Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Uneasy Silence from Farrakhan

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

An Uneasy Silence from Farrakhan

Article excerpt

Minister Louis Farrakhan's reaction to an aide's controversial speech could have marked a turning point in American race relations.

Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, had been called upon by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, members of the Congressional Black Caucus and others to distance himself from the remarks - delivered two months ago at New Jersey's Kean College - by his senior aide, Khalid Abdul Muhammad.

The speech itself was extraordinary, even for ears used to hearing anti-Semitic digs and unfounded racial accusations from certain leaders of the Nation of Islam. Jews, Muhammad charged in his Nov. 29 address at New Jersey's Kean College, control the White House, "own" the Federal Reserve Bank and manage national policy from "behind the scenes."

Notwithstanding that Jews are "sucking our blood in the black community," he said, many black politicians are "in the palm of the white man's hand, but particularly in the palm of the Jewish white man's hand."

Then, almost as if to show he is not merely anti-Semitic, the speaker lit into the head of the Catholic Church ("The old, no-good pope. You know that cracker. Somebody need to raise that dress up and see what's really under there.") and called for the slaughter of every white South African man, woman and child who fails to leave that country when blacks gain power there. The quotes are from the Anti-Defamation League, which says it has transcribed a recording of the speech.

It was, as I say, extraordinary. But so was the response. Black leaders - especially Jackson, but also Rep. Kweisi Mfume, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, the Rev. Al Sharpton, former Rep. Bill Gray III and others - have denounced it as racist, anti-Semitic, damaging and untrue.

More extraordinary yet: They called on Farrakhan to repudiate Muhammad's remarks. So far he has declined to do so. Indeed, he complained of attempts to use "my brother Khalid's words against me, to divide the house."

There has long been an uneasy coexistence of mainstream black organizations with the Nation of Islam - in many ways like the relationship between the 1960s civil rights leaders and Malcolm X. …

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