Elijah Muhammad: Messenger Meets The Press
Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
P.O Box 44261
Detroit, MI 48244
MUHAMMAD MEETS THE PRESS!
Reprinted from the February 11, 1972 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
‘I would say this: since I am not going to come back and look over the
staff and see who is on it, let us just forget about asking such
MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD MEETS THE PRESS
Reprinted from the January 28, 1972 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
On Friday, January 14, sixteen Chicago-based journalists representing
several local and national newspapers and magazines were received in the
home of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Messenger of Allah. In this rare
hour-and-a-half long group interview, Messenger Muhammad placed no
limitations on questions asked. Though granted this rare privilege to
talk a length with a man the press usually describes as “inaccessible,”
the journalists’ editors have permitted very little of the interview to
appear in other news media. Therefore, Muhammad Speaks presents the
interview in an EXCLUSIVE SERIES as was recorded by Sister V. Najieb, one
of the Messenger’s secretaries.)
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: My reaction is to continue to teach them to not do
those things as I have always. I do not believe in carrying weapons. When
a man puts weapons in his pockets, or a gun, I will make it clear, it
takes his mind off God’s protection and puts it on the gun to protect
him. This I have taught my followers ever since God left me: “Do not
carry weapons, because that is not a protection for the people who
manufacture such weapons. They cannot save their own lives with them,
QUESTION: What is the reason in your estimation for the violence that has
occurred? What do you think is the reason for the violence that has taken
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: It is just people who are not ready to join up with
the righteous and who wish to destroy the righteous and let evil and
unrighteousness triumph, if it can.
QUESTION: Is there an effort to take over the Organization?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not think our people are that foolish as to
think they can take it over. There may be some people that think they can
take it over. There may be some people that think, ” If such one and such
one is out of the way I could get his place. ” That may be in the minds
of some of the people but I do not believe actually they really believe
it themselves (that they are going to take over). Do you think, Sir that
it is true? The Mayor of Baton Rouge thought this.
QUESTION: Have you heard anything to the affect that government officials
are trying to put pressure on the Black Muslims similar to the pressure
that was put on other Black organizations in the past?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: As I said, a minute or so ago. I have been doing this
work for forty years. I have known many groups to rise up since that time
and carry into practice what you have in mind. But actually our people in
L.A. and New York or any other place, here in Chicago, they have been
mistreated right along. They go to prison and the federal penitentiary,
as they call it institutions). But,that is all given to us. The trial of
the Black Muslims in America must come to pass. We must be tried.
QUESTION: Has police brutality in Chicago increased or decreased?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No I do not say that it has increased against us. I
think it is just about the same as it always has been.
QUESTION: Has anybody brought it to your attention, has any member
brought it to your attention, that they are dissatisfied with how that
money is used?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not pay any attention to any such talk, because
most of my followers are satisfied with what happens to the money that is
donated for the upkeep of the work that we are doing and wish that they
could give more.
QUESTION: The Nation of Islam does have considerable holdings financial
assets and there in the South, recently, I forgot whether it was Alabama
or Mississippi, there was a lot of ” hullabaloo” about not allowing Black
Muslims to obtain farmland, due to the number of people trying to cut
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We have been living in the world that goes like this
” Keep the nigger down. ” And we are not out of it yet. And what we are
doing today, we are trying to do something for ourselves. Therefore, we
go to the farm, where there is the place where everyone, if he wants to
be successful, can go back to the earth and get it from the earth. This
is where the white man got it from. He has been successful ever since he
has been on the Western Hemisphere. He has raised enough food to supply
his brother in Europe and even our Brothers in Africa, right here in
QUESTION: The group in Baton Rouge that has been identified as Black
Muslims, what was their status at the time of the shooting in Baton Rouge?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not know, because we did not have them on our
register; therefore, we do not know just what was what. We do know this,
that they were not on our registry as good Muslims. We could not locate
them and if they were on our registry, as good Muslims, we would try to
do the best we could to uphold their goodness…. We did not know these
people in the beginning. Their names, some of them are foreign to us,
QUESTION: Do you have a central registry of all through out the country?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: All of them that come to register, we do have.
QUESTION: Can you give us a number of those you have?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: They come so fast. Right at this hour they are trying
to get to us now, in the Registry of Islam. We never know how many we
have. We believe we have quite a few hundred thousand over the country.
