Imam W. Deen Mohammed, one of the country’s most prominent African-American Islamic leaders and the man who led millions of black Muslims away from the militant politics of the Nation of Islam and toward a more orthodox form of Islam, has died. He was 74.
Mohammed, a son of Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad, was found dead at his home in suburban Chicago yesterday morning, said Imam Mustafa El-Amin, the leader of a Newark mosque, Masjid Ibrahim, and a follower of Mohammed. A cause of death was not immediately released.
“We’re all hurt,” Amin said. “He gave us a greater sense of humanity. What I mean by that is, a greater appreciation for the people of all races and nationalities. … He taught us the proper concept of Islam.”
Though less well known on the national stage than the fiery Louis Farrakhan — once a bitter rival — Mohammed was arguably far more influential, with a following that dwarfs the Nation of Islam’s membership. In the Newark area alone, more than a half-dozen mosques are affiliated with his movement.
“It’s a great loss for not only Muslims in America, but it is also a major loss for our family,” Mohammed’s nephew, Sultan Mohammed, said in a phone interview from Chicago. (MORE)