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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal



Muslim Journal

How We Are To Establish Muslim Life In
America: Part 3

Imam W. Deen Mohammed

(Imam W. Deen Mohammed's Phoenix, Arizona public address of January 21, 1990 is given here. We thank Allah for the opportunity to make this presentation to the Muslim Journal readers.)

We have to be aware, if we are talking about establishing ourselves in America, that just getting money is not going to do it. To just get an education isn't going to do it. Then what will do it ? We have to work at changing the behavior of the African American people.

It is not what we want that is stigmatizing us. It is what we "are" and what we "continue to be" that's hurting us. We continue to be a people who are just given to "un-thought-out life'' and to influences and circumstances of the environment. We are a people who arc just given to going along with what is popular. We don't care if it hurts the aspirations of our fathers and mothers behind us or not. We just want to be happy.

We complain and complain and complain. And we ask other people to be civil by us, and we then go in our neighborhoods and are not civil by each other. We will go in our houses and not be civil by each other. We will go in our apartments and not be civil by each other. But we will he making charges and complaints and asking people to be civil by us.

We have to change our behavior. And the progress we make at changing our behavior towards each other for the better is progress we will be making towards removing the burden on the race. Our race will always be an oppressed race, a down hearted race, a race with poor spirit, a race with a heavy and bad spirit, until we make up our minds that we are going to work on changing our behavior. We can't be happy with our people just acting silly, following fads, and singing songs.

I am very serious. 1 did not come here with jokes or to make you laugh. You can laugh if you want; it does make me happy sometimes to see you laugh. But that is not why f came here. We are being manipulated. And it did not just start. We have always been worked against. People look at our weaknesses and then go about exploiting our weaknesses. Yet, many of us are not aware of that.

We have educated politicians, educated church leaders, educated community and civil leaders, and educated common people. But we are under a spirit and caught up by a certain spirit that is making us poor and in hell where we never can become established. Here, I am talking about "poor" in a very broad sense, ft is not just about money. We are "poor at heart", poor in the head, and poor in the pocket. This is the reality we have to face.

Because of your support, you have made it possible for me to have association with people who are ''Big Shots". Sol go to the meetings of the "Big Shots". I was at the Inaugural Address of Maynard Jackson, the Mayor of Atlanta. I received an invitation, and Imam Plemon El-Amin of Atlanta was one of three selected to give the Benediction. Can you imagine what makes that happen?

Like you, I watch the meetings of our people on television also when they come together for some serious concern. Jesse Jackson went all the way to Washington, DC supported by his people. He was nominated to he President of these United States by his people. He was qualified by the support he got from his people to be recognized at the Democratic Convention. He addressed the Nation at the Convention. And what did it sound like to me? It sounded like another church meeting. I am just telling you what the problem Is, and this is the problem. We just had another typical church meeting where he talked like a typical preacher, looked like a typical preacher, acted like a typical preacher, and dwelled on the spirit like a typical preacher. He was even puffing wind like a typical preacher filled up with wind.

I am not saying this to take anything away from the Reverend Jesse Jackson, who is a very intelligent and skillful leader and politician. But by spirit he is crippled just like all of us who carry this race spirit. So where are we today ? We are still in the pool of regrets and woes. In fact, the morale of our people today is no better than it was fifty years ago. Someone said that it is worse, and many of us do think we as a group are by spirit worse off today.

We are looking everywhere for answers but the right place. Some say the answer is better educational opportunities for our children. But look at the educated man. Do you think he is doing any better? He’s also apt to use crack and may be found risking his image and the image of his people and hurting his job and the chances of his people keeping respect for such jobs. With higher education and his great position, he is charged with using crack. Who am X talking a bout ? It is the Mayor of Washington, DC — Mayor Marion Barry.

So you want to educate your son? But until we look at the real problem, you may be shaping someone up to get no further than Mayor Barry. He has education and government administration opportunities.

Sometimes I wish the Islamic Law was our law. I wish that all African Americans were under Islamic Law. Then I would not have heard about this from the FBI setup. I would have heard that a group of Muslims who were supporting him caught him using drugs and beat him with clubs. And then the next leader we have to get into that office will think, "I had better not do this. I don't want to be seen on television getting my head clubbed."

You may think this outrageous or extreme. But don't you know that no people have established themselves until they first have the courage to protect their group interest, even if it meant someone getting clubbed or killed. Other ethnic groups have had to defend their group's vital interest.

Another one of our problems is we are afraid to take intelligent risks. We are afraid to exercise real moral courage. But that does not mean that we are not risk takers. The African American is the biggest risk taker in the history of this country.

Most of our money is money given to risk situations. Our behavior is a risk- " style behavior. We are the biggest gamblers and risk takers. If you try to get some of our people to invest in a real (logic rooted) investment, the answer will be "No." But you will catch them standing at the Lottery like they are going to meet Jesus there.

You should ask "Is Jesus here?'' May Allah forgive me for using Jesus' name in this, peace be upon the Prophet Jesus. But I am sure you know that I say that because of our exaggerated African American attachment to Jesus. Jesus is the Big Brother, the Big Father, the Big Friend, the Baby, the Mother, and everything to the African American people. He pays the rent and everything.

There are so many things that need to be recognized by us as problems internally that are keeping us from being established in a way that makes us feel good in the head and in the heart. However I am going to address all of our problems with one term, and that is "circumstances".

We are faced with "unfavorable circumstances". Our problem thirty years back was oppressors, the "white man in America''. But that time has changed and it is no more the white man in America directly. It is us and a small minority among the whites in America. They will be found working, studying our weaknesses and setting traps for us and preparing direction for us. And we will not be knowing what is going on.

That is going to happen until we ourselves get sophisticated enough in our alert mind and in our alert thoughts to recognize our weaknesses and not invite enemies in on us. We must defend ourselves morally against the most corrupt and most evil elements in this country that are watching us all the time to see what weaknesses they can work on to defeat our honorable advances.

They will find that you have a weakness and work on it. They will send a girl in on you. And if a girl did not help them, they will send a woman in. And if the woman did not help them, they will send a sissy in to get you. If the sissy did not help them, they'll send a dog. And if that doesn't help, they will send a gorilla. They will set you up, but you will not be innocent.

All of us have to be aware of that. And you do not have to be up in high position as is the Mayor of Washington, DC. There will be some evil element in the society — sometimes our own people who are blacker than you are in skin color — they will see a weakness in you and feed that weakness. That is the work of the devil. They will pretend to he your friend and will be feeding weakness in you, hoping that they will destroy you and make you fall to their low moral existence.

I was in a store once, and this old European American man — whom I hate to call white, for the dictionary says white means pure and etc. This old European American looked at me to get my attention, and he took a piece of fruit and put it in his pocket. Then he looked at me with the facial suggestion, "This is what you should do." My mother taught me not to steal. Now, here is a sixty year old or better "white man" who is telling me by gesture to steal.

I am sure that I am not the only African American who has had some European American to bid them to do wrong, to invite them to do wrong. I looked at him and in him I could see the devil. I said, "There is a stinking devil." Now you will go back and say, "Imam Mohammed said he looked in that white man's face and saw the stinking devil." And you should tell them also that I saw one in a black man, but not on the same day.

(To be continued)