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Black Muslims

Black Muslims, African-American religious movement in the United States, split since the late 1970s into the American Society of Muslims and the Nation of Islam. The original group was founded (1930) in Detroit by Wali Farad (or W. D. Fard), whom his followers believed to be "Allah in person." When Farad disappeared mysteriously in 1934, Elijah Muhammad assumed leadership of the group, first in Detroit and then in Chicago. Under his leadership, the black nationalist and separatist sect (then called the Nation of Islam) expanded, mainly among poor blacks and prison populations. Although the group numbered only about 8,000 when Muhammad took over, it grew rapidly in the 1950s and 60s, particularly as a result of the preaching of one of its ministers, Malcolm X. Tension between Muhammad and Malcolm developed, however, and Malcolm's subsequent suspension (1963) and assassination (1965), possibly by Muhammad's followers, caused great dissension in the movement. When Muhammad died in 1975, his son, Wallace D. Muhammad (later Warith Deen Mohammed) took over, preaching a far less inflammatory version of Islam. He aligned the organization with the international Islamic community, moving toward Sunni Islamic practice, and opened the group (renamed the World Community of al-Islam in the West, then the American Muslim Mission, and later the American Society of Muslims) to individuals of all races. In 1977 a group of Black Muslims, led by Louis Farrakhan, split off from the organization, disillusioned by the son's integrationist ideals and lack of allegiance to his father's brand of Islam. They named themselves the Nation of Islam and sought to follow in the footsteps of Elijah Muhammad. In the late 1990s the Nation of Islam began to embrace some traditional Islamic practices, and Farrakhan and Mohammed publicly declared an end to the rivalry between their groups in 2000. W. Deen Mohammed resigned as head of the American Society of Muslims in 2003.

See L. E. Lomax, When the Word Is Given (1964, repr. 1979); C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (1973, repr. 1982); C. E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims (1984).

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Black Muslims

Black Muslims. Members of an African American nationalist religious movement. It was founded in Detroit in the 1930s by Wallace D. Fard (sometimes Ford, later known as Wali Farad). He was known as Prophet Fard, the Great Mahdi, and the Saviour. The movement was called originally The Lost-Found Nation of Islam, subsequently The World Community of Islam in the West. Fard hailed black (as they were then called) people as the founders of civilization, and predicted the destruction of Caucasians and Christianity and the establishment of a Black Nation after the final judgement of the white race.

Elijah Muhammad took over the movement on Fard's disappearance in 1934, assuming the titles ‘Minister of Islam’ and ‘Prophet’. Malcolm X became Elijah Muhammad's chief aide in 1963 before breaking away to found the Muslim Mosque, Inc., and the Organization of Afro-American Unity. He was assassinated in Feb. 1965.

When Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, his son, Warith Deen ( Wallace D.) succeeded and endeavoured to bring the movement closer to mainstream Islam throughout the world. A splinter group, led by Louis Farrakhan (see ELIJAH MUHAMMAD), took the name Nation(s) of Islam. This continued the emphasis on separation from white people, and included a theme of anti-semitism.

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Black Muslims

Black Muslims African-American nationalist movement in the USA. It aims to establish a separatist black Muslim state. Founded in Detroit by Wallace Farad in 1930, the movement was led (1934–76) by Elijah Muhammad. Helped by the rhetorical power of the preacher Malcolm X, the organization grew rapidly between 1945 and 1960. Factions developed within the movement, and Malcolm was suspended in 1963. In 1976, the movement split into the American Muslim Mission and the Nation of Islam. The former (led by Elijah's son, Wallace Muhammad) preached a more integrationist message. The Nation of Islam, led by Louis Farrakhan, claimed to uphold the true doctrines of Elijah Muhammad, and preached a more racially exclusive message. During the 1980s and 1990s, the Nation of Islam gained greater popularity in the USA. Mass demonstrations, such as the ‘Million Man March’ (1995) in Washington, D.C., and controversial speeches generated huge media attention. Today, total membership is c.10,000.

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Black Muslims

BLACK MUSLIMS

BLACK MUSLIMS. SeeNation of Islam .

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