Monday, February 26, 2007

Nation of Islam at a Crossroad as Leader Exits

NYT reported Nation members dismiss the notion that the organization’s viability is linked to one man. But academic experts and Muslim leaders say they believe that without Mr. Farrakhan’s leadership, the Nation — which has been divided over its teachings in the past — will shrink even more dramatically unless it shifts toward mainstream Islam’s beliefs.

Which is unlikely.
The 77-year-old Nation of Islam once enjoyed a near monopoly over interpreting Islam for black Americans, using the faith as a vehicle to promote black separatism.
Twisting the faith to accomplish their own black separist views.
But it now competes with sects that branched away, and with groups ascribing to the more traditional and inclusive Islam followed by millions of Muslim immigrants and their offspring.... “In the final analysis they have no option but to move in the direction we are or to just dissipate or disappear,” Mr. Siddeeq said.
Disappearing is the better choice.
“This community is going to reconcile itself to pure Islam and reconcile itself to being American citizens who are part of a multicultural society.”
What do you mean by "and". Those are mutually exclusive terms: "pure Islam" and "part of a multicultural society"
He echoes many others in arguing that the Nation should abandon some of its teachings. The Nation holds, among other teachings, that the group’s founder, W. Fard Muhammad, was the Mahdi, or savior, sent by God to Detroit around 1930 and that spaceships hovering above the earth will eventually play a major role in smiting sinners and rescuing the righteous.
“Those are ideas for kindergarten, a trip to Oz,” Mr. Siddeeq said. “Those are not ideas for people living in the real world.”.... “Sunni and Shiite lived together, Christian and Jews lived together in Iraq, you didn’t hear none of this stuff before America came in,” Mr. Farrakhan said.
No, before America deposed Saddam, he ran the country like a strongman, and his minority Sunnis oppressed the majority Shiites.
“There was no bombing of Shiite holy places. You don’t need to look at Shiite and Sunni, you need to look at those who came in. After they came in all hell broke loose.”.... “We could not continue on this Black supremacist line and be Muslims, be part of the world community of Islam,” said Imam Faheem Shuaibe of the Masjidul Waritheen in Oakland, Calif. “When you say Muhammad is the messenger of God, but you mean Elijah Muhammad, it doesn’t work.”
That is what you get when you twist a religion to your own objectives, just as in the 7th centruy when Muhammad twisted Judiasm and Christianity to try to lure them into accepting his new faith which had Arabs as supreme.
.... Many immigrant Muslims question whether Nation members should be called Muslims. Even the followers of Warith Deen Mohammed are criticized by some for giving more weight to his pronouncements than to the holy texts. “They still haven’t reached the point where there is no color,” said Yassir Chadly, an imam based in Oakland, who immigrated from Morocco 30 years ago. “Islam is universal; it can’t be cut into little sections.”
Their whole goal was black supremicy.
Such statements make followers of the Nation bristle. “We are not imitators of Arab culture; that would put us in an inferior position and make them our superiors,” said Muhammad Muhammad, a 40-year-old adherent from Oklahoma City.
And for a Black Supremist group like the Nation of Islam, they certainly did not want to embrace true Islam, which made the Arabs supreme.

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