Louis Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam (NOI) which he heads, have a long,
well-documented record of hate-filled and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Over the
years, NOI ministers and representatives have regularly expressed anti-Semitic,
anti-white, anti-homosexual and anti-Catholic sentiments in their speeches.
Furthermore, The Final Call, the NOI's official organ, reflects the
anti-Semitism of Farrakhan and his organization.
In comparison with previous years, the minister's speeches in 1997 were less
overtly anti-Semitic. Farrakhan focused on acquiring mainstream political
support by courting political figures and offering them a moderate version of
himself. These efforts met with some success. Nevertheless, his anti-Semitism
was apparent on a number of occasions, when he remained unrepentant and
In a number of interviews in 1997 Farrakhan focused on the problems of blacks
in America, attempting to project himself as a concerned mainstream black
leader. Most interviewers, however, brought up the issue of his anti-Semitism,
and succeeded in exposing his views.
Discussing dialogue with Jews on the TV program Fox News Sunday on March 30,
… Are you afraid of the truth that is in my mouth? If you can defeat what I
believe is truth, you have no problem with me. I'll apologize to you before
the entire world …
On Meet the Press, April 14, Farrakhan reaffirmed his beliefs about Jewish
control and conspiracy.
I believe that for the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States,
they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government
…Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and black people will never be free
in this country until they are free of that kind of control …
At the same time, he also insinuated that Jewish bankers financed Hitler.
Interviewed a few months later (October 13) on the same program, Farrakhan was
asked by moderator Tim Russert why he would not apologize for his past
statements (such as referring to Jews as "bloodsuckers," and alleging Jewish
domination of the slave trade in the colonial period) so as to facilitate
dialogue with members of the Jewish community. His response was:
… I want to sit down and dialogue with members of the Jewish community with no
preconditions. That demand for me to apologize comes out of an arrogance that
makes one feel that if I am critical of Jewish behavior relative to black
people, that all of a sudden I have to apologize for being critical …
Conservative economist Jude Wanniski is the leading proponent of Farrakhan's
acceptance into the mainstream, particularly by Republican Party (GOP) leaders.
In articles, letters to the editor, postings on his website and at a
convention in Boca Raton, FL, in March, Wanniski has attempted to prepare the
way for the minister's political legitimacy. He envisions bridging "… the
widening gulf between black and white America…through a political realignment
[with the GOP] …," with Farrakhan at the helm. Asserting that Farrakhan is not
anti-Semitic, Wanniski admits to having explained to Farrakhan that his
anti-Jewish conspiracy charges were merely "… a problem of economic theory."
Syndicated columnist Robert Novak, a friend of Wanniski, also joined this
effort. Following a CNN interview with Farrakhan, he called Farrakhan, in an
article published on March 6, a "work in progress," and supported the
suggested political alliance between the GOP and the NOI.
In April, Mayor Ed Rendell of Philadelphia, PA, invited Farrakhan to speak at a
rally aimed at healing racial differences. The mayor justified his invitation
as an effort to avoid possible violence during a march planned to pass through
a predominantly white neighborhood. This opportunity afforded Farrakhan
sought-for legitimacy, even though on the day before the march, Farrakhan had
made his statements about excessive Jewish control (see above).
Another important development was the potential acceptance of NOI's version of
Islam by mainstream Islam. In July, an international Islamic conference was
held in Chicago, attended by Muslim "clerics" and scholars from around the
world. The hosts were the NOI and the World Islamic People's Leadership, of
Libya's Muammar Qadaffi. Initially, it seemed that Farrakhan was being
embraced as an imam and leader of the worldwide Muslim community; however,
later reports indicated that this alleged recognition was not as widespread
and legitimate as it may have seemed. In fact, none of the major US Islamic
organizations were present. Such acceptance by the world Muslim community
would have been particularly notable, since Islamic leaders had never
indicated approval of NOI's form of Islam. It was quickly used by Jude
Wanniski, however, who claimed that Farrakhan was "… now emerging as the
spiritual leader of the entire Islamic world."
The Final Call
The Final Call, produced by Louis Farrakhan, continued to advertise
anti-Semitic publications, a point ignored or denied by Farrakhan's defenders.
The Final Call has long printed lists of suggested books, available for
purchase through NOI. These include The Jewish Onslaught by Wellesley
professor Tony Martin; The Ugly Truth about The ADL by the editors of
Executive Intelligence Review, the Lyndon LaRouche publication; and the NOI's
own The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.
