Magazine article The Christian Century

W. D. Mohammed, 74, Muslim Reformer

Magazine article The Christian Century

W. D. Mohammed, 74, Muslim Reformer

Article excerpt

Muslim leaders and community members across the nation mourned the loss of Warith Deen Mohammed, a key African-American figure who worked to unite Muslims of different races to follow an orthodox form of Islam.

Mohammed, 74, was the former leader of the Nation of Islam who broke with the black nationalist teachings of his father, Elijah Muhammad, and inspired thousands of African-American Muslims to follow mainstream Islam. He died September 9 at his home in Markham, Illinois.

"For those in his community, it is a dire loss. For those not in his community, it is both the loss of a pioneer and a very influential person," said Aminah McCloud, director of the Islamic World Studies Program and a professor of religious studies at DePaul University in Chicago.

McCloud described Mohammed as a "kind, gentle and knowledgeable man." She said he regularly worked with Christian and Jewish leaders to include Muslims in interfaith dialogues.

Mohammed was born Wallace Dean Muhammad in October 1933, the seventh son of Elijah and Clara Muhammad of Michigan. …

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