Black Muslims is a widely used name for the adherents of
an American black nationalist religious movement whose self
designation changed in 1976 from "The Lost - Found Nation of
Islam" to "The World Community of Islam in the West." The
movement traces its beginnings to the enigmatic figure of
Wallace D Fard (Wali Farad), known as "Prophet Fard,"
"The Great Mahdi" or "The Savior," who attracted 8,000
followers in the short period between his appearance in
Detroit in 1930 and his disappearance in June 1934.|
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A radically different phase began under Elijah Muhammad's son and successor, Warith Deen (or Wallace D) Muhammad. He called for a new sense of patriotism, urging blacks to "identify with the land and flag." Advocating the "religious unification of the world's Muslims," W D Muhammad abandoned unorthodox notions and expressions that had presented obstacles for many other Muslims' recognition of this movement as being authentically Islamic. In May 1985 he announced the dissolution of the American Muslim Mission to unify its members with the worldwide Muslim community.
A splinter group led by Louis Farrakhan, however, retains the earlier separatist principles and the name "Nations of Islam." During the 1984 presidential campaign Farrakhan's racial comments stirred controversy. In subsequent years, he repeated anti-Semitic remarks at large rallies, but he did not inject himself into the 1988 presidential campaign.
Willem A Bijlefeld
J R Howard, Becoming a Black Muslim: A Study of Commitment Processes in a Deviant Political Organization (1965); C E Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (1973); L E Lomax, When the Word is Given: A Report on Elijah Muhammad, Malcolm X, and the Black Muslim World (1963); C E Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims: The Transition from Separatism to Islam, 1930 - 1980 (1984); E Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (1965).
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