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Imam WDM - Beware Of Psychological Warfare

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02/02/1990

Muslim Journal

Beware Of Psychological Warfare – Parts I, III & IV

By Imam W. Deen Mohammed

If you have an enemy that is a nation like Israel, if you have an enemy that is a nation and has an army that fights you with rockets, do you think that the war is all physical and detectable directly? I know you know better. They are not just fighting you with the army in uniforms, the military. They are fighting you with their psychology and also with their physical weapons. And if they can out maneuver you psychologically, they will kill your aspirations. They can tie up your energies and kill your original aspirations and make you a strange thing to your true self. This will happen, and you will not even know it until it is too late. Then you will see how much you have come out of your own (Muslim) character.

(Imam W. Deen Mohammed made this presentation at the Annual Conference of the Islamic Committee for Palestine using as example the African-American plight. He compared it to the possible outcomes the Palestinian people face. This conference was held at McCormick Inn of Chicago on December 23, 1989.)

We praise Allah, the Lord of the worlds, the Sustainer of us all. We seek Him for guidance. We ask His Mercy and Forgiveness and we pray always that the prayers and the blessings be on the Last Messenger of Allah, Muhammed, and on his descendants, his family. And I acknowledge what follows the most excellent salutation to the noble universal Prophet Muhammed.

I want to say that it is an honor for me to be invited to address you on this occasion. Regarding the plight of the Palestinians, I don't think that I am any different from other Muslims in America who are sincere. I am sure that all of us share your concern as your brothers in the Religion. Though we are African-Americans, we are Muslims. All Muslims should be having the same heart and the same aspirations for the Muslim people wherever they are on earth. Whether they are in America, in the Middle East, in the Far East, or in Africa, the hearts of Muslims are united. If we are truly sincere, the Qur'an, which is the Word of Allah, and Muhammed, who is the Messenger of Allah, brings us into unity. We should have one heart and shared aspirations.

I am conscious of our plight in America as "Blacks" or as African-Americans. We are not comfortable with any of these racial names for us. We have been called Negro, Colored and Black. On my father's birth certificate his race is noted as "Colored." I recall at the time of my youth most African-Americans called themselves Colored. I didn't, because with justification, we were the racial (race-conscious) rebels.

The Honorable Elijah Mohammed aroused, shaped, and directed us. He also was deprived and misinformed. We pray Allah forgive him his sins and grant him paradise and peace. Because of his sincere efforts to bring to the attention of the "black man" the truth of his human worth, we esteem him highly. It was the tireless labor of Elijah Mohammed that eventually reformed attitudes and raised the term black from shame. James Brown, the singer, made a great hit with his song "I'm Black and Proud." Suddenly those people who once were almost ready to fight people for calling them black began to insist they be called "Black." These people, my people, began to like being called "Black."

At this time, I am having great difficulty in trying to get them to stop calling themselves "Black" and to prefer calling themselves African-Americans. We think "African-American" is the more natural and courageous. This term ties us back to Africa our motherland. The choice of "African-American" tells the world that we refuse to be shamed out of our identity with Africa. We are not ashamed of our origin in Africa, to the contrary we are happy to say we are African and we are American.

"African-American" was a name advocated by a man from Jamaica, Marcus Garvey. He was the father of our "nationalism." It was the honorable Marcus Garvey that addressed us as African-Americans. The Reverend Jesse Jackson met with several leaders and a joint communication was sent out to make it official that we of the blacks of Africa be addressed "African-Americans." It should be fashionable now for us to address ourselves as African-Americans.

We tried to promote the term "Bilalian," but right away we ran into disinterest. Some people did not like that we call ourselves Bilalians. Some even thought we were trying to start a new religious sect. Their complaints bordered on a most damaging charge of shirk (false worship), the idolizing of Bilal, may Allah be pleased with him. It was not in our Interest at all to give Bilal any special place, except the special place he already has in Islamic and African history. We were innocently trying to solve the identity crisis for our people here in America. The Arabs, and most tribally established national groups, identify with geographic feats and with ancestors. By choosing to call ourselves "Bilalians," we reached for the same situation.

