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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal


Muslim Journal

The Priorities For An Advancing People

Imam W. Deen Mohammed


What do we want as our priorities? First of all we want good relationships with all people. America is a country of many people. "E Pluribus unum" — many in one. It is not only many people from different nations called the "American people," but we are also many ethnic groups in one big culture called America. We are many ethnic aspirations in one big aspiration called America.

Believe me, I don't see my permanence in America. I see my permanence with Allah. No Christian should see their permanence with America, you should see your permanence with God. No Jew or anyone else should see their permanence in America; their permanence should be with God.

I depend on my Islamic life more than I depend on my American life. You should depend on your Christian life more than you depend on your American life. A Jew should depend on his Jewish life more than he depends on his American life. Because our religious life is protected by God, if we are sincere.

America will not always be protected by God if we leave that which God loves, that which God cherishes. God loves our obedience to Him. God loves our recognition of Him. God loves our fear of Him. God loves that we want to follow the Path that He set for us. If we leave that, we will not exist here very long as comfortable and secure American citizens.

What makes this country so great is that it invites people from various backgrounds and various religions to come here and live their religion without fearing persecution. We were persecuted before. But just like the Civil Rights Movement with our great African minds and great African people, the men and women like Sojourner Truth, as they were able to press forward, so are we.

There is a slave who is almost insignificant in our history called Julia. She said a powerful thing; it was so powerful a White man had to record it. She said, "You look like God in the face and act like the devil in your hearts."

We owe a lot to courageous people like Julia, and it is not just us who are here now. It includes the ones in our past. It is not just us as Muslims, it is us as Muslims and Christians and all of us together. If we want a better life for ourselves separately as Muslims or Christians or whatever we are in America, we as a people had better be able to identify what is the basis and where are the grounds for our real unity and our real history.

Where do we locate the real force that has been driving us to more and more excellence and to more and more courage to defend what is right and to condemn what is wrong? To go into the open door of opportunity, even if someone says you are going to be killed when you step in there? Something says, "Die for your dignity. Die for your God-given humanity."

We have to identify that again as our common base and as our common origin and go forward and look at Chicago and at all of America and tell Chicago, "You are no challenge to me."

When I became the leader of the Nation of Islam I was faced with thugs, bullies and criminals. I told them, "I believe in Allah. Crime has never been stronger than righteousness. A criminal has never been braver than a God-fearing man. We can get it on and see what happens." Those who were killers, when they heard me, something just pulled the fangs out of their mouths and they started looking like human beings again. Some are now among my strongest supporters.

I am the same man now as I was then. I am a man of peace. My nature was for peace and Islam took me into its arms from the cradle. Although it was confused, the best of the Islamic influences kept me until I could be put on the straight path of Islam, the path walked by all upright Muslims of this earth, whether they be of one race or another or of one nation or another. We don't want anything defective, weak or small in value.

Because I am not believing in the theology of the Nation of Islam that we were in before should not make anyone come to the conclusion that I don't like "doing for self." No one should come to the conclusion that I don't like seeing us work for business establishment and empowerment. What would make anyone think that I am not for that, when I am as busy as I am with shahadah, salat, zakat, siyam, Hajj and the principles of Faith: Belief in God, in His Angels, in His Messengers, in His Books, in Judgment Day, in the life Hereafter, and in the Law of God that rewards and punishes?

I believe in all of those essential principles of Islam, and I am busy with those essentials. But what in my behavior would make anyone think that I don't want money any more or don't want business any more or that I am not for our people coming out of their poor showing in business and into a better showing?

Perhaps there are infiltrators who want to report on me and then give the wrong image of me. Even many of the Muslims have been given the wrong image of me.

We want establishment in America. We want establishment that we don't have to be ashamed of. I feel proud of African Americans in the media and in the business corporate world who make big money. However, there is not nearly enough of them. We are traveling fast out of inferiority into excellence and strength. This is what we wanted.

We want to get into situations where we can use our resources and improve our skills and become resourceful enough to produce for ourselves, so the White man won't have to carry us. We have to carry ourselves. We have African Americans, men and women, who have risen up into the political life of America and into government and educational and business systems and are now able to do a lot for their people which was done before only by White folks. I feel good about that and want to see us do more of that.

I want to see us become more responsible for education in our own communities and in our own cities. I mean we should support an independent effort. It is known that I support us doing within the system — working as teachers and as principals and as superintendents in the system. And I also want to see a separate and independent effort. I am a supporter of the United Negro College Fund. I am a supporter for what it stands for. I give of myself to the excellence and longevity of our own I investments in our own life and future. By myself I am very small; I represent my supporters who are mostly African American Muslims of one history and one aim — excellence.