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STATEMENT BY IMAM AL-HAJJ TALIB ‘ABDUR-RASHID OF THE MOSQUE OF ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD INC. IN RESPONSE TO COMMENTS ATTRIBUTED TO AL-ZAWAHRI OF EL-QAEDA

Delivered at a Press Conference Convened at the Shabazz Center in Harlem NYC

Nov. 20, 2008

AS-SALAAMU ‘ALAIKUM. THE MOSQUE OF ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD WAS FOUNDED FOUR DECADES AGO IN PART, AS A RESP0NSE TO THE FACT THAT IT HAD BECOME OBVIOUS THAT THE THEN EXISTING SUNNI MUSLIM COMMUNITIES LACKED KNOWLEDGE AND DISCIPLINE, AND WERE THEREBY EXPOSED TO MANIPULATION AND APPARENT USE AS A POLITICAL ARM.

THIS UNFORTUNATE SITUATION WAS RAPIDLY RESULTING IN CONFUSION, AND UN-ISLAMIC TEACHINGS WITHIN THE SUNNI MUSLIM COMMUNITIES, AND THE ALIENATION OF MANY PEOPLE WHO WANTED A TRUE UNDERSTANDING OF ISLAM. THE SINCERITY OF AFRICAN AMERICANS AND OUR PAST NAIVETÉ HAS APPARENTLY LED MODERN FORCES TO THINK THAT OUR PEOPLE CAN BE MANIPULATED , AT THIS OUTSET OF THE 21ST CENTURY.

SO LET US MAKE IT CLEAR THAT AMERICA IS, AS THE AUTHOR AND RESEARCHER SYLVIANNE DIOUF POINTS OUT, THE ONLY WESTERN COUNTRY WITH AN INDIGENOUS MUSLIM POPULATION OF AFRICAN DESCENT. NO ONE AT HOME OR ABROAD SPEAKS FOR MUSLIM AFRICAN AMERICANS BUT THEIR OWN LEADERS.

FURTHER, OVERWHELMINGLY, AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSLIM LEADERS REJECT CALLS TO BOTH RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL EXTREMISM , PARTICU-LARLY WHEN SUCH CALLS ARE BASED UPON APPEALS TO EMOTION AND A PROJECTED INTERNATIONAL AGENDA DECLARED BY OTHERS, INSTEAD OF A DOMESTIC AGENDA DECLARED BY OURSELVES.

INSOFAR AS EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ, POPULARLY KNOWN AS MALCOLM X IS CONCERNED (MAY ALLAH FORGIVE HIS SINS AND GRANT HIM PARADISE), WE WHO LIVE THE REALITY OF WHAT IT MEANS TO BE BOTH BLACK AND MUSLIM IN AMERICA, AS OPPOSED TO JUST READING ABOUT IT - WE THE PEOPLE - KNOW WHAT EL-HAJJ MALIK TAUGHT.

HE SAID RIGHT HERE IN HARLEM IN A RALLY IN THIS VERY BUILDING[1], ON JULY 5, 1964 : “ … SO LET US TRY THE BALLOT. AND IF THE BALLOT DOESN’T WORK, WE’LL TRY SOMETHING ELSE. BUT LET US TRY THE BALLOT. AND THE ONLY WAY WE CAN TRY THE BALLOT IS TO ORGANIZE AND PUT ON A CAMPAIGN THAT WILL CREATE A NEW CLIMATE.

IT IS CLEAR TO US THAT THE SUCCESSFUL PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN OF PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA WAS AN ACCEPTANCE OF BROTHER MALCOLM’S CHALLENGE TO AMERICANS OF AFRICAN DESCENT TO “TRY THE BALLOT”.

SEVERAL MONTHS AGO, AN AL-JAZEERA REPORTER WHO WAS AN ARAB ASKED ME IF I THOUGHT THAT IF HE WERE ALIVE TODAY, EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ (MALCOLM X) WOULD VOTE FOR BARACK OBAMA. WHEN I ANSWERED “YES”, THE REPORTER WAVED HIS HAND AND DISMISSED MY RESPONSE WITHOUT EVEN ASKING ME WHY I ANSWERED AS I DID.

WELL I PERSONALLY HAVE SPOKEN WITH SOME OF THE FEW SURVIVING ELDERS IN THE MUSLIM COMMUNITY, WHO WERE ACTUAL AND AUTHENTIC, CLOSE FOLLOWERS AND SUPPORTERS OF EL-HAJJ MALIK.

