Press Release: CAIR-Chicago Mourns Passing of “America’s Imam,” W. Deen Mohammad

(CHICAGO,IL, 9/9/2008) – The Chicago chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-Chicago) today mourned the passing of one of America’s greatest spiritual leaders, the Honorable al-Imam Warith Deen Mohammed.

Imam W. D. Mohammed was an American Muslim reformer, educator, leader, bridge-builder, civil rights advocate, community builder, and an international goodwill ambassador. Few others matched the length and breadth of his impact on American spiritual life in the 20th century.

Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director of CAIR-Chicago said in a statement:

“Imam W. D. Mohammed was a historic figure who played a crucial role in the development of Muslim life in America. Throughout his decades of leadership, he has been a force for peace, reconciliation, and enlightenment to millions of Americans.

“Imam Mohammed was more than just a faith leader, he was a community leader and a community developer. He was a visionary who developed successful grassroots economic plans to help those living in hardship pull themselves up despite difficult historical odds. He inspired a culture of confidence and motivated communities in the pursuit of knowledge. For Imam Mohammed, ignorance was the enemy and education was man’s best ally.

“We will never forget that Imam W. D. Mohammed was a key early supporter of CAIR-Chicago. He was kind enough to urge me to call him directly if I ever needed any help in my line of work. I never wanted to burden him with phone calls, but whenever possible, I took the occasion to sit down with him and hear his wise words delivered in his typically humble demeanor. He was always gentle and thoughtful in his advice and in his choice of words

“Imam W.D. Mohammed was by all measures a great man who lived life with dignity and grace. But most of all, he was great in humility. As such he was loved dearly by all who knew him. He was America’s Imam; there is a lot for us to learn from his life and the way he carried himself.

“We pray to God that He showers him with His mercy and that He blesses his soul which He has chosen to release during these holy days of Ramadan.”

CAIR, America’s largest Islamic civil liberties group, has 35 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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CONTACT: Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail:, 312.212.1520; or 202.870.0016; Reem Rahman, Communications Coordinator, CAIR-Chicago, E-Mail: 312.212.1520; or 217.493.0912;