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Mix-up over clergy endorsement ad

The closer we get to Nov. 3, the more odd things cross our desk: A local minister says that he didn’t endorse Mayor Thomas Menino and has asked for his name to be removed from an ad, though he had appeared at an Oct. 10 press conference where black leaders touted their support for Menino.

"I was never asked. I didn’t sign no release or anything," said Minister Rodney Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. "I told them to withdraw my name because I didn’t ask for my name to be on the list. They said they wouldn’t send out another list with my name on it."

Muhammad said he was staying out of the mayoral race and that the campaign had apologized. The ad, listing support from over 30 reverends, bishops and ministers, ran in last week’s issue of the Dorchester Reporter.

But both he and another clergyman who didn’t want his name used in an ad, Imam Taalib Mahdee, appeared at a Menino press conference aimed at showcasing support among religious leaders. Muhammad left before it fully got underway, though Mahdee, whose name was also included in the ad, apparently stayed.

"We go to a lot of events," Muhammad said. "And sometimes, you don’t know until you get there. I didn’t even know the mayor was there."

Muhammad, who works under Minister Don Muhammad, declined to say who sent him to the press conference.

Neither Mahdee nor Minister Don Muhammad could be reached for comment.

"We are pleased with the strong support we have received from Boston's faith community. Just as they have worked together over the years, many of the most respected clergy in our City have endorsed Mayor Menino's campaign," Menino spokesman Nick Martin said in a statement. "It has come to our attention that there has been a misunderstanding about the support of Minister Rodney Muhammad and Imam Taalib Mahdee. Despite Minister [Rodney] Muhammad initially being present for the endorsement press conference and Imam Taalib Mahdee standing with the other faith leaders in support of the Mayor for the duration of the press conference, we respect their decisions and will continue to work with all of the clergy in the City to help make Boston an even better place to live, work and worship."