Magazine article The Spectator

Apartheid Alliance

Magazine article The Spectator

Apartheid Alliance

Article excerpt

FOUR YEARS ago in Chicago Louis Parrakhan, head of the Nation of Islam, was concluding one of his lengthy sermons. `Farrakhan, I love you!' cried a black woman in the audience. 'I love you, too,' came the reply, `but remember: disorganised love is not as effective as organised hate.'

Echoes of Farrakhan's advice reverberated recently with the NOI's disruption of the Stephen Lawrence murder inquiry. With shrewd timing, Jack Straw subsequently renewed the 12-year ban on Farrakhan entering Britain. The BBC then aired a promotional video for the NOI masquerading as an Everyman documentary. The NOI's traditional American approach - stoke controversy to secure maximum publicity at minimum cost has been successfully imported to the UK.

But, amidst the ensuing feeding frenzy in the press, one feature has escaped comment: the common vision of Britain's ideal racial future that these black militants shared with the five white youths at the Lawrence inquiry.

Peer behind the NOI's unsmiling faces, sharp suits and bow ties and one finds black nationalism obscuring some profoundly conservative beliefs. Adamantly pro-God, nation and the nuclear family, the NOI is also anti-abortion, adultery, gays and drugs. Law and order? Farrakhan's model is Saudi Arabia. Economics? The Nation preaches black private enterprise and demands an end to all government benefits to blacks. Relations between the sexes? On joining the NOI, according to one former member, women receive instruction in seven 'basic' units: cooking, sewing, raising children, taking care of the husband, care of the home, and proper behaviour inside and outside the home.

In America, some Republican politicians, such as Jack Kemp, offer two cheers for Farrakhan's group. The NOI's congenital conservatism and philanthropic good deeds (intervening with black gangs, opposing drugs) outweigh the Jew-baiting, anti-whitey diatribes, anti-black conspiracy theories and links with anti-American despots like Saddam. A full conservative embrace is precluded, nonetheless, by Farrakhan's exotic CV: visiting Tehran to welcome America's destruction by Islam as a 'privilege'; describing Hitler as a `wickedly great man', Judaism as a 'dirty' religion and Jews as `the synagogue of Satan'; and accepting the 1996 Gaddafi International Human Rights Award. But the NOI's combination of anti-Semitism, antipathy to government and wholesale rejection of racial integration has assisted the sealing of another, less auspicious alliance: a Faustian pact between the NOI and white supremacists on both sides of the Atlantic.

In America, this dangerous liaison has a long lineage. In the early 1960s, the NOI secretly negotiated with the Ku-Klux Klan and the American Nazi party to divide a portion of Georgia or South Carolina for a separate black state to be placed under NOI control. George Rockwell, leader of the American Nazis, won applause at the Nation's annual convention in 1962 when he described its prophet and then leader, Elijah Muhammad, as `the Adolf Hitler of the black man'. Tom Metzger, who left the John Birch Society because it was too soft on Jews, joined the KKK, founded the White Aryan Resistance, and donated $100 to the cause at a 1985 NOI rally in Los Angeles. Metzger subsequently claimed to have had meetings with Farrakhan to discuss their common plans for America's division into mono-ethnic enclaves. Less well known is the British National Front's role in convincing white American fascists and neo-Nazis to hold their supremacist noses and embrace the NOI. …

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