Bismillah, Ar-Rahman, Ar-Rahim.   In The Name Of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

In the last article, I focused on the movement of Imam WD Mohammed.  The Imam had inherited the leadership of the Nation Of Islam from his father, Elijah Muhammad.  The Nation of Islam was essentially a Black Nationalist movement with Islamic terminology and Black mythology in its core beliefs.  It differed from the mainstream or orthodox Islam.  The Imam while a member of his father’s group spoke out against his father’s teachings, such as Allah being a man, the whiteman was the devil and that Elijah Muhammad was the messenger of Allah in addition to or instead of Muhammad ibn Abdullah (sas).  These beliefs clashed with mainstream Islam.  He spoke out at the risk of his own life.  Several times he was expelled by his father from the group.  By the 1974, Elijah Muhammad seemed to change.  He stopped emphasizing that “the whiteman was the devil”  and was more concerned about the “Islam” of the group.  At the annual gathering of members on Fard Muhammad’s (the group’s founder) birthday  on Feb. 26th of that year, he invited non-Black Muslims and told the audience: “they want to know about your (adherence to) Islam…”  I’m not sure whether it was part of this or any Savior’s Day speech or it was given at another time but a speech was made to his followers where his told them to obey his son.  The members was well aware that his son then Wallace D. Muhammad did not follow his father’s teachings.   When he assumed the leadership of the NOI he next year (his father died the day before Savior’s Day 1975) the “Nation” was primed for change.  Not everyone was on board however.   His brother-in-law, Silas Muhammad, did not accept his leadership.  He started his own Nation Of Islam group. First they were headquartered in Los Angeles, CA then they moved to Atlanta, GA where they are still based.  There were also at two other smaller factions.  One was lead  by (an uncle, Elijah’s brother)John Muhammad in Detroit, MI and another NOI brother started a faction in Brooklyn, NY.   After initially accepting Imam WD Mohammed’s leadership, by late 1977,  Minister Louis Farrakhan broke away and started his faction which was much larger  and more popular then the previous factions of the Nation of Islam.   The faction led by Farrakhan and the main group led by the Imam had tensions between them.  It split friends and families and there was violent clashes.   By 1983, the two leaders met and a truce was announced.  At that time I was a member of Farrakhan’s NOI since 1982.  For a some years since becoming Muslim, a popular question that was asked to me was, “Are you with Farrakhan or Wallace?”  The journey that took me into Islam, insha’Allah (God-willing) will be discussed in a later post.

Imam WD Mohammed nevertheless rose to be THE Imam in America and was, I believe at the time of his death, the President of the World Conference on Religion and Peace.  The Imam did hold on to the “do for self” concept meaning that we should own our own schools, businesses and masjids.  There were many businesses, schools and masjids that has flourished under Imam WD Mohammed.   New Africa embraces the “do for self” concept and takes it to another level.  Te level as a vision for a new land of opportunity led by the “resurrected” descendants of American slaves.

His successor organization to the NOI, then called the American Muslim Mission(AMM) inherited 4,600 acres of land in south Georgia bought under his father’s leadership and named it “Elijahville”.   Elijahville failed but in the “spirit of Elijahville”, New Madinah, was estabished on 64 acres of land in Sumrall, MS in 1987.  New Madinah is still growing today and host an annual Islamic Retreat since its establishment.

Other New Africa Concepts and Movements

Republic Of New Africa (Afrika)

  In 1968, a group of Black Nationalist, disciplines of Malcolm X’s teachings held a meeting in Detroit, MI.  Influenced by the Nation Of Islam’s call for the US government to give African Americans land either here or abroad to establish an independent Black Nation, founded the Republic of New Africa.  The Republic of  New Africa (RNA) focused on five southern states which had a more significant African-American population than any region in the country.  The states were: South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.  The capital was established on a farm in Jackson, Mississippi, the following year.  On August 18, 1971 the RNA was attacked by FBI and local law enforcement.   Eleven members were arrested and imprisoned including its Provisional President, Imari Obadele, who wasn’t released from prison until the latter ’80’s. Today the movement still exist.  It much diminished.  The movement with new leadership is called Republic of New Afrika (spelling Africa with a “k” instead of a “c”.  This has become popular practice since the height of the Afrocentic movement in the early ’90’s.

New Afrikan Black Panther Party

This is an off shoot of the New Black Panther Party.  The New Black Panther Party was led by the  Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a former longtime minister in the Nation Of Islam.  He was Minister Louis Farrakhan’s National Spokesman until Farrakhan was forced to excommunicate him in 1993, due to remarks he made against Jews at Kean College in New Jersey speech. He was also, at that time minster of Mosque No. 7.  Khalid died of a brain hemorrhage February 17, 2001 while chairman of the New Black Panther Party, a position he held after being kicked out of the Nation.  The New Afrikan Black Panther Party, a splinter group led by a Shaka Zulu is a Marxist Organization aligned in a United Panther alliance with other Panther groups which represents whites and latinos.