Khalid Abdul Muhammad: Expanded Profile
By John Perazzo
Discover The Networks
Born Harold Moore, Jr. on January 12, 1948 in Houston, Texas, the late Khalid Abdul Muhammad is best remembered as the venomous mouthpiece for the Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party.
By 1975, the 27-year-old radical was calling himself Dr. Malik Rushaddin and was taking part in revolutionary movements focused on bringing an end to South African apartheid; with its component of white oppression over black victims, this was an issue tailor-made for Muhammad's (or Rushaddin's) temperament. In 1978 Muhammad was appointed Western Regional Minister of the Nation of Islam and leader of Mosque #27. He officially took the name Khalid Abdul Muhammad in 1983, when Louis Farrakhan named him Khalid (meaning "great warrior") after Khalid ibn Walid, a famous seventh-century general of Islam. Soon thereafter Muhammad was appointed "Supreme Captain" over the military in the Nation of Islam; he was by now one of Farrakhan's most trusted advisors. In 1985 Farrakhan made Muhammad the NOI's National Spokesman and Representative; together the pair went on fund-raising trips to Libya, where they met with President Muammar el-Qaddafi.
Over time, Muhammad developed a busy career as a public speaker. He addressed audiences at many churches (even serving a stint as a minister at the First Afrocentric Temple in Atlanta, Georgia) and more than 100 universities in the United States, Africa, Europe, and elsewhere. Despite the incendiary, hateful rhetoric that was his trademark, he did not gain wide public notoriety until the media suddenly took notice of a crude, offensive address he delivered to a Kean College, New Jersey audience on November 29, 1993. Invited to the Kean campus by a black student organization, Muhammad was paid $2,600 in student funds to deliver a three-and-a-half-hour rambling diatribe against Jews and whites, which included the following sentiments:
"…Brothers and sisters, the so-called Jew - and I must say the 'so-called' Jew—because you are not the true Jew. …You are a Johnny-come-lately Jew who just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe just over 4,000 years ago. …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. …You knew nothing about bathrooms and toilets and rooms and sanitation systems. You did your number one and your number two, your pee pee and your doo doo right in the caves and hills of Europe. You slept in your urination and your defacation generation after generation for 2,000 years.
"…Who are the slumlords in the Black community? The so-called Jew . . . Who is it 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 . . . You see everybody always talk about Hitler exterminating 6 million Jews. That's right. But don't nobody ever ask what did they do to Hitler? What did they do to them folks? They went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped, they turned around and a German, in his own country, would almost have to go to a Jew to get money. They had undermined the very fabric of the society."
". . . We don't owe [the whites] nothing in South Africa . . . we give him 24 hours to get out of town, by sundown. That's all. If he won't get out of town by sundown, we kill everything white that ain't right . . . in South Africa. We kill the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies. We kill the blind, we kill the crippled, . . . we kill 'em all. We kill the faggot, we kill the lesbian, we kill them all."
After his Kean College address, Muhammad became an increasingly popular speaker among leftwing black audiences nationwide - making no discernible changes either to the tenor or content of his message. In January 1994 he stated that blacks should slaughter all white South Africans, bury them, and then dig up their bodies and mutilate them further. A month after that, he was invited (by Unity Nation, a student organization that his own militant, young protégé Malik Zulu Shabazz had founded in 1988) to speak at Howard University, the preeminent traditionally black university in the United States. Just before Muhammad was scheduled to take the podium, Shabazz whipped the one thousand-person audience into a frenzy by leading the following exchange:
Shabazz: "Who caught Nat Turner and killed Nat Turner?"
Shabazz: "Who is it that controls the Federal Reserve? Who?"
Shabazz: "Who is it that set up the Honorable Marcus Garvey and the Justice Department and the judges that sent him to prison?"
Shabazz: "Who? Who?"
Muhammad, for his part, then made a seamless transition into his own rant. In the course of his Howard University speech that day, he made an admiring reference to Long Island Railroad gunman Colin Ferguson, who had shot some twenty white and Asian commuters (killing six of them) in a racially motivated shooting spree aboard a commuter train in December 1993. Muhammad referenced him as "Brother Colin" and suggested that God, in a spirit of divine, retributive justice, had directed Ferguson to kill the white victims. According to Muhammad, "God spoke to Colin Ferguson and said, 'Catch the train, Colin, catch the train." In May 1994 Muhammad publicly lionized Ferguson again: "I love him as much as America loves General Schwarkopf, General Westmoreland, General Patton, General MacArthur, or