Source: Chicago Sun-Times
On February 28, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the more than 20-year split within the African-American Muslim community has been repaired. W. Deen Mohammed and long-time rival Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have publicly unified. Farrakhan and Mohammed declared the unity this past weekend at the four-day International Islamic Conference in Chicago sponsored by the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan stated: "We will be together as a family...And I say to all the children and grandchildren of Mohammed, come back to Islam." W. Deen Mohammed stated: "Let me say that this truly is a sign that God has always been with the sincere ones, those who kept faith." Farrakhan has embraced a return to the traditional Sunni Islamic faith and has tried to distance himself from his earlier anti-Semitic and anti-white views. There was a slight disturbance at the conference when Rabbi David Weiss, who is from a group of Orthodox Jews known as Naturei Karta, began making controversial statements about Jewish beliefs: "We beg of all the Arab people, to all of the Arab people from the depths of our hearts, we beg forgiveness...Please, know the difference between Judaism and Zionism. They are diametrically opposed." Richard Hirschhaut, the Chicago region director for the Anti-Defamation League, called the presence of Naturei Karta a slap to Jews: "They are as far outside the mainstream of contemporary orthodox Judaism as they can be...Using the Naturei Karta as a symbol of outreach to the Jewish community is a sham. It tells us (Farrakhan) has not changed."