Minister Louis Farrakhan is the Muslim leader most familiar to Americans. But he commands the allegiance
of only a fraction even of African-American Muslims: His Nation of Islam today
boasts only 20,000 to 50,000 members, says Prof. Sulayman Nyang of Howard
University. Nevertheless, the charisma of Farrakhan attracts huge crowds, as the Million
Man March demonstrated, but few of those in attendance actually convert.
On White Supremacy in Christianity /
Reality of Allah
Warith Deen Mohammed, an imam--leader of
prayer--and the son and successor of the black separatist Elijah Muhammad, has
up to half a million solid supporters, and perhaps 1.5 million followers more
loosely affiliated. He has championed unity among Muslims of different races and
made significant headway, though desegregation is still a work in progress.
"I've become almost a fanatical supporter of the United States
government," he told U.S. News. "To me, the vision of the
Founding Fathers is the vision that we have in Islam."
1933 -- W. D. Muhammad (30
October) was borns the son of Clara and Elijah Muhammad. The birth of this
"favored child" was foretold by W. D. Fard, founder of the Nation of
Islam, who named him Wallace Delaney Muhammad and predicted he would succeed his
father, already tapped to be Fard's successor, as head of NOI. Louis Farrakhan
was born the same year.
1951 -- W.D. Muhammad began working in the NOI hierarchy after completing high
1961 -- W.D. Muhammad refused military draft and was sentenced to
three years in jail. While there, he began reading mainstream Islamic doctrine,
and noticed contradictions with NOI theology.
1963 -- W.D. Muhammad's ideological rift
with his father caused him to leave NOI.
1965 -- After the assassination
of Malcolm X, W.D. Muhammad returned to the NOI ranks
1969 -- W.D. Muhammad suspended by
NOI for his "dissident views."
1971 -- W.D. Muhammad again suspended by
NOI for his "dissident views."
1975 -- Elijah Mohammed died. The day after, W.D. Muhammad,
Elijah's son, was named Supreme Minister of Nation of
Islam. This decision was unanimously approved during
Savior's Day celebrations on 26 February 1975. W.D. Muhammad publicly shunned his father's theology and black
separatist views and began a process to reformulate his father's beliefs
and practices to bring NOI closer to American Sunni Islam.
W.D. Muhammad met privately with Egyptian President
Anwar El Sadat in Chicago.
Wallace D. Mohammed relaxed the strict discipline and harsh rhetoric of the
Black Muslim movement and changed changed the group's name. This reformation resulted in the splintering of the organization.
1976 -- W.D. Muhammad forged ties with other American Muslim organizations and
renamed his own the World Community of al-Islam in the West. He changed his title from Supreme Minister to the more Islamic one of
and adopted the name "Warith Deen Mohammed." Organizational membership
was opened to all
believers. Two years later, he changed the name of his organization to "American
W.D. Muhammad, reportedly, received a gift of $16 million
from Sheikh Sultan Ben Mohammad al-Qasmini, head of Sharjah in the United Arab
Emirates, to purchase a mosque and build a school.
1977 -- Farrakhan disagreed publicly with W.D. Muhammad over
NOI's move toward Sunni Islam, and took a minority of NOI members with him into
a splinter group
1978 -- W.D. Muhammad resigned as spiritual leader of the American Muslim
Farrakhan resurrected the Nation of Islam believing that
Wallace Mohammed's policies were lax. In this restoration, Farrakhan reclaimed the heritage and principles of Black separatism. He
thus emerged as the most influential leader among the Black Muslim
community. But his racial rhetoric were considered "un-Islamic" by orthodox
1981 -- Farrakhan announced restoration of the "old"
Nation of Islam, and dissident group, loyal to Louis Farrakhan, resumed the NOI name and
its variant Islamic theology and went forward with Elijah Muhammad's NOI teachings. Farrakhan
was more "media savvy" than W.D. Muhammad.
1985 -- W.D. Muhammad dismantled the leadership council he had set up.
Each mosque then became an independent entity with its own name and
leadership. Most remained affiliated to the successor organization, the Muslim
American Society (also known as the Ministry of W. Deen Mohammed), based in
Calumet City, Illinois
1992 -- W.D. Muhammad was the first Muslim imam to offer morning prayers
in the United States Senate, and later participated in two Interfaith Breakfasts
hosted by President Bill Clinton.
1995 -- Louis Farrakhan was responsible
for the dramatic Million Man March.
1996 -- W.D. Muhammad was invited to meet Pope John Paul, II at the Vatican.
2000 (February) -- At the Nation of Islam's annual Savior's
Day celebration, Imam Wallace D. Mohammed of the Muslim American Society
joined Farrakhan on the stage and the two men warmly embraced after Farrakhan
declared, "We bear witness that there is no prophet after the prophet
With that statement Farrakhan rejected the theology of the Nation of Islam under Elijah Muhammad and Farrakhan himself. Wallace Mohammed's
presence at the celebration—along with Sayyid Sayeed, secretary-general of the
Islamic Society of North America, 4 million members strong and the major group
for immigrant Muslims—indicates a willingness of mainstream Islamic
organizations to accept Farrakhan's efforts to move closer to orthodox Islam.
But two years later the question remains as to whether rank-and-file members of
the Nation of Islam are looking to follow Farrakhan in his move to orthodox
The American Muslim Council's study indicates that blacks make up one
half of all Muslims in the United States and are the fastest growing segment.
But these growing numbers of African American Muslims are increasingly adherents
to orthodox Islam, rather than the theology of the Nation of Islam.
by W.D. Mohammed
on Reconciliation with Louis
It’s easy for me to embrace Minister Farrakhan. Our families are
together. We are really one family. Our friendship has not died, and it will not
die. And the little problem, the small problem, that we’ve had along the way,
struggling to present ourselves as God willed that we present ourselves, it’s
not bigger than the word of God, the Qur’an, and it’s not bigger than
Muhammad, the model for all human beings, for all people of faith. It’s very
So we see, we think, what have we done to bring about this togetherness?
