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)