And the are coming in faster now than ever.
QUESTION: Authorities in Baton Rouge released a vast itinerary (of the
group in Baton Rouge), trying in many reports from various sources saying
that this group has come there, asking for support.
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, I have not received any report. No, I do nor have
anything that I can say accurate report that these people came to the
QUESTION: (Referring to the shooting of Theodore Bey and Captain Raymond
Sharrieff) Why do you think someone would be shooting at Mr. Sharrieff,
and why do you think some would be shooting Theodore Bey?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not know what you have in your heart. I do not
have that knowledge. Why would they go shoot at the man? What was he
doing to them to cause their anger to rise that high to want to kill an
innocent man sitting behind the wall in his own office?
QUESTION: What do you mean when you say, “a good Muslim?”
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: A good Muslim is one who observes and obeys the laws
of the Religion of Islam, designed by God, Himself.
QUESTION: Does that mean that they are only people, I suppose, people
ousted from the religion at times? If someone is found not to obey the
laws, they are expelled?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We have such punishment if we find you not obeying
the laws of he religion of Islam as it is taught to me by God, Himself ,
and that I put the law out before the world and especially before the
world and especially before those who believe, to follow and obey, we put
you out of the circle and we give such time as from thirty days to six,
nine, or twelve months and one to five years and that to seven years.
But, we never have had to put a man out or woman out for seven years.
But, these are the numbers of times that you are to pay for your
QUESTION: If you are expelled or suspended are you listed on the
registry? Do you have a list if someone is suspended for a period of
seven years for not obeying the laws? Would you still have that person
listed on your registry ?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Yes, we have to keep him on there.
QUESTION: So if the people were members at any time, you would know that .
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: If we consult our register, to find out whether or
not any of these people were listed ( the name), we will fine it. We are
still searching. We never stop searching to see if such and such people
are not on our register, just in case, say, we punish ourselves. We have
a punishment as I just listed to you, for disobedient Muslims and we
always checking our registry for such things that a Muslim may do and
cause us trouble.
QUESTION: It appears from your check so far, that none of the people in
Baton Rouge are members of your organization?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: So, far, we have not found wherein those people that
were charged with beginning a shooting riot down there where on our
registry. I want to accelerate this “Baton Rouge staff.” We do not
consider a Muslim is Muslim, who is running around over the country,
trying to start trouble. We do not even consider him.
END OF PART 1
MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD MEETS THE PRESS
Reprinted from the February 4, 1972 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
Chicago–(This is Part Two of M.S’s exclusive presentation of Messenger
Muhammad’s January 14, 1972, Press Conference)
QUESTION: Mr. Muhammad, is it true that you are planning to build a new
home for your family. I think right adjacent to your present home?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: It is true those houses are my homes.
QUESTION:The press has evaluated the new homes at a half a million
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I wish I had gotten off with that cheap price, but it
is twice that much that these buildings are costing. All four of the
homes cost a million dollars a little over a million dollars; about
QUESTION:I was referring to a new home for yourself and your wife. Mr.
Muhammad, that home, some times referred to as a mansion, the cost has
been estimated to cost one half million dollars.
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I think they are costing a little more for the house
here on the corner.
QUESTION: There are reports that you are in the process of purchasing a
large tract of land to build low income houses.
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We have some information from the authorities that
they could supply us with an area now for about a hundred thousand, I do
not know exactly. I have not gone into any serious questioning about it.
QUESTION: Federal government or local government?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Local government, the city.
QUESTION: How soon do you expect those to be built?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not know. I have not went into seriously, these
offers, but I hope to do so soon because we need them. My greatest desire
on the South side is to build homes for the Black Man on the South side
in Chicago. Again, my greatest desire is to put him up a hospital, which
he sorely needs; he really needs a hospital. Again, the third, I would
say, it is an educational center to teach him the knowledge of self. The
city has not approached me yet to sell me and my followers these houses.
But, they have indirectly indicated this would be easy to do, if I wanted
to get them for such purposes.
QUESTION: Do you have a date in mind when you would like to begin
construction of these one hundred single family homes?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We would like to go into that as soon as possible
with the proper authorities.
QUESTION:Will you also try similar enterprises in other cities?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Yes, everywhere we are. This group in Baton Rouge,
claiming to be Muslims, is there a known leader?
