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W. Deen Mohammed Weekly Articles


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The Danger In Religious Symbolism

Imam Warith Deen Muhammad


With The Name Allah, The Gracious, The Compassionate

(Editor's note: Following are excerpts from Imam Warith Deen Muhammad's address to the Midwest C.R.A.I.D. meeting at Chicago, III, March 15,1980.)

You know I just have to make some comment on something that was brought out here today.
Our speaker — representing the C.R.A.I.D. Committee from Louisville, Kentucky, I believe it was — saw Jim Jones, Guyana, and the tragic ending for them in the light of C.R.A.I.D. and its work. He is very, very much on target.
The great majority of these freakish crimes are really germinated by the crazy things that people are taught in religion, that they don't understand. The preachers of religion and the people of religion, the leadership of religion just take for granted that the people can handle those things. Many people can't handle those things; they drive them crazy. They make them commit crazy acts, weird acts.

There is also a conscious thing going on to demonstrate the evils. There is a conscious effort on the part of some individuals to demonstrate the evils that are hidden in the doctrine of the Bible. They do these things just to dramatize the evil.
You know we have talked about Fard Muhammad's work of enacting the evils. He helped us, but that wasn't his main object. His main object was just to dramatize the evils and the hidden things of scripture.
Jim Jones was dramatizing an evil; he didn't care if he sacrificed those people, because the thing that he had in his mind was to him so important their lives were worthless in his plan. He didn't consider the lives of those individuals. He didn't even consider his own life; his own physical life meant nothing to him in his plan. He wanted to dramatize the evil.

When he did it, he tried to incorporate in the drama the things that would identify it. That Kool-Aid was the "communion-blood." It was there as a symbol. Finally, they took from it, and that was the end.
You know, actually Jesus' death was also foretold in the temple in a symbol, a cup. He said, "If there is any way, turn this cup from
me." They understand in Christianity that the cup means the drink of death. So the communion that they have in the Church is all symbolic of the will to die in the world to take of "Christ's life." You drink his life, but you die. You die in the world and you drink his life.

They don't explain these things. Certainly the majority of the people will have no problem; they'll just accept that it's their faith and they will be stirred emotionally. But there is that sharp minded person who will pick up a message, and sometimes this message will be so far from the truth that he will come up and enact a horrible thing on society.
Believe me, much of the homosexuality is because of the idea given over the stupid pulpits that have no idea at all of the trouble they are causing. Much of these strange acts can be tied to the strange kinds of things that have been put in the people's minds from scriptures that are too confused, too symbolic, too filled with dangerous ideas.

Jim Jones was definitely enacting the belief that he knew was responsible for enslaving the mental capacity of the people. He enacted it to shock not you — he knew you wouldn't get the message; he hoped that he would reach the high-ups, that they would get the message and would realize they have to stop this thing. He had political problems, but I believe his political problems just angered him to really make a big thing, a big stink. In making it, he hoped that somebody finally would see the message.
I've talked to him in person. I do believe that in his heart, he was with us. But he didn't understand — he thought he understood. He got some knowledge and he went ahead, he went ahead of himself, you know. He didn't understand. He told a big gathering, "The  Imam is the one."

So his heart was right, but I believe he didn't have enough knowledge. "I see a way to make a contribution, I see a way to create a picture of death that they won't forget" - I imagine Jim Jones had those thoughts.
He did it and he tied it in with sacrifice, communal blood. He's not the only one. There's a man, I forget his name, who recently committed a lot of murders. Don't think he's just a freak accident; he's no freak accident, he's responding to something. He's trying to give a message. Anyway, they gave him capital punishment; his name doesn't matter.

I said to myself, they don't understand this man, because they told him they were going to take his life. Capital punishment — what is that? That's nothing, he wasn't moved. They executed the man, he wasn't moved at all. I can't remember his name. He had killed, I think, 16 people.
How could he go to death so easily like that? They couldn't explain the crime, like they can't explain many other crimes they are talking about. How could he go to death so easily? He went easy because he thought he had effected his message.

Reacting to the issue of capital punishment, you see: The murderer wanted to say capital punishment doesn't work. How can he say it doesn't work — he can't get an audience? The Supreme Court won't listen to him. The Congress and Senate won't listen to him. We won't listen to him; the media won't listen to him. He's desperate to get an audience. He has something he thinks is very important to say. He says, "Okay — I can't say it, I'm going to demonstrate it."

(To be continued)