WEB POSTED 03-10-2000
70 year Commemorative of The Nation of Islam in North America

Imam W. Deen Mohammed:
Son of Hon. Elijah Muhammad spreads message of Islam

by Askia Muhammad and Donald Muhammad

The birth of Imam W. Deen Mohammed, Muslim American Spokesman, on Oct. 30, 1933 was a special event in suburban Detroit in the home of Elijah and Clara (Evans) Muhammad. He was the seventh child of eight children and fifth of six sons in the family. He was the first child who was born a Muslim.

At a young age his parents gave him the Holy Quran, the Islamic Holy Scripture. “The book that the so-called American Negroes should own and read, the book that the slave-masters have, but have not represented it to their slaves, is a book that will heal their sin-sick souls,” the Hon. Elijah Muhammad taught his son and all of his followers about the “Glorious Quran.”

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Imam Mohammed’s lifelong study and mastery of  the Holy Quran and the Arabic language in which it is written have earned him recognition and respect among Muslim scholars and authorities around the world.

Under his father’s leadership Imam Mohammed served as an assistant minister in Chicago and was sent to Philadelphia’s Mosque No. 12 in 1959 to serve as the minister. The Imam was a contemporary of the late Min. Malcolm X, and the two were key helpers of Mr. Muhammad in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

When the Hon. Elijah Muhammad departed from the scene in 1975, Imam Mohammed assumed the position of “Chief Minister” on Feb. 26, 1975 and proceeded to lead the Islamic religious community “in a progression toward satisfying the essentials of Muslim life and identity,” according to his official  Internet site.

His world travels on behalf of human salvation and spreading the message of the Holy Quran as well as the tradition of  Muhammad the Holy Prophet of Islam (may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon Him) have taken him to remote regions as well as to world capitals, including China, Denmark, Palestine, Malaysia, Mexico, Italy, Poland, and Iran.

Among his recent notable achievements, Imam Mohammed met with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican in 1996. In 1997 he recited from the Holy Quran at the National Prayer Service celebrating the second inauguration of U.S. President Bill Clinton. In February 1992 he became the first Muslim to deliver an invocation on the Floor of the U.S. Senate. Later that year he delivered the first address by a Muslim on the floor of the Georgia State Legislature, the state of his father’s birth.

“The message of Islam, delivered by him for (more than) 20 years to persons of every race, sex, and class,” commentators have written, “has been a quiet yet resolute factor for increased tolerance, understanding, and cooperation between Americans of different ethnic and religious backgrounds.”

The author of several books, the host of a television program—“W. Deen Mohammed and Guest”—and the host of a nationally syndicated radio program, he is a member of the prestigious World Supreme Council of Mosques, the Peace Council, and he serves as the international president of the World Conference of Religion and Peace.

In February1992 Imam Mohammed participated in an event that as yet is not fully understood among Muslims in America and in other parts of the world: he toured the Pentagon and addressed Muslim personnel in the U.S. military. The number of Muslims serving in the military services as well as the number of Muslim chaplains administering to their spiritual needs has grown precipitously in both the Army and Navy. Their presence adds a new spiritual force to American military history.

At the invitation of various government and spiritual leaders, Imam Mohammed has participated in a number of peace delegations discussing the concerns of Muslims in this country and abroad. Those delegations have been concerned with the Gulf War and the Middle East. He has even gone on a peace mission to San Cristobal de las Casas (Chiapas), Mexico at the invitation of Bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia.

Among the heads of state with whom he has met include Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, U.S. President Bill Clinton, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd Abdulaziz, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Jordan’s King Hussein, and King Hassan II of Morocco.

Imam Mohammed is leader of an estimated 2.5 million American Muslims, and is the pre-eminent Islamic figure participating in inter-religious conferences on religion and peace. In 1998 at Auschwitz, Poland, he was a guest of the Center for Christian Jewish Understanding of Sacred Heart University.

In a recent interview, (Muslim Journal, Jan.. 28, 2000) Imam Mohammed expressed his hopes and optimism for the two communities coming together again. “The situation has developed now for us to embrace each other and sit down together and support each other in all good works.”

He emphasized his strong support for the Million Family March. “We need more awareness of our obligation as adults in our communities, to support our neighborhoods and to support our families, even if we are single,” he explained in the same interview with Nathaniel Omar.

Minister Farrakhan, the Imam continued, “emphasized (to me) that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s family has been a real value to the association of followers whom we both respect.” The Hon. Elijah Muhammad, he said “has been very valuable to the African American people in general.”

Imam Mohammed stated that he also hopes to explore further areas of cooperation with Minister Farrakhan in the fields of education and economic development between the two communities.

Photo caption: Imam W. D. Mohammed and Pope John Paul II (at left).



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