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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Bilalian News

Reports On State Visit To Guyana And Surinam

Imam W. Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah (In the Name of God), the Gracious, the Compassionate.


(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from a lecture delivered by our beloved brother and President, Wallace Deen Muhammad on April 29, 1979 at Masjid Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, III.)

Let me tell you something about the people of Guyana and Surinam.

The people of Guyana are mostly descendants from India and Pakistan. Their people came from that part so many of them came from what is now Pakistan—I think Pakistan became an independent state about 1947.

Some came from that part of Asia and others came from India—from what is still India...Asia and what is now Pakistan, and the descendants of Africa now live in that part of the world. The descendants of Africans, came into the country as we came into this country— as slaves.

The people from Asia called Indians came in as what they call indentured servants. They were not imported to campaign for office, they could only do cheap jobs, peasant work and hard labor.

So these two groups now make up the population, the great majority of the people of Guyana and Surinam, but Suriman is a little bit different. The population in Surinam is more mixed. There are Indonesians, Indians, Chinese and others. The population in Guyana is mostly descendants of Africans.

I talked to the Pakistanis about that. They call themselves Pakistanis but they are also Indians; they are the same people, no difference.

Right now, if it were possible—and I hope it never happens; it would be a great catastrophe for us if this would happen—but suppose we Bilalians or African-Americans who call ourselves Muslims would create a separation and separate ourselves from the African-Americans who call themselves Christians, and then we stop calling ourselves African-Americans and get a new name that would not identify at all with them? That would be terrible. That is, if you wouldn't recognize the blood ties.

In Surinam, I can't give you a complete report, it would take too long, but I'm getting to something that I think was the most exciting part of my trip.

In Surinam we learned about some people who live primitive lives—in the jungle, in the backwoods of Surinam. They lived right in the metropolitan area or township. I don't know the term they would use over there, of the capital of Surinam which is called Paramaribo.

But those people are living today exactly as they lived except for just the presence of electric lines. The government has run electric power into their village and perhaps some material manufactured in the city. They live the same as they lived 300 or more years ago.

And you know 300 years ago there was no United States. In fact just a little better than 200 years ago there was no United States.

So these people live not like they live in the States, but like their people lived in Africa. They are still living exactly like their people lived in Africa over 300 year ago.

The government has sponsored a visit by some of them to the area that they came from and when they went back to the area, the people there looked on them as primitive.

Though the people from their area in Africa that they identified with also still lived on a comparatively primitive level - - the people they descended from — they found them to be way back in time.

This, I wish we had on movies. I'm telling you...I almost cried...a couple of times I almost cried, not because I was sad, I was happy. I was so touched. I felt so good.

We were blessed to have the vice-premier, minister over that district that we went to, over the other area outside of town that included that village of what they called the Bush Negro of Surinam.

This is what they are called, this is their proper name that they accept and that the! people call them — the Bush Negro of Surinam.

I don't like that term. I don't like the name! at all but that's what they are called, and really I if we had known "negro" meant black in the! beginning, I don't think we would have such a hang-up with the term Negro. Actually the! term negro is just another way of saying black.

To keep from letting you know they were saying black, they said negro.

Peace be to you
Your brother in service to Allah,

Wallace Deen Muhammad