Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: This article is CORRECTED from last week, showing the omitted copy in bold-faced italicized lettering. The article was initially printed as submitted by the chairperson of the regional conveners Council of Imams.)
On Nov, 25, 1984, the AMM regional representatives met with Imam W. Deen Muhammad. It was asked of him, could he make a statement on Prison Services.
The following is his statement in response to questions by Imam Sultan Muhammad.
QUES: About the Prison Services. At the last meeting, you mentioned that Prison Services work along with the masajid. I was wondering can you make a statement or something, because right now in Prison Services they claim....
IWDM: The situations that we started off with shouldn't be taken as conditions with which we are pleased or satisfied. We have some areas where you didn't have a qualified person or anybody who would accept the responsibilities to work with the prisons in the area, and we accepted that prison Imams carry on the services and everything and didn't have to answer to anybody. That's not right.
A religious organization should be responsible for its propagation work wherever it's propagated. If it's propagated in the prisons, then a resident Imam should be the one to approve whoever is going to be working in that prison in his area or at least, that brother Imam should be respected enough by the persons who are preaching in the prisons — who are not really established to preach the religion, they are convicts, and prison administration — and to have the resident Imam or the qualified Imam in that area recommend someone to represent the propagation in that prison.
Either he should do it himself or recommend someone directly to the prison administration. Prison propagation should not be separated from community propagation. It should be a part of community propagation.
QUES: We have a situation in my region where the person who is over — who is a representative of Prison Services — is an AMMCOP person, and they had voting going on. I was wondering if AMMCOP should really be in that kind of position where they actually have representatives in Prison Services?
IWDM: No. That's with you. AMMCOP shouldn't be in Prison Service propagation because it's confusing -it just adds to the confusion.
QUES: This person claims that he won't be taking directives from the Imams or from the AMMCOP person. That's his last comment, but this clarifies all that.
IWDM: You should take my direct statement to him. If they don't respect it, you should take it to the administration and if the administration doesn't respect it, then you should take it to the public. That's right.
Say to the officials: "You respect other religions — Catholic, Protestant — who are preaching their religion. They don't have these convicts and people who don't represent anything responsible for the religion inside prisons. They have qualified people responsible for the religion. We ask the same thing — we can't get any cooperation from the administration.” But you will get cooperation.