QUESTION:Do you know how many Muslims have been killed in the last few
years, either by police or internal strife? Do you keep such a record?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We try, but I am not saying how many we have on
QUESTION:You spoke earlier about police brutality. Were you suggesting
that this was some kind of police plot? Or are you sure it was a splinter
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Yes, we have been attacked and still are being
attacked by the police department and there are some few of my followers
who have been killed by the police department.
QUESTION: Do you feel that the police might have been responsible for
what happened at Baton Rouge or on the West Coast?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I am not eager to say pro or con on this matter,
because I do not have too much knowledge of it. But I do know, according
to what has passed, that the police department down there could give you
better knowledge than me.
QUESTION: You indicate that the numbers of the Nation are increasing. How
do you feel about the fidelity that is coming from the individuals who
are joining up with the Nation? Do you feel people are becoming more
deeply involved or more deeply a part of the Nation of Islam, or do you
think the numbers tend to spread things thin?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I think for the last year or so that we have
increased in the registry of our people, with very good people. There
morals are good and they are trying now to increase themselves into
better morals. Our natural Black people all over the country are trying
to do that.
QUESTION: Have you designated a successor for yourself ?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not do that. I cannot do that. I did not choose
myself. God chose me and if He wants a successor, He will choose that one.
QUESTION: By what means would someone come up?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not know that, because I do not believe there is
one coming up. The work that I am doing, I don’t think God needs one,
because when man and god have come face to face, as the old saying goes,
then that is the end of it. When we are face to face with God, that is
the end of it and so what would another one do? There is nothing for him
QUESTION: After you are gone, Mr. Muhammad, the Nation of Islam will
continue to exist but how?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: It will be a New Islam to what the old Orthodox Islam
is, today. It will be altogether a New One.
QUESTION: You mean your successor will preside over a New Islam?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: There will be no successor. There is no need for a
successor when a man has got the Divine truth and has brought you face to
face with God.
QUESTION: How will your resources be administered?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: That will be carried on by the Nation. After setting
up the Nation on the right way, or right path to take care of themselves,
they do not need any more instruction on that. They will follow it as the
Constitution of America has been followed.
QUESTION: Will it be run by local Mosques?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, No, No. After this, the whole entire Nation of
Black people will be governed Divinely and the government will be a
Divine government and not something that is governed locally, like we
have today. We will have a Divine government set up for us, and it will
stand forever. We will not need any change.
QUESTION: What did you mean, ” new different from Orthodox ? ”
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I meant just that. We have a New Islam coming up. The
Old Islam was led by white people, white Muslims, but this one will not
be. This Islam will be established and led by Black Muslims, only.
QUESTION:Will there be a Saviour’s Day affair as it has been in the
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We have not made preparations there.
QUESTION:Where will you have it Sir.
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We hope to have it in the Armory over on 52nd and
QUESTION:Will you address the gathering, Mr. Muhammad?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: That depends on the Will of God. If He Pleases, I
will be there.
QUESTION: Has that changed your plans, Baton Rouge, has it changed your
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, because I have One Security and that is God,
QUESTION: How is your health?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: My health? Well,I do very well, I think, if it
Pleases Allah. And, all of the afflictions of the former Messengers, to
classify Elijah that is coming just before the Great and Dreadful day of
God, he must have a taste of all of it.
QUESTION:Why did you appoint a press conference. today?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: They appointed themselves, and I am willing to go
along with them, in that I set up a press conference.
QUESTION: When was the last press conference, do you recall ?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I have not had an actual press conference in quite
few years. I think it was in L.A. I had something like questions on
certain things, on one thing, about when the Malcolm death took place.
That was not, say, really a press conference. We have not had a press
conference since quite a few years ago, out in Los Angeles.
QUESTION: Would you tell us the present status of Muhammad Ali (Cassius
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Cassius Clay is a good believer. I would say the
young man is full of sport and he goes along with sport, too, but I think
in his heart he wants to be good.
QUESTION: Will he be returned into full membership the Nation of Islam?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: There is nothing one would do that cannot be
forgiven, if he repents.
QUESTION: Have you set date for when he comes back into full membership?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, he is actually still a good Believer. As far as
certain duties or posts as he used to hold, as teaching the Ministry, I
do not know when that will take place.
