W. Deen Mohammed: Black Muslim Leader Dies
By Laurel Jorgensen,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2008 9:51 PM CDT
In this 2003 file photo, Imam W. Deen Mohammed responds to those gathered at the annual meeting of the American Society of Muslims in Chicago.    (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Imam W. Deen Mohammed, son of the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad and one of the nation's top black Muslim leaders, has died at age 74, the Chicago Tribune reports. "Brother Imam"—once banished by his father for remaining close to Nation of Islam critic Malcolm X—inherited the group from his father in 1975 and tried to steer it away from black supremacy and more toward more mainstream Muslim thinking.

His attempts resulted in a split between followers—those who supported him and those who backed Louis Farrakhan, who revived the traditional Nation of Islam teachings. Mohammed and Farrakhan publicly reconciled at a joint worship service in 2000. Several years later, Mohammed unexpectedly resigned from his organization, the American Society of Muslims, saying he was frustrated that many imams would not adopt mainstream Muslim beliefs.