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A top aide and international representative for the Nation of Islam has been detained in Guyana, where police are questioning him about alleged ties to terrorism and drug trafficking.
Akbar Muhammad claimed to be in Guyana to give lectures and appear on television. He was expected to attend a rally yesterday afternoon in the mining town of Linden, just south of the capital. Defense attorney Nigel Hughes, however, told several news agencies that Muhammad was questioned about his relationship to opposition leaders and other black activists.
“Police have absolutely nothing to go on with this man,” Hughes said.
Muhammad has long been associated with Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), who is known to embrace brazenly anti-Semitic rhetoric that accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of power. Farrakhan also blames Jews for the slave trade, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping and general black oppression.
While it is unclear if U.S. authorities were involved in Muhammad’s arrest, he has a history of run-ins with the law in the United States. In 2009, according to court records cited by the Associated Press, Muhammad pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and received a five-year probation. He was accused of using different names to obtain lines of credit and mortgages from 1983 to 2007.
Muhammad has lived in New York City, Chicago and St. Louis. His official biography says his formative years were spent under the tutelage of Malcolm X at the NOI’s New York mosque. In 1984, he helped Farrakhan work on the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s presidential campaign.