New World Patriotism Day Address: Part 1
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
Following are excerpts from Imam Wallace Deen Muhammad's New World Patriotism Day address, delivered in Chicago's Grant Park on July, 1979.
All praise is due to Allah, Almighty God.
Thank you Commissioner Cartwright.
On this great day here in Chicago, I want first to express my thanks to Almighty God for inspiring the good elements of our human life to get together within ourselves and to get together among ourselves as Brothers and Sisters—as citizens of Chicago and citizens of the world—as human beings who want to make Chicago a home for all of us and who want to make this Earth a home for all of us.
This morning it looked like it was going to rain. The clouds were very threatening. My wife said. "They didn't predict any rain."
"Well, they don't know," I said, "but Allah knows. Almighty God knows. And I don't believe any rain is going to fall on us today."
Like the Honorable Reverend Ralph Abernathy and Brother Ben Branch, I too know that God has given us the sunshine, and as long as we are coming together for the common good of all people—for the unification of the good elements of our lives and for the unification of the City of Chicago—I know that nothing bad is going to happen to us.
Nothing bad can happen to you while you are serving God's cause. And God's cause is the dignity of all people—the dignity of all people with respect for His will.
We've tried to establish the dignity of the human being all over the world but in some parts we've tried to do it without the proper respect for Almighty God, our Creator. In other parts of the world we have tried to do it without including all human beings, but I believe we can see the forces of human dignity and respect for our Creator moving together in America today.
One nation indivisible under God, the Creator—America was founded for that purpose. From the very beginning of this country, America has aimed very high.
I've been in many countries too, like Muhammad Ali, the World Champion, and believe me, this nation is worshiped and envied all over the world. Many people resent the greatness of this country, but most people where I've been outside the United States are looking to America for something to happen that's going to make things right all around the globe.
Some say they are looking at the religious movement in America, others say they are looking at the political trends, but they are all looking for something. All eyes have been and still are on America.
In Africa there's a great test for America. We have in President Carter a morally courageous Administration. Many in the United States are not enough in tune with what's happening around the world, especially in Africa, to really appreciate the moral courage of President Carter, Secretary Vance and others in this Administration.
Muslims have been on the outside for a long time. We put ourselves on the outside because we felt like Muhammad Ali, perhaps, still feels, that there was no good to come from our being in America—supporting America. We felt we should demonstrate our resentment, our dislike for certain things that go on in America now—that happened very often in America of yesterday. We thought that we should demonstrate our resentment by not identifying with America.
But today, in view of the new moral leadership we have in the present Administration, and considering the great achievements that came with President Kennedy, President Johnson and even President Eisenhower before them—the great achievements for equality of opportunity, for equal education—we should appreciate it when things get better.
Certainly we don't have these things yet. We have to accept the fact that as long as we live in a human world things aren't ever going to be perfect.
I appreciate this new America that will not only say, "All men are free," but will prove it in the courts and if necessary enforce it.
This is the America I have witnessed in my short life here—the courageous America, the America that braved the chance it would be divided again. And believe me there were many elements trying to divide this country. Many elements are still trying to divide this country so there will be some justification for classes and discrimination, for an oppressive rule over the masses.
I, for one, will not support a division in America because I know such a division is against all of us. It only serves a very few, who in my opinion, are devils and brothers of devils. If we want to aid the elements that want to divide this country, then we can shut our eyes to the fact that this country has shown great moral courage.
Think of yourself as being the people in authority in the United States. How many non-blacks can depend on black-rule in the United States for freedom, for justice, for equality, for equal opportunity, for equal protection under a black government?
We should stop looking at ourselves as some separate human beings from Caucasians and other people. We all are the same people. We have one blood, we have one nature, we are one people.
God said it in the Bible, God said it in the Torah, God said it in the Gospel, God said it in the Qur'an—we are one blood, we are one people all over this Earth.
The worst thing we can do as the masses of this country who are trying to get opportunities that are not yet as plentiful and as broad as we want them to be is aid the forces that want to divide this country on artificial lines.
Black and white have no reality when it comes to dignity and human potential. I believe in the Constitution of America that says, "every man has been endowed with inalienable rights"—rights that cannot be taken from us. We have been given those rights by our Creator.
I believe in the documents of this country that say all men are equal. I believe in it because my nature tells me that's true.
I have seen Caucasians facing a great emotional test cry on black people's shoulders. I have seen blacks faced with a terrible emotional test cry on white shoulders.
I have seen blacks with opportunity fall behind, become idle, and ignore opportunities before them. I have seen other blacks meet the opportunities and excel, and make it. I have seen the same thing among Caucasians.
I have seen Caucasians who, denied opportunity, gave up, let the absence of opportunity kill their willpower, kill their drive, and give themselves to an empty, wasteful life. I have seen other Caucasians who were just anxious to see a chance for opportunity rise up and meet the opportunity, take advantage of it, and excel.
What I am saying is what you have heard all of the time—there is no difference between a black man and a white man.
Our Prophet, the Universal Prophet, Muhammad (PBUH) said there is no superiority of a white over a black. There is no superiority of a black over a white. There is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab. There is no superiority of a non-Arab over an Arab.
Our Prophet said nationalism doesn't make you superior. Your color, your racial identity doesn't make you superior.
I believe that. I believe what God said in His book, the Quran.
I believe what this United States stands for—respect for the common essence of all human beings. Give that common essence the same treatment, and you will see equality and justice in America.
(To be continued)