W.D. Mohammed Resigns
- BOSS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY OF MUSLIMS QUITS
Rachel Zoll, Associated Press, 9/1/03
CHICAGO - Imam W. Deen Mohammed, the black Muslim spiritual leader
who over three decades transformed how American blacks practice the
religion, has resigned as head of the American Society of Muslims.
Mohammed said he will continue to represent and guide black Muslims
and direct his ministry, The Mosque Cares, but would no longer lead
the society, the main organization representing his movement.
"I'm getting ready ... to do more, to be more productive and to
contribute to the good life of the believers," Mohammed said Sunday
at the start of his keynote speech at the society's annual
Mohammed, who will turn 70 in October, on Saturday privately informed
his movement's imams, or prayer leaders, that he would step down.
His national representative, Imam Earl Abdulmalik Mohammed, announced
the decision before Sunday's keynote speech. Some audience members
gasped, then applauded and cheered for him. Former heavyweight
champion Muhammad Ali, who is Muslim, attended but did not speak
TURNING POINT FOR ISLAMIC BLACKS; COURSE UNCLEAR AS MOHAMMED EXITS
Geneive Abdo and Aamer Madhani, Chicago Tribune, 9/2/03
The unexpected resignation of W. Deen Mohammed over the weekend
leaves his estimated 2 million African-American followers at a
crossroads, torn between continuing on his path of integration with
mainstream Sunni Islam or returning to the black separatist ideas
Mohammed left behind nearly three decades ago.
Mohammed, 69, said in a telephone interview Monday that he is
stepping down as the leader of the group he established, the American
Society of Muslims, in part out of frustration with the imams, or
preachers, in the organization, who he said are not trained
"American Society of Muslim leaders (imams) don't support me, but the
followers do. I have tried over the last 10 to 12 years to encourage
them to get more religious education, but I have made no progress,"
said Mohammed. "They want their followers just to obey them, but not
question them or right their wrong deeds."
Mohammed said Sunday in Chicago at the annual convention of the
American Society of Muslims that he was resigning to work on projects
to change the negative image of Islam in the United States. One
project is an Islamic community in Chicago's south suburbs
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