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Black Muslims


Black separatist religious movement in the US. It is the popular name for the Lost-Found Nation of Islam (which changed its name in 1976 to the World Community of Islam in the West), a sect founded in Detroit in 1930 by Wallace Fard (Wali Farad), who claimed that black Americans were descended from an ancient Muslim tribe. Followers adopted Muslim names and believed that Farad was an incarnation of God. There were 8,000 Black Muslims when Farad disappeared in 1934 and was succeeded as leader by Elijah Muhammad, who regarded all whites as ‘devils who had enslaved the Black Nation’. He told his followers to avoid contact with whites and sought a separate state for blacks. Black Muslims had to adopt a strict moral code, avoiding ‘white’ vices such as drinking alcohol, drug-taking or fornication. When he was imprisoned during the Second World War for telling Black Muslims to avoid conscription, membership of the sect dropped to 1,000, but it later rose sharply owing to the conversion of malcolm x and his activity on behalf of the Nation of Islam, which had 100,000 members by 1960. The rift between Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X, who left the movement, threatened to reduce the popularity of the Black Muslims, particularly when Malcolm X was assassinated by three members of the sect in 1965. The conversion of the heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) enabled the Nation ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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