Nation of Islam's Muhammad lives with 'enemy'

June 27, 1994|By New York Daily News

CLIFFSIDE, N.J. -- On the road, Khalid Abdul Muhammad preaches hate against whites and Jews -- his self-sworn "enemies."

But when he goes home, Mr. Muhammad sleeps with the enemy.

The former Nation of Islam spokesman, a self-proclaimed black nationalist, apparently lives in a virtually all-white enclave, Cliffside, N.J., in a luxury co-op.

At the Briarcliff, where the going rate for an apartment ranges from $995 to $2,000 a month, Mr. Muhammad enjoys the good life.

There are doormen, an Olympic-sized swimming pool, tennis courts, a health club, and a lavish lobby filled with leather sofas, mirrors and gold trimming.

Mr. Muhammad's neighbors include doctors, lawyers, executives, singer Gloria Gaynor, and even a supermodel.

His apartment is on an upper floor with a panoramic view toward Manhattan.

According to his neighbors, Mr. Muhammad drives a $140,000 Rolls-Royce and wears $1,000 designer suits.

Several telephone calls made to Mr. Muhammad were not returned.

Building manager Howard Kleinbaum declines to comment, but a doorman and several maintenance workers confirm that Mr. Muhammad does live at the Briarcliff.

His phone number is answered by a machine, with this message: "Greetings to you. It's Black Nation Time. God is on our side, black man, black woman."

Mr. Muhammad has been in seclusion since he was shot in the foot May 29 after a speech in Riverside, Calif., by a defrocked Nation of Islam minister. His Briarcliff neighbors said they haven't seen him recently.

Mr. Muhammad, 48, has been making headlines since last November when he spoke at Kean College in New Jersey, blasting Jews as "bloodsuckers of the black nation." He also called the pope a "no-good cracker," and said South Africans should "kill everything white."

He was eventually removed from his post as Nation of Islam spokesman by minister Louis Farrakhan, who nevertheless praised him for speaking "truths." Mr. Muhammad remained a Nation member, and until the Riverside assassination attempt had picked up the pace of his speaking engagements.

His income level, and its sources, are unknown, other than the $2,500 he can command for speaking at college campuses and such.

"We don't have any trouble out of of him," says one Briarcliff doorman. "He's quiet and doesn't bother anyone. I can't believe it's the same man who talks hate."

Perhaps the doorman isn't bothered by Mr. Muhammad's presence, but some of his Jewish neighbors profess to be.

"He's repulsive," says a neighbor who identifies herself only as Ann. "He shouldn't live in this lily-white building that's 50 percent Jewish if he hates us so much."

Another Jewish neighbor says she once jumped out of the elevator after Mr. Muhammad got on. "I couldn't bear to stand next to him," she says.

According to the 1990 Census report, only 370 of Cliffside Park's 22,624 residents are African-American.

African-American leaders either decline to comment about Mr. Muhammad's lifestyle, or ask for anonymity.

"His lifestyle seems to be a contradiction of his teachings," says one local African-American leader who asks not to be named. "I don't think it's necessary for him to live in the ghetto, but why live with the same people he claims to hate?"

"Brother Khalid talks a lot of trash, but he's sleeping with the enemy," says another.

"He wants all the inner-city folks to hate whites, especially Jews, but he's surrounded by them. That's a shame."

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