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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


World Muslim News

Muhammad Speaks

Imam Warith Deen Muhammad


Question: I would like to know why free Muslims do not do more to help incarcerated Muslims? — Pine Bluff, Ark.

IMAM: I will speak for myself. There have been a lot of people who over the years have approached me for some assistance. The persons whom I have obliged, that is responded to favorably, are those persons of whom I had some knowledge of their innocence: that they were not entirely guilty of the crime for which they were convicted.

They might have had some part in it such as guilt by association; they might have been an accomplice without their knowledge. Sometimes an accomplice is convicted and really was ignorant of just what was taking place — the crime that was taking place — but they were caught at the scene with the party and they were both convicted.

I know of a case like that where a brother whom we know to be innocent was convicted because he was with the person who actually committed the crime. But he, himself, had no knowledge that the crime was going to be committed. We believed him and 1 did give him my moral support.

There are so many cases of which I know that have reached me personally that I couldn't find any evidence that the persons were innocent. Muslims have to understand that if they break a law, if they are guilty of a felony or guilty of a misdemeanor, they have to pay for it; we can't treat criminals as though they are innocent people.

If a Muslim wants attention from his Muslim brothers and sisters, no matter what his crime was, even if it was murder, I believe we should give that Muslim attention -- I believe that we should at least hear that Muslim.

But if that Muslim is guilty, he shouldn't expect us to treat him as though he is not guilty: to try and make it as comfortable as possible for him and show him the same affection and wish for him the rights that everybody else has in the society.

When you go to jail, if you are guilty you should expect to lose certain rights; that is part of the punishment — to be denied privileges that you had when you were free — and we have to accept that.

We have inmates who are doing a wonderful job. They were convicted either before they became Muslims, or some have been convicted while they were Muslims. But when they went to jail they got a chance in solitude there — not solitary confinement — I mean being alone; they got a chance to really straighten their lives out again and they have come to a new awakening; they have turned out to be just shining examples of what an excellent Muslim is while serving time in prison.

Now when we know of such personal efforts in the life of the individual who is guilty of a crime, we do give them all the assistance and all the comfort that we possibly can, because at that point we think that the person has paid for the crime.