THEY HAVE SAID TO ME THAT THE GREAT AFRICAN AMERICAN MUSLIM LEADER WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD OF THE DISCIPLINE AND INTEGRITY WITH WHICH THE PRESIDENT-ELECT CONDUCTED HIMSELF DURING THE CAMPAIGN. EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ WOULD HAVE BEEN PROUD THEY SAY, O F PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA’S TRIUMPH OVER TREMENDOUS ODDS, AND THE FACT THAT 97% OF AFRICAN AMERICANS VOTED FOR OBAMA, AS WELL AS MANY, MANY WHITE, SPANISH-SPEAKING, AND OTHER AMERICANS, OF VARIOUS ETHNICITIES AND BACKGROUNDS.

BY THE SAME TOKEN, JUST AS THE PRESIDENT-ELECT HIMSELF HAS SAID THAT DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING WOULD BE IN THE STREETS LEADING POOR PEOPLE RATHER THAN SITTING IN THE WHITE HOUSE WITH HIM, WE UNDERSTAND THAT THIS APPLIES AS WELL TO BROTHER EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ/ MALCOLM X, WHO FOLLOWED THE QUR’ANIC MANDATE TO SPEAK THE TRUTH NO MATTER WHOM OR WHAT, EVEN IF IT IS AGAINST ONESELF

THAT IS WHAT OUR ELDERS HAVE SAID TO US, AND THEY ARE IN A MUCH BETTER POSITION TO MAKE SUCH DETERMINATIONS, THAN THOSE WHO WHILE THEY SHARE OUR COMMON FAITH, HAVE HISTORICALLY BEEN DISCONNECTED FROM AFRICAN AMERICANS GENERALLY, AND MUSLIM AFRICAN AMERICANS IN PARTICULAR.

EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ WAS A MAN OF INTEGRITY WHO STOOD FOR JUSTICE AGAINST INJUSTICE. HE NEVER CALLED FOR ACTS OF INJUSTICE AGAINST OTHERS AS A RESPONSE TO INJUSTICE AGAINST HIS PEOPLE. HE STOOD FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, AND THE PRINCIPLE OF SELF-DEFENSE RECOGNIZED IN INTERNATIONAL LAW. HE WOULD HAVE REJECTED, AND WE REJECT , ACTS OF POLITICAL EXTREMISM THAT EXCEED THE BOUNDARIES OF ISLAMIC LAW, AND TAKE THE LIVES OF INNOCENT, NON-COMBATANT CIVILIANS.

SO WE SAY TO ALL WHO WOULD SEEK TO MANIPULATE US, OR MANIPULATE OTHERS AGAINST US, THAT WE KNOW OUR FULL HISTORY IN AMERICA AND WE ARE STRIVING TO UNDERSTAND THE GEO-POLITICAL COMPLEXITIES OF LIFE IN THE MODERN WORLD. MALCOLM X STOOD FOR TRUTH AND JUSTICE AND SO DO WE. WE STAND IN SOLIDARITY WITH ALL PEOPLES WHO SHARE THESE IDEALS.

LASTLY, WE BELIEVE THAT BEFORE PEOPLE CRITICIZE PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA ‘S PERFORMANCE AS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, THAT BOTH PRUDENCE AND JUSTICE DEMAND THAT HE FIRST BE ALLOWED TO ACTUALLY TAKE OFFICE AND ASSUME THE POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES THEREOF, AND BEGIN TO EXERCISE THEM.

IN MIGHT BE THAT WE AS MUSLIM AFRICAN AMERICAN LEADERS WILL IN THE FUTURE BE CRITICAL OF SOME OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S DECISIONS AND ACTIONS. ALMIGHTY GOD, WHOM WE WHO ARE MUSLIMS CALL ALLAH, KNOWS BEST.

BUT IF AND WHEN THAT DOES HAPPEN, OUR CRITIQUE WILL BE BASED UPON OUR OWN PRIMARY AGENDA AND INTEREST AS A MUSLIM PEOPLE IN AMERICA, AND NOT ANYONE ELSE’S.

above photo:



[1] THEN CALLED THE AUDUBON BALLROOM

 

 

 

 

 

Seated left to right: Imam Umar Abdul-Jalil, African American Imams Unity Coalition; Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur Rashid, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood; Dowoti Desir, Executive Director, the Shabazz Center; and Imam Aiyub Abdul Al-Baki; Chairman of the Justice Committee, Majlis Ash-Shura of NY. Photo by Herb Boyd

LINKS:

As-Salaamu Alaikum
FYI
http://muslimmatters.org/2008/11/22/imam-johari-malik-imam-talib-abdur-rashid-on-zawaharis-statements-on-obama/