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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


A.M. Journal

Muhammad Speaks

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


(Samuel Bilal interviews Imam W. Deen Muhammad on Feb. 2, 1985)

AMJ: Brother Imam Warith Deen Muhammad, do you want AMMCOP — the AMM-COP chapters who have stopped meeting at the masjid — do you want -them to start meeting at the masjid or centers?

WDM: When we formed the collective buying program, it was first organized locally as produce buying or perishable food purchasing to get orders and purchases from believers who belonged to the masjid, and then make one collective order and save money. The program went well.

When I introduced the bigger program to buy in big volume for the community annually, that program was almost ignored by every Imam in the American Muslim Mission. Almost every Imam in the American Muslim Mission ignored or either pretended to ignore the call for the collective buying program (annual purchase) and the importance that I place upon it, or what I saw in it. No effort was made to organize believers or believers' support behind that call.

It was yourself, Samuel Bilal, and the believers who are now called AMMCOP that organized and gave support to that call for annual purchase. We made it a two-part program, one part for the annual purchase, the other part was to enable the unemployed to be active in purchasing and selling their products.

WE HOPED that the annual buy would benefit such persons who wanted to do business as business people, in that it would make it possible for a number of poor people with a few pennies to get together and purchase for business and profit along with the annual purchase, thereby getting the big savings on the big volume purchase that would be made annually.

The annual purchase hasn't come about yet, but the AMMCOP people have made it possible for many. I've been all around the country, I've visited many of the chapters, and I was very impressed by the collective effort I saw.

THE IDEA has been advanced by the AMMCOP people, and I find that persons who could in no way find a facility and operate it have joined others. And there's a half-dozen or more of them operating out of one facility, out of one AMMCOP post, selling their products; when you go to the store, it looks very good, it looks very attractive, it's appealing.

I understand that in some places, whites and blacks are supporting them, and this is something for all of us to be proud of — the masajid and the general community should be very proud.

I have some complaints; I'm not completely satisfied with the operations of AM-MCOP but I support AMMCOP. I'm not in any ways moved to discontinue my support for that operation, for the AMMCOP effort and for the operation out of the trading posts and wherever the AMMCOP people have activities — I'm not in any way to stop that or interfere with that.

I'm not satisfied with all the masajid, but I would never say that all the masajid ought to close up just because I'm not satisfied with many of the masajid that operate under the name of the American Muslim Mission.

NOW. AS FOR THEM, as for AMMCOP going back to the masajid — if AMMCOP members have left the masajid and centers to form separate services, it must be because they couldn't function peacefully or reasonably within the confines of the masajid or centers, and whoever the Imam was, I can't ask those people to go back. I'm not the judge. I believe that they had just reasons, and I would be the last one to tell them to go back.

The Imam should be responsible for Jumah prayer, and he should be responsible for the duties of the masajid. If he's a businessman, he should go outside and identify with business. If he wants to help AMMCOP. then he should join AMMCOP. The Imams desiring to work in the AMMCOP program should go to the local AMMCOP chairperson. I'm sure there's room for well-meaning Imams, but they should not seek to be overseers and controllers.

I'm an Imam and if I were in business, then I would like an association with AMMCOP. If I were free to join AMMCOP as a businessman, I would give up a lot of the responsibilities that I have now, as a religious propagator. I would come under the National Chairman, and I would try to work myself up through the ranks of AMMCOP if I thought of myself as having leadership potential.

AMMCOP PEOPLE are not of one interest only — they are business, they are politics, etc., and they try to help encourage people to be productive. I am sure that they are working with human problems and emotional needs also, therefore, personality building, moral discipline and the like is something the AMMCOP will need to address occasionally. For this need as well as for business and consumer aid, the best situation is the message of Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH).

Our religion invites professionals and others in all fields and levels of society to make prayer, to benefit from khutbahs, to join the Jumah, and to practice the religion in the whole of society. AMMCOP is no exception.                     

To Be Continued Next Week