A dedicated patriot in the struggle of the Palestinian people for their land, he was born in Al-Quds, or Jerusalem, on October 1, 1936 to Muhammad Mousa El-Baghdadi and Hansa Muhammed Abu-Daamous. The family fled during the 1947 to 1949 war with Jewish settlers. They had to flee with only the clothes on their backs and what they could carry in their hands.
As a young man he was an excellent reciter of the Qur’an and he would be rewarded by elders for his beautiful recitations. He taught mathematics at the age of 19 at an all-girls school. Ali was a hardworking man of good character which earned him a student visa to the United States in the early 1960s. He attended and graduated from the University of Illinois at the Circle Campus.
On August 18, 1964 he married Darlene Nee Tribke and from this union they were blessed with 7 children, 4 girls and 3 boys, two of which preceded him in death. Nadia, Tarik, Reema, Alia and Jamal have shown those who knew him and the family how proud they are of their father’s work and he will surely be missed by them. Ali was one of the student leaders of Arab and Muslim students on campus.
From that position he was able to meet Muhammad Ali and from this meeting and acquaintance with Muhammad Ali, circumstances allowed him to meet the Hon. Elijah Muhammad.
Circumstances through that meeting allowed him to end up writing a column in the Muhammad Speaks newspaper, published by the Nation of Islam. The column was called “Middle East Report” and the Hon. Elijah Muhammad gave him the freedom to report on the Middle East from his perspective.
Ali Baghdadi proved to be a great asset for Minister Louis Farrakhan in his World Friendship Tours by translating the Minister’s words to world leaders, students, government officials and religious scholars in the Arab World. He also taught Arabic on Saturdays to the Muslim students who were anxious to learn the language of the Holy Qur’an.
He was well known on the Munir Muhammad cable TV show based in Chicago. On a personal note, Brother Baghdadi performed marriage ceremonies for three of Min. Farrakhan’s daughters.
And whenever we were invited to Ali’s home, his wife would prepare delicious Arab dishes that he taught her. He published his own newspaper, the Arab News, in English and in Arabic.
Ali Baghdadi will be missed by his family and all of those who knew him. Ali was blessed to travel to 76 countries of the world and his work of helping Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam will never be forgotten.
Abdul Akbar Muhammad is international representative of the Nation of Islam and longtime friend and companion of Brother Ali Baghdadi. May Allah be pleased with the life and contribution of Brother Ali Baghdadi.