Imam Warith Deen Mohammed (1933- 2008) was the 7th son of Elijah Muhammad. It is believed that as a teenager, he was privately tutored by (true) Muslims. He went through internal conflicts with his father, Louis Farrakhan, and others within NOI. However, he was able to maintain a reconciliatory posture especially during the last ten years of his father’s life. Even though Louis Farrakhan succeeded Malcolm X as Minister of the prestigious Mosque # 7 in Harlem and was the spokesperson for the organization since the martyrdom of Malcolm X in 1965, Imam W.D. Mohammed was appointed by his father as his heir to the leadership of the NOI in 1975. It is then that he launched a movement to change NOI and its beliefs to be true Islamic beliefs. He was assisted by Muhammad Ali in attracting others to the organization. Imam Mohammed’s pursuit of facilitating true Islamic education for hundreds of his followers was heightened when he sent a few hundred leaders of the organization to perform Hajj. He established connections with other (immigrant) Muslim leaders and organizations, especially MSA and ISNA. He traveled throughout the country wherever his followers lived to help them learn the true teachings of Islam. Imam Mohammed held joint gatherings with ISNA and other faith and civic leaders.
There is arguably no one in the history of America who brought a comparable number of people into the fold of Sunni Islam in such a relatively short period of time.
The Immigration Act of 1965 caused the USA Muslim population to increase from 200,000 in 1951 to over a million in 1971. These immigrants had not come in as missionaries. They rather came to USA looking for better educational and economic opportunities. While immigrant Muslim organizations like MSA, and later ISNA, have given some financial and Islamic educational support to African American Muslim organizations, the two communities have basically remained, figuratively and literally separate and apart from each other. That is a major failure.
Need for immigrant Muslims to embrace and indigenize their organizations and communities.