It hurts me to tell you the truth about our identity crisis. We are still not pleased. The only name that pleases me is "Muslim". It is the only name I feel perfectly comfortable with. I don't feel perfectly comfortable being called an African-American or a Black man or a Colored man or a Negro.

Deep in our genetic memory we don't like it that we have been called something without the natural honor of having had it (choice of name) grow out of us rather than put on us.

I'm speaking to the African-American brothers now: For us, we should not depend on a racial (color) appellative to fuel race spirit or to fuel race dignity for us. We will expect the term Muslim will have that fuel in greater potency and greater quantity.

Some of us are almost white, and they still call us "black". That is a mystery (a tricky one), but for now forget it.

Let me come to something a little more serious. As a young man I learned that church people or Christians had an origin story about our people becoming servants or an inferior class of people in the society of the white people and others. Some of you outside of America I'm sure are familiar with this story. The story says that Noah (upon him be peace) had three sons, and you probably all know the story of Noah. One of Noah's sons was Ham. The three sons saw Noah in his nakedness after he had been intoxicated. The first son walked in on his father looked on him and Laughed; that was Ham. The second one came in looked at his father and turned his head. He (the second to enter) did not want to look on his father's nakedness. The third one to enter looked at his father's nakedness and took a cloth and covered his father's nakedness.

Now I am sure that available history (stories) say the one that did the best act was the "white" race, and the one who laughed was the black race. At any rate, we were told that we were the children of Ham through Canon. We were told our blackness was not natural, but that we were cursed. Many of us accepted that our color was a curse. This is a story that came mainly from the church people. Many yet think us to be children of personified shallow mindedness and playfulness.

The story the church gives is not word-for-word in the Bible. The Bible only says that Ham was cursed. And that the curse did not fall upon Ham directly, but it fell upon his sons (Canaanites). To get the full Bible reading on this curse is to see Canon doomed to always be in an inferior position among men. He (Canon) was doomed to do menial chores like cut wood and fetch water for people not blackened.

The racist bigots used this against us to say that we were the cursed blacks, that black skin was a curse on us. The story would have us believe that our skin color and our Negroid (African-American) looks were a curse on us. The Biblical story seems to make this low-down slander the sole act of G'd, Himself. Christians are to accept that G'd, Himself, deemed that we do the servile things for the other races — cut wood, tote water, have no skilled work, and just answer the call of common servile duties befitting a slave. The advocates of racism and a cooperating church used this story to make the Christian people of America, and I am sure of the world, feel no shame. The story was to cover their shame and take away human concern from the issue. "They are not supposed to be treated as other humans. They are under a curse. Their blackness is a curse. Their looks (features) are a curse on them. G'd put the curse on them." This low-down thing was done.

To make this even worse, there was a time in our history of just fifty years or so in the past when so-called scientists in sociology and psychology were leading advocates for this evil of racism. You have seen some recently on television perhaps trying to defend their position that blacks are inherently inferior. They (Western would-be scientists) too wrote us off as subhuman.

Today, I'm sure we can run into European Americans (white people) out in the streets of Chicago and elsewhere that still have that opinion of us, although America has changed a great deal. There are people in America, in Europe, and maybe in your (Arab) countries too who have that (false picture) opinion of us and look down on our racial constitution.

So much for this side: I was surprised to also learn that there was a low-down story also from Asia. I was told that in one of the Indian religions there is a mythical G'd Rama who flung the sun as a disc over Africa. In this story G'd was angry with the African people and he flung the sun disc too close to them and singed their hair and burnt their faces. That is how the African got black faces and nappy hair, if one believes a low-down story.

Imagine a people brought to a strange land as slaves, cut off from their language they had before, whatever it was — I'm sure we had many different languages, but I also believe that many of us were Muslims.

There is history to back that up. Here were a people cut off from their language, cut off from their cultural past, and cut completely off from all memory of what life principles there were before, cut off from their ancestors and cut off from their native life. Imagine those people given a picture as babies of themselves just as I have described to you.

