Wallace D. Mohammed, son of Elijah Muhammad and Clara Muhammad, and known to many as Imam W. Deen Mohammed, was the leader and international spokesman for human concerns. His clear representation of true Islamic faith and practice, humanitarian service, and leadership for the establishment of Muslim life in America are well documented. Imam Mohammed passed on September 9th 2008. His work continues to grow and serve humanity as he would have desired to. He was a tireless laborer for the interest of peace and justice in our world, as he has worked for and realized direct and genuine dialogue between people of all races and religions. Outstanding the purveyors of narrow race concerns, Imam Mohammed’s leadership continues to build upon solid religious foundation with concrete plans into the next millennium for the strengthening of families, neighborhoods, and communities.
Imam W. Deen Mohammed was unanimously elected as leader of his community after the passing of his father in 1975; The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, founder, leader, and builder of the Nation of Islam. At a very early age, Imam Mohammed developed a keen scholastic interest in science, psychology and religion. He began his education, from elementary through secondary school, at the University of Islam in Chicago. Further educational pursuits took him to Wilson Junior College, where he concentrated on microbiology and the Loop Jr. College where he studied English, history, and the social sciences. However, his primary education has come from, and through, his continued pursuit of religion and social truths.
Imam Mohammed’s astute leadership, profound social commentary on major issues, piercing scriptural insight into the Bible, Torah and Qur’an and his unique ability to apply scriptural interpretation to social issues have brought him numerous awards and high honors. He is a man of vision who has performed many historical “firsts”.
In 1992, he delivered the first Invocation in the U.S. Senate to be given by a Muslim. In 1993 he gave an Islamic Prayer at President Clinton’s first Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service and again in 1997 at President Clinton’s second Inaugural Interfaith Prayer Service. His strong interest in in interfaith dialogue led him to address the Muslim-Jewish Conference on March 6, 1995, with leaders of Islam and Reform Judaism, in Glencoe, IL. In October of 1996, Imam Mohammed met John Paul, II at the Vatican, at the invitation of Archbishop William Cardinal Keeler and the Focolare Movement. He met with the Pope again, on October 28, 1999, on the “eve of the New Millennium” in St. Peter’s Basilica with many other world-religious leaders.
In 1997, the Focolare Movement presented him with the “Luminosa Award”, for promoting Interfaith Dialogue, peace and understanding in the U.S. In April 2005, Imam Mohammed sent a delegation of Imams to a Muslim-Christian in Dialogue First Symposium given by the Catholic based Focolare Movement. The focus was “Who is G-d” for us?”
In 1999, Imam Mohammed served on the Advisory Panel for Religious Freedom Abroad, formed by the Secretary of State Madeline Albright. He assisted in promoting religious freedom in the United States and abroad.
There are many more accolades, achievements and accomplishments made by Imam W. Deen Mohammed that dignify African American Muslims as well as Muslims in North America. His honorary doctorates, mayoral and gubernatorial proclamations give testament to his recognized voice, and the benefit of his leadership to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.