1973 Hanafi Muslim massacre

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Hanafi murders
Location 7700 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C.
Coordinates D.C. 38°59′00″N 77°02′11″W / 38.983372°N 77.036479°W / 38.983372; -77.036479Coordinates: D.C. 38°59′00″N 77°02′11″W / 38.983372°N 77.036479°W / 38.983372; -77.036479
Date January 18, 1973
Target Home invasion
Attack type
Mass murder, shooting, drowning
Deaths 7

The 1973 Hanafi Muslim massacre took place on the afternoon of January 18, 1973.[1] Two adults and a child were shot to death, four other children were drowned whose ages ranged from nine days to ten years old. Two others were severely injured.[2] The murder took place at a Washington, D.C. house purchased for a group of Hanafi Muslims to use as the Hanafi American Mussulman's Rifle and Pistol Club.[3] The property was purchased and donated by then Milwaukee Bucks basketball player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.[4]

The target of the attack was Hamaas Abdul Khaalis, the son-in-law of Reginald Hawkins. Khaalis had written and sent fifty letters[5] calling Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad "guilty of 'fooling and deceiving people - robbing them of their money, and besides that dooming them to Hell.'" The letters were mailed to ministers of all fifty mosques of the Nation of Islam, a sect that Khaalis had infiltrated and once been a leader.[5] The letters were also critical of Wallace D. Fard[6] and urged the ministers to leave the Black Muslim faith.[5]


At the time of the murders Black Muslims were formerly known as the Nation of Islam (NOI) and then changed their name to World Community Islam in the West.[7]

Hamas Abdul Khaalis was originally a Roman Catholic[8] and Seventh-day Adventist[9] born in Gary, Indiana[8] as Ernest Timothy McGhee. He converted to Sunni Islam and on the advice of his Islamic teacher, Tasibur Uddein Rahman[8] infiltrated the Black Muslims.[8] He changed his name to Ernest 2x McGhee and served as principal of the sect's school, and then went on to become Elijah Muhammad's national secretary at their Chicago national headquarters from 1954-1957. In an interview, Khaalis said, “Elijah once said that I was next in line to him, that it was me, not Malcolm X."[8] Elijah Mohammad was originally born Elijah Poole.[8]

In 1957 he was demoted or lost in a dispute[8] possibly after unsuccessfully trying to convince Muhammad to change the direction of the movement.[10] He then moved to New York City where he ran the Hanafi Midh-hab center in Harlem under his Sunni Muslim name Hamaas Abdul Khaalis. In New York, he continued trying to convince members to defect from Muhammad. In 1970, Khaalis converted Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who was formerly known as Lew Alcindor. In 1971 Jabbar donated a 78,000 field stone mansion for Khaalis' headquarters in Washington, D.C.[2] Police believe the continued efforts to convert people in New York to be a reason for the growing conflict between Sunni Muslims and Black Muslims, and may have contributed to the murders.[8] In an interview Khaalis spoke of Malcolm X, “When Malcolm was killed I was teaching him the Sunni way,” and “He used to come to my house on Long Island and we would sit in his car for hours. He would meet me after he left the temple. Never in public because he knew they were after him. He was saying the wrong things."[8]

The incident[edit]

On January 12, 1973 several Black Mafia affiliates traveled to Washington, D.C and scouted the home. Then on January 17th, 1973, Ronald Harvey, John Clark, James "Bubbles" Price, John Griffin, Theodore Moody, William Christian, and Jerome Sinclair traveled in two vehicles from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C.[2]

One of the men called claiming to be interested in purchasing literature about the Hanafi and arranged to come to the residence to purchase the literature. Two of them came to purchase material. Khaalis' son, Daud, left a room to get change, and upon his return he was told, "this is a stick up."[5] The two men then let five or six additional people into the residence.[5]

Daud was killed first. He was taken to the third floor and shot. Abdu Nur was shot in a bedroom.[5] Bibi was forced to watch them drown two of the children in an upstairs bathtub and she was also taken to the basement where she was forced to watch them drown her nine day old granddaughter in a sink. Then Bibi was bound, gagged, and shot eight times.[5][2]

Amina, Khaalis' daughter, was put in a closet and shot three times. She was told, "You know your father wrote those letters, don't you? Don't you know he can't do anything like that?”[5] Unsure if she was dead, she was shot two more times, and then the gun jammed.[5][2] Amina survived the shooting.

