The Nation of Islam is shedding much of its anti-white rhetoric and beliefs, according to the newspaper In These Times (Oct. 4).
Last month RW noted the unusual alliance between Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan and New Age visionary Jose Arguelles. It appears that this development may be part of a broader change in the NOI toward orthodox Islam and away from its “foundations in anti-white racism.” This change was evident during the recent Million Youth March in New York’s Harlem, which stirred controversy in its call for black militancy. Organizing the march was Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a former NOI leader who was dismissed because of his strongly anti-Semitic and anti-white message.
Farrakhan and his regional representative Benjamin Muhammad (formerly Benjamin Chavis, head of the NAACP and United Church of Christ activist before his conversion) had little or no role in the New York march and have actively “bad mouthed” the event. Instead, Farrakhan gave his support to an Atlanta Million Youth Movement, an outgrowth of the Million Man March of 1995 that attempts to work within the African-American mainstream.
Farrakhan has also been moving away from the “fundamentals of [founder’s] Elijah Muhammad’s message in his recent visits to non-black Muslim nations (where he was accorded head-of-state status). In 1997 he convened an International Islamic Conference in Chicago as “part of a larger attempt to gain theological legitimacy.” He notes that Khalid Muhammad denounced this event as caving into “Arab Islam.”
(In These Times, 2040 N. Milwaukee, Chicago, IL 60647)