This article first appeared in Forward volume 9, number 2 (1986). The full PDF can be viewed by clicking here.
“I looked over Jordan, what did I see, coming for to carry me home? A band of angels coming after me, coming for to carry me home.” (old Negro spiritual) “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” (1 Cor. 15:19)
The Christian belief in an afterlife with Christ has been a source of strength and hope for millions of people from the first century to the present. All Christians have longed for the day when there will be no more death, no more shedding of tears, when sorrow and pain have passed away, and when we no longer see “through a glass darkly” but are with Jesus face to face. As the apostle Paul said, “For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). But Christianity is not simply an other-worldly hope with no thoughts of the present. The apostle Paul went on to declare: “Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you” (v.23). Thus the Christian faith is concerned with both our life here and with our eternal life with God after our work here has been completed. In America a movement has arisen challenging Christianity; indeed, arising largely because of the church’s failure to meet the “this-worldly” needs of some of the poorest in this land. It is a religion solely interested in the affairs of this life and the physical betterment of its people. It is a faith based on racism and hate which expects that all of its enemies will soon be destroyed, and that its members will then rule the world. And it is rapidly gaining an ear among many of the afflicted and downtrodden in this country who have waited too long to see justice and equality become a reality for them; who have often heard that “all men are created equal” but have rarely seen this principle applied. Its name is the Nation of Islam and its leader is Minister Louis Farrakhan.
To understand and evaluate “black Islam” we must consider its historical roots and theology. In addition, we must also be cognizant of the social, psychological and spiritual needs which gave rise to it. The years 1917-1930 were exceedingly trying for American blacks. During those years the Ku Klux Klan was in its heyday, beatings and lynchings of blacks were tragically common, race riots were proliferating and “Jim Crow” laws were widespread. The black servicemen who returned to America after World War I found that they frequently had been treated better in European countries than they were in their own home. In the summer of 1930 a man identifying himself as Wallace Fard Muhammad appeared in Detroit. He proclaimed that
he had come from the holy city of Mecca, with a mission to teach blacks the truth about whites. He instructed blacks to prepare for the battle of Armageddon, which he interpreted to mean the final confrontation between blacks and whites.1
He rapidly gained a following and “established the first Temple of Islam during the Great Depression of the 1930s, when blacks were vulnerable to any philosophy that provided hope.”2 The foundation of his theology was that “Allah is God, the white man is the devil and the so-called Negroes are the Asiatic Black people, the cream of the planet earth.”3 Between 1930-33 Fard recruited 8,000 followers among Detroit blacks. The most important of the new members was Elijah Poole, an unemployed auto worker.
Poole, born on October 7, 1898, in Sandersville, Georgia, was one of a Baptist minister/sharecropper’s thirteen children. He “learned only the bare rudiments of reading, writing and arithmetic before he had to go to the fields to help his family earn a living.”4 He worked in Sandersville and in Macon, Georgia, until 1923 when he, his wife, Clara, and their two children moved to Detroit. From 1923 to 1929 he worked for the Chevrolet Auto Plant in Detroit until the Great Depression caused his family to go on relief for two years. Poole, given the name “Karriem” at his initiation into the group, rose rapidly in the organization and was renamed “Elijah Muhammad” by Fard. He was subsequently chosen by Fard to be the Chief Minister of his “Nation of Islam.” In about June of 1934 Fard “vanished as mysteriously as he had arrived.”5 Elijah Muhammad, succeeding Fard as the leader, would rule and mold the Nation of Islam for the next 41 years. Before continuing with their history it is necessary at this point to understand just what Elijah Muhammad’s doctrine was.
