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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

The Muslim American War Agenda

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(The following text represents an interview conducted by the Saudi Gazette with Imam W. Deen Mohammed on Thursday, January 17, 1991:)

RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA (Jan. 16, 1991) — This is the second day of our trip to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. My name is W. Deen Mohammed. I am a spokesman for Muslims in America. We arrived as a group of twenty-one from America. Our purpose in visiting at this time is to give moral support to Muslims in the armed forces from among our people in the United States. We were awakened early this morning by the news of the beginning of the war.

We thank Allah for His mercy in sparing us much destruction — much destruction that could have been expected by many. Muslims hope that the conduct of the war will continue in the best way to spare civilian lives and save the investments of the Muslims and save the land for the Muslims. This is our prayer and we make our decisions based on the Qur'an and on the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) and based on the best advice from our most learned people, the ulema.

I feel that the kingdom of Saudi Arabia has been most excellent in seeking the best advice and following the best advice of the ulema. Thank you very much for this opportunity to express myself. As-Salaam -Alaikum.

SG: The Saudi Gazette newspaper welcomes you. What is the purpose of your trip?

WDM: I begin with the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Compassionate. As-Salaam-Alaikum. The purpose of our visit at this critical time is to demonstrate our support for the position which the kingdom took regarding the aggression of the Iraqi army and the occupation of Kuwait. A group of twenty-one of us representing the dawah
effort, the schools and the media (we have a newspaper, the Muslim Journal) received an invitation from the Ambassador Prince Bandar and his officials in Washington, D.C. We have three people representing the Muslim Journal and also cable television programming (responsible for exposing and propagating the religion to the American public.) We also have with us several members of the immigrant Muslim community who came to America from the Sudan and Ghana by way of Mecca, and from India. They are also dawah leaders in America.

SG: Given your invitation to visit the kingdom, how do you see the kingdom spreading Islam through its services of Islam in Saudi Arabia?

WDM: The kingdom is doing more for the image of Muslims through dawah and assistance to the dawah in America and I'm sure in many other places in the world than any other nation that we know. We know of no Muslim nation that is spending as much of its budget per dollar for the good image of Muslims throughout the world, especially in America. As an American I appreciate very much the assistance that is being given to us. It is not just monetary assistance, the assistance that we need more is assistance from those who have the knowledge, the education and the wisdom to guide the dawah and to advise us concerning the dawah in the United States. That is the kind of relationship that we have with the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. This is the position of the kingdom regarding its commitment to the religion in Saudi Arabia and throughout the world. We appreciate that so much, and that is why we're here. We value this nation (Saudi Arabia! as the place of our Qibla, the place of our prophet's home and mosque, and because of the sincere commitment to the religion that we find in the royal family.

SG: How do the Muslims around the world feel about the Iraqi invasion and what is their opinion about this?

WDM: In America there is a divided opinion, and I think that it is because of a lack of knowledge. Those who are informed agree that not only is the position of the kingdom correct according to what we have of knowledge from the Qur'an, the Sunnah and the ulema (learned scholars of the religion), but we feel in our hearts that it is the only decision that the kingdom could make. We know that Allah tells us that you are to correct the party that is guilty in a conflict and that if reconciliation cannot be made between the disagreeing parties, then use force on the guilty one until he conforms and is reconciled- We accept this and we have no problem ourselves. Those who make a fuss in the United States are engaging in emotionally politicizing the issue. I don't think that is too much to worry about. We don't feel the pressure of those people; the support on this issue is stronger.

SG: The custodian of the Kaaba, King Fahd, has on several occasions told Iraq to leave Kuwait unconditionally, with no response from Saddam Hussein. What is your opinion?

