This Side of Paradise: The Religious World of Elijah Muhammad was first written as a Master's thesis. Although his thesis was defended less than a year before September 11, the author has not based any of his changes on that horrific event. Elijah Muhammad stood at the helm of an organization called The Nation of Islam, but the religion of Mr. Muhammad is not the religion of today's suicide bombers and pan-national Islamic jihadists. His religion was made in America, by him, for African Americans and other people 'of color' who were willing to renounce their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and follow him, Elijah Muhammad, into Paradise - a state of mind and being in which there would never be seen the 'ungodly' faces of any white man, woman or child. Curtis J. Tilleraas was ordained in the Old Catholic Church as a deacon and then a priest. Today he is serving as a Lutheran pastor in a beautiful country church, surrounded by corn fields and headstones. He is a former President of ScreenWriters' Workshop, a former lumber yard worker, creamery worker, taxi cab driver, civil service worker (at several universities and colleges), Grant Writer and Director of Development. His poems have appeared in a number of small, literary magazines; and he also worked as a Script Consultant and Research Interviewer on the documentary, Clouded Land: Land Claims Issues on Minnesota's White Earth Indian Reservation. While he was in seminary working on his MDIV degree at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, MN, Pastor Tilleraas also earned an M.A. degree in Islamic Studies. His Arabic teacher at the seminary was a Muslim psychologist from Egypt, and his tutor was a young Palestinian Muslim who grew up in Bethlehem.
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