END OF PART 2
MESSENGER ELIJAH MUHAMMAD MEETS THE PRESS
Reprinted from the February 11, 1972 edition of Muhammad Speaks Newspaper
CHICAGO-This is the conclusion of M.S.’s exclusive three-part series on
Messenger Muhammad’s historic press conference with 16 journalists and
photographers last month.
QUESTION: Do you feel that it is incorrect to use the term ” power
struggle” (in reference to recent events) ?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: As I said here some time ago, this thing has been
happening for forty years; but I never pay it any attention. It doesn’t
annoy me, because I know a person of that sort has as yet to learn what
really Islam is, here in America. Islam in America is to reclaim our
people and put them in there own. This is the Resurrection of our people
QUESTION: Is that struggle more intense now than it was in the past? You
say it has been going on for forty years.
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Well, I do not meet any different with what I met
thirty five or forty years ago. They always will be striving to be
something of there own but I do not pay them any attention because I know
they will never be successful.
QUESTION: Your son-in-law, Raymond Sharieff, is second in command?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I would say this: since I am not going to come back
and look over the staff and see who is on it, let us just forget about
asking such questions.
QUESTION: Has somebody been caught trying to get their hands in the
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD:I do not know of anything like that, because I do not
pay any attention to this annoying talk about someone taking over. I Am
Assured by God, Himself, and by the Prophets. I am not particular about
others who talk just to hear themselves talk. I would say they are just
wasting time. In the Last Days (if you will allow me to say this,) in the
Last Days, it is plainly written that you will have Elijah to put you on
the right way and this man starts way back here, almost in the beginning.
He “travels” with you, throughout your Bible. This man will fulfill that
which is written of him. This is the Resurrection I refer to of our Black
people in America. And this is the place that they must come up first.
They are in the “crossroads” here and they have to be pointed out the
right way to go out. I do not mean to say they go out of America, but out
of the evil of America. They were made unrighteous by the slave-masters.
They are not even charged with it. You are forgiven everything of evil,
on your accepting Islam-your Own. That is all God Asks you to do today,
go back to your Own. You are forgiven for everything, because all the
evil you did in the past, it was not you, it was the slave-master who
made you do evil.
QUESTION:One question how old are you now?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I am three-score, ten, and three; I am 73 years old.
QUESTION: How is your health?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Well, as I just said a while ago all the afflictions
of the other fellows (Prophets) I have to go through.
QUESTION: When is your birthday?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not know exactly my birthday. I just know the
month it came in (October). So when October passes, I say I am so old and
QUESTION: Mr. Muhammad, have you increased your security staff in recent
months.? MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, I would never do that only according to
the people that come to us …..But, I always go with the hopes and with
the knowledge that God Will Protect us, if my followers do as I tell
them. I never depend on a group of security guards, only in the way of
searching the people to see that the people don’t enter the meeting
with weapons and such things as whiskey on them, or playing cards or
QUESTION: Have you had many inquiries from the Muslims about Baton Rouge?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, I have not been confronted with a lot of people
from across the country asking me question about Baton Rouge,or what took
place in Baton Rouge. No, they have brought me most of what I have heard
was going on; not, say, questioning me.
QUESTION: How many Mosques do you have throughout the country?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: There are a little better than 50 actually set up.
There are so many little Mosques that come up overnight, I do not know
the total, myself.
QUESTION: Sources at the Temple denied that the ten Blacks were Muslims.
Does each town have a registry of the people in that town?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: They would know more than I would know. Those are the
people you should be questioning (the ones that are already there). The
Muslims there in that Temple, they have very little knowledge of someone
coming down there, starting trouble, until it actually broke out.
QUESTION: What do you do for recreation? Do you play chess?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, I do not play any games of chance. No. I do not
ever have any time to do anything but teach and instruct Laborers how to
go about their Labor.
QUESTION: How long is your work day ?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: We work seven days and we do not have a limit on how
many hours we will work. Sometimes we work up until11 or 12 o’clock at
night. Our work has now become so enormous on us we hardly let go. When
we go to sleep or to bed, we just have it to do.
QUESTION: Will you spend your entire winter here?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD:For the last few years I have been spending the whole
winter and summer in Chicago.
