December 3 1993
An Interview with Imam W. Deen Mohammed and the
British Broadcast Corporation — Part 4
BBC: The folklore as it is in Britain has it that the change for Malcolm had something to do with his Hajj. And he was killed, I believe, relatively soon after — within a year. Is it true the Hajj had a profound influence on him?
IWDM: I don't think anyone can experience the Hajj without it having a profound influence. It had a profound influence on me. But my mind was already changed before I went to Hajj. I didn't go there to get my mind changed. I went there for spiritual strength and to fulfill my obligation. I think Malcolm was pulling the American people's leg when he said that it opened his eyes to the fact that there are Whites in Islam.
That is not true. Malcolm met Whites in my father's house who we knew were Muslims from Turkey and other places. He didn't meet the first Whites on his Hajj.
BBC: As an important leader of your community and in some respect representing all African Americans, Muslims and non-Muslims, what do you see in the future?
IWDM: Let me say something to you that I have in my heart,' and I'm going to say it to you exactly the way I have it in my heart. I have a great respect for the accomplishments of African American people. In a society that about one hundred years ago had us all as their property and treated us as though we were the children of Satan after slavery — that is the Ku Klux Klan's treatment of us — that was America. Then America with the help given to Blacks from just good Christian Americans (some Jewish American people) and the effort to get America to recognize us as full human beings in this society became a success: This has a special place in the hearts of many Americans.
This country has now at least made it the law to recognize all of its citizens, African Americans as well as anybody else, and to know the sacrifices we and our helpers made of money, blood and life makes me feel that I should not just work for my interest and my aspirations. But I should respect the desire in Christian African Americans to achieve the degree of success that they want to achieve in America upon their own Christian identity.
My heart says that the best way for all children of African Americans is to accept Islam. That is what my heart says. But when I look at the history and everything, my heart goes out to those Christians and I feel I have to support them in achieving the excellence that their souls want in their Christian identity. But I look for many, many people to continue to convert from Christianity to Islam. This is happening because of a more studious and a more intellectual group of African Americans rising to view the world scene. As that happens they will attract people of means — of material means also as they rise up to join the leaders in their race.
We are going to see fine institutions of learning established by African American people with African American resources, and with their money. I think the masses of African Americans are going to be given an African American model of excellence that will wake up something in the genes. We all will be saying "Allahu Akbar". That in what I feel will come.