Two Faces of Islam

Two distinct factions of a religion -- one extremist, the other orthodox -- are vying for the minds and souls of Miami's Muslims

"Many of our preachers are still tools in the hands of their former slave masters, simply doing their bidding and following their instructions," Moss accuses. "Our oppressors do not want us to come together, do not want us to join together, to become a force. And because I'm having intimate fellowship with Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, I am now anathema."

As Moss condemns his fellow ministers' demonization of Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam and its supporters are also quick to decry the treatment the NOI gets in the mainstream media. Nonetheless, the mass media have given Louis Farrakhan far better name recognition than that of any other Muslim leader in America. "Farrakhan's Nation of Islam is the beneficiary of white media anxiety, just as Elijah Muhammad's was," says Paul Lee.

Members of Masjid Al-Ansar express some frustration at Farrakhan's high profile, while their national leader -- who, in addition to being a less compelling orator than Farrakhan, is also far less inclined to make inflammatory racial or political statements -- gets relatively little ink.

"Some of the media is sensation-seeking, not truth-seeking. I believe they're giving this kind of publicity to Farrakhan to distract the American public, because now that the clear teaching of the Qur'an has come on the scene, they really don't want that to be heard," Melvin Sabree posits. "If that is heard, not just by African Americans, if that is heard by human beings in general, that's going to touch something in the core of their being, and they're going to respond to that truth. Then you're going to start to have some people want to make some changes, massive changes, about what's going on in society -- good changes, positive changes.

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