Muslims Can’t Isolate Themselves From Community Concerns: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: The following is excerpted from an address Imam Muhammad delivered November 2, 1985 at MasJid Felix Bilal in Los Angeles.)
You cannot isolate yourself as Muslims from the general concerns of your local community. Whether it is your district or your city. you have to be in tune or at least aware and not indifferent to what is going on in your local political community. And look for opportunity to rise up into the system itself. Maybe you are not qualified. but you as a concerned political minded Muslim should be looking to other members in your immediate environment to see what member in our community has political promise. And then- give them a good word. Give them encouragement. Who knows? Maybe he will enter politics and become a great factor for improving the life of the people. Not only the Muslims. but the local people.
Let us be political minded. Don't think we are in America, not to be involved politically. Get away from that old idea that the Nation of Islam must have its separate government. Our separate doesn't require that we be in the city government or the city seat or the state seat or the national seat. It doesn't require that.
THERE IS A GREAT mistake on the part of our race in thinking that we need someone in the Senate. Someone in the Presidency. Someone in the Mayor's seat. That we will never be situated nice until we have those top political positions. No! Asians have come into this country and, within a few years, they have situated themselves very nicely and they are not aspiring to those great political positions. No. but be politically alert. Influence what is going on. Be a factor in deciding who gets there. And the only way you can be a strong factor for deciding who gets there is to get some money. Get some business. Get some properties. Own productive wealth, where the city values you. Where the tax burden for those who collect taxes comes also from you.
That is the situation we must have, and it is only going to come if we see the whole community picture, and then work for the whole-community good.-Work for the common good of the community. Work for the purpose and the future of a civilized and intelligent, thriving and productive community. That is the key. Take your mind off of black as a color. Take your mind off of getting into the White House and having a first black as President.
The first black can go in there as President. and we as a people remain in the same situation that we are in right now. Until we understand that. we have to become a people with some base, some roots, some establishment in the cities that is comparable with what other ethnic groups have.
Other ethnic groups come into this country and they don't busy themselves with just praying to their Buddha or whatever name they say. They busy themselves also in progressing their community economically. And they are willing to do it the hard way. They are willing to struggle hard and pay the price to get the blessing. Most of us want it too quick. They say, "Oh brother Imam, I like your ideas, but I want something right now. How can I get a million dollars right now?"