The Black Muslim held their annual convention in Chicago Sunday afternoon (Feb 26), with Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (formerly known as Cassius Clay) in attendance.
The Black Muslim held their annual convention in Chicago Sunday afternoon (Feb 26), with Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali (formerly known as Cassius Clay) in attendance. As usual, the convention was marked by a long, rambling address by Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the sect.
Over ten thousand Muslims men in the Chicago Coliseum for the convention. The women, as usual, were dressing in long white habits resembling those worn by nuns; the men wore neat dark business suits. Members of Elijah Muhammad's honor guard, the Fruit of Islam surrounded the podium. They wore hats bearing the initials "F.I" with a Muslim symbol between the two letters. Prominent among them, sitting just two the left of the speaker's stand was the nation's most famous Black Muslim, Muhammad Ali.
Mr. Muhammad's speech dealt at considerable length with the theological and philosophical basis for the sect's belief that Black Muslims should withdraw entirely from white society. He castigate christianity, white people and black people who sought integration with whites, and call for all Muslims to pay a tax to support the movement. Much of what he said was difficult to hear, both because he spoke softly and because his voice weakened during the long speech.
Muhammad Ali applauded vigorously, particularly when Mr. Muhammad criticized the war in Viet Nam. Mr. Ali is currently seeking to be relieved of military service because he is a Black Muslim Minister. He was once quoted as saying he had "nothing against the Viet Cong," a remark which caused considerable criticism within the United States.
The final reference was to Black Muslims who trust whites.