Egypt takes the lead - Part 3
Interview of Imam W. Deen Mohammed by Ayesha K. Mustafaa
(This interview with Imam W. Deen Mohammed took place after his September 10, 1992 trip to Egypt. Part I was published in last week's Muslim Journal.)
Q: In regards to the cultural history of Egypt, there is a lot of conversation back and forth about the original Egyptian. The controversy is around whether the original Egyptian was of European origin or more of the central African stroke of people. What is your view?
IWDM: The information that I have had from my high school time and was given to me by persons from overseas — not from America. One of them was a person at the University of Illinois who was hired to teach us Arabic; his name was Professor Farrag. He was also a student of Egyptian history at the time he was teaching Arabic to us for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He would have me to assist him in his teaching of the Arabic to the students, and therefore we got closely acquainted with each other.
He told me that the first builders of the pyramids were from lower Egypt and not from upper Egypt. He said the first ruler was named Mina and was the one to introduce the building of the pyramids. He said that Mina was typical of the African people, not of the Arab or of the European influence. He was just one I am telling you about who has told me this.
I have also done some study on my own as well and, I'm inclined to believe those who identify the typical African people as the first builders of the pyramids.
When you visit a site called Abu Simbel, there are two statues there. All together there may be four statues there of huge human images. Abu means father of, and the Sphinx is called Abu Haul. Abu Haul means father of all around, all that you can see. Abu Simbel, I have some idea of what it means but will not say this right now.
Abu means leader. You can go there now and see faces on Abu Simbel or the image of Abu Simbel, and you will see that they are typical African.
The Nubians told me that they were of the Nubians. I talked to the Nubian people when I was there about fifteen years ago, and they told me that those features are Nubian. To me they all did not look Nubian.
Very surprising to me was the face of the young king who got so much attention all over the Western world, King Tut. The top mask that you see on his coffin is like the mask you see all over. Our guide raised the top or first mask and showed us another mask underneath, and the mask beneath was typical Nubian - it was typical of the Nubian face. It is kind of strange that they would have two different features there - one above and one under. King Tut died at a very young age, so it could not have been an attempt to make his younger image and then a later one.
I think that what they have done is work in the interest of tourism. They know that the Western world, especially back then, has such arrogance - intellectual arrogance and racial arrogance - that it would be to the benefit of the Egyptian government to try to appease them and not to show them the features of being typical African. I believe that this might have been done a lot.
Now we know that the dynasties changed over the thousands of years of Egyptian ancient glory. The dynasties changed and there were other races that came in and governed Egypt through the history of the Egyptian people. There were different racial stock governing Egypt. Even the Jews were known to have ascended to the leadership of Egypt at one time, or those people who are called Jews or are the descendants from Moses. So it is a mixture of races there.
Going back to your question, my position is that the typical African or the black people were the first builders of the great monuments of Egypt and the great history and science of ancient Egypt.
Q: We see a lot of rewriting of history now and are trying to keep a close eye on things. Here in the U.S. we see a need for the rewriting of Columbus' claim to the discovery of this country. And a lot of Indians are beginning to express their being offended, since they were here first and are saying that they came from somewhere, too.
IWDM: I heard a professor on a network talk show saying that the American Indian history needs rewriting and that it carries a lot of shameful errors.
Q: Then perhaps Egypt can do the same. Even the U.S.S.R., when it fell apart, acknowledged that it, too, had deliberately distorted history and have to rewrite their history books.
IWDM: We appreciate the Muslim Journal for staying in touch with what is important and happening in our life and around the world and making it available to our readers.
Q: Do you have any comments on the recent Fund-Raiser for U.S. Senate Candidate from Illinois Carol Moseley Braun that was sponsored by the Muslims here in Chicago on September 18th?
IWDM: The candidate for the U.S. Senate seat from Illinois is a person with a personality that attracts people of all colors and all nationalities and even from religions. We would not think that such a person would be comfortable in a political situation like that and being given such political support. But we saw that there were many outstanding personalities and figures and distinguished persons from the Muslim communities of Chicago and from the various nationalities. Most of them are Pakistani and Indian, but that is because the majority of the recent immigrants are Pakistani or Indian.
I also saw an appreciable number of Muslims from other nationalities as well. I am very much impressed with her ability to attract people from different nationalities and from different races and different religious persuasions.