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He shunned his father's theology and black pride views, forging closer ties with mainstream Muslim communities in an attempt to transition the Nation of Islam into orthodoxy more similar to Sunni Islam. This made it hard to track the exact number of NOI members, but it is estimated to have been in the tens of thousands.
During this time, the Nation of Islam attracted Malcolm Little.
While in prison in Boston for burglary from 1946 to 1952, Little joined the Nation of Islam.
He spent long hours reading books in the prison library.
He sharpened his oratory skills by participating in debating classes.
In 1942, during World War II, Elijah Muhammad was charged and convicted of violating the Selective Service Act and jailed.