What have we done to bring about this closeness that we have this minute? What
have we done to free our hearts so we can hug each other and kiss each other, as
I did kiss my brother? What have we done to bring that about? Nothing but tried
to find the way in the path of Islam, and Allah did the rest. Allah did the
I want to say that Minister Farrakhan is a great leader. I’ve watched
him over the years, since the passing away of my father and our fallen leader,
the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. I’ve watched him and I have done a little
mathematics, a little calculation, and I’ve come up with progress for the
Nation of Islam under the leadership of Minister Farrakhan. Whatever has
troubled us in the past, I think we can bury it now and never look back at that
grave. And never look back at that grave.
I was reading the Bible once, and I was reading it really so I could
better understand Christian neighbors and respect them, as I should respect
them, while trying to invite them to Islam. I wanted to be prepared to speak to
my Christian neighbors with understanding of what they believe in. So I read
the whole Bible from Genesis to Revelations, twice. Once I just read it to be
reading it; the second time I studied it very carefully. I came across something
that came to my mind as I was sitting there thinking over Minister Farrakhan and
our new revived friendship and unity. I was thinking of it and I said to myself,
"I think I’m going to tell Minister Farrakhan" This is for Minister
In the Bible, Minister Farrakhan, I read that a holy man had wanted to give
sight to a blind man. And this holy man took mud and put it on the blind
man’s eyes. I was very young at that time, Minister Farrakhan. That was over
25-years ago. I was very young. I said to myself, "Isn’t that a cruel way
to help a blind man? He already has enough in his way of sight and then the man
put mud in his eyes."
We’ve had a lot of mud on our eyes, but the eyes are now washed and
cleaned. And the mud didn’t hurt us, it helped us to see.
Sources: Religion Watch (2000); Susan McKee
* * * *
Louis Farrakhan (born Louis Eugene
Walcott; May 11, 1933) is the leader of the
Nation of Islam. He served as minister of major mosques in Boston and
Harlem, and was appointed by
Elijah Muhammad as the National Representative of the
Nation of Islam, before the 1975 death of the longtime Nation of Islam
Elijah Muhammad. After
Warith Deen Muhammad disbanded the NOI and started the orthodox Islamic
American Society of Muslims, Farrakhan started rebuilding the NOI. In 1981
he revived the name Nation of Islam for his organization, previously known as
Final Call, regaining many of the Nation of Islam's National properties
including the NOI National Headquarters
Mosque Maryam, reopenning over 130 NOI mosques in America and the World
Farrakhan is an African American religious
and social leader and a critic of the
United States government on many issues. Farrakhan has been both praised and
widely criticized for his often controversial political views and outspoken
rhetorical style. In October 1995, he called and led the
Million Man March in Washington, DC, calling on black men to renew their
commitments to their families and communities. In 1996,
Libya's de facto leader
Muammar al-Gaddafi awarded him the
Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights. Because of health issues,
in 2007 Farrakhan reduced his responsibilities with the NOI.—Wikipedia
* * * *
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* * * * *
Lost Prophet: The Life and Times of
By John D'Emilio
Bayard Rustin is one of the most
important figures in the history of
the American civil rights movement.
Before Martin Luther King, before
Malcolm X, Bayard Rustin was working
to bring the cause to the forefront
of America's consciousness. A
teacher to King, an international
apostle of peace, and the organizer
of the famous 1963 March on
Washington, he brought Gandhi's
philosophy of nonviolence to America
and helped launch the civil rights
movement. Nonetheless, Rustin has
been largely erased by history, in
part because he was an African
American homosexual. Acclaimed
historian John D'Emilio tells the
full and remarkable story of
Rustin's intertwined lives: his
pioneering and public person and his
oblique and stigmatized private
It was in the tumultuous 1930s that
Bayard Rustin came of age, getting
his first lessons in politics
through the Communist Party and the
unrest of the Great Depression.
A Quaker and a radical pacifist, he went to
prison for refusing to serve in World War II, only
to suffer a sexual scandal. His mentor, the great
pacifist A. J. Muste, wrote to
him, "You were capable of making the
'mistake' of thinking that you could
be the leader in a revolution...at
the same time that you were a
weakling in an extreme degree and
engaged in practices for which there
was no justification."
* * * * *
Laying Down the Sword
Why We Can't Ignore the Bible's Violent
Commands to kill, to commit ethnic
cleansing, to institutionalize segregation,
to hate and fear other races and
religions—all are in the Bible, and all
occur with a far greater frequency than in
the Qur’an. But fanaticism is no more
hard-wired in Christianity than it is in
Laying Down the Sword, “one of
America’s best scholars of religion” (The
Economist) explores how religions grow
past their bloody origins, and delivers a
fearless examination of the most violent
verses of the Bible and an urgent call to
read them anew in pursuit of a richer, more
genuine faith. Christians cannot engage with
neighbors and critics of other
traditions—nor enjoy the deepest, most
mature embodiment of their own faith—until
they confront the texts of terror in their
heritage. Philip Jenkins identifies the
“holy amnesia” that, while allowing
scriptural religions to grow and adapt, has
demanded a nearly wholesale suppression of
the Bible’s most aggressive passages,
leaving them dangerously dormant for
extremists to revive in times of conflict.
Jenkins lays bare the whole Bible, without compromise or
apology, and equips us with tools for reading even the most
unsettling texts, from the slaughter of the Canaanites to the
alarming rhetoric of the book of Revelation.
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(Books, DVDs, Music, and more)
18 June 2012