From the beginning Elijah Muhammad had a very simple explanation for Fard’s disappearance: “We believe that Allah (God) appeared in the Person of Master W. Fard Muhammad, July, 1930 — the long awaited ‘Messiah’ of the Christians and the ‘Mahdi’ of the Muslims.”6 His disappearance was due to the fact that he had ascended back into heaven and would return at Armageddon to proclaim the total victory of the black man over the white man. In addition, the sole “Messenger of Allah” was Elijah Muhammad himself: “He (Allah) has made me a door. If you get out, you will come by me, and if you reject me, you will not go. I have been given the keys to heaven.”7 It needs to be noted that any resemblance between the theology of Elijah Muhammad and that of orthodox Islam is purely coincidental. Orthodox Islam has repeatedly denounced The Nation of Islam’s theology for its denial of an afterlife, its deification of Wallace Fard, its racism and hatred, etc.8 The main reason for the phenomenal growth and success of Muhammad’s group was not his theology per se, but his appeal to the hurt and despair of the black man. C. Eric Lincoln, in his classic work The Black Muslims in America, declared that many blacks readily accepted Elijah Muhammad’s message because he had “given them a new sense of dignity, a conviction that they are more than the equals of the white man and are destined to rule the earth.”9 Muhammad’s approach to building the self-esteem of the black man was two-pronged. First, the blacks in this country need to become one — “love and unity of self and kind” is the key to their “salvation.”10 But this could not be accomplished unless the white man let the blacks separate and have their own country.11 The second prong of Muhammad’s appeal to the blacks consisted in highlighting the hate and racism they had suffered at the hands of the white man. The result of this was a hate begotten of hate. All of the black man’s problems could be traced to one single enemy, the “blue-eyed white devil”:
The entire creation of Allah (God) is of peace, not including the devils who are not the creation of Allah (God) but a race created by an enemy (Yakub) of Allah….These enemies of Allah (God) are known at the present as the white race or European race.12
The late Louis Lomax, one of the foremost black journalists in this country and the first black newsman to appear on television (in 1959), believed that
The Black Muslims13 have but one message: The white man is by nature evil, a snake who is incapable of doing right, a devil who is soon to be destroyed. Therefore, the black man, who is by nature divine and good, must separate from the white man as soon as possible, lest he share the white man’s hour of total destruction.14
A corollary to this teaching is that Christianity, the “white man’s” religion, is also their enemy. Elijah Muhammad made this all too clear:
Do you like what you’re reading? Take a look at this.
We called on the God that you said was the right one for a long time. For a hundred years we have been calling on your God and the Son, both. I am sure today that (sic) God and his Son that you are presenting to us have been for white people, surely they were not friends of ours. He never heard us. He must have been off somewhere in conversation over your future and did not have time to hear our prayers….Never any more will you fool us to bow and pray to a dead Jesus.15 There is no hope for us in Christianity; it is a religion organized by the enemies (the white race) of the Black Nation to enslave us to the white race’s rule.16
Probably the most significant event to occur in the Nation of Islam’s history during this period was the 1947 conversion of Malcolm Little, a black inmate in the maximum-security prison at Concord, Massachusetts. He would become known to the American people as Malcolm X.17 Due to lack of space it is not possible to detail the tremendous role Malcolm X had in the growth of the Nation of Islam. However, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he could be considered the St. Paul of this movement. From 1952, when he was released from prison, until his break with Elijah Muhammad in 1964, the membership of the Nation of Islam skyrocketed as a result of Malcolm’s missionary efforts. During this period Malcolm “helped to establish most of the one hundred Temples in the United States.”18 In March of 1964 Malcolm announced that he was leaving the Nation of Islam. The reasons were twofold. First, Malcolm’s faith in Elijah Muhammad had been shaken after Elijah confirmed to him that paternity charges brought against him by two former secretaries were true.19 And second, Malcolm began to see that the theology they espoused was not true to Islamic teachings. On February 21, 1965, less than a year after he had left the Nation of Islam, he was shot to death by three black men while giving a public lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City.
