1 10-30-88 03:37 pes Former cult member says collections go
for personal use
ATLANTA (UPI) _ The bulk of the money collected by four
supposed non-profit organizations from travelers at Atlanta's
airport goes to the leader of a Muslim group for personal use, a
former group member claims.
Ameedah Rachaman, the former personal secretary of Silis
Muhammad, says Muhammad's solicitors turn in their earnings and
financial statements twice weekly to him, the Atlanta
Journal-Constitution reported Sunday.
She said Silis' workers claim the funds will buy clothes, food
and shelter and will subsidize a day-care center for poor
children. Clothing and other donated items are thrown away, she
The four organizations that solicit funds do so under the
names, "Save the Black Family," "Tender Loving Care," "Family
Service Center" and the "Senior Citizens Council." They are
represented as non-profit organizations dedicated to eradicating
social ills in Atlanta to hordes of airport visitors but none of
the four are registered with the Georgia secretary of state's
The newspaper said Rachaman and other disenfranchised
followers of Muhammad _ who lives in a large east Cobb County
home _ reported that pitches by the airport solicitors can earn
up to $4,000 a day.
"I complained to Silis myself about helping people," Rachaman
said. "I said, `Savior, we've got all this money here. We got to
do something here because we've got this money.
"I questioned Silis the last time I saw him about helping
needy families. I said, `You are suppposed to be helping needy
families.' And he told me that as long as he was helping one
needy black family, that's all that mattered. The only needy
black family that was being helped was his."
Muhammad, who has not been charged with any crime, was not
available for an interview. His wife said he was recovering from
surgery. His wife, Harriett AbuBakr, a lawyer, dismissed
criticism of the Lost-Found Nation _ Muhammed's organization _
arguing that Mrs. Rachaman and her husband, Hakim, are in
competition with Muhammad's solicitors at the airport.
"They are two people that have more or less declared
themselves enemies, and they'll do anything they can try to hurt
what we're trying to do," she said. "And they have gone around
the airport trying to create as many problems as they can."
Hakim Rachaman, Ameedah Rachaman's husband who headed
Atlanta's mosque at one time and had a falling out with Muhammad,
ackowledged that he and his wife collect their own donations at
the airport, sending the proceeds to a church in South Carolina
run by his mother.
Mrs. AbuBakr declined to comment on the collection figures
provided by Mrs. Rachaman, saying the amount raised is private
information. She also refused to identify any needy family that
had been helped by the group and acknowledged that there is no
day-care center, although she said one is going to be built.
Muhammad's group has attracted the attention of Fulton County
police, who have conducted a five-year investigation into various
crimes involving its members. Several followers have been
convicted on charges ranging from beating of travelers along
Interstate 75 to murder.
Police say those who have questioned Muhammad's actions or
come into conflict with members of his group sometimes pay a
Police allege that after Rachaman had his falling out with
Muhammad, an attempt was made to assassinate him.
The Texas-born Muhammad, 50, moved to Louisiana in 1960, and
from there he moved to California.
Seven years ago, he persuaded his followers to sell their
homes in Los Angeles and buy shares in what was to be a black,
self-sufficient community in south Atlanta, with houses and
farms, according to former members who sold their homes. The 20
acres he bought remain undeveloped and wooded. Mrs. AbuBakr
said progress has been halted by county red tape in getting sewer
AbuBakr is a lawyer and a former daughter-in-law of Nation of
Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.
The couple lived in Chicago until Elijah Muhammad's death.
As the Nation of Islam split in factions, Muhammad formed the
Lost-Found Nation of Islam and moved with his wife to Atlanta in
the eary 1980s, bringing some of followers with them.