The founder of Nation of Islam lied about his race

The only photos that exist of the founder of Nation of Islam

With Rachel Dolezal being in the news, I thought now would be the perfect time to write an article on this subject.

“He told us that the silks he carried were the same kind that our people used in their home country, and that he was from there. So we asked him to tell us about our own country.” Scholar C Eric Lincoln wrote this about Wallace Fard Muhammad, the founder of Nation of Islam.The man known as Fard came to Detroit claiming to know all of how the blacks should correctly live. The culture hungry blacks invited him into their homes to discuss healthy diets and culture. Lincoln’s book The Black Muslims in America states:

Inevitably there was a proliferation of legends about so mysterious a figure. One such legend is that Fard was a Jamaican Negro whose father was a Syrian Moslem. Another describes him as a Palestinian-Arab who had participated in various racial agitations in India, South Africa and London before moving on to Detroit. Some of his followers believed him to be the son of wealth parents of the tribe of Koreish–the tribe of Mohammed, founder of classical Islam. Others say that he was educated at a London university in preparation for a diplomatic career in the service of the kingdom of Hejaz, but that he sacrificed his personal future “to bring freedom, justice and equality to the black men in the wilderness of North America, surrounded and robbed completely by the cave man.” Fard announced himself to police as “the Supreme Ruler of the Universe,” and at least some of his followers seem to have considered him divine. At the other extreme, a Chicago newspaper investigating the Black Muslim Movement refers to Fard as “a Turkish-born Nazi agent who worked for Hitler in World War II.”

Except for when his name was Professor Ford, Mr F Muhammad Ali, Wali Farrad or W D Ford. As he gained more followers in Detroit, his speeches became more militant. Metro Times reports:

Fard taught that approximately 6,000 years ago a black scientist named Yakub conducted gene-manipulation experiments that resulted in the creation of the inferior white race. Their tainted, weakened blood was to blame for the white race’s immorality, which they frequently used to keep the black race in a perpetual state of half-freedom. His concepts attracted hundreds of followers to the Allah Temple of Islam (ATI), as he called his group.

He had used 58 aliases, according to the FBI. The FBI in the 1950s launched an investigation into Fard’s biography as a result of skyrocketing membership into NOI. They found he had filed in the U.S. Census of 1920 that he was white and his place of birth was New Zealand. Furthermore, Fard listed on his son’s birth certificate that he was white. From wikipedia:

A marriage certificate dated June 5, 1924, was issued to Wallie Dodd Ford and Carmen Frevino (or Trevino) in Orange County, California. Ford reported he was a cook, age 26, born in Oregon, but living in Los Angeles. He reported he was of “Spanish” race. His parents names are given as Zaradodd Ford of “Madrad, Span” (presumably Madrid, Spain) and Babbjie.

The FBI tracked down his wife who claimed that she was still in contact with Fard in his homeland in New Zealand. Fard left the United States after a number of run-ins with the cops including over charges of bootlegging and narcotics. Notably, mugshots and arrest photos are the only photos to exist of him. All four are available at Karl Evannz’s blog. Evannz published in The Messenger: the Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammed that Fard was of New Zealand and Pakistani descent.

Dated June 15, 1917, the draft card lists Fard’s place of birth as the Shinka region of Afghanistan. Shinka is misspelled. The town, actually spelled Shinkay, is located in Zabul Province.

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Fard was a common surname among Pakistanis in the early 1900s.(Though not officially a state until 1947, the people retained their tribal identity and languages). The other telltale sign was Fard’s assertion that African Americans were originally members of the Tribe of Shabazz, and that they emanated from Mecca. Shabazz is an incorrect spelling of Shahbaz.

One of the holiest temples near Fard’s birthplace is Shahbaz Qalandar. It is named for Hazrat Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (1177–1274), the Sufi saint who was born in Marvand, Afghanistan.

Fard also renamed one of his first ministers – Elijah Muhammad’s brother – “Kallat Muhammad.” Qalat, as it happens, in the capital of Zabul Province. It borders Kandahar.