Seven Philadelphia Black Muslims were charged for the crime.[4]

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was a pall bearer at the funeral for Khaalis' children.[11]

The trials[edit]

H. Price, 23, Jerome Sinclair, 22, also known as Jerome 5X; John W. Griffin, 28, also known as Omar Jamal; John W. Clark, 31; Thomas Moody, 20; and William Christian, 29, were indicted. They all had extensive police records and they all had served prison sentences at Holmesburg Prison with the exception of Christian.[12]

Of the six defendants, one was acquitted when a key witness, Price, an unindicted co-conspirator, refused to testify.[4] Price was not happy with the lifestyle afforded as a protected witness. Price also thought that if he could get out from the witness protection program he could reintegrate with his black Muslim brothers and they would stop threatening violence against him. Then Minister Louis Farrakhan on behalf of Elijah Muhammad, aired a threat during his radio broadcast:[2]

Let this be a warning to the opponents of Muhammad.. Let this be a warning to those of you who would be used as an instrument of a wicked government against our rise. Be careful, because when the government is tired of using you, they're going to dump you back into the laps of your people. And although Elijah Muhammad is a merciful man and will say, "Come in," and forgive you, yet in the ranks of black people today there are younger men and women rising up who have no forgiveness in them for traitors and stool pigeons. And they will execute you as soon as your identity is known. Be careful because nothing shall prevent the rise of the messiah, The Nation of Islam, and the black man the world over.[2]

This broadcast led Price to refuse to testify.[2] He was then murdered in Holmesburg prison, where he was housed with other Black Muslims.[4]

Another defendant was granted a retrial after the jury had found him guilty which ended in a mistrial because Amina Khaalis, a survivor of the massacre and the daughter of the Hanafi leader, refused to be cross-examined as she had "suffered irreparable psychological trauma" and it was thought that it was "highly probable" that she would suffer psychiatric injury if she were to testify again about the murders.[1]

One of the men indicted, Ronald Harvey, was also indicted for the Camden, New Jersey murder of Major Coxson, a flamboyant black businessman and unsuccessful candidate for mayor of Camden.[13]


It is believed that the slayings led to the 1977 Hanafi Siege which was to bring attention to the crime.

The murder brought attention to the sparring between Sunni Muslims and Black Muslims. Sunni Muslims believe Black Muslims had changed the doctrines of Islam by excluding whites and by accepting Elijah Muhammad as a messenger of Allah. Sunnis also believe that Islam is color blind and that whites can become Muslim. They also believe that the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of Allah.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kiernan, Laura (October 19, 1977). "Amina Khaalis Relives Horror of Slayings, Court Is Told". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Griffin, S.P. "4". Philadelphia's Black Mafia: A Social and Political History. Kluwer Academic Publishers. pp. 35–37. ISBN 0-306-48132-4. 
  3. ^ "Arrest Last Suspect in Murder". Stevens Point Daily Journal. March 28, 1974. 
  4. ^ a b c d Meyer, Eugene; Edwards, Paul (March 10, 1977). "Barry 'A Very Lucky Man". Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Delaney, Paul (January 25, 1973). "Survivor Tells How 7 Moslems Died in Washington". New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  6. ^ Jet (February 22, 1973). "Muslims Mum on Charge". jJohnson Publishing Company. Retrieved March 12, 2017. 
  7. ^ Kiernan, Laura (November 6, 1977). "Hanafi Case Defendant Is Acquitted". Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Delaney, Paul (January 31, 1973). "Rival Leader Tells of Efforts to Convert Black Muslims". The New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  9. ^ Meyer, Eugene; Whitaker, James; Colen, B.D. (March 11, 1977). "Tiny Hanafi Sect's Followers Devoted, U.S.-Born Converts". Washington Post. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  10. ^ "African-American Islam". encyclopedia.com. Melton's Encyclopedia of American Religions. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  11. ^ Book, Simeon (March 31, 1977). "Father In Law of Hanafi Leader Speaks His Mind". Jet. 
  12. ^ Janson, Donald (August 22, 1973). "Coxson Murder Suspect Fails to Show Up in Court". New York Times. Retrieved March 10, 2017. 
  13. ^ "Muslims Charged in Seven Killings To Go on Trial in Washington Court". New York Times. February 18, 1974. Retrieved March 10, 2017.