Ministers Islamic Conference: Part 5
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: In December, 1969 at the initiative of King Hassan II, the first Islamic Summit in history was convened at Rabat, Morocco. following the criminal burning of the Mosque of Al Aqsa at Qods.
The conference aimed at two objectives: 1—to confer a universal dimension to the Palestinian problem. And; 2—to encourage the Muslim community to make an examination of conscience and bring about a return to its source.
On May 9, 1979, the 10th Islamic Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs opened at Fez, Morocco in honor of that nation's dominant role in the Muslim Renaissance and the fact that Morocco's history throughout has been merged with that of Al-Islam. In the Middle Ages, Morocco was one of the cornerstones and bases of the expansion of AI-Islam.
In this symbolic setting, ministers of Foreign Affairs from 43 Islamic states, as well as many other key dignitaries and Islamic leaders, met to resolve their positions on certain economic and political issues affecting the conditions of their Muslim brothers.
Attending this historic conference in the status of observer was World Community of Al-Islam President Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad.
Following is the concluding part of an exclusive interview with Bilalian News assistant editor Wali A kbar Muhammad.)
BN: Brother Imam, were there any activities following the ceremonies to dedicate the dam?
WDM: After we witnessed the ceremony and the opening of the dam and the ceremonial statements that were made by King Hassan II, we were invited to a feast prepared by the King's order. We sat under tents that reminded me of some of the fabulous scenes that I have seen in Hollywood movies.
At the time, I couldn't see myself in the shirt and pants that I was wearing. I imagined myself in Kings' garb. The atmosphere was just that intoxicating.
When we first sat down to eat we sat before one platter the size of a regular dinner plate. A loaf of bread covered the whole plate and it was as if it were cooked for one individual — about the size of a cake platter.
There was the nice spring water. And I told Raymond Sharif, "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told us that you can live on bread and water. So, here we are. Let's eat bread and water."
Before we got into the bread, two gentlemen brought in a big platter of roast lamb; the diameter looked to be about 18 inches or better — a platter so big that it would cover an ordinary small table.
This platter was completely filled with a big piece of lamb that looked to me to have been at least a quarter of the whole animal. Seated at our table were six or eight other people and we began to eat the meat.
I thought that this was all. I had forgotten about royal hospitality and that you get your dinner in courses, and that was just another course.
After we had some meat, they took the platter away and brought back a rice and vegetable dish which also had meat in it. We ate from that dish.
As soon as they thought we were filled from that dish, they took it away and came back with a kind of casserole, a sugar crust over it. Inside the crust was rice and meat and spices.
By then I was wondering if the feast was a blessing or a punishment. I had overdone it to start with: I wasn't expecting all of that food to follow. But I'll never forget that feast because of the best lamb. I can't recall ever tasting lamb better than that roast lamb. It wasn't highly seasoned, the seasoning was mild. It was the tenderness, and the mild taste, that made it so excellent — the best lamb I can recall eating.
I felt that it was really a blessing for me to be in Morocco for the conference and to see the King of Morocco at the opening of the clam. A great man — small in (physical) stature, but a great man.
BN: The King reportedly mentioned to White House officials during his last visit to the U.S. that there were no members of the American Islamic community present at the State Dinner in his honor.
WDM: We are a large Islamic community here and we feel that when Islamic dignitaries come into this country, to Chicago, or wherever we are, our community should at least be invited.
I think it's the desire of several of the people in government, but it's something that I think we ourselves haven't pressed enough.
When King Hassan or any other figure from, the Islamic world comes, I would think the government would want to give them the best reception. The best reception would include a person or representatives from a dignified American -Muslim community, and we have some of the best.