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Church Property - Part 3

• Who owned a bank account established by a religious leader to assist the poor? That was the question before an Illinois appeals court in a recent case. A number of years ago, $3 million was placed in a bank account entitled "The Honorable Elijah Muhammad's Poor Fund Account." Elijah Muhammad was the leader of a religious organization known as the Nation of Islam. Following his death in 1975, the bank transferred the funds to a new account in the name of the Nation of Islam, thinking that the poor fund account belonged to the religious organization rather than to Elijah Muhammad personally. Several years later, the estate of Elijah Muhammad sought to recover the funds from the bank on the theory that the account had been the personal property of Elijah Muhammad rather than of the religious organization. The court concluded that the account belonged to the religious organization rather ...

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  • September 1, 1988

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