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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Bilalian News

Special Report On Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference: Part 2

Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad


(Editor's note: In December, 1969 at the initiative of King Hassan II, the first Islamic Summit in history was convened at Rabat, Morocco, following the criminal burning of the Mosque of Al Aqsa at Qods.

The conference aimed at two objectives: 1—to confer a universal dimension to the Palestinian problem, and; 2—to encourage the Muslim community to make an examination of conscience and bring about a return to its source.
On May 9, 1979, the 10th Islamic Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs opened at Fez, Morocco in honor of that nation's dominant role in the Muslim Renaissance and the fact that Morocco's history throughout has been merged with that of Al-Islam. [In the Middle Ages, Morocco was one of the cornerstones and bases of the expansion of Al-Islam.]
In this symbolic setting, ministers of Foreign Affairs from 43 Islamic states, as well as many other key dignitaries and Islamic leaders, met to resolve their positions on certain economic and political issues affecting the conditions of their Muslim brothers.
Attending this historic conference in the status of observer was World Community of Al-Islam President, Wallace Deen Muhammad.
The following is an exclusive interview granted Bilalian News Assistant Editor Wali Ak-bar Muhammad.)—Continued from last week.


BN: Brother Imam, as we closed we were discussing the role of the superpowers in today's world problems—would you please continue?


WDM: Materialistic minded people or big powers are responsible for a lot of the suffering in the world. And sometimes those material forces are just too monumental for peasant people, or people who have no great arsenal they can rely on. At the same time, there is no amount of material force that can really destroy the spiritual and human character of a person if they are determined to keep that spiritual and human character.

I don't feel like a lot of the Muslims I met, who feel the situation is so desperate, so urgent that all Muslims ought to jump up with one rallying cry, in the spirit of Jihad—I mean fiery Jihad.

I don't feel like that. I'm inclined to approach this very serious situation in the spirit expressed by the King of Morocco, King Hassan II.

He prefers a peaceful approach rather than an attempt to liberate oppressed Muslim communities with material hardware. That's not only a sober, religious attitude, I think it's also a practical position.

When you think of the lives and wealth lost in these material, physical confrontations the small nations just can't afford those expenses....The superpowers survive those clashes while the small powers suffer the great losses.

Look how much was taken away from the economic prosperity of Egypt. Egypt is not capable of conducting the kind of war that modern times require. The nature of war is just too much for small countries to manage.

I believe that patience, endurance, and the spirit of sacrifice is the real key to the survival of Egypt, Palestine and all the Muslims who are facing opposition from superpowers or whose land is dominated by people who have superior weaponry.

I believe the key to the future for Muslim communities is obedience to God—wisdom, patience, determination, spirit of righteousness.

I would think that more could be accomplished by refusing to use modern weapons. If you use them, they're going to be used against you. If you don't use them, the one who uses those against you looks bad in the eyes of the world.

If you don't have the supplies to really engage a nation in the type of war that nations fight now, it's only going to result in great economic losses to your people.

It hurts to see Muslims, like Egypt, get into a war with the Israelis who are so much more sophisticated in war machinery.
I'm talking about the people themselves, not the machinery or the hardware, but the fighters themselves.
Some of them have long histories of fighting in wars, manning heavy equipment and flying sophisticated warplanes. The Egyptians only recently have tried to qualify themselves to handle such sophisticated machinery and weaponry.
It's my feeling that the price you pay is just too much.

I can sympathize with President Sadat in being, what I would say, over anxious to reach a peace agreement. I think his over anxiousness is caused primarily by fear of another war, the losses and setbacks the country has sustained, the unhealthy environment war leaves on people—bad sanitary conditions and so forth.

When I visited Egypt, it wasn't too long after war and I was surprised at the sanitation problem I found. We got sick there. I've never gotten that sick on any trip before and it was because of the poor sanitary conditions brought on by the war.
The water was polluted, a lot of the food was bad.
Millions of people in the city of Cairo now, have paid such a high economic price just for dignity in a war. The war is over, now, and they are really in need of someone to have mercy on them, to give them economic assistance—economic aid.

War is an ugly mess, a high price to pay for any person that is free to think clearly.
When I say free to think clearly—take for example, a Palestinian whose home has been taken over by an Israeli; the grave in which his relatives were placed is now the property of foreign people who have dominated his home, taken over his land — that person is not free to think clearly.


BN: What about the question of Palestinian rights? How does it differ from the Egyptian question?


WDM: The question of Palestinian rights is different from the occupation of the Arab lands.
It's more than just the occupation of the Arab land when it comes to the Palestinian. The Palestinian has been kicked out of his land. His home and the grave-sites of his relatives have been taken over by invaders.
We don't think about those things, but in my visit to the conference I was free from a lot of the day-to-day things that I have to attend to here in the States. I gave more thought to the Palestinian position then, perhaps, than I have ever given.

I can see what excruciating pain it is on the sentiments, on the nerves, on the heart of a person who sees their home taken right before their eyes.
It would be different if it were bombed, blown away - - the home is gone. The hurt comes suddenly and you have to survive it. Hut if you are across the border just outside the territory that just has been taken—your own home has just been taken over—you can look into the distance and see your home just as it was...just as, perhaps, you or your parents built it and you see the lights coming on and off. Somebody else is turning those lights on and off. The trees, the business, whatever else, is all being occupied by another people within your sight.

Just think about the grave; there is such sacredness about a grave-site. The sentiments are so strong for the deceased relatives that you can't understand people taking over the grave of someone's relatives denying that person any rights at all. Saying, "This is ours."
I always try to look for the justice in everything, you know. And I said, well, think about the Israelis who feel they are coming home to that God promised them. Then I said, but those graves are much older than the graves of the Palestinians...some of the Palestinian bodies are still perhaps intact in the grave.

What Israeli returning to a homeland taken away over 2,000 years ago can have that kind of sentimental attachment to a grave-site? How can the sentiments of the Israelis be as strong for the land they were separated from thousands of years ago as those of the Palestinians who were separated a few days, a month, or even a few years ago.
The land was theirs. Many of them are looking at the same homes they built. I can't see it.
I'm not speaking as a Muslim now. Speaking as a Muslim, there wouldn't be all of these concerns expressed in this thought.

I'm speaking as an American. And as an American, I can't see the American people not taking a moral stand for the rights of the Palestinian people.
I believe every American is obligated to really give justice to the Palestinian cause. To give justice to it we have to get the facts and make our own judgment.
Palestinians are entitled to their own land, they are entitled to work out their own future on a territory or a land that is theirs.

I think they, the American people, are better informed now. I hope that the knowledge will continue to grow and I hope that Americans will have the moral strength to make an unbiased decision regarding Palestinian rights and the Israelis' claim to the land.
I didn't intend to take up so much time on this but it's very touchy and for four days I was there listening to statements of moral support for the Palestinian people and I couldn't help but grow stronger and stronger in my own moral support for them. It's saddening because I haven't lived with the Palestinian people, but I have met Palestinians over the last four or more years, and most of them seem to be very warm, human people.
They don't seem to me to be the Philistines of the Bible. The Philistines of the Bible were war-like people.

Even the name doesn't go along with that war-like image they are given in the Bible. Philadelphia is the City of Brotherly Love. Philosophy is the love for wisdom.
Philistine—that's how they impressed me. They strike me as a loving people. I can't see them as Goliath fighting little David.

I believe the real Goliath is materialism; that kills the hearts of the people. The heart is little David. The heart can kill materialism if we just let it live. If we let the heart express itself.