Saturday, July 28, 2007

Muslim leaders pushes for education and discourages violence

Tom Greenwood / The Detroit News

Imam W. Deen Mohammad -- the son of Elijah Muhammad, who founded the Nation of Islam -- addresses an audience in the auditorium of Wayne Community College Saturday afternoon.

DETROIT -- It isn't often that you see a speaker receive a standing ovation before he addresses an audience, but that's what happened to Imam W. Deen Mohammad in the auditorium of Wayne Community College Saturday afternoon.

Imam Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad who founded the Nation of Islam, addressed the audience on the role of "Islam and Higher Education." While the Imam lightly touched on the subject of formal education, his main theme was on the moral education of mankind.

"Muhammad, the messenger of Allah, told us that 'the ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr,'" the Imam told a warm and respectful audience of about 300 people.

"Education teaches us morality; from the simple justice of right and wrong to the higher level of morality, which we call ethics. Our scientists, whether they are political, military or economic, must eventually respect justice and morality."

While the Imam's audience was made up mainly of Muslims and was totally African American, his theme was aimed at people of all races, colors, creeds and religions; a reflection of his break from the Nation of Islam and his embrace of Islam proper.

"This man is the best kept secret in America when it comes to Muslims in America," said Dawud Walid, Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations.

"When he said that the 'ink of the scholar is more precious than the blood of the martyr' he was telling us that armed struggle is not the answer. Education and morality; those two things will propel Muslims out of the condition they are in today."

According to Imam Mohammad, 73, who was born in Hamtramck, the importance of education can be seen from the very beginnings of Islam.

"The first word that God said to Muhammad was not 'God,' but 'read,'" the Imam said, as many in the audience nodded or took notes.

"The word 'Koran' means 'that which must be read.' And the Koran shows both men and women to be thinkers."(MORE)

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