The Healing of the Split in the
African-American Muslim Community
Although Minister Farrakhan had taken a major step in this direction three years earlier during the "Islam in the New Century" conference that he convened in Chicago from July 3-6, 1997, he made statements during the Saviours Day Celebration (statements referred to in the newspaper stories below) that clearly indicated his embrace of Sunni Islamic beliefs and practice.
-----On February 28th, 2000, the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the more than 20-year split within the African-American Muslim community has been repaired. W. Deen Mohammed and long-time rival Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan have publicly unified. Farrakhan and Mohammed declared the unity this past weekend at the four-day International Islamic Conference in Chicago sponsored by the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan stated: "We will be together as a family...And I say to all the children and grandchildren of Mohammed, come back to Islam." W. Deen Mohammed stated: "Let me say that this truly is a sign that God has always been with the sincere ones, those who kept faith." Farrakhan has embraced a return to the traditional Sunni Islamic faith and has tried to distance himself from his earlier anti-Semitic and anti-white views…. (February 28, 2000, Chicago Sun-Times, NWS, p. 8)
-----On February 26th, 2000, The Washington Post reported on the
announced unity between Muslim American Society leader Wallace
Deen Mohammed, son of Nation of Islam founder Elijah Mohammed, and
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan at the 2nd annual Saviours'
Day conference sponsored by the Nation of Islam. Appearing in public
together for the first time 25 years, Mohammed spoke to the crowd
at Friday's prayer services: "Dear Muslim brothers and sisters,
it's not difficult for Minister Farrakhan and Wallace Deen Mohammed
to embrace each other...for this is too big a cause for personal
differences." Farrakhan stated: "Twenty-Five years later, I know
your father wanted this...From this day forward, the Imam Mohammed
and I, no matter what our little problems are, will work them
out for the glory of Allah." Farrakhan openly declared, "we bear
witness that there is no prophet after the prophet Mohammed,"
which is a change from the Nation of Islam doctrine that held W.D.
Fard, Elijah Mohammed's teacher, as God incarnate and Elijah
Mohammed as the final prophet to mankind. Sayyid Syeed, secretary-general
of the 4-million member Islamic Society of North America, appeared
with Farrakhan for the first time ever, in a sign that mainstream
Muslims are moving closer to embracing the Nation of Islam. Syeed
has stressed that the Nation of Islam should commit to becoming
part of an Islamic alliance in the United States with other mainstream
Muslim organizations. Both Mohammed and Syeed have said that
the reconciliation would not mean unifying the three competing Muslim
groups, but would be oriented more toward doctrinal harmony and group
cooperation. (February 26, 2000, The Washington Post, p. A2)