NO MORE BLOODSHED!!! If you’ve heard me say it once, you’ve heard me say it 10,000 times. And usually, beside me, there is a Christian preacher by the name of Pastor E.A. Deckard saying it just as loudly and boldly. You see, we both recognized the need for a movement to mobilize our people against the murders in our own community. He is a Christian pastor. I am a Muslim activist. There was no time to discuss religious differences. There was too much blood on the ground.
Pastor Deckard and I grew up on the same block in 5th Ward. His grandmother and my great grandmother were neighbors. Only a short chain linked fence separated our families’ properties. He and I never said one word to one another as children. When God decides that He wants two or more of His servants to labor together for His glory He doesn’t check their church or mosque affiliation. He checks the heart.
It amazes me that people are still amazed to see a Christian pastor and a Nation of Islam activist consistently work so closely together. In truth, when I look at Pastor Deckard I don’t see religion. I see my brother. Black people make up 12% of the population in this country yet we make up nearly 50% of the prison population. Unemployment in our community is double the national average. We are fighting what Minister Farrakhan calls a “2-front War”, where police are killing us with impunity while we kill one another at alarming rates at the same time. BLACK PEOPLE DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY OF SITTING AROUND ARGUING OVER OUR RELIGIOUS DIFFERENCES. That’s dead. We are suffering and dying in America. It’s time to come outside of our churches and mosques to address the real problems our people face daily.
Once we STOP TALKING about what the Bible and Holy Quran teaches and START DOING what Jesus and Muhammad commanded, you will find that the principles are the same. I was raised in the church. I spent half my life as a Christian and the other half as a Muslim. I still study BOTH, Bible and Quran. When a man is hungry, both books say feed him. When a man is naked, both books say clothe him. When a man is outdoors, both books say give him shelter. If a man is bleeding, both books say “bind up” his wounds. If Jesus and Muhammad were both here in the flesh in 2016 I believe they would both be fighting for justice; not debating about who has the most “juice” in heaven. If you study Jesus, he didn’t do a lot of debating. He was too busy performing miracles in the street. Muhammad, the Prophet, was the same. The way we solve the problem of religious intolerance in the Black community is to STOP PROFESSING and START PRACTICING what we preach in our own community. Spiritual activism is the way.
The division between Muslims and Christians did not originate among Black people. A series of battles called “The Crusades”, when The Pope ordered Christian Europeans to go to war against the Muslims in the Holy Land played a major role. White Christians hated Arab Muslims because of the defeats they suffered. We had nothing to do with that. As a matter of fact, both White Christians and Arab Muslims participated in the trans-Atlantic Slave trade and to this day there is still racism and discrimination against Black people in the Christian and Muslim world. So Black Muslims and Christians don’t need permission from the Pope of Rome, nor the scholars in Mecca, to unite for the liberation of our people. We are being systematically destroyed as a people. Our unity is our only passport out of this destruction. Our religious discrimination against one another is a carry over from slave plantation politics. And the sooner we get rid of plantation politics and our “Yessuh Massah” mentality we can capture the attention of this new generation and start moving toward freedom.
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad made a profound statement. He taught us that, by definition, “a good Muslim is a Christian and a good Christian is a Muslim.”
Some say the pastor and I are setting an example. In truth, that was never the plan or strategy. The plan was always to save a generation. I was simply doing what Muhammad says I should do for my people and I believe he was doing what Jesus commanded. We realized we were doing the same thing so we decided to join forces and do it together. Yes, there are differences in our religious traditions, but our spiritual connection trumps all religious dogma. We cannot continue to castigate Crips and Bloods for their gang banging yet fail to recognize and repent for all the religious gang banging we’ve got going on. How can we tell them to settle their differences when, as people of faith, we won’t settle ours? The way we do that is through spiritually centered activism. No egos allowed.
“In all adversity, there is opportunity.”