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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles
Reprinted from the Muslim Journal

June 14,1996

Muslim Journal

Thorough Education

Imam W. Deen Mohammed's Presentation at "A Call to Community: An Honest Conversation on Race, Reconciliation, and Responsibility" May 23,1996, National Press Club, Washington, B.C.

My name is Wallace D. Mohammed. I am called Imam W. Deen Mohammed. I'm from Chicago, Ill., based in the southern suburbs. I have been there for many years now. I am very proud of our young Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. He said a lot that I would like to say.

I would like to thank Dr. Paige Chargois and the national director of Hope in the Cities, Dr. Richard Ruffin, for this opportunity to join you here to say to you that our community is with you, that we believe that you are focusing correctly.

The city in Scripture, as I understand it, is something that we are warned about becoming too big for man to manage. A big problem is the overcrowding. We don't want to overcrowd each other. We have to get to know each other more and respect each other more. We have to learn to respect each other's right to privacy and support each other more for a better world where everyone will have their space and be able to live life as we would want to live life.

I think the issue of race is a serious problem, but I think the more we address it as such the more we make a big problem of it. Race is a charge word. I think we should discharge it.

A lot of people dress themselves up in race and racism. I think we should want to understand race in its history. Man has an inherent need to feel good about himself as a group. Race is a group. We have to feel good about ourselves as races. All of us are entitled to that. All of us have that demand in our own nature to want to feel good about our group. I think Blacks need to respect that in themselves and they need to respect that in others. The same for Whites. Whites need to respect that in themselves and in others.

I think we need to understand that politics, not to put any negative thing in the air to hurt my good Congressman from Chicago, but politics, business, and many other interests exploit race. So we have to be aware of that.

I think that we have to fight for common sense decency. We have to strive for the best wherever we are and with whatever we have, and that includes Scripture. I would say to my brothers and sisters in the path of God that we have to strive for excellence even in Scripture. There are many parts of the Scripture that we wouldn't choose to read on this occasion. Why? Because we know that we might send out a negative message.

In my Scripture, the Holy Qur'an, we are told by God "and seek the best thereof." We are going to have our own opinion, our own views, our own perceptions. Our perception is not big enough sometimes and we may see incorrectly. So we should all strive for excellence even when we are trying to read and interpret and present our Scriptures.

Thank you very much, and may God bless us to be successful.