Khallid Abdul Muhammad
The former national spokesman for NOI, Khallid Muhammad, is known for a
hate-filled speech he made at Kean College in New Jersey in November, 1993. In
May, 1997, he delivered a similar speech at San Francisco State University.
For example, Muhammad charged:
The Federal Reserve is privately owned and a so-called Jew controls the
Federal Reserve …Talking about the National Debt, the Federal Debt, someone
should ask, well who the hell do we owe...And who in the world has that much
money that we would get in debt with them …Who are the rich power brokers
behind the scenes …Why is the Federal Reserve controlled by the so-called Jew?
Muhammad was also featured in the first issue of a new mainstream,
black-oriented magazine XXL, which appeared in September, and expressed
himself in a similar vein.
National Revival Tour and World Day of Atonement, 1997
In 1997, as in 1996, Farrakhan called for commemorating the anniversary of the
1995 Million Man March, by observing a World Day of Atonement in cities across
the country. To stimulate support for this day, and seek mainstream acceptance,
Minister Farrakhan embarked on a 90-city National Revival Tour in July, which
was to end with the Day of Atonement. In the end, he visited only 51 cities.
He called upon people not to work, shop or go to school, but to atone and
repent, "… just like the Jews have their Day of Atonement. He also called for
people to reconcile with one another, and to return to religion.
Although Farrakhan avoided anti-Semitism in his speeches, anti-Jewish
publications were available for purchase during these appearances. In Boston,
MA, and Richmond, VA, books such as The Jews and Their Lies, The Secret
Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, and The Protocols of the Learned Elders
of Zion were on sale.
He also expressed his hostility toward the US government, as well as his
anti-white and anti-gay views. In Baltimore, Farrakhan alleged that blacks in
America were under a "death decree" from the US government but that America
was under a "decree of death" from God.
Perhaps the most disturbing aspect of this tour is that despite many of
Farrakhan's anti-government statements and his record of anti-Semitism, he
received some mainstream support. Representatives and state senators met with
him in Baltimore, Detroit, and Boston. In Gary, IN, Farrakhan was given a key
to the city by Mayor Scott King. However, in Plainfield, NJ, a resolution
proposed by the city council honoring Farrakhan failed to pass, and Mayor Mark
Fury, who had considered giving him a key to the city, declined to do so, as
did Mayor Roxanne Qualls of Cincinnati, OH.
Despite his efforts, many fewer than NOI had hoped participated in Farrakhan's
Day of Atonement. In Philadelphia, where between 500 and 2000 were expected,
only about 400 attended; Philadelphia Minister Rodney Muhammad told the crowd,
"Success never depended on numbers. It's going to depend on our faith ..." In
New Orleans, there were about 100, half of them local NOI members. Farrakhan
himself spoke at the University of Illinois to an audience of several thousand.
USA Today reported that "a survey of major companies found no unusual
absenteeism." Other local reports indicated a modest level of involvement, but
nowhere near what NOI anticipated. The vast majority of African-Americans
chose not to stay home from work or school.
This modest showing at the Day of Atonement rallies did not dampen Minister
Farrakhan's pursuit of legitimacy. He tried to project a reasonable tone and a
positive message, but he refused to renounce his anti-Semitism.
World Friendship Tour
Despite State Department warnings and travel bans against visiting various
countries, Farrakhan's 50-nation World Friendship Tour began on December 4 in
Mali. Claiming that he "… would like to demonstrate how diplomacy and friendly
relations should be carried out," Farrakhan also visited Iraq, the West Bank,
Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Libya, South Africa, and the Sudan. Farrakhan denied
defying the US travel ban against countries such as Iraq, claiming he used a
passport issued by a country other than the US.
Prior to his visit to Israel, Israeli officials debated whether or not to meet
him. Farrakhan surprised them by arriving on December 14, a full month earlier
than expected. Originally intending to visit the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem,
he decided against it due to fears for his safety, generated by reported
threats from Jewish extremist groups. He claimed that any attack on him could
damage black-Jewish relations in the US.
Visiting Libya on the anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie,
Scotland, the minister reaffirmed his ties to President Muammar Qadaffi, and
claimed that President Clinton was surrounded by advisors who were Israeli
agents. He also asserted that he had never said that Jews hated black people,
only that they exploited them.