Nation of Islam

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Nation of Islam (NOI) is an African American political and religious movement based in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded in Detroit, Michigan in 1930 by Wallace Fard Muhammad. The group, with 20,000-50,000 members across the United States, promotes African American economic and political self-sufficiency. Its sometimes radical tenets have led critics to label the movement as a hate group.

Wallace Muhammad's successor Elijah Muhammad led the community from 1934 to 1975, during which time it increased its visibility and influence, especially in Michigan. One convert, Malcolm X, became a national spokesman for the movement and drew large numbers to his fiery speeches, but broke with the group a year before his death in 1965. After Elijah Muhammad's death in 1975 his son, Warith Deen Mohammad was named "Supreme Minister" and shepherded the group away from its Black nationalist roots toward closer communion with Sunni Islam and decentralization. His rival, Louis Farrakhan, reformed the Nation of Islam along its older lines and won over control of numerous congregations. By 1985, with financial backing from Libya's Islamic Call Society, Farrakhan was recognized as the head of the renewed Nation of Islam. He led the group's "Million Man March" in Washington D.C. in 1995 and extended ties to foreign groups and other U.S. minorities. In 2010 Farrakhan began adopting the practices of the Church of Scientology into the Nation of Islam.

See also