New Africa Radio Logo
W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


Bilalian News

Special Report On Islamic Foreign Ministers Conference: Part 3

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 ofAlAqsa 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.
Following is Part Three of an exclusive interview granted Bilalian News Assistant Wali A k bar Muhammad.)


WDM: Now, let's leave the Palestinian rights and come back to something that's closer to our own programs here at home.
I was impressed with the support given Islamic propagation by the conference. Several million dollars were allocated for propagation, education, culture in general, the teaching of Arabic language to non-Arabic speaking Muslim minorities, and for strengthening the Islamic education for non-Muslim minorities.
I believe that in the near future our community (WCIW) will be receiving more assistance because of the position and commitment of the World Muslim Conference.

I believe our plan for a teacher's training college will be realized sooner than we expect. We already have received $250,000 for the development of an Islamic teachers training college and we have added to that account, I believe, close to $100,000. So actually we have over $300,000 in this account already.
I believe that we can begin with what we have — we can start. But to really establish a school even with the physical structure already being present, it's going to take a half-million dollars or more just to begin.

Then we'll need some assurance that there will be a yearly budget to support the run of the college. I'm hoping that by 1980 we will have the college in full operation.
We already have requested that certain persons form a Planning Committee and accept to work in the college. Among them is Dr. Ismail Raruq, al-Faruqi, a professor of Islamic Studies at Temple University in Pennsylvania.
We also are in a position to benefit culturally. In some of the delegates there are real interests in making Islamic cultural contributions to America. And our community is, I think, as attractive as any for such contributions.

We are a native American community, we are not immigrants. The geographic character of our community is American. The evolution of our community is American.
Some people might not understand that, but I know it to be a fact; the evolution of our community is American, even though we are an Islamic community.
I believe that very soon we are going to have an Islamic museum with very valuable contributions from Islamic countries, especially Turkey and perhaps Iran.

I believe that soon we will have a national Islamic celebration day with cultural contributions such as songs, music, dances and other art forms coming from perhaps Iran, Turkey, Senegal, Sudan and other places.
The museum that Sister Kamilah Hassan is dreaming about now, I believe she's going to get it sooner than she thinks. I received promises from the Turkish delegate for marble tiles and also the labor for constructing a mausoleum for our late leader, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. When I say promises, they are pending final approval.

These people are very experienced in Islamic architecture and construction. They promised that they will supply the materials and also do the construction.
The interest in this was coming mainly from Mr. Alison Dobra, who has personal relationships as a businessman with the Honorable Elijah Muhammd for a few years, and he considered him as a friend.

He has deep sentimental feelings for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, our late leader.
We also have been given a commitment of a quarter of a million dollars from our beloved brother Sheikh Sultan of Sharjah for the construction of a mausoleum. Sheikh Sultan was the first non-member to express the desire to build a mausoleum for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And his commitment is still good. He has not withdrawn his commitment. The only thing holding it up is our failure to find a suitable site and to come up with someone to construct it.

I think it will be better to have the Turkish people do it because they know how to build Islamic structures. They will import the Islamic material in the Islamic style with Quranic inscriptions and everything.
Then we will contact our friend the Sheikh of Sharjah and perhaps he will make his contribution.
I made a written request for the construction of the mausoleum after learning that they would do it. When I gave it to the Turkish delegate, he told me, "I promise you that you will get this. But don't announce it yet," he said "because I have to see other people and to make sure it's approved."

He slept on it. The next day, the same Turkish delegate told me, "Look, we want to make it bigger than that. We want to make a mausoleum and a place of prayer on the site, and also toilet facilities there on the site.
"Then we want to make another project," he said. "We want to make a school and a cultural center." He added this to it.
"You asked for tiles and marbles," he said. "What about rugs? Don't you know Turkish people make nice rugs with Arabic inscriptions, Quranic writing?"

"Well," I said, "we certainly would like to have some Turkish rugs."
So we got much more than what we asked for in our written statement asking for the materials and a Turkish architect to do the designs.

Mr. Dorba suggested that we have a metal plaque saying that this was donated by the Turkish people.
I told him not only that, but we will once more have the Turkish Flag in the community at least for the day of the annual Islamic celebration. The flag that we used to have looks very much like the Turkish Flag only the crescent is in reverse.
So we got some real commitments for the development of our Islamic community. I say commitments, but they are promises. I call them commitments because of the spirit in which they were given and because of the serious, sincere people who made them. I feel they are going to be fulfilled.

(To be continued)