Imam W. D. Mohammed Builds Partnership with Nation of Islam Leader

February 16, 2002

Source: Los Angeles Times

On February 16, 2002, the Los Angeles Times reported that "Islam's two preeminent African American leaders... Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and W.D. Muhammad of the Muslim American Society [who were] separated by two decades of rivalry before reconciling two years ago, reaffirmed unity Friday in their first joint appearance in Los Angeles... Once united under Nation of Islam founder Elijah Muhammad, they split 25 years ago over doctrine, with W.D. Muhammad rejecting his father's blend of Islam and black nationalism and moving into orthodox Sunni Islam... The two men, who together command the nation's single largest group of Muslims--African Americans--vowed Friday to join forces to build up the black community. Creating an Islamic movement in pluralistic America could be a global model, they said as they kicked off the Nation of Islam's Saviour's Day convention... The convention offered several workshops pegged to the theme of healing and reconciliation--such as one on religion that featured panelists of Jewish, Christian, Sikh and both Sunni and Shia Islamic backgrounds... Some critics are skeptical that a man long regarded as a race-baiter and Jew-hater is sincere in his reconciliation efforts... Farrakhan himself told reporters this week that the Nation of Islam was evolving, just as a thorn-scarred rose grows into 'a beautiful flower.' He said all major religious movements have started out narrowly and broadened their reach into a universal message, and that the Nation of Islam was doing the same... Indeed, in recent months Farrakhan has begun moving into the universal message of orthodox Islam. He has been aided by Muhammad, whose followers have helped train Nation of Islam forces in orthodox practices... But major theological differences remain: orthodox Muslims reject the Nation's core beliefs that Elijah Muhammad was a divine messenger and that his teacher, W. Fard Muhammad, was God incarnate. Orthodox Muslims reject the idea of human divinity and believe the prophet Muhammad was God's final messenger."