on Dr. Martin Luther King

(Compiled by Imam Mikal Saahir)

New World Patriotism Day Address – 1979

Now I invite all of you to have the courage to say, “Yes, America has been ugly and bad.” But don’t lie to yourself; you know America is much more beautiful today than it was in the days of Jim Crow.

And let me tell you something again: If we don’t respect what the Civil Rights Movement did and the significance of the Nation of Islam as a gadfly or a thorn in the side of America; if we don’t appreciate what the Civil Rights Movement and the Nation of Islam did under the Hon. Elijah Muhammad; if we don’t appreciate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.; if we don’t appreciate the Hon. Elijah Muhammad…. 

If we don’t appreciate that combination — a moral force telling America: Fulfill your promise! And a scourge of G-d telling America: You can’t fulfill it, you don’t have the moral nature to do it…. That was a powerful combination.

Dr. King was inviting America to fulfill their promise and the Hon. Elijah Muhammad was saying, “You can’t do it.” Don’t you know that any nation that will allow Jim Crow, that will allow people to be mistreated because of their color, that nation is a baby in their minds?

So these two forces working the baby mentality of America brought the baby-ness out of the mentality of America and made our leaders stand up and be men and risk bloodshed in this country so that blacks will sit with whites where they both have the right to sit. We can’t forget that. We can’t turn our eyes from the progress America has made.

Interview with WMN, Jan. 22, 1982

World Muslim News (Muslim Journal): Would you comment on the contributions made by the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what your opinion is on having his birthday as a national holiday?

IMAM MOHAMMED: Like most African Americans and most other humanly sensitive Americans, I have been touched by the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

I felt that he was an extraordinary leader, a compassionate man, a spiritually-moved man with very deep human sensitivities. I felt that he was a moral aggravation in America and at the same time moral nourishment for the American people.

I didn’t always agree with him, because I followed the Islamic religion and our views differed sometimes. But on the whole, I was in agreement with him. And I think the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, as far as he was from the civil rights principles, had great respect and admiration for Dr. King. In fact, I believe they had that respect and admiration for each other.

Dr. King had faith in the future of the good American people, and he believed that his race on the whole represented the good American people and that their aspirations were human, noble and healthy. And He felt that because of the inevitable movement of goodness, there was the opportunity of hope for equal justice.

He felt this justice would come and I accept him as a kind of “social prophet” – not a religious prophet as we understand Prophet in our religion, but a kind of “social prophet” as with the Hon. Elijah Muhammad. I accept the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, too, as a kind of “social prophet.” 

They did a wonderful job, and I think we have to remember them. I don’t want to think the Nation of Islam – the American Muslim Mission as we’re called now – would forget the Hon. Elijah Muhammad’s great moral contributions and his calls to industry and productivity. 

Neither would we forget Malcolm or any of our bygone heroes. I wouldn’t want to see us forget any of them. I think it would be better to have a national holiday in honor of all those great stars of that particular time, rather than just to have it honoring one – Dr. King.

I don’t think Dr. King’s movement would have been successful without the agitation that came from the Nation of Islam. So I have some hesitation about asking for a national holiday in just the name of Dr. Martin Luther King, but if it comes, it will please me, too.

Press Conference in Jackson, Miss. – Feb. 7, 1998

QUESTION: Those now in public, you can say, well: “Naturally, this comes in legislatures, locally, and all those people… Sometimes it seem like their priorities are in the wrong place. It’s like you said, black-on-black crime and stuff like that. 

What would be your best statements for some of those people to get their priorities in the right place as far as looking at some of those issues?

IMAM W. DEEN MOHAMMED: Well, there is an old expression, “Honesty is the best policy.” And I believe when we had a stronger sense of what is morally right, I believe we were accomplishing more. 

If you look at the years of the freedom struggle, from Frederick Douglass to Dr. Martin Luther King, that was a moral movement, not just a political movement. It was a moral movement. We were addressing the injuries to us from a people who were neglecting their own moral commitment to be like Christ, this Christian America. 

And we were encouraging our own people to be patient. G-d is a G-d of justice. I think if our leaders will remember that and come back to that, put the emphasis there again, we could do much more to better our lives.

The Mosque Cares 2008 Convention Jumuah

Aug. 29, 2008

The Prophet Muhammed (ppbuh) said that he was sent expressly do to what? To establish good character. If we remain in touch with that inherent movement in our soul, in our mind, in our whole life for human excellence, we will constantly show growth and improvement in human character. 

When Dr. Martin Luther King said he hoped, he believed, he expected a day would come, he showed faith in it when no man will not be judged by the color of his skin but by content of his character. 

Isn’t that what he said? Was not he in line with the excellent model of Christ Jesus and Muhammed pbuh? Yes he was. He was speaking from that essence, his Christ. He was speaking from his Christ essence. He was speaking from his Muslim essence when he said that the day would come when a man will not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character. 

That day is here now. 

The Mosque Cares 2008 Convention Public Address

Aug. 31, 2008

Now, we need a spirit of community again in us. When we had faith in our leaders, especially Dr. Martin Luther King, when we had faith in him, we had a sense of being together; we had a sense of being a community. We (NOI) believed in a plan for our life that was really much different. 

In fact, it was opposite. It was the opposite or opposed to the one that Dr. King led. I bet you, if all of us would speak truthfully, the followers of the Nation of Islam would admit: “Yes, Dr. King touched our hearts. Touched our spirit and yes, inwardly we were his followers.” (If) they would tell the truth, they would have to admit that.

I was listening to Dr. King once – and Nation of Islam teaching is not designed to give you the Holy Ghost. Now, I’ve never had the Holy Ghost in the Nation of Islam. I’m listening to Dr. King once, and I felt electricity and trembling, and stuff. I said, “What the heck is happening to me?”

Yes. But since the passing of Dr. King and since seeing how African American leaders have went to Black-Africa and going crazy over some idea myth of their great, glorious past and everything became Afrocentric. 

(They) forgot the road they were on as a people, “Up from Slavery.” (They) forgot it; forgot that Dr. King said that he had faith that a time would come in this United States of America that a man would not be judged by the color of his skin but by the content of his character. 

Now, that kind of belief , yes, please, please. 

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