Wallace Deen Muhammad
Over the next ten years the Nation of Islam continued to grow, albeit not nearly as rapidly as before. Then on February 25, 1975, after a month’s protracted illness, Elijah Muhammad died of congestive heart failure at Chicago’s Mercy Hospital. The next day, at the annual Savior’s Day Rally (which commemorates the birth of Master Fard Muhammad), Elijah’s seventh child, Wallace (Warith) Deen Muhammad, was named to succeed his father as the new leader of the Nation of Islam. The announcement that Elijah’s son Wallace was to be the new leader sent shock waves throughout the Nation of Islam. Most members believed that Louis Farrakhan, minister of the Harlem temple, would be the new leader. Another reason the members were shocked was because Wallace had been excommunicated from the group by his father on at least three different occasions. The main reason for his excommunications was that he rejected the apotheosis or deification of Fard. Why then was Wallace Deen chosen? Allegedly, Wallace Fard had prophesied that Elijah’s seventh child would be a son that would head the Nation of Islam. Farrakhan emphatically backed Wallace: “The Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s passing is the will of God. His son is the will of God.”20 Within months major changes occurred. Wallace had been an extremely close friend of Malcolm X, both before and after Malcolm’s break with his father, Elijah Muhammad. Consequently Wallace was deeply influenced by Malcolm’s acceptance of true Islam shortly before his death. This influence is seen in the changes Wallace soon brought about in the Nation of Islam. One of the first changes was to rename the group the World Community of Al-Islam in the West, thus attempting to identify more with worldwide Islam. They would later change their name again; they are now known as the American Muslim Mission. However, such cosmetic changes were not Wallace’s main concern. He immediately began to root out some of the main tenets of the old Nation of Islam. He denounced the belief that Fard was an incarnation of God, a teaching which is anathema to orthodox Muslims (see Part One of this series, “Islam’s Worldwide Revival,” Forward, Fall 1985). Likewise, “doctrines defining God as black and dismissing whites as devils” were changed “with the explanation that the former ideas were necessary transitional beliefs because of the brain-washing the blacks underwent as slaves.”21 Indeed, whites were now permitted to join their group. Since 1975 the movement has been accepted by orthodox Muslims as legitimately Islamic and one within the fold of Islam.22 In 1978 Wallace resigned as the spiritual leader of “chief Imam” of the organization in order to be an ambassador-at-large, speaking in their behalf domestically and internationally.23 He decentralized its leadership into a 17-member council with six regional imams serving one-year terms, who have equal power in national matters, but complete power in their own regions. Although no official membership rolls are kept, it is estimated that the American Muslim Mission currently has about 100,000 members.
LOUIS ABDUL FARRAKHAN
Until the national presidential primaries in 1984, few Americans had ever heard of Louis Farrakhan. He was hardly a nationally known personality such as were his predecessors Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm X. He wasn’t particularly powerful, politically or socially. Nor was his group of followers nearly as large as those loyal to Wallace Deen Muhammad. It was during Jesse Jackson’s run for the Democratic party’s presidential nomination that Farrakhan became an overnight sensation. The reason was simple: Farrakhan, one of Jackson’s staunchest and most visible supporters, was outspoken in his demagoguery and racism. Jerry Eddings, writing in New York City’s widely respected black community paper The Amsterdam News, succinctly sums up Farrakhan’s appeal for so many blacks:
[Farrakhan] expresses the anger they feel about still being on the bottom layer of society….he is a Black man who speaks his mind without fear, and even if they don’t believe everything he says, they see a need for more Black men and women who speak without fear about the inequities of life in predominantly white America.24
Who is this man Louis Farrakhan and what does he believe? Is he a dangerous demagogue or a fearless spokesman for black America?
Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott in New York in 1933. He was raised in a tough Boston neighborhood, learning first-hand of the economic plight most blacks faced. He dropped out of Winston-Salem Teachers College after two years of study and began what appeared to be a promising career as a singer. He was known as “Calypso Gene” and was fairly successful as a nightclub entertainer. In 1955 his life was changed after a meeting with Malcolm X. Following his recruitment to the Nation of Islam he served under Malcolm at the Harlem mosque for nine months. Subsequently he was asked to direct the Boston mosque. Farrakhan stayed at this position until Malcolm’s assassination in 1965. After Malcolm’s death he became the minister of Harlem’s Mosque #7, the largest and most influential mosque outside of Chicago. In addition, he was recognized as the “National Spokesman for the Honorable Elijah Muhammad,” a title he still retains today. As noted earlier, he remained under Wallace Deen Muhammad’s leadership after Elijah Muhammad’s death in 1975. However, as Wallace began to conform the organization (the present American Muslim Mission) to orthodox Islam, Farrakhan rebelled. He left the group in December of 1977 and formed his own reorganized Nation of Islam, returning to the old teachings of Elijah Muhammad. So, while the American Muslim Mission has organizational continuity with Elijah Muhammad’s Nation of Islam, the doctrine and spirit of the old Nation of Islam continue only in Farrakhan’s splinter group, which bears its name.
