"Those who call me a bigot, a hater, an anti-Semite, I want you to listen to me real carefully. If anything like that comes out of my mouth I want you raise your hand and stop me."
Louis Farrakhan, October 8, 1985
Louis Farrakhan seems to have been in the news fairly often as of late -- not only for what he is saying but for what others associated with him have not been saying.
|Louis Farrakhan. Screenshot of Youtube video|
Seems like the antisemitism that comes out of his mouth doesn't get a reaction.
Social media platforms don't condemn it.
Politicians don't condemn it.
Black leaders don't condemn it
And of course, the leaders of Women's March don't condemn it either.
But there was a time when racist comments coming out of The Nation of Islam did draw condemnation.
It's just that you have to go back 25 years in order to find it.
On November 29, 1993, Farrakhan's top aide, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, gave a speech at New Jersey's Kean College to about 150 students. At the time Muhammad held the positions of both minister and "national assistant" in The Nation of Islam.
And he had a mouth like Farrakhan himself.
Here is a small sample of what Khalid Abdul Muhammad said that day:
Brothers and sisters--the so-called Jew, and I must say so-called Jew, because you're not the true Jew. You are Johnny-come-lately-Jew, who just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe just a little over 4,000 years ago. You're not from the original people. You are a European strain of people who crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe eating Juniper roots and eating each other. Who are the slumlords in the black community? The so-called Jew who is sucking our blood in the black community. A white imposter Arab and a white imposter Jew, right in the black community, sucking our blood on a daily and consistent basis. They sell us pork and they don't even eat it themselves. A meat case full of rotten pork meat, and the imposter Arab and the imposter white Jew, neither of them eat it themselves. A wall full of liquor keeping our people drunk and out of their head, and filled with the swill of the swine, affecting their minds. They're the bloodsuckers of the black nation and the black community. Professor Griff was right when he spoke here--and when he spoke in the general vicinity of Jersey and New York, and when he spoke at Columbia Jew-niversity over in Jew York City. He was right.
|Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Screengrab from Youtube video|
The black leadership reacted strongly.
- Benjamin Chavis Jr., executive director of the NAACP: "I am appalled that any human being would stoop so low to make such violence-prone anti-Semitic statements."
- William Gray III, president of the United Negro College Fund, deplored the "tragic and anti-Semitic comments at Kean College” and said anti-Semitism cannot be "justified as a response to repression."
- Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY) condemned the speech
- Al Sharpton condemned it too
- Jesse Jackson made a point of calling The New York Times to condemn the speech as "racist, anti-Semitic, divisive, untrue and chilling...The madness of the speech is not in the tradition of our civil rights movement."
- Representative Kweisi Mfume, the Maryland Democrat who led the Congressional Black Caucus, stated that no alliance could exist between the caucus and Farrakhan's group as long as blacks in Congress had doubts about Mr. Farrakhan's tolerance toward Jews, Catholics and other groups
"I found the speech, after listening to it in context, vile in manner, repugnant, malicious, mean-spirited and spoken in mockery of individuals and people, which is against the spirit of Islam. While I stand by the truths that he spoke, I must condemn in the strongest terms the manner in which those truths were represented."Farrakhan went no the attack, framing the criticism as an attack and practically called the Black leaders who participated in the criticism traitors:
And in a clear rebuff of the calls to distance himself from the Kean College speech, Farrakhan reportedly said people were using Muhammad’s words against him to “divide the house,” and that Farrakhan’s enemies “want to use some of our brothers, and some of our brothers are willing to be used” to curry favor.He also made a point of singling out the ADL as an enemy of blacks, a tactic that has been picked up by Sarsour. Farrakhan announced
"I therefore, am calling on the Black Caucus, the N.A.A.C.P., Reverend Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition, black churches, and black leaders to review their relationship with the A.D.L. in view of its wickedness against our people."Nevertheless, Farrakhan did demote Muhammad, who later left the group.
Reaction to Khalid Muhammad was so strong that even Congress took action.
On February 23, 1994, Congress voted on Resolution 343, "Expressing the sense of Congress on the senior representative of the Nation of Islam":
Whereas the United States House of Representatives strongly oppose racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and all forms of ethnic or religious intolerance;
Whereas the racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic speech given by Kahlid Abdul Muhammad of the Nation of Islam at Kean College on November 29, 1993, incites divisiveness and violence on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity; and
Whereas Mr. Muhummad specifically justifies the slaughter of Jews during the Holocaust as fully deserved; disparages the Pope in the most revolting personal terms; and calls for the assassination of every white infant, child, man, and woman in
Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives
(1) condemns the speech given by Kahlid Abdul Muhammad as outrageous hatemongering of the most vicious and vile kind;
(2) condemns all manifestations and expressions of racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and ethnic or religious intolerance.While it may be reassuring to see that there was a time when leaders were more interested in calling out the Antisemitism of The Nation of Islam than in forming alliances with the group, the fact remains that as the leader of The Nation of Islam, Farrakhan faced minimal backlash back then -- even as he resorted to Antisemitic remarks to attack his critics.
And that is unlikely to change.
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