BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Nov. 23, 2017–Salim Malik went from being a member of the British Honduras Police Force to becoming a card-carrying member of the United Black Association for Development (UBAD). Amandala asked Malik how he made such a transition from being a law enforcement officer to joining the radical UBAD group.
“In 1969, I enlisted in the British Honduras Police Force and at that time UBAD was on the scene. Whenever they had political meetings out at Court House Wharf — that’s what they used to call BattleField Park back then — they used to send us out there for crowd control. All the policemen they used to send out there would stand far away, because UBAD was considered radical boys. I was one of the only ones who used to go around the rostrum,” Malik said.
“I resigned from the police force around 1971. I used to go around UBAD a lot, but I never became a member until around 1973. That’s what the membership card said. It didn’t have any month, just the year, 1973,” Malik, who is now 69-years-old, said.
“UBAD didn’t last much longer after that. A lot of us transitioned into Islam. That process began with Brother Ibrahim Abdullah, aka Justice, whose real name was Charles X Egan. Then there was Brother Ismael Omar Shabazz, Brother Rudolph Farrakhan, Brother Nuri Muhammad, and myself included. I came along like a spare wheel, after Brother Nuri asked me one day how come I haven’t been to the Masjid. I told him that I will surprise him one of these days. He told me that I will not surprise him, I will surprise myself. And I did surprise myself, because from the time I went to the Masjid, I haven’t stopped going. That was in 1974, and as a matter of fact I was there 5 o’clock this morning doing my early morning Fajr prayer. Fajr is an Arabic word meaning you pray before the dawn”, he said.
Amandala asked Malik how would he compare what is happening now to the country of Belize with what was happening during the era of UBAD.
“That is a difficult question, because we don’t see any entity that is as cohesive and pushing the agenda that UBAD was trying to do. Everything get splintered up, and everyone has gone their own way. We have become individuals now. We are not neighbors and family now; everyone is watching their screens. We are together, but we are alone,” Malik said.
Amandala asked Malik what would be the most outstanding contribution of UBAD to his life.
“It would be more than one thing. UBAD assisted me in focusing on ‘his’ story as opposed to history. The other thing is, Allah, in his mercy, used UBAD to steer me into Islam,” Malik said. “Those were better days. I mean, you had less money in your pocket, but you could have bought more things with it,” Malik explained.
Malik said that after he left the police force, he went to work at the Customs Department, where he spent 10 years working as a tally clerk.
“When government changed in 1984, I was one of the first one who got retrenched—before they started to use the word, because they started to use the word retrenched in the second UDP administration. Every time the red get in, I lost my job; and when the blue get in I have a job,” Malik said. “The last thing the red did for me in 2008 was to retire me,” he stated.
“I told one cabinet minister that every time the red get in I lose my job, and he said to me, “I will see what I can do. Now I never asked him to do anything,” Malik said.
Apart from being a practicing Muslim, Malik is also a musician who plays the trumpet saxophone in the Imperial Band.