Religion Is Sincerity: Part 2
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editorial Note: The following is a culmination of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's address to the First Tribute to Leadership Dinner held in Atlanta, Ga. on December 10, 1988.)
I told two so-called reporters who came from the Sun Times, "One of you may be a reporter but the other for sure is from the Intelligence Department. You are not questioning me to publish anything. You are interrogating me for the Intelligence Department." One said, "Why have you talked to us all of this long time, if you believed that?" I told them, "Because I want you to know also what I am saying."
I am pointing out this trouble making element to say we are not without enemies. They pretend to be congratulating the new Muslim under W. Deen Mohammed, but they are more fearful of me and what I represent than they ever were of what the Honorable Elijah Mohammed represented.
It is because what he represented was figured by them to never be accepted by the majority in America. They thought it to have a short life and at least a small room for growth in America and had no appeal to the minds of the majority here. They thought that no matter what the Honorable Elijah Mohammed taught or did in that posture, he could not grow but so much. They knew any time they wanted to, they could bring the forces of the great majority of decent minded non-racist people from among the whites and blacks and others against the Honorable Elijah Mohammed.
However, this son of Elijah's has reached over and connected himself with the international Muslim world and has changed his Muslim identity from "black Muslim'1 to "international Muslim." This son does not represent "Yakub's made up history" anymore and those other mutant teachings that most of the people could not have understood and remained at ease with for long. This son of Elijah Mohammed has begun to talk "plain talk " and says he is following the pure teachings of the Prophet and the Holy Qur 'an.
They are saying to themselves now, "We cannot discredit this one in the eyes of the decent world. We can only discredit what the son teaches in the eyes of the 'indecent' world. Now that indecent world is in the minority and is the weaker. This son has connected himself to the strength and has put enemies in the weaker position.
"We cannot contain him anymore, for he is not confined in a small ideological territory and is not isolated from the great body of conscious human beings everywhere. He has the sympathy of human beings on his side now, whether they are Muslim or not, whether they are African-American or European American. This man is dangerous to our purpose. And our purpose is to see that this man we brought from Africa be confined mentally forever. We don't ever want him to come into any independent mind. We don't ever want him to come into a life form of his own intelligent choice.
"Because, we, our fathers and mothers and families, have treated that African man so damn bad for three hundred years, until he might one day wake up from a nightmare and in his independent state seek to declare war on us. That may be the results, if we allow him to grow intellectually on his own and become strong. We have to either keep him in the mind that we make for him or keep him confined to 'odd fellows aberration for small growth possibilities."
Allah has performed a miracle for us and has brought us out of the narrow confines. This element fears the liberated mind of the ex-slave brought over from Africa and mistreated. It fears that we will wake up in a new mind and realize for the first time that most "whites" are not worth imitating and following. They have this strong guilt-based fear in them.
Understand this. Some children five years old are really twenty-five, because they have been curious for five years. But some children five years old are not even- three years, for they have no strong curiosities.
I have seen this guilty European American man, and I know him so well, that now 1 spank him. He has to be spanked often, because he is devilish. We are not to pay abusers our monies. Pay for good and services. Do not buy from or hire the services of anyone who goes out of their way to make you hurt inside. We, more so than other ethnic groups, accept abuse and keep supporting the abusers with our monies.
We should not take abuse off of each other either. We should have a campaign to see that we don't take it nor give up money in exchange for it. This is how a decent human being thinks. Any decent human being should think this way.
We have an obligation to live up to the best, if we are really the people whom I think we are. For I think we are special. We have an obligation to do more than we expect of the average person. We are not the average person. The experience we came through under the Honorable Elijah Mohammed and to get where we are now definitely says to me that we are not the average person. In the eyes of sociologists, in the eyes of historians, in the eyes of anyone with insight into the nature and behavior of man, in the eyes of anyone—these are no ordinary or average people!
You pioneers and those who have now come to inherit the responsibilities of these pioneers, those who are going to be carrying that responsibility for a long time — you are extraordinary people! We also have historians and sociologists presently like Thomas Sowell of the West Coast making studies. Imam Shakir Mahmoud, my good friend in Boston, sent me one of Sowell's associate's books, a book by a Mr. Williams, Such writers are coming into their own minds.
What we have endured has made us an extraordinary people. You will ask, "If we are extraordinary, why are we having so many problems? If we are extraordinary, why aren't we doing better today?" You have to see that you are making great strides.
Let people study our history in slavery. When we and our generations have passed away people will study our history from Africa as slaves up to Al-lslam in America and say "Extraordinary!" When freedom was announced, ex-slaves were seen during breaks on the plantation resting on their hoes or plows with a book, for with freedom announced they were allowed to read. They thirst for knowledge and at every opportunity freed sla ves would be seen trying to read and learn. And that survives here.
Our freed fathers and mothers survived to change the attitudes of most of the people who were against them. They began to get to a situation in America where they could go to school and become educated, find good jobs and get equal pay.
Then they had what the coming students of our history will call a "moment" of celebration, but to me it looks like a billion years, And they grew to be drunk in their emotions over freedom and "good times." They started drinking and doing unheard of things in their sojourn and dreams. They started acting crazy and followed the worse ways of the European American. They were dissipating their energies looking for nothing but fun and wasteful good times. They forgot their families and said, "Hell, let us take a break!"
But all the time there was a small group of them still holding the line. These were from the African-American Christians and from a new group called Muslims who still held the line during that period of dissipation and drunkardness and wasteful good times. Then after another fifty years they rose up as a great ethical and economic power in the United States, And it will be said, "It is amazing how fast these people recuperated."
Once you believe, you will have the power working on your side to do even greater things. But we live most of our time in mourning and weeping and complaining and regreting and in being pessimistic. We waste our time believing that there is no change going to ever come, and that we will always be the under dog. You aren't the under dog at all. Look at what you have suffered and the depths from which you have been lifted.
Then don't forget that we who were under the Honorable Elijah Mohammed went through another experience. We were shot out in space so many millions of miles from our natural orbit and were told to form a "black kingdom" of the good and the bad in a show. And we made such a great showing, which brought those who didn't go with us to look at us. They said, "Those Black Muslims are amazing! Look how they work and produce for themselves. Look how organized they are; look how disciplined they are. Look how their lives are being transformed and reformed." It was amazing.
We have made it through the wilderness and have survived a black hole fabrication of myths of our origin. We have gone through all of that and now have found the way home. We survived to establish our hopes upon the Quranic homeland for the human aim in nature. We are a precious company. We know we were helped through the wilderness. We are with humble pride. Moreover, the thought of having been helped is a precious comfort for our spirit and its constitution. We don't disbelieve. We are growing into a man admirable for marvelous feats in human ingenuity. Excellence to rival and lead today's world is in our destiny.