As Louis Farrakhan retires from his position as leader of the Nation of Islam there is considerable speculation over who will pick up the gauntlet and lead the black Islamic group. More importantly, will ‘The Nation’ go in a new direction and become more of a mainstream Muslim organization? Read the NY Times article: “Nation of Islam at a Crossroads as Leader Exits”.
Comments: Obviously, with their charismatic leader Louis Farrakhan leaving, there will be a huge void to fill. While Farrakhan has kept ‘The Nation’ in the news, behind the scenes there have been numerous groups splitting off and pursuing a more normative form of Islam. The ‘Black Muslim’ emphasis on divisive racial teaching and their view of Elijah Muhammad (the founder of the Nation of Islam) as ‘The Mahdi’ has increasingly become controversial.
Will the change of leadership also result in bringing change to the distinctive teachings that divide The Nation of Islam from the rest of Islam? With so many leaving the group for regular Islam, change is under way and coming one way or another.
While the number of Muslims in the USA has been increasing, Farrakhan’s group has probably decreased in the last decade. While Black Muslims are still a powerful force in prisons, the Nation of Islam may actually now number as few as only 50,000 members.