QUESTION: Have you been going to Phoenix in recent years?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No I have not been to Phoenix in recent years.
QUESTION: I would like to ask a religious question. Do you have visions.?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not say really have visions, but I do have
voices, at times.
QUESTION: Under what conditions does thereat occur, when you seek it to
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: That comes when I am not,say, really confining myself
to expect something like that or seeking something like that. That just
QUESTION: Do you see this as the Voice of a Spiritual Teacher, or the
Voice of God?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I know God. I was with Him about three years and
about four or five months. I know His Voice. And when He Speaks, I know
QUESTION: Not trying to be funny, have you received any of your
spiritual feelings that perhaps something is amiss in the Nation of
Islam: that perhaps some people are plotting to try to, say, destroy what
you and others have built?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I do not have to guess on that ever. Since I been
Missioned by Allah, there has been someone around trying to get a chance
to kill me. and I have met with some of them face to face.
QUESTION: You do not plan a retirement, Mr. Muhammad?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD:: No, I would not lose any time with a man that has
been talked and talked about for years. If the people do not have a
knowledge of him after these many years, I am not going to waste my time
with going into Malcolm’s history. Malcolm, I do not have any time to
waste with him, as I think everyone know Malcolm or did know Malcolm and
they know Malcolm’s death. He was teaching, according to what I heard,
and the people that were there should give a better report than me.
QUESTION: The Person you refer to as living with God for three years or
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I am talking about the Person that Is God, and I
myself, was with Him for three years and four or five months…. It began
in 1931. I was able to recognized Him by His Help and by the help of
Scripture. It has been very well lined up to us; we find here in Genesis
the making of the man that started trouble. Even his sons started
trouble. When they got old enough they started murdering each other and
it has kept going ever since, because white people kill white people.
They go to war with each other. They stay at war with each other.
According to history, they had a thirty year war in England and a hundred
year war in Europe and I see in the paper over here and on the radio,
that they are fighting over there, one another, now. They are even
fighting the church over there in Ireland. They cannot get at peace with
each other, there is the area where they fought the thirty and one
hundred years wars.
QUESTION: The press states that you label all white people blue-eyed
devils. Is this true?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Whether they are actually blue-eyed or not, if they
are actually one of the members of that race, they are devils
QUESTION:What would be an out for me? Is there any hope for me?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: Now, I must tell you the truth. There will e no such
thing as elimination of all white people from the earth, at the present
time or at the break out of the Holy War. No, because there are some
white people today who have faith in Allah and Islam though they are
white, and their faith is given credit. They are not born or created
Muslims, but they have faith in what the Muslims are and trying to live.
It is only through Islam that white people can be saved. But you see
there would be a Holy War (they call it a Holy War which means right is
against wrong and wrong against right).
QUESTION: You do not mean white fighting Blacks or that sort of thing?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD:I do not say I should say ” no because the right is
the Black and the wrong is the white, and naturally the Muslim world is
bound to clash with the unrighteous world.
QUESTION: Do you mean through guns and that sort of violence?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: I see a lot of them have been prepared. I do not know
what you are going to use, but I know there are lots of weapons prepared.
But we are not to use carnal weapons, which you will use. We do not need
it. And the sun shining on your back, we can use that, if necessary, for
weapons. God Has every kind of weapon out there to use against you, even
to the earth you are sitting on. If He Shakes that for a half a minute,
all of your cities could lie sprawled. There is no such thing as Him
Preparing the kind of weapons you are preparing. You cannot win in
anything. You cannot stop the snow and cold weather from blowing down
from the Northwest. There are mountains of it lying there, waiting for a
certain time. We cannot do anything against the forces of nature. We have
no defense and it is written in the Bible that He Keeps this thing stored
away for the day of battle and war, to fight you with. And we cannot do
anything about that. There are storms also. Who is it out there who feels
so brave with a twister out there tearing up houses on both sides?
QUESTION: You do not feel that members of the Nation of Islam will have
to take up guns?
MESSENGER MUHAMMAD: No, they would not have to do that, if they obey
Allah, anymore than, I would say, Moses and Aaron had to take up arms
against Pharaoh. You have been fighting us with guns and what not ever
since John Hawkins brought us here, over four hundred years ago. We have
to find something more effective and the most effective are the forces of
END OF INTERVIEW.