DESOTO, Texas – The city of DeSoto, Texas, declared November 4 as Warith Deen Mohammad Day, in honor of the late imam who led Muslim followers of the Nation of Islam into the orthodox mainstream after the death of his father, Elijah Muhammad, in 1975, Dallas Observer reported.
“I’ve learned so much about this prolific, progressive bridge builder for this community. I’m just in awe of all the good work that he has done but also just the message of doing good for goodness sake,” DeSoto City Councilwoman Candice Quarles said to the crowd of Muslims.
“We are in a time in our communities, in politics and in this world where we need a little bit more of that.”
Quarles attended the event and presented the news to congregants of the mosque on behalf of DeSoto Mayor Curtistene Smith McCowan.
Sunday’s event honoring W.D. Mohammad, who passed away in September 2008, was held at the Beacon of Light Community Center on the grounds of the historic Masjid al-Islam mosque in Dallas.
Masjid al-Islam was the first mosque to be built in Dallas in 1968 soon after the Jim Crow era and was originally called Mosque No. 48 under the Nation of Islam, a branch of the faith led by Elijah Muhammad and known for being home to civil rights leaders such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali.
After the death of Elijah Muhammad, who led the Nation of Islam since the 1930s, Mohammad was elected supreme minister of the group and eventually moved toward the Sunni tradition of Islam practiced by a majority of Muslims around the world.
Mayor McCowan said the city works closely with members of the Muslim community in DeSoto and wanted a way to honor their work in the city.
“We did this to support the Muslim community and as a celebration of Mr. Mohammad’s services and his contributions to the black Muslim community,” she said.
“He’s been a bridge builder of people of different cultures and races and religions.”