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


Muslim Journal

Community Awareness And The Role Of The Individual: Part 5

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: The following article is from a lecture delivered December 13, 1986 in Gary, Indiana. This is the final installment.)

The first church for our people was the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church. How and why was that church founded? The whites would not treat us right in their church, so our people went out on their own and established their own church. That's how the first church for black people was established. That's history.

When the church was first opened, the black preacher was not allowed to preach by himself. A white man sat upon the rostrum with him. He had no role there except his presence. He didn't preach, "amen" or anything. He just sat there while the "nigger" preached, so the congregation won't think he can get uppity. The Caucasian didn't care if the preacher had the Bible or the Word of God. His view was that the preacher had God but "God ain't bigger than this authority I represent."


If The Preacher Did Wrong

And if he did wrong, they'd lock him, the Bible and all his holy sacraments and everything else up in jail. That's our history. That's why they don't want me talking to you in Gary, Indiana. They don't want me on the radio, they might seek to find Jesse Cooper or men out of there.

Anytime a people is afraid of something, it should open your eyes. Why be that afraid of me? They're more afraid of a good Muslim than they are of a Communist. They open their doors and cities up to Communists, but are terrified by the presence of a good Muslim in town. That should tell you that the ideology of the greatest consequence is not Communist ideology, it's Al-Islam.

It should tell you something anytime a whole system will mobilize itself, sensitize its citizens and hire stooges to help keep down the importance and presence of the true religion, Al-Islam.

Anytime a system would go this far, it should tell you that the precious idea is not Communism, but Al-Islam that can transform man into a dynamic, productive creature that won't be bought or sold.


Communism: A Property Of Men

Communism is a property of men. Al-Islam can never be a property of men, it's a property of Allah, and a man with bad intentions can't pick it up; if he picks it up, he can't hold it. He might pick it up accidentally, but when he sees he has it, he has to let it go. That's what they are afraid of.

Be aware of the propaganda. We have been conditioned just like the whole world has been conditioned. The people who wanted to play down the importance of the Qur'an Muhammad, and Al-Islam, worked the machinery of propaganda for centuries, and gave all kinds of false conceptions about our religion and our Prophet. Tried to make the people see it in some narrow, crazy heathen light.

Some woman called me on the radio and she said, "isn't your religion an 'ism'?" I had patience with her, but I sensed in her voice that her intentions were bad. She didn't fool me. When I first heard her voice, I said, this woman's got bad intentions, I didn't say that on the radio, but I knew.


Al-Islam Is Authentic

I said, it's a kindred religion with Christianity, Judaism Sabianism, and some other authentic, legitimate religions; it's just a religion.

She wasn't satisfied, so she asked me again, while constantly talking to cloud the issue, and smokescreen everything, so she could establish the image of us that she wanted the radio listeners to see.

So she was pretending to answer a question, but really she wanted time to cloud the issue, and to mar our already-marred and lied-against presence.

So, she said, "I just can't understand how come you just won't admit that yours is an 'ism.'" So I said, the word for religion in our Holy Book is "deen," and when it speaks on our religion, it uses the word "deen," and when it speaks of Christianity, it uses the word, "deen," when it speaks of Judaism, it uses the word "deen," it's "deen." I said, now, is Christianity an 'ism'?

She wouldn't answer me, because that would have meant that she was there for a legitimate cause. She couldn't answer me, because she didn't call for that. So I didn't expect her to answer me. I said, miss, Christianity is not an "ism", Judaism is not an "ism", our religion is not an "ism." It's a religion, and let it be like that. That ended the discussion.


Go To The Holy Book

If you are not seeing this religion for yourself from the pages of the Holy Qur'an, and the true life history of Prophet Muhammad, then you owe it to yourself to go to the Holy Book of the Muslims and to the true history of Muhammad written by believers and not by people who want to hide him from the world's eye, or distort what he was about.

If I want to know about Jesus Christ, should I read what atheists wrote about him?

I hope you can come into a situation where you can make free choices, to think and make decisions on your own. Not influenced by white America or by Negro America, but be influenced by what is right. But if you can't, then I won't weep forever. I don't think any of us should weep forever. We've got to move on.


Abandon The White Man's Plan

In my conclusion, know this: if you want to really gain respect, as a people in America, you have to stop going along with the plan that the white man had for himself. He didn't bring you here from Europe; he brought us here from Africa.

