[Note: The following is a text reproduction of original FBI Document.]
SAC, Chicago (157-2209) January 7, 1969
Director, FBI (100-448006)
BLACK NATIONALIST – HATE GROUPS
(NATION OF ISLAM)
Although the Nation of Islam (NOI) does not presently advocate violence by its members, the group does preach hatred of the white race and racial separatism. The membership of the NOI is organized and poses a real racial threat. The NOI is responsible for the largest black nationalist newspaper, which has been used by other black extremists.
The NOI appears to be the personal fiefdom of Elijah Muhammad. When he dies a power struggle can be expected and the NOI could change direction. We should be prepared for this eventuality. We should plan how to change the philosophy of the NOI to one of the strictly religious and self-improvement orientation, deleting the race hatred and separate nationhood aspects.
In this connection Chicago should consider what counterintelligence action might be needed now or at the time of Elijah Muhammad’s death to bring about such a change in NOI philosophy. Important considerations should include the identity, strengths, and weaknesses, of any contenders for NOI leadership. What are the positions of our [BUREAU DELETION] informants in regard to leadership? How could potential leaders be turned or neutralized?
The alternative to changing the philosophy of the NOI is the destruction of the organization. This might be accomplished through generating factionalism among the contenders for Elijah Muhammad’s leadership or through legal action in probate court on his death. Chicago should consider the question of how to generate the factionalism necessary to destroy the NOI by splitting into several groups. [BUREAU DELETION]
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Letter to SAC, Chicago
RE: COUNTERINTELLIGENCE PROGRAM; (NATION OF ISLAM)
Legal action against the NOI on the death of its leader depends on the answers to several questions:
1. Does Elijah Muhammad have a will?
2. Is the NOI incorporated?
3. In whose name and where are NOI bank accounts?
4. In whose name are other NOI assets, such as mosque buildings, school buildings, the newspaper, Elijah Muhammad’s homes, and NOI businesses?
Depending on the answers to these questions, probate law in Illinois, and whether Chicago might have a confidential source in probate administration, tying up the NOI in probate administration might be possible.
Chicago should examine the NOI from the above counterintelligence angle and advise the Bureau. Consider the possibility of drawing up specific counterintelligence recommendations, to be acted upon when necessary, with various contingencies covered.
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