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Judge Elijah dogged by rumors he is Muslim

Aug. 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A Florida judge named for an Old Testament prophet has learned anonymous bloggers think Elijah is a Muslim name.

Elijah Williams, a family court judge in Broward County, is a Christian, The Miami Herald says. He is also up for re-election this year, facing a primary on Tuesday.

The rumor spreading through cyberspace apparently comes from his sharing a first name with Elijah Muhammad, who headed the Nation of Islam for 40 years before his death in 1975. Muhammad, however, was born Elijah Poole, the son of a Baptist minister in Georgia.

Williams says a "surprising number" of people have inquired about his religion recently.

"It was a bit surreal," Williams told the Herald. "I ended up explaining to people -- some of them prominent, educated people who asked about this -- that if my name concerned them, they should know 'Elijah' has Hebrew roots, that Elijah was a prominent prophet and leader in the Old Testament. But the situation was also uncomfortable."

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