Posted: September 27, 2006
Minister Louis Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam (NOI) leader who has long expressed anti-Semitic and racist rhetoric, has relinquished his leadership role with the group after nearly 30 years due to illness.
In an open letter posted on the NOI’s Final Call Web site, Farrakhan, 73, said he began suffering pain earlier this year similar to what he felt in 1998 when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
In his letter, dated September 11, Farrakhan announced that he is “postponing indefinitely all engagements, meetings and appointments.” He was treated by doctors at Howard University Hospital and is now recuperating at his home in Michigan.
“I will be available to give guidance in any major situation that may arise,” Farrakhan said in his letter, “but I would prefer that the Executive Board of the Nation of Islam help to solve the problems of the Nation, without asking me.”
Farrakhan also warned followers to be “ever watchful for any smart, crooked deceiver and hypocrite who would create confusion over my present condition.”
Farrakhan’s absence may lead to a clash between NOI officials over his successor. Ishmael Muhammad, assistant minister at Mosque Maryam, the NOI’s flagship mosque in Chicago, is among the most likely heirs. Muhammad is the son of former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad.
Leonard Muhammad, Farrakhan’s son-in-law and chief of staff, and Benjamin Muhammad (the former Benjamin Chavis), Farrakhan’s chief representative in New York and former NAACP head, may also compete for leadership.
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