Mohammed, W. Deen

Mohammed, W. Deen (Warith Deen Mohammed), 1933–2008, American Muslim leader, b. Detroit as Wallace Dean Muhammad. The son of Nation of Islam (Black Muslim) leader Elijah Muhammad , he attended religious schools and junior colleges in Chicago. He became minister of a Philadelphia temple in 1958. While in prison for resisting the draft (1961), he read the Qu'ran and became aware of contradictions in his father's theology; his support for more traditional, nonracially based Islamic tenets led several times to his excommunication. After his father's death in 1975, he was chosen to succeed him, and a year later changed his name amid long-term moves toward mainstream Sunni Muslim practice. Disagreements led to a split within what became the American Society of Muslims, and some Black Muslims left to follow other leaders, most notably Louis Farrakhan . Mohammed resigned as the society's leader in 2003.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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