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New York City will name block in Harlem after Elijah Muhammed

NYC will name Harlem block after anti-Semitic Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad who taught that ‘the white man is the devil’ – as council member claims ‘it’s important not to erase black leaders who are not pleasing to white people’

  • An intersection in NYC will be named after black separatist Elijah Muhammad
  • At that site is a Nation of Islam-owned mosque where an NYPD cop was killed
  • It is 1 of 129 ‘co-namings’ in NYC bundled into a bill awaiting the mayor’s approval

An intersection in Harlem will be named after Elijah Muhammad, the polemical Black separatist who led the Nation of Islam from 1934 until his death in 1975.

Muhammad famously referred to whites as ‘blue-eyed devils’, advocated for a separate nation for black Americans and has been accused of anti-Semitic rhetoric. 

On that block in Harlem is Nation of Islam-owned Mosque Temple No. 7, in which Malcolm X famously preached before falling out with Muhammad and where an NYPD officer was killed by unidentified NOI radicals.

However, Muhammad was also hailed by some for his empowerment of black Americans – rallying them to rise up against black oppression and encouraging self-sufficiency.

The proposal to name the intersection at 127th St. and Malcolm X Boulevard ‘The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Way’ is one of 129 in a City Hall bill that passed 42-0 this month and awaits approval from Mayor Eric Adams. 

A bill in New York City will see an intersection in Harlem named after black separatist Elijah Muhammad who was a leader of the Nation of Islam – a group that advocated the establishment of a separate black nation

On the site of the block in question, at 127th St. and Malcolm X Boulevard, is the Nation of Islam-owned Mosque Temple No. 7 where any NYPD officer was fatally shot by NOI radicals three years before Muhammad’s death

The bill will see the public sites named after various figures ‘based on requests of Council Members whose district includes the location.’ 

Democrat Kristin Richardson Jordan, the council member for District 9 in Harlem, has hit back at council members who have criticized her choice.

What is the Nation of Islam? 

The Nation of Islam is a religious and political movement that started in the early 1930s by W.D. Fard Muhammad. Muhammad’s goal was, according to the Nation of Islam website, ‘to teach the downtrodden and defenseless Black people a thorough Knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to Self-Independence with a superior culture and higher civilization than they had previously experienced.’

Muhammad reportedly disappeared in 1934, and his disciple Elijah Muhammad took over. The organization rose to prominence when Malcolm Little, later to be Malcolm X, joined, with its numbers swelling to tens of thousands by the 1970s. Muhammad Ali was one of its most famous members.

‘It is actually not OK to erase black leaders who are not pleasing to white people,’ she said during the vote. ‘I profoundly vote aye on Elijah Muhammad Way.’  

Democrat council member Robert Holden of Queens said the proposal to honor Elijah Muhammad should be removed from the list.

‘I’m going to oppose Elijah Muhammad. He was a black supremacist. He was a bad guy,’ Holden said. ‘It’s an insult to Malcolm X Boulevard.’ 

‘He is not worthy of having a street co-naming in the City of New York, and we should not even be considering this,’ Councilman David Carr, a Staten Island Republican, said in a hearing earlier this month.

‘He fails every test we could possibly put forward: the test based on the values and views of today, and the values and views of the times in which he lived and worked,’ Carr said at the Parks and Recreation Committee hearing. 

Left-wing group the Southern Poverty Law Center has said Muhammad denounced ‘greedy Jews’ and continues to brand the Nation of Islam a ‘hate group’.

The Anti-Defamation League called the Nation of Islam the largest Black nationalist organization in the US and accused it of maintaining a ‘consistent record of antisemitism and bigotry since its founding in the 1930s’.

Democrat Kristin Richardson Jordan (pictured) is the council member for District 9 in Harlem that proposed the naming

 

The proposal in the bill describes ‘The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad Way’ as being ‘at the intersection of West 127th Street and Malcolm X Boulevard’

In an obituary published in the New York Times at the time of Muhammad’s death, it said of him: ‘Elijah Muhammad did not create the Nation of Islam but he built it on a number of principles. Among them: Islam is the true religion, ‘knowledge. of self’ is vital, ‘doing for self’ is necessary, the black man is supreme and the white man is ‘the devil.” 

The Nation of Islam leader was also linked with the assassination of Malcolm X. Although the two considered themselves allies once, they fell apart and Malcolm X famously accused Muhammad of having children with various teenage assistants. 

Muhammad denied any involvement in the assassination but said days later that ‘Malcolm X got just what he preached.’

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