We are here and should be as independent of European life as the Chinese, Koreans, and Cubans. They are not totally absorbed in European heritage. You are not a European, your ancestors didn't come from Europe. You owe it to yourself to establish your own birthright, identity, ethnicity, feelings and way of thinking.

You owe it to yourself, to be something other than a white man because you're not a white man. You also owe it to yourself to look into your past, and recognize the great Islamic presence in your past.


Al-Islam Is Your Heritage

And if you're not ready to be a Muslim, at least say, this is my heritage, there is no way for me to know that I was the son of a great Muslim when they brought my ancestors here and put them in slavery. There is no way for me to know my genes didn't come from the loins of excellent Muslims in Africa; no way for me to know that.

In fact, there's a hell of a big chance that my genes did come from excellent Muslims. So even if I had no interest in becoming a Muslim, myself, I owe it to myself to cherish that heritage, even if I was a Christian, I should still invest in my own heritage.

The white man preserves things of his past that he's not today. He preserves them because that's his heritage. That's from his past. So what's wrong with the Christian churches spending some of that money, using some of that offering money to open up an Islamic cultural center, not because they are Muslims but because they see the need to have an identity. They know the need to preserve their heritage. What's wrong with that? "Aw, you can't do that. That's against church."


The Communists

But you can embrace communists. You can welcome communists in your life and into the United States, to share the blessings of this country; you welcome communists here who don't honor the Prophet Jesus. We Muslims honor him just like any other man sent from God. We honor him and his blessed mother; we honor them both. But you won't come near Muslims, yet you welcome a communist in your arms. You're a damn hypocrite! And I'm not speaking to you here, I'm speaking to America, the so-called majority of the preachers are nothing but hypocrites. They are frightened by the presence of Al-Islam and the presence of Muhammad. But they'll embrace a person who says they don't believe in God or care anything about religion. Embrace him and defend his right to the blessings of America. Dirty damn hypocrites. You don't even know the truth about yourself.


I'm Speaking To America

I'm not speaking to you few people here. I'm speaking to America. I hope it'll get out there to them — it will. Believe me, everything I say gets out. It gets out in high quarters. Not to the drunk out there in the street; he'll never hear it.

When are we really going to be men and women? We are afraid to believe something that is not approved by white society, unless it's something ridiculous that won't upset white society. We have become a reared nut who'll change our whole lifestyle, even talk backwards. They'll find a way to reverse the language, they'll record it in reverse. We'll do anything for attention, as long as it doesn't bring the wrath of white society on us. But if we think that it's not going to be welcomed by white American society, that they may look at us and take us seriously, as a problem, then we are not ready for it. Cowards.

You know that nobody's going to bother you if you start acting like a fool; nobody's going to seek to persecute you or arrest you for acting like a fool. But invite you to something sensible, and dignified that may cause some friction in the society: "aw, I can't do it." But you'll risk your life to sell dope, and stick up innocent people, rob banks you'll do that, because it doesn't require any constructive thinking on your part. It gives your life to a gamble. It doesn't require any moral discipline on your part. It's not good. You can't put up with that always.

So I pray that Allah strengthens the true believers and make them more courageous and aggressive, with the truth. Don't come to these cities and allow people to put you back on the shelf, to put you in the background and pretend that Muslims are dead.

Don't allow them to say "Them Muslims don't have anything anymore, they've gone out of business."

Demand the same presence and respect that they give Christians.


The Law

The law of this country protects our freedom of religion the same as it protects the Christian's freedom of religion. There is nothing on the law book to say freedom of religion in this country is freedom for Christianity. It's freedom for religion.

And whether you have the courage to take advantage of your rights or not, you have the same freedom to be a Muslim in his country, as Christians have to be Christians in this country, and I, for one, tell them, and they know that I am determined not to back up. I don't back up from anybody. My religion is legit. My values are excellent. My religious ideas are pure. My religious aspirations are honorable.

And you should be the same way. Don't back up from anybody.

In concluding this, I say again, that what we've done is sensitized the audience, to accept the changes that have come about, and first of all, a change within ourselves, to be upright, honest and well-meaning, and the excellent creature that God made us. To accept responsibility and to accept authority. Don't wait for the world to come and rescue you. Do what you're supposed to do. Do what God created you to do. Get up and prepare yourself to rescue the world. As-Salaam-Alaikum.