We pray Allah forgive him his sins and grant him paradise and peace. Because of his sincere efforts to bring to the attention of the "black man" the truth of his human worth, we esteem him highly. It was the tireless labor of Elijah Mohammed that eventually reformed attitudes and raised the term black from shame. James Brown, the singer, made a great hit with his song "I'm Black and Proud. "Suddenly those people who once were almost ready to fight people for calling them black began to insist they be called "Black." These people, my people, began to like being called "black."

At this time, I am having great difficulty in trying to get them to stop calling themselves "black" and to prefer calling themselves African-Americans. We think "African-American" is the more natural and courageous. This term ties us back to Africa our motherland. The choice of "African-American" tells the world that we refuse to be shamed out of our identity with Africa. We are not ashamed of our origin in Africa, To the contrary we are happy to say we are African and we are American.

"African-American" was a name advocated by a man from Jamaica, Marcus Garvey. He was the father of our "nationalism." It was the honorable Marcus Garvey that addressed us as African-Americans. The Reverend Jesse Jackson met with several leaders and a joint communication was sent out to make it official that we of the blacks of Africa be addressed "African-Americans." It should be fashionable now for us to address ourselves as African-Americans.

We tried to promote the term "Bilalian," but right away we ran into disinterest. Some people did not like that we call ourselves Bilalians, Some even thought we were trying to start a new religious sect. Their complaints bordered on a most damaging charge of shirk (false worship), the idolizing of Bilal. may Allah be pleased with him. It was not in our Interest at all to give Bilal any special place, except the special place he already has in Islamic and African history. We were innocently trying to solve the identity crisis for our people here in America. The Arabs, and most tribally established national groups, identify with geographic feats and with ancestors. By choosing to call ourselves "Bilalians," we reached for the same situation.

It hurts me to tell you the truth about our identity crisis. We are still not pleased. The only name that pleases me is "Muslim". It is the only name I feel perfectly comfortable with. I don't feel perfectly comfortable being called an African-American or a Black man or a Colored man or a Negro.

Deep in our genetic memory we don't like it that we have been called something without the natural honor of having had it (choice of name) grow out of us rather than put on us. I'm speaking to the African-American brothers now: For us, we should not depend on a racial (color) appellative to fuel race spirit or to fuel race dignity for us. We will expect the term Muslim will have that fuel in greater potency and greater quantity.

Some of us are almost white, and they still call us "black". That is a mystery *a tricky one), but for now forget it.

Let me come to something a little more serious. As a young man I learned that church people or Christians had an origin story about our people becoming servants or an inferior class of people in the society of the white people and others. Some of you outside of America I'm sure are familiar with this story. The story says that Noah (A.S.) had three sons, and you probably all know the story of Noah. One of Noah's sons was Ham. The three sons saw Noah in his nakedness after he had been intoxicated. The first son walked in on his father looked on him and Laughed; that was Ham. The second one came in looked at his father and turned his head. He (the second to enter) did not want to look on his father's nakedness. The third one to enter looked at his father's nakedness and took a cloth and covered his father's nakedness.

Now I am sure that available history (stories) say the one that did the best act was the "white" race, and the one who laughed was the black race. At any rate, we were told that we were the children of Ham through Caanon. We were told our blackness was not natural, but that we were cursed. Many of us accepted that our color was a curse. This is a story that came mainly from the church people. Many yet think us to be children of personified shallow mindedness and playfulness.

The story the church gives is not word-for-word in the Bible. The Bible only says that Ham was cursed. And that the curse did not fall upon Ham directly, but it fell upon his sons (Caano-nites). To get the full Bible reading on this curse is to see Caanon doomed to always be in an inferior position among men. He (Caanon t was doomed to do menial chores like cut wood and fetch water for people not blackened.

The racist biggots used this against us to say that we were the cursed blacks, that black skin was a curse on us. The story would have us believe that our skin color and our Negroid {African-American) looks were a curse on us. The Biblical story seems to make this low-down slander the sole act of God, Himself. Christians are to accept that God, Himself, deemed that we do the servile things for the other races — cut wood, tote water, have no skilled work, and just answer the call of common servile duties befitting a slave. The advocates of racism and a cooperating church used this story to make the Christian people of America, and I am sure of the world, feel no shame. The story was to cover their shame and take away human concern from the issue. 'They are not supposed to be treated as other humans. They are under a curse. Their blackness is a curse. Their looks (features) are a curse on them. God put the curse on them." This low-down thing was done.

To make this even worse, there was a time in our history of just fifty years or so in the past when so-called scientists in sociology and psychology were leading advocates for this evil of racism. You have seen some recently on television perhaps trying to defend their position that blacks are inherently inferior. They Western would-be scientists) too wrote us off as subhuman.

Today, I'm sure we can run into European Americans I white people I out in the streets of Chicago and elsewhere that still have that opinion of us, although America has changed a great deal. There are people in America, in Europe, and maybe in your (Arab) countries too who have that (false picture) opinion of us and look down on our racial constitution.

So much for this side: 1 was surprised to also learn that there was a low-down story also from Asia. I was told that in one of the Indian religions there is a mythical god Rama who flung the sun as a disc over Africa. In this story God was angry with the African people and he flung the sun disc too close to them and singed their hair and burnt their faces. That is how the African got black faces and nappy hair, if one believes a low-down story.

Imagine a people brought to a strange land as slaves, cut off from their language they had before, whatever it was — I'm sure we had many different languages, but I also believe that many of us were Muslims.

There is history to back that up. Here was a people cut off from their language, cut off from their cultural past, and cut completely off from all memory of what life principles there were before, cut off from their ancestors and cut off from their native life. Imagine those people given a picture as babies of themselves just as I have described to you.

We (African descendants) were rejected in heaven and on earth. Low-down stories were backed up by so-called science — pseudo science of America, at that time passing itself off as legitimate science. The coward's (Satan's) lie was saying that we (descendants of Africans) were genetically inferior and that was it. You can imagine how a people so overwhelmed could feel and think till they feel and think themselves out of the race. Imagine their burden then and now. The world and our nation folded their hands and were silent while Africa and her children were being set-up for a worldly price.

The courts were treating us as though they accepted that idea. When we were brought to the courts, they did not regard us as equal humans with the "whites." This is during slavery and after slavery. This is recent in history in America and elsewhere. What we said in court meant nothing or we could not speak at all. The ("black") man was not to be treated as an adult. They were called Jim Crow Kangaroo Courts.

This low-down behavior was popular in the south and occasionally the north. At any rate the north was tolerating it. The treatment in the north in some instances was just as bad. You can imagine the cruel damage to our minds.

What did we have to look for? We knew nothing of Africa. We were not world travelers. We were cut off from the international world. We knew nothing of any other position regarding our worth from scientists or psychologists or sociologists. We were not educated or worldly informed. Imagine the burden on us, when a whole country, the most progressive country in the world had made that kind of judgment against us. Adding painfully to the burden, there were the majority of people treating us as though they accepted that judgment.

You people can imagine the burden that was on us. (To be continued)