Evannz’s blog seems to offer the most conclusive answer we can hope for to the question of where he came from. It is completely unknown where and when Fard died.

The other obvious question–what was his agenda? He could have likely been part of a political agenda. If the accusations are true that he was a Nazi agent whose goal was to divide whites and blacks, this would explain why the NOI in 1961 formed an alliance with the American Nazi Party (ANP). ANP founder, George Lincoln Rockwell, was invited as a guest at a NOI national convention in Washington.

The fascists hadn’t come to make a bloody last stand. Instead, guards from the Fruit of Islam, the NOI’s paramilitary branch, frisked the men and ushered them to front-row-center seats. Their crisp brownshirt costumes and swastika armbands stood out against the suits and ties surrounding them. Despite the 90-degree heat, Rockwell and his men waited hours for the event’s main attraction. There is no record of anyone cracking a smile at the situation’s absurdity.

The night’s keynote speaker, NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, canceled his appearance because of illness. According to historian William Schmaltz, Malcolm X delivered a speech, followed by an appeal for donations that singled out the few Caucasians in the audience. Rockwell contributed $20. When Life photographer Eve Arnold raised her camera to capture the Nazis, Rockwell—presumably alerted to her Jewish ancestry by the Muslims—allegedly rasped, “I’ll make a bar of soap out of you.” (She replied, “As long as it isn’t a lampshade.”)

Overt anti-Semitism, it turned out, was something the two groups could bond over. While Rockwell pushed his hatred of Jews to frothy extremes, Muhammad backed a range of racist theories, including the hoax that the Jews had financed the slave trade. (Malcolm X was cagier about his anti-Semitism, often deferring to Muhammad’s conspiracy theories rather than offering his own.)

Eight months after the Washington convention, Rockwell was invited to a convention of NOI at Chicago. A rather old book I own has a chapter that talks of this mysterious occurrence. The bibliography of this book noted that Rockwell wrote of his visit with Elijah in Chicago–get this–in the very first issue of Stormtrooper published. Whereas NOI has tens of thousands of members, ANP only held little more than 300 at its height. Interestingly, both received almost equal attention from the national press and national media. Was there a “behind-the-scenes” plot in a smoke filled room at NOI headquarters to help give fame to an American Nazi group so as to attract more blacks into the NOI? Could this plan have come from a secretive organization above the leadership of NOI? We can only make assumptions.

Fard had preached Islam before naziism was globally famous and he had arrived in America before the existence of the Nazi ideology. Fard and his successor, Elijah Muhammed, could have been communists. NOI could have been part of communist James Allen and James Ford’s “two revolutions in one” which they described in Negroes in Soviet America. This plan requires that there be a violent black nationalist movement in the southern United States whose goal was for the secession of those states as an independent nation. At the same time, a movement organized at a national level would gradually convert the United States from republic to democracy–then to socialism–then communism. Why both these conflicting movements at the same time? The gradual revolution through the rest of the country would gain legitimacy if people viewed it as an alternative to the violent black nationalists. Another benefit is that tactics could be changed to favor one revolution over the other depending on which one gained more progress.

Does ideology really matter to people who want power? Fard easily could have embraced the ideologies of naziism and communism. The line dividing the differences between naziism and communism really is so thin that it is practically the norm for hardliners and leaders of both groups to embrace each other. The most recent example I know of being the Russian Anti-Globalist conference which features delegates representing the fascist Golden Dawn, communist rebels of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Texas Secessionist members and some of the far-leftist groups organizing the anti-police brutality campaigns in the United States. Without mentioning the Texas Secessionist group nor Golden Dawn, notorious communist publication Worker‘s World published a very favorable article on the conference.

Confused by this alliance? A crisis is a terrible thing to let go to waste.

On a final note, John Patler was the former ANP member who assassinated George Lincoln Rockwell over his refusal to place Marxist doctrine within the platform of the ANP. Patler served eight years and is alive today. Maybe he could add a thing or two on the subject.

Click here to read Karl Evannz’s blog about Wali Fard.

Click here to read the MetroTimes article about NOI.

Click here to read the Vice article about the NOI/ANP alliance.