Al-Islam on the college campus; Imam W. Deen Mohammed at Buffalo State College
Questions And Answers
Imam W. Deen Mohammed gave the following responses to the students' inquiries:
Q: People are equal among each other, are we equal with God?
IWDM: No! We are forbidden by our religion to compare anything with God.
Q: Does real education begin on the spiritual plane?
IWDM: Yes. God created man good. Before man went astray he only had to follow his own nature in which God created in him. Religion has done good and religion has done bad. Al-Islam is the greatest source of bringing one back to the nature in which he was born.
Q: What is your definition of God?
IWDM: God has many names (attributes). Rahman (the Merciful Benefactor), Raheem (the Merciful Redeemer), and (Rabbil Alamini the Lord of All the Worlds, I think describes God best.
Q: What do you think of President Bush in terms of being the educational president?
IWDM: I think that more should come to institutions and qualified students. I believe that Bush is doing the best that he can under the circumstances. America is living on borrowed money from other countries.
Q: How much respect do you have for the American system?
IWDM: I could argue both for and against. Most of the problems are human problems. We become too emotional when we interact with White Folks.
Q: What do you think of Democracy or the lack there of?
IWDM: Why always pick on America. We are for the democracies listed in Al-Qur'an. Most Muslim nations are just coming out of slavery to the industrial powers.
Q: Why do you not follow your father?
IWDM: You do what you think is right. I could have followed the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and had the same following that he had. I would have been powerful and rich.
Q: What do you think about Malcolm X and foreign bombs falling on Muslims?
IWDM: I made a choice so I do or did not grieve over the war.
We had a friendship, Malcolm X, Farrakhan and I. My position was that everything should be brought out in the open. When my father, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad asked me if that is how I felt, I told him yes. And then he said, "You are dismissed. You cannot see your mother, visit your home, of any Temple."
Q: What about the rising tide of Black on Black violence?
IWDM: We must learn the nature of our problems, then we have a chance to solve them. The abused will become abusers. A slave will copy his master. And poor youth without hope are desperate.
Q: Do you trust the USA?
IWDM: I think that the behavior of the people is afflicted by a weaker psychology. Racism will always be with us. We must have a strategy to defeat racism. We can hate the wrong in America and love the right.
Q: What do you think of Spike Lee making a movie about Malcolm X?
IWDM: If they do make the movie, they should focus on him being a Muslim. Malcolm X became great after becoming a Muslim. People should see the whole Malcolm X, not just the fiery side. He worked and studied every day.
Q: Do you have a political agenda?
IWDM: Yes, full freedom as a Muslim.
Q: What do you think of the Masons?
IWDM: I have mixed emotions. The Masons rented their halls to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad when no one else would. Some of their signs are Islamic. They are people trying to serve the good in others.
Q: Do you intend to reclaim America for the African-Americans?
IWDM: No. Do not let our bitterness blind us to how best to gain our piece of America.
Q: What about polygamy?
IWDM: More than one wife is not promoted. In certain situations Al-Islam allows more than one wife, but the brother must have the means to support two wives.
Q: What about Afro-Centric study?
IWDM: I have an interest, but there are many problems. That hair, given us more than a spiritual movement. They could do better if they do it in academic ways.
Q: We need programs for self help. What do you think of Bush's integrity on saying that he is the educational president'.'
IWDM: I see him as a human being with the responsibility that he has. I do not think that it is the fault of the president, but conditions beyond his control.
Q: What should be the student's relationship with the teacher?
IWDM: A student should see his teacher as a station to receive knowledge.
Q: If you are not emotional, how can you be spiritual?
IWDM: The baby grows less and less emotional as he grows up. The more that he learns the more rational that he becomes.
Q: Are you successful?
IWDM: Yes, because I live within my means. I could have much more if I would be a demagogue.
Q: What about the violence between Blacks and Jews in Crown Heights (NYC)?
IWDM: Property is the answer. We must buy the land that we live on. Every person rules the land that he owns. If we service our own needs by establishing and patronizing our own businesses, we will be able to demand respect from everybody.
Q: What can we do?
IWDM: We can solve most of the problems ourselves, if we accept responsibility for ourselves. We want more opportunities. History shows as the burden is removed from society the more prosperous the people become. Al-Islam has its ways of addressing poverty and crime. The poor should be assisted. If the poor are driven to crime, there should be no punishment, if he only took enough for his survival.