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religion1

Race and religion are two concepts in American culture that can really tie people together, or clearly separate them apart. A group forged by strong common roots in both race and religion can be a powerful societal force, if it wants to be. The Nation of Islam is a small but growing religion in America that has become somewhat of a social movement because of its strong and radical ideas on race. In this paper, I will try to explore the beliefs of the Nation of Islam, and the ramifications it could and has had on racial relations in America. The Nation of Islam, or NOI, is a relatively new religion. The first temple of Islam was established in Detroit by Master Fard Muhammed in 1930. Much of the theology was based on the simple facts that: "Allah is god, the white man is the devil, and the so-called Negroes are the Asiatic black people, the cream of the earth."(1) And, in accordance with their bizarre view of creation, involving a mad scientist creating the white race from the black race, the twentieth century represents the time for black people to regain their rightful position as gods chosen people. (1) The Nation of Islam was spawned from Orthodox Islam, an age-old religion. However, Orthodox Islam has openly denounced the NOI as a heretic sect for three main reasons: the NOIs rejection of the belief in an afterlife, its tendency to view human leaders as deified figures, and its strong racist attitudes. (2) For a brief time, during the seventies, Wallace Deen Muhammed became the leader of the NOI and tried to take it in a new direction, more conforming to "true Islamic beliefs." This group is now called the American Muslim Mission and still exists in small numbers today. (1) The NOIs presence has implications on American racial relations in more than one way. First of all, the NOI is tied to a very specific American racial group: blacks. Although the majority of black people in America do not consider themselves members of ...

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