Think: Annual Muslim Convention
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Think: Annual Muslim Convention
Excerpts from Interview with Imam W. Deen Mohammed Frames Convention Focus
(The following are excerpts from the interview with Imam W. Deen Mohammed conducted on Thurs., June 8, at the Office of The Mosque Cares by Imams Shaheed Abdul Ghani and Darnell Karim.)
Imam Mohammed: With Allah's Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer. We salute the last Prophet Muhammed with The Prayers and The Peace be upon him, and what follows that traditional salute given to him by well over 1 billion Muslims throughout the world.
We are preparing our Annual Convention that we have been identifying as "Islamic Convention." We have changed it this year to read "Muslim Convention," because an Islamic Convention puts religion in focus.
Actually, our Conventions that have been going on for a number of years are not to put the religion in focus as much as it is to put the members of our association in focus.
That was started back in the 1960s and long before that by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, our late leader. We pray G-d forgives him his sins and grant him the Paradise.
Since that time, we have been keeping the same spirit - the spirit of coming together once a year to see one another, to be with one another, and most importantly to hear what our leader has to say about the state of affairs for our association and community.
With that, I now go to the particulars for our Convention. Our Convention will be having workshops on CPC, ComTrust, LLC - that is our Collective Purchasing efforts to increase business for people coming together with their small means, but will be great means when it comes to character and virtues.
In my opinion of what makes businesses successful, and I believe this is generally accepted in the business world, is sticking to your principles, establishing yourself upon good character and a virtuous life. This is what we expect from our business people who have come together.
We have an association of business people, who are independently doing business but are collectively buying and making big volume purchases.
We will have a workshop and conferences and Grace-line Fashion Show also sponsored by the same business effort. The Fashion Show is headed by Binah Mohammed.
This will give an opportunity for the designers in our community to put their designs modeled on display, to see what they are producing in our community and show those who are excellent in their works. That is the business side.
More than that, I have to go quickly to the spiritual side. Jumuah will open our Convention. Jumuah will be on the Friday of the Labor Day Weekend this year at the Muslim Convention of 2006.
After Jumuah will be the Vendors Market. And it is exciting just to walk through the Vendors Market and see all the fine products ranging from garments, dress suits, women's and children's dress and other items in the Market, including cosmetics, oils, incense and fascinating and attractive jewelry I've found our vendors having in the Marketplace for our Annual Muslim Convention.
Sunday, we will have what will be the State of this Association Address given by myself. On Cultural Night we are expecting to have a guest speaker and keynote speaker.
Our guest speaker will be the President of a University in Indianapolis, who is an African American man and a very down to earth person. He has a lot of admiration for our history going back to the Nation of Islam and especially for what we are doing now in the community.
We will have a keynote speaker, and I hope we will have a lot of youngsters out to hear her. She can really move or motivate youngsters.
I don't know if both of them will be addressing us on Cultural Night, but I do know that one of them will be addressing us on Sunday, when I make my major address of the year, the Public Address on the State of our Community and addressing the public life on how we can be more productive as citizens and enjoying our life more as G-d has designed this life to work for us.
G-d designed our life to work for us. And those who have done the most in the world have been guided by Scripture to know what G-d designed for us in this world, what we are to do with our life and our opportunities in the public.
With that, I say we are happy to be preparing for our Annual Muslim Convention and are expecting many more than last year to be present for this year.
I thank those who recognize my 30 years of leadership and growth that we have realized around the country and outside like in Bermuda and a few other places. We are celebrating 30 years of my leadership.
Q: Brother Imam, last year the theme for the Convention was "Human Nature, Earth's Most Valuable Resource." This year's theme, we have "Earning Freedom and Economic Empowerment, We are a Friendly Neighbor Community."
How do you see these two themes coming together to benefit us as a whole?
IWDM: Yes. Last year, the subject was more on nature, to bring our attention to the inherent human worth that we have, that most of us don't realize because of bad circumstances for our life.
It is either bad home conditions or bad neighborhood conditions or bad world conditions. There was a time when the world was very bad for us, and we had a hard time for surviving.
One of our guest speakers to speak at the Convention this year said that when we were struggling and all of us were hurting together, we were focused better.
So the attention was given to the good nature that G-d put in all of us, to rely on when pressure and bad times come.
Our attention was on that, and we have allowed everybody to benefit from that but ourselves. Everybody is making billions on our good nature, except ourselves. They are either getting benefits by appealing to our good side or by appealing to our weaknesses.
They are corrupting us, so we will buy things that we shouldn't buy and give our life to things that we shouldn't give our life and our moneys to. They will put us in hell, if we don't control our own resources. That is what the theme was about last year.
This year, we are looking more at the community than at the Nation and focusing more on community life and how G-d also has made inherent in us community life.
Every individual is born in and hungers for community life. The urge in preparing ourselves is with the hunger in ourselves for community life.
Man's life - and that includes women - is never complete, until he finds his life established in community. It is as inherent as the soul with its righteousness, as the soul with its curiosities to develop its intelligence for us.
That is why G-d says, "You are the best community evolved for the good of all
people." He is telling us that we are inherently a people born to come into community life. G-d has put that seed in us.
It will be focusing on community life, so we can prepare ourselves for the full community life, so we will have people representing us well in religion or spiritual life, in business, in politics, etc.