An African-American Summit Requires The “Bonds Of Trust”
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Muslim American Spokesman for Human Salvation
(Editorial Note: This section of Imam W. Deen Mohammed's public address in Chicago, IL on April 9, 1989 addresses the announcement of an African American Summit which was held in New Orleans, April 21st through April 23, 1989.)
We hear the call coming from what they call the "far right." But it is not only coming from them, it was coming from us long before they got the attention. Because of them having great wealth and such great numbers and their importance to the election of President Reagan, they got all of the attention. But the alarm for basic values and virtues associated with the far right was sounded by us long before.
From my father and from his son many great things have happened to bring about a revitalization of the human life. It is not limited to our small circle. If only the message of what was happening among us bad gone out correctly to the world, the spirit of the nations and the world would be revived.
Right now I am rolling a thought over in my mind. I am invited by Mr. Hatcher to join a Summit of African Americans that is to be held in New Orleans, Louisiana. I know some of you will say, "Why do you have to roll that over in your mind? If you are fortunate enough to be invited to the Summit, you should go on down."
But no, I have to roll the thought over in my mind, because I recall that it was from us that came the announcement that we are going to start a separate independent party and present a candidate from ourselves to run for the presidency of these United States. It is not that others didn't have the thought and desire. I am sure they did. It is not that others didn't say that in closed quarters or in talks with each other or in meetings, for I am sure they did. I am sure they discussed the possibilities of running an African American. But I don't know of a public announcement as we did in Washington, D.C. occurring before. Some time after that the Reverend Jesse Jackson announced his running for the presidency of these United States.
I can go on and on. Many first happenings have come from us and were picked up outside and then called "the first." For example, for about thirty years now I have been preaching of a new way of looking at Africa. It has been at least thirty years. I have been preaching that the way we see America in appellation is wrong. The name, itself, is not ours. The term "Africa" is not ours. It was put on us to say that the "black" people are a people who have nothing but a mind for sex. If you want a strong sex experience, then go to Africa. "Go to Africa for an aphrodisiac."
I could not find any true support for the name, Africa, in the true history of our people. But I would find support for it coming from Europe. There is Sepio Africanus and Juleo Africanus. Our mother continent has worn the names Cush, Mesraim, and Ethiopia. Europeans would go there and come back to Europe and call the land ugly names.
The closest word that I can find reflecting contempt for our life is in an Arabic word, "Ifrit." This term means the big jinn. Another thing I have learned is that Africans are not calling themselves "Africans. " Not yet has the continent been settled politically.
We call the people of Northern Africa Egyptians. These are the people above the Sudan. They do not call each other Egyptians. They will only say Egyptian when they are talking to people outside of themselves. They called themselves Misriyyi in the singular and Misriyeem in the plural.
In the Bible a great part of the continent was called Misraim. Bible language identifies two Egypts (Misraim). The two Egypts were combined under one pharaoh at a certain time in history. Actually today they are still two Egypts in a sense: the Sudan and Egypt. They were at times under the same rule.
I am proud to say that the experiences I have had in "the Temple of Islam" under the Honorable Elijah Mohammed made me alert minded and curious to not just take things on face value. The only problem that I had with that mind I had back then was that it wanted me to relax too much before those Temple teachings.
Understanding that past situation influences my discomfort at some of you saying "yes" to everything I say, even if it is true. Every once in a while you shouldn't say anything. Don't say "no," if what is said is true. That would be lying. But you can say nothing; just look at me! The look should say, "I'm listening."
In the days of the Honorable Elijah Mohammed whatever the Temple said, your response was "yes!" 'The Japanese made a ship on the island near Japan and that ship will be one of the ships used in the destruction of America." The reply: "Yes!" Even though Japan was losing the war and the atomic bomb was falling on Japan. We were not situated mentally to deal with that conflict. But we were sure enough alert to the un-soundness of the white man's world. Everything he said, we waited. Our response to whatever he said was "No! No! No!" And if we had to say "yes," we would say it just by looking.
We need a situation in our lives favoring fact-related, fact-supported thought. Allah created everything to have us situated best, to be a trusting people and to have trust in something. We have to trust something. And the human being in his natural make up is trustworthy.
Among the issues being raised for us at this present time are: education or our schools and income or jobs — but we shouldn't say jobs anymore, we should say "income. " Many people can get jobs, but the burden on them today will not allow them to accept the low pay that some of these jobs offer. Many have to work two jobs or have several people in the household working to manage. So I would say the real matter is income.
We want to identify conditions. We are not just making the recommendation that we look at the condition of faith in our lives to solve our problems. We are also pointing to things that make it absolutely urgent that we make some logical conclusions.
There was a time in this country when the masses (or the great majority of us) were uncomfortable and not satisfied with what we were getting in America. But today, let us be honest people. The great majority of African Americans are satisfied with what they are getting from America. But a game is played to get more and more without self-corrections.
Now much of the complaining is because somebody is agitating. A politician will get up and agitate and excite a certain number of the masses to join him in a complaint which the politician magnifies for them. Most of us are more troubled internally than externally. We have lost the fine conscience of progressive minded people. We have come now to the typical condition for man in the history of man. That condition is that most of the time it is only a minority that is ready to do something to change unsuitable conditions.
Among the African Americans we used to have a majority protest. That was because the system had the majority of us in very bad conditions. However, now that there is plenty of food: Napoleon said, "A well fed army is an obedient army." That was Napoleon, the great general and the great strategist or genius on the battle Held. So what happens when the bare necessities of life are plentiful and the society goes a little overboard for consumption and gives luxuries to its masses? There occurs the same trend that worked the fall of Pompeii.
Such societies were energetic and enthusiastic working people, excited about tomorrow and the future possibilities, until they reached a point in their life-drive, in iheir progress as civilizing and materially advancing society that they have too many comforts that punishes their life blood with a heavy build up of toxins. They don't have to want for food. They don't get hungry. They sleep in very comfortable beds and have stuffed homes and have all the amusement they can dream of.
And what happens? They come to change and to lose the desire and the will to struggle. They lose the will to make real efforts and start to depend upon kind circumstances. And the circumstances happen to be favoring just taking it easy. They start to depend upon the circumstances and in time begin to grow internally infirm and too soft. Muscles collapse. Not only the physical muscles, but also the muscles of the will collapse.
The muscles of the moral life collapse. The muscles of the intellect and the muscles of reasoning collapse. For the African American people, what is our biggest problem? Some may say "jobs" and some, "crime."
Our biggest problem is self-abuse. Whether it be crime or the absence of employment or jobs, the biggest problem still is self-abuse. The problem of crime in the African American life or society is not just a problem of crime, it is a problem of "black-on-black" crime or "African American-on-African American" crime. That is the biggest crime problem in our lives.
We do not see any Italians and other nationalities breaking into our stores and bringing our businesses down and making it frightful for us to step out doors at night. We see the faces of our own people. Our problem is criminal behavior in us.
What does it all come down to? It is the absence of faith. We don't have faith in each other. We distrust each other. There is not enough faith under one roof to make a strong family. The family members don't trust each other enough to make a strong family. The bonds of faith are the strongest bonds for securing life, its foundations, and its operations (behavioral functions).