WDM: I have some knowledge of the mentality of the Iraqi government. Since the late sixties, I have been aware of the Ba'ath Party, and as a Muslim I have been very concerned about that ideology in Iraq. I was not surprised to see that he would behave in an un-Islamic way. He is a barbaric kind of person. In certain situations he has been barbaric in his behaviors. I am not surprised by that. If we are not guided by civilized laws and laws that respect human life we can expect that type of behavior. I think that he imitates the worst of the socialist people. I am not surprised by his behavior.

SG: Do you see anything wrong with waging war after the expiration of the United Nations deadline?

WDM: I feel that he is putting himself closer and closer to a situation where there will be no alternative but to use force.

SG: In our Islamic law is there any provision for the use of nuclear or chemical weapons against other Muslims or other human beings?

WDM: As a Muslim I tried to study my religion for many years. I am surprised to see that a Muslim would consider in any way the use of cruel weapons. I understand the conduct of war as handled by the Prophet (PBUH) and he forbid such cruelties. Even in war he was considerate of the women and children. He was even considerate of the trees, the life and the vegetation that the people depended upon. To me he (Saddam) is ignorant of the ways of the Prophet and we are to know the behavior of the Prophet and the Sunnah.

SG: The multinational forces have been waiting for a period of six months, how do you feel about this waiting period?

WDM: My knowledge is limited in some areas and I put myself in Allah's care, and trust in Allah that what develops will be for the best. I think that this wait was for the best. At least we know that he had plenty of time to reconsider.

SG: What Islamic services are needed in the United States?

WDM: More taqwa and iman (fear of Allah and belief in Allah). The dawah has been in the care of the poorest people of America — the African-Americans and the poor immigrant Muslims. Not mentioning that finances are a crucial need, therefore, would be doing a disservice not only to my own people but to all the Muslims in North America, to Muslims of many nationalities who are poor. There are not many rich Muslims in America. In time we hope that we can become more progressive in America, because America is a society that allows us to go into business and make money. So we are realizing some progress for our business people over the last four or five years. We now see a real effort on the part of our business people to do business not just with their families in mind but with the Muslim community in mind.

SG: Please tell how you and your delegation are working with the Muslim community in the United States.

WDM: I try to do my best to represent all Muslims in America. I am not officially the leader of all Muslims in America. I have a lot of support from them. I try to encourage the best behavior on the part of Muslims and concentration on building strong schools and educational institutions. I try to use my influence to make Muslims more productive and to get Muslims to see that it is more important to make friends in America and it is more important to prepare for a future in America, than it is to confront people who may be opposed to some of our beliefs. At every turn I emphasize that, we should ignore the confrontation of people who differ with us. We should take every opportunity to build ourselves up for the future and to win friends.

We believe that there is a good chance that Al-Islam will be accepted by many Americans of all colors and all classes. It's just going to take a little more time, but insha Allah with the establishment of educational institutions and getting a better caliber of people to represent the schools and dawah, and showing material progress, many people who are now on the border (looking at what the Muslims can accomplish in America; can Muslims be successful in America) will soon make their commitment. In fact I am speaking from First hand knowledge. I have spoken to people in high places who tell me and I have spoken with a few Caucasians of high stature in American society who have said that their sympathies are with the Muslims and with this religion. They really have trouble within their hearts because they would really like to be Muslims and the problem is that they would lose image and status by being associated with poor people who are not established. With more immigrant Muslims coming, insha-Allah that will change. We also hope to change our situation.

SG: If a battle begins, what is your opinion about Muslims fighting in Kuwait?

WDM: We thank Allah for the kingdom. We thank Allah for the allies, for all of the support that we have gotten. We thank Allah for the American army and for President Bush. Allah has been merciful. We think that the worse is over and justice will come to Kuwait. Kuwait will be returned to its normal state and the criminals who cruelly entered Kuwait and disrespected every principle of human decency will repent. I am sure that some of them will have to be punished. Allah will punish them, I am sure.

SG: Do you have any special plans for your visit to the kingdom?

WDM: We expect some time today to receive a visit from representatives of the kingdom and they will brief us. After the briefing we will feel more comfortable about answering questions.