Chicago Muslim leader dies at 74

Sept. 9, 2008 at 7:28 PM
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CHICAGO, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- W. Deen Mohammed, a prominent African-American Muslim leader in Chicago, has died at age 74.

The Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday that Mohammed is the son of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

He was scheduled to speak Tuesday in Chicago. He spoke Saturday at an event sponsored by Chicago's Inner-City Muslim Action Network.

The newspaper reported that Mohammed's efforts to move the Nation of Islam towards mainstream Islam led to a schism between those who agreed with him and those who joined a revived Nation of Islam under Louis Farrakhan.

Mohammed in 1961 refused to serve in the U.S. military and went to prison for following his father's teachings that African-Americans shouldn't defend a nation that was segregated and where blacks were lynched.

After leaving prison he proclaimed the time had come for black Americans to celebrate America.

Late in his life, Mohammed did not have a mosque of his own. Instead, he headed a charitable organization, Mosque Cares, and spoke to congregations across the nation.

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