Farrakhan Confirms Islam's Link with Sniper Suspect

Nov 04, 2002 03:00 AM EST

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan acknowledged Saturday (Oct. 26) that a suspect in the recent sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C., area is a member of his religious group, but says he would be ousted if convicted.

"He has not formally been kicked out of the Nation of Islam, but certainly if he's found guilty of something like this he would not be considered at all a member," Farrakhan said of John Allen Muhammad.

Muhammad, 41, is a suspect in a series of shootings that left 10 people dead and three wounded during October.

Farrakhan held a news conference to respond to speculation that Muhammad helped provide security at the "Million Man March" in 1995 in Washington.

Farrakhan, a key organizer of the march, said Muhammad did not provide security but "he might well have been there," the Associated Press reported.

The leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam said Muhammad joined the religious group in 1997 but had not been in contact with the group since 1999.

Muhammad changed his name from John Allen Williams after converting to Islam.

"Those who knew him never said ugly things about his conduct or his behavior," Farrakhan said.

The Nation of Islam leader also said he "grieves for the senseless loss of life" caused by the shootings in Maryland, the District of Columbia and Virginia.

By Albert H. Lee