The ideology of the Nation of Islam under Farrakhan is almost indistinguishable from what it was under Elijah Muhammad. Their monthly paper, The Final Call, reprints numerous articles of Elijah’s writings and speeches. They also reprint Elijah’s Muslim program (“What the Muslims Want” and “What the Muslims Believe”) on the back page of each issue of the paper. Farrakhan has initiated a few changes of his own, though. One tenet of Elijah which is not called for anymore is the establishment of a separate state for the blacks. Instead, the blacks should separate economically, that is, only buy from and sell to each other. Another change is the date of their annual Savior’s Day celebration. Instead of celebrating it on the anniversary of Fard’s birthday (Feb. 26) he has moved it to Elijah Muhammad’s birthday (Oct. 7). The other basic beliefs promulgated by Elijah Muhammad have remained (e.g., the bitter hatred of Christianity, the belief that the blacks and not the Jews are God’s “chosen race,” the denial of a literal resurrection and afterlife, the belief in the deity of Wallace Fard, the blaming of the white man for each and every evil that the black man experiences, etc). Interestingly, Farrakhan continually tries to portray himself publicly as a very moderate person. He has even suggested that the Nation of Islam is really no longer a racist group: “We have long ago left the language of white devils behind. It was a language that was necessary for that time in our development.”25 As we will see, this is anything but the case. Finally, there are two other new tenets brought forth by Farrakhan worth noting. The first is that there is one exception to the denial of a literal resurrection of the dead. As the last page of The Final Call declares in caps beneath a picture of Elijah Muhammad, “HE LIVES.” Farrakhan writes:
The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I am here to declare, is risen. The Jesus you have been seeking and waiting for His return has been in your midst for 40 years, “but you knew not who He was.” A Holy One was working among us, and it is only now, after He is gone, that we realize who He was.26
It should come as no shock after the revelation that the one and only messenger for the black man is none other than Louis Farrakhan himself, the “Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s National Spokesman.”
I, Farrakhan, have no power to give life. However, the voice of Elijah Muhammad coming through me is giving life to the entire Nation [of Islam]. I warn you that when you turn me down and refuse this truth, you are turning down the Lord, the Savior, the Messiah, and the Deliverer that you seek. This Deliverer is the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.27
The heart of Louis Farrakhan’s attraction for blacks is the social/economic message he preaches. He has instilled in them a pride and self-esteem which they have often lacked. He has told them that they are not responsible for the state in which they find themselves, and seemingly offers them a way out of it. Last year Farrakhan made an extensive speaking tour of cities and universities across the nation. The banner under which he spoke bore the message: “POWER AT LAST, FOREVER! MINISTER FARRAKHAN CALLS THE ENTIRE BLACK NATION TO ECONOMIC REBIRTH.” His message was one of self-help: “You must get up from the foot of your masters and say ‘I am a free man.’ It is time for black people to come out from under white authority and stop thinking like you are an inferior person.”28 The economic separatism Farrakhan preaches is centered around POWER, an acronym for People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth. The first stage of POWER has been in the process of development for over a year: its goal is the creation of jobs in the black community by mass producing and distributing various consumer products. This past summer the first line of products came out: a number of different toiletry goods including soaps, lotions, deodorants, etc. Thousands of blacks, with no interest in the Nation of Islam’s ideology, have been drawn to Farrakhan (and thus indirectly to the Nation of Islam) because of POWER. Daniel K. Tabor, a black city councilman in Ingelwood, California, writes: “The appeal of Farrakhan’s POWER program for blacks…is in its calls for the economic development of the black community, and Farrakhan’s program offers sound steps for that development.”29
“Rhetoric of Hate”
Since Farrakhan’s meteoric rise as a national figure in 1984, many of the 25 million black people in America have been strongly attracted to him, if not openly supportive. His is a personality that demands a response from people, and the opinions are quite polarized. For many blacks “Farrakhan offers perhaps the last hope for true liberation.”30 However, many of the most prominent black leaders in the country have repudiated him as an opportunist and demagogue. Wallace Deen Muhammad gave a nationwide speaking tour last year in an attempt to counter Farrakhan’s “rhetoric of hate.”31 Congressman Charles Rangel, representing New York City’s 16th district (Harlem), has repeatedly stated that “the hatred spewed by Louis Farrakhan is scurrilous and intolerable.”32 Carl T. Rowan, one of the best known and respected journalists in the country, writes that Farrakhan “offers nothing more than religious bilge and racial hatred and is preying on the frustrations and rage of millions of black Americans.”33 But does Minister Farrakhan really deserve these denunciations? Are he and the Nation of Islam really as malevolent as these people have made them out to be? Let us listen to Farrakhan himself and see.