We (African descendants) were rejected in heaven and on earth. Low-down stories were backed up by so-called science — pseudo science of America, at that time passing itself off as legitimate science. The coward's (Satan's) lie was saying that we (descendants of Africans) were genetically inferior and that was it. You can imagine how a people so overwhelmed could feel and think till they feel and think themselves out of the race. Imagine their burden then and now. The world and our nation folded their hands and were silent while Africa and her children was being set-up for a worldly price.

The courts were treating us as though they accepted that idea. When we were brought to the courts, they did not regard us as equal humans with the "whites." This is during slavery and after slavery. This is recent in history in America and elsewhere. What we said in court meant nothing or we could not speak at all. The ("black") man was not to be treated as an adult. They were called Jim Crow Kangaroo Courts.

This low-down behavior was popular in the south and occasionally the north. At any rate the north was tolerating it. The treatment in the north in some instances was just as bad. You can imagine the cruel damage to our minds.

What did we have to look for? We knew nothing of Africa. We were not world travelers. We were cut off from the international world. We knew nothing of any other position regarding our worth from scientists or psychologists or sociologists. We were not educated or worldly informed. Imagine the burden on us, when a whole country, the most progressive country in the world had made that kind of judgment against us. Adding painfully to the burden, there were the majority of people treating us as though they accepted that judgment.

You people can imagine the burden that was on us. (To be continued)

Part III

I came to the conclusions that if we are to solve our problems we are to first consult the Qur'an and the life of Muhammed the Prophet. After we have gotten the needed material from those two sources, we are created by Allah to make good use of our thoughts, our own ideas, our imagination, skills, and resources. We are to test what we are going to use before we use it. We first rely on what has already been revealed in Qur'an and in the life of the Prophet. Test what our minds produce, and that which is not approved by Qur'an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, reject.

We will find great support for much of the genius of the African-American man and the genius for any people in the Qur'an and in the life of Muhammed (peace be upon him). But as Muslims we have to be willing to throw that which is rejected away, no matter how much we love it or how much we are obsessed with our own ideas.

We have to have the strength and the courage to say, "I am Muslim first. I am Muslim before I am African-American. I am Muslim before I am anything." And that which is rejected as Muslims must be thrown away! If it conflicts with what Allah has revealed and with what our Prophet has lived and demonstrated for us, reject it. Then we will be successful.

We, as African-Americans, have come away from that strong desire to have an identity of our own, to be our own man and to know ourselves. We came from that position to get into a situation that I call being one of conflicting interest. And that is what will happen to anybody and to any people, if you don't have what Allah intended for you — the Qur'an and the life of the Prophet. If you don't have what our Creator, Allah, gave for us, then eventually you will end up having conflicting interest.

The African-American people are still weak. We have all the laws on the books for us. We have equal opportunity for us. We, as individual African-Americans, can get rich; that's no problem. We can become mayors and governors and senators, as you have seen. And we have been that before. In fact, during the days of Reconstruction we had more political giants than we have now, considering the time back then and the number of us back then and now. So that is not out of our reach — money, wealth, political power and positions.

I don't see the presidency within our reach, but who knows. If it becomes convenient for America to put an African-American up as president, then we will have an African-American as president. It can be four years from now or it could happen at any time— any time it is convenient for the American people. I think there was a time in the past when we also had one of us as president for a brief moment. Although it was very brief, it too was during the Reconstruction period. Something happened, the Chief of State was out, and they had this black man who came in and was President for just a moment or a very brief time. So it can happen.

But will that solve our problem? We had an African-American mayor of Chicago. Our condition did not improve that much in Chicago. We have mayors in many of the cities here in the United States, and still look at the condition of African-Americans. Having these positions is not doing it.

The only answer is to have our lives based on something real and have an authority in our lives and over our lives that brings all of us under that One Authority. Then we will have a chance for real unity. We need an ideology that we can all share.

Without that we will continue to have all of these conflicting interests. Some African-Americans want to have only the church for African-Americans and do not want to see the mosque here for African-Americans. Some African-Americans still want to see us integrate and get closer to the white people and just get rid of our identity. They want us to lose ourselves in the white people.

There are some of us who still want to stay as we are and keep to ourselves. We want to see a serious African-American culture develop and for us to have some real identity established. We want that once that identity grows and becomes stronger and stronger, then we will have true cultural identity as an ethnic group in this country. Some of us want that, whether we are Christian, Muslim or other.

Some of us think that economics and money are going to solve our problems. Some of us think that education is going to do it. This goes for Muslims and Christians alike. All of us are divided on these things. Some think that the combination of education and money will do it. Most of the preachers and politicians think that we just need more opportunities in the government with more political positions.

A very few of us think that we have to work on an ideology and a philosophy of life and have it written for the African-American people to give them identity. Some of us think that there is nothing wrong with marrying out of your race, and that we should not be alarmed if black men are marrying out of their race and black women are marrying out of their race. Some of us think that something is wrong with that. We do not like it, and that is the majority of us.

We have conflicting interest, for some of us think the Arab people are "A-rabs" and are not liked by the Jews, so they should be forgotten as meaning nothing. They think the "A-rabs" are a heathen people. Some African-American people are more prejudiced against the Arab people than the average European-American. I am building up to a point here.

Some of us feel that the religion of Al-Islam is the Anti-Christ. This is for some African-Americans. Now that the religion has received popularity over the last few years, and the truth is being told more and more on television and in the media, in the newspapers and magazines, those African-Americans who hold that kind of position and have that kind of attitude towards our religion ARE NOW ASHAMED TO COME OUT boldly as they used to, but they are still there. They have not changed. They still feel that our religion is the Anti-Christ and that our Prophet is the Anti-Christ. They feel they have to work secretly to keep this religion from spreading among the African-American people. They are working to keep us from growing in this country and are very deceitful.

I have met with many of the African-American preachers who have this kind of attitude. They are very deceitful and are a very hypocritical people. I am talking about this minority in the African-American church who has this opinion and attitude towards our religion and towards Arabs.

So how are we going to manage all of this? We have managed it! Right now, I have thousands of people who share my feelings about this religion who are African-Americans. They also share my admiration and happiness and my pleasure of being a Muslim and a follower of Muhammed the Prophet of Arabia (peace be upon him). And we are so happy that we have thrown off that other old idea.

We have thrown off the attachment and dependence of the false idea of our superiority. We are happy to be rid of that and to say that we are brothers with every man, and Adam is the father of all of us. We are happy to say that we are brothers with the Christians and the Jews and the Muslims and with Abraham as father to all of us. We are brothers indeed with all Muslims, because the Qur'an is our Book and Muhammed is our Prophet.

We are very happy, and we see an opportunity for ourselves to grow economically, to grow in education, and to grow also in culture. We see that we have the opportunity in adhering to the Qur'anic teachings and the excellent example of Prophet Muhammed that, in time, we will grow naturally into our own ethnic identity in America as Muslims.

If we stay Muslim, follow the Qur'an, follow the Prophet, apply the knowledge and the wisdom and hold to the spirit of the Muslim, we will be using our intelligence. Then our intelligence in the run of time and over the generations to come is going to give us a unique identity.

We are going to have our unique taste for food. We are going to have our unique taste for dress. We are going to have our uniqueness as a people with our distinct cultural identity. That is going to happen. All we have to do is stay with the Qur'an and be sincere. We must be sincere to the life of the Prophet.

Do not take on artificiality. Do not try to be something that you are not. We are not Arabs, we are African-Americans. We are not Pakistanis, we are African-Americans. We are not Sudanese, we are African-Americans. So keep that in our minds. Be what we are.

But we will not have that unique identity, if we look for artificiality and if we just copy other people. We are not to copy anybody. Our unique identity will come naturally.

Part IV

When people come to know that what we have on our minds is the establishment of our own identity, that is going to relax a lot of people. They will relax when they see that we are sincere about this. A lot of people get nervous when one of us moves into one of their neighborhoods. They don't know what we have on our minds. Once they know that we have something definite that we are going to follow down the line for generations and generations to come, that we are not going to take on artificiality and will not be imitating anyone and do not want to blend in with others and get into someone else's body, learning that will make them relax. I think the Arab brothers will relax more, when this becomes true and they come to know this.

This will be the real dignity for the African American people. And it is going to come. What can I say now to our Palestinian brothers? I say, look at what has happened to us. Because whether you know it or not, you have been maneuvered also to step into entanglements and become entangled by things that throw you away from your main concern.

The question of race has been an entrapment for the African American leadership. To tie up our energies just in arguing about race and trying to defend our equal essence as human beings serves to entrap many. Much of what has occurred to set patterns of behavior for African Americans has amounted to entrapment.

So that is to say we have been out maneuvered many times by the people who do not want to see us get our share in America. Likewise, it will be for any struggling people. The Palestinians' concern is our concern also. If you are not careful, in carrying the fight against enemies, you will lose your purpose. You will lose your direction. You will fall into a trap and get all entangled in useless arguments and confrontations. They (the enemies) are constantly working.

If you have an enemy that is a nation like Israel, if you have an enemy that is a nation and has an army that fights you with rockets, do you think that the war is all physical and detectable directly? I know you know better. They are not just fighting you with the army in uniforms, the military. They are fighting you with their psychology and also with their physical weapons. And if they can out maneuver you psychologically, they will kill your aspirations. They can tie up your energies and kill your original aspirations and make you a strange thing to your true self. This will happen, and you will not even know it until it is too late. Then you will see how much you have come out of your own (Muslim) character.

We don't want to come out of our own character. We don't want to be out maneuvered. We don't want to lose our own directions. So dear beloved Palestinian people, my brother and Sister Muslims, study this thing and do not underestimate the psychological war that is being raged against all Muslims by the enemies. Do not underestimate. You must work very carefully to keep yourself in the Qur'an and on the Path of the Qur'an.

You must know too that you have been put in a situation for depriving you of your own religion just as we have. You have not had the full freedom to live and practice your religion while or since being under the colonial powers. You have been hurt internally too. You have been taken away from yourself too. They did not make you slaves, but they made you powerless inferior citizens in your own land. They limited your freedom to live the life you wanted to live in your own land.

Whether you were directly occupied by them or not, the adverse influences were still there to hurt you and to deny you having the freedom to live your religion and to be the person you would be were there not restraints on you from them. Your life has been limited just as our life has been limited. You have not had your life in your hands, and we have not had our life in our hands. We must get our internal life under our controls.

Now all of a sudden the world has changed and television has brought everyone together. Now these big civilized nations cannot afford to let everybody (the whole world) see what they are capable of doing in the back yards. These big powers have no back yards now. There are no back allies now. The television puts everything on Main Street. The enemies of justice cannot afford to do the things they used to do. And they knew this was coming.

These enemies manipulating the great powers had already planned to give independence to these countries. Everything was planned to save their face when forced to. However, they tied you up psychologically and cut you off from your original life to a degree that I do not think most of you are willing to admit.

Some of you have complimented us African Americans and were surprised that we have stronger spirited Muslims here in the black people than you have even in your own country. I don't think that is too serious. I see your love for the religion as being strong. Your love is Muslim just like ours. But something has happened to you too. Many of you have been cut off, misguided and are waking up behind us. The (your) heart is still sincere.

What Muslim can you find that will not have sincere love for Prophet Muhammed? I don't care where they are or where they come from; all have sincere love for our Prophet. All have sincere love and respect for the Qur'an. All of us (Muslims) have that.

Some of you Muslims may be drinking liquor and acting like the lost people in the streets of the wasted world. But most will still have love and respect for Qur'an, if confronted. You have love for the Prophet. So what is it that is missing? The senses have been out maneuvered by the enemies of the religion. It is not for me-you know best your state. I want you to work on this.

I was given this topic just yesterday, and it came too late for me to work it out into a planned paper. I understand it is not the fault of your organizers here. Something happened and the needed information did not get to me until yesterday.

Courtesy Provided By:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Language-Commentaries-of-WDeenMohammed/

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