Farrakhan on Whites, Jews, and America
Even a perfunctory reading of any issue of The Final Call, which lists Minister Louis Farrakhan as its publisher, will reveal that Farrakhan’s racism remains unabated, in spite of claims to the contrary. Jews are denoted as “our enemies,”34 America is called the “number one enemy of freedom-loving peoples on the earth,”35 whites are referred to as “devils,”36 and blacks are warned to avoid following the “evil and filth of the white race.”37 The statements of Farrakhan’s that are best remembered, though, are ones he made during Jesse Jackson’s unsuccessful bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984. In March of that year Farrakhan said, “Hitler was a very great man,” and in July he referred to Judaism as a “gutter religion.”38 Over the years the Nation of Islam has had a close relationship with Libyan dictator Muammar Khaddafi. A number of years ago they received a three million dollar loan from Khaddafi and in 1985 received another loan worth five million dollars. Also in 1985 Farrakhan invited Khaddafi to be the keynote speaker, via satellite TV hookup from Libya, at the Savior’s Day celebration, and gave him a warm introduction to the audience of 13,000. Much more could be said about the racism of the Nation of Islam. A great deal also could be written about the violent physical attacks some blacks have suffered after leaving the Nation of Islam,39 about the death threats issued against black journalists and political leaders who have opposed Farrakhan,40 and of Farrakhan’s own role in creating the climate leading up to Malcolm X’s assassination.41
WHY BLACKS ARE DRAWN TO FARRAKHAN
We have seen some of the reasons for the popularity of Farrakhan and his Nation of Islam. But there is more than this. Two key areas need to be examined in greater detail: the plight of the black man in America and the failures of the Christian church.
The Plight of Blacks in America
Most white Americans have never experienced the depths of despair and hopelessness that black men, women, and children in this country have endured. They have never been forced to live in ghettos or near-ghetto conditions surrounded by poverty and the violence and crime poverty breeds. Forty-five percent of black children are born into poverty (as compared to only 15 percent of white children being born into poverty).42 Recent government statistics show that the economic/social plight of blacks in this country is not improving. Some of the more discouraging statistics show:
- Median black family income in 1985 was about $1,000 less in dollars adjusted for inflation than in 1978.
- In 1985, the typical black family had about 58 cents to spend for every dollar a typical white family had to spend. That was the same as in 1980, and four cents less than in 1970.
- More than 31 percent of all black people were officially poor in 1985. Among black families headed by single women, 52% were poor in 1985.
- Among black males 15 to 24 years old, homicide is the leading cause of death. A black man in America stands a 1-in-21 chance of being murdered in his lifetime.
- A black person was 37 percent more likely than a white person to be a victim of rape, robbery or assault in 1983.43
One thing is clear: there are million of American black people who are suffering. Louis Lomax noted that members of the Nation of Islam aggressively proselytized “the abandoned black masses who live in a world of despair and futility.”44 For too long this world has been one for which Christians in America have had little concern.
Failures of the Christian Church
For the most part the Christian church has not had the care and concern for the black man that it should have had.45 All too often it has shown little interest for his salvation or for helping his economic/social plight. One of the greatest indictments against cultural Christianity is the racism that so-called Christians have shown, past and present. Members of the Nation of Islam have continuously capitalized on this. During the heyday of the civil rights movement the ministers in the Nation of Islam temples would point out that the most segregated institution in this country was the Christian church. They would use clippings from newspapers showing blacks being turned away from white churches or of white Christian ministers openly advocating segregation. During the Birmingham demonstrations one prominently displayed photo was of a group of blacks, after being ejected from a white church, praying on the church steps with whites standing a few feet away threatening them with their fists balled up. More recently, a front page headline in the –Amsterdam News declared, “Pastor won’t admit Blacks.”46 One of Malcolm X’s best tactics in recruiting members to the Nation of Islam was to describe graphically the horrors of the slave trade: how literally millions of blacks died on the trip over here, how the black women were raped and killed by the white “Christian” slave traders, etc. Labeling it the “so-called Christian white man’s crime,” Malcolm stated that “the dramatization of slavery never failed intensely to arouse Negroes hearing its horrors spelled out for the first time.”47 Tragically, many blacks view all Christians as racists. What changed Malcolm X’s hatred of whites was the acceptance and brotherhood he saw among Muslims in Mecca. He wrote: “I have never before seen sincere and true brotherhood practiced by all colors together, irrespective of their color.”48
THE BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE
When the non-Christian sees hypocrisy in the church or hate-filled Christians, he should be aware that Jesus Himself warned that there would be counterfeit Christians among the true ones and that God would be their judge (Matt. 7:21-23). Instead of looking at them we should keep our eyes on what the Bible really teaches and what true Christians believe and practice. Christianity, far from being the “white man’s religion,” is a universal faith open to all men and women: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Christianity is found on every continent on earth among every race of man: black, yellow, red, and white. People in this country often think of blonde-haired, blue-eyed Jeffrey Hunter (who portrayed Jesus in King of Kings) when Jesus is mentioned. But Jesus was an Asiatic, a Semite. He was a descendant of Isaac, the half brother of the father of the Arabs, Ishmael (Gen. 16:1-12; 17:15-19). It is historically false to state that Christianity is “the white man’s religion.” Additionally, one of the central themes of the Bible concerns the care and love that true believers are to show, both for each other and for the poor and oppressed. In the Old Testament God rebuked Israel for pretending to love Him when they were unconcerned for the poor and oppressed (Isa. 58:6-7; also cf. Mic. 6:8, Prov. 29:7; 30:14; Amos 8:4-5). In the New Testament Jesus stated that the ultimate sign of those who were truly His followers would be the love they displayed (John 13:34-35). Scripture also tells us that anyone, whether he be white, black, brown, or yellow, who hates other people is blinded and not a true believer (1 John 2:9-11). Jesus was very specific that this love was not to be directed only toward the other members of the Christian faith. Christians are commanded by Christ to love not only each other but also the non-Christian, even if he might be an enemy (Luke 6:27-28, 32-33, 35).49 The Christian, then, is called to a commitment of radical love and a rejection of all hate. That many professing Christians have failed to live up to this standard is the fault of human sinfulness, not Jesus Christ or biblical teaching. The same cannot be said, however, for the Nation of Islam. As we saw earlier, its teachings encourage a hateful attitude toward one’s “enemies,” whether real or merely perceived. Just as the hatred and racism of the white man begat a reciprocal hatred and racism in Elijah Muhammad and his followers, so their hatred can only engender more of the same. In a world seething with distrust and hostility, Jesus’ radical teaching (“love your enemies”) desperately needs to be applied by people of all races. Only then can the vicious cycle of hate be broken. To the black man in this country: we urge you to look toward Jesus; He not only knows what you are suffering, He also understands. For centuries you have suffered innocently, simply because the pigmentation of your skin is different. Jesus too suffered persecution and revilement innocently. Isaiah the prophet foretold that the Messiah would be “a man of sorrows, despised and rejected of men” (Isa. 53:3). The reward for His love was an agonizing death on the cross. Reject the urge to hate and listen to His words:
Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light (Matt. 11:28-30).
1 Henry J. Young, Major Black Religious Leaders Since 1940 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1979), 66-67. 2 Ibid. 3 Clifton E. Marsh, From Black Muslims to Muslims (Metuchen, N.J.: The Scarecrow Press, 1984), 52. 4 Ibid. 5 C. Eric Lincoln, The Black Muslims in America (Boston: Beacon Press, 1961), 15. 6 Elijah Muhammad, Message to the Blackman in America (Chicago: Muhammad Mosque of Islam No. 2, 1965), 164; cf. Elijah Muhammad, Our Savior Has Arrived (Chicago: Muhammad’s Temple of Islam No. 2, 1974), III. 7 Muhammad, Message, 235. 8 See Forward’s Fall 1985 issue for an examination of Islam’s theology. Specific references in the Qur’an showing its acceptance of all races are 49:13; 3:103-104; 21:107. 9 Lincoln, 16-17. 10 Muhammad, Message, 221. 11 Ibid., 161, 164. 12 Ibid., 68. 13 Members of the Nation of Islam have never liked to be referred to as “black Muslims.” Rather, they refer to themselves as “lost-founds” or “African-Americans.” 14 Louis E. Lomax, “A Phony Islam’s Unveiled Threat,” True, Dec. 1963, 22. 15 Muhammad, Message, 168. 16 Ibid., 221. The phrase “the white race” is part of the quotation. 17 Many people wonder why members of the Nation of Islam take on a new name, usually with an “X” attached. “To commemorate his rebirth, the convert drops his last name and is known simply by his first name and the letter X.” Lincoln, 110. 18 Marsh, 72. 19 Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X (New York: Grove Press, 1964), 294f. 20 Francis Ward. “Wallace Muhammad to Head Muslims,” Los Angeles Times, 27 Feb. 1975. 21 “Islam and the American Blacks,” The Link, Sept./Oct. 1979, 6. 22 Ibid. 23 Bill Drummond, “Black Muslims’ Leader Resigns,” Los Angeles Times, 10 Sept. 1978. Also, cf. Marsh, 100. 24 Jerry Eddings, “The Right Question,” The Amsterdam News, 12 Oct. 1985. 25 John F. Davis, “Farrakhan Speaks,” The Village Voice, 22 May 1984. 26 In Thomas H. Landess and Richard M. Quinn, Jesse Jackson and the Politics of Race (Ottawa, Illinois: Jameson Books, 1985), 94. 27 Ibid. 28 Penelope McMillan and Cathleen Decker, “Give Us Economic Freedom, Farrakhan Asks,” Los Angeles Times, 15 Oct. 1985. 29 Daniel K. Tabor, “It Became a Time for Blacks to Take a Stand on Their Own,” Los Angeles Times, 17 Sept. 1985. 30 “On Understanding Farrakhan.” The Bay State Banner, 17 Oct. 1985. 31 “Black Muslim Leader Plans Tour to ‘Counter’ Farrakhan.” Los Angeles Times, 14 Oct. 1985. 32 Charles Rangel, “Denunciation on Demand Ruins Black-Jewish Links,” The Amsterdam News, 12 Oct. 1985.33 Carl Rowan, “Louis Farrakhan: Why Do We Enhance His Hate?,” Los Angeles Times, 26 Sept. 1985. 34 “11,000 Flock to Hear Farrakhan in D.C.,” The Final Call, Sept. 1985, 10. 35 Ibid. 36 Ibid. 37 Ibid., 14. 38 Louis Farrakhan, in ADL Special Report, Louis Farrakhan: In His Own Words (New York: Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, Oct. 1985), 3,5. 39 Eg., Aubrey Barnette, “The Black Muslims Are a Fraud,” Saturday Evening Post, 7 Feb. 1965. 40 Eg., Wilbert A. Tatum, “Farrakhan’s Final Solution,” The Amsterdam News, 12 Oct. 1985, 12; also cf. “Did Farrakhan Threaten Dinkins?” The Amsterdam News, 12 Oct. 1985. 41 Peter Noel, “Gil Noble Urges Farrakhan: ‘Tell Us about Your Role in Malcolm X’s Murder,'” The Amsterdam News, 16 Nov. 1985, 1; also cf. John F. Davis, 16. 42 “More Children in Poverty,” The Final Call, Sept. 1985, 16. 43 Ibid. 44 Lomax, 16. 45 Nonetheless, there are a number of important Christian ministries in the inner cities of America, many of them staffed by both black and white Christians. Most of them combine the preaching of the Gospel with providing housing, education, vocational rehabilitation, food distribution, and physical and social recreation. A few of the most outstanding examples are World Impact, Voice of Calvary Ministries, Harambee Youth Ministries, the Tom Skinner Crusades, and Rosey Grier’s “Are You Committed.” 46 Simon Anekwe, “Pastor Won’t Admit Blacks,” The Amsterdam News, 7 Dec. 1985. 47 Malcolm X, 212. 48 Ibid., 340. 49 For further references cf. Luke 3:10; 4:18; 11:3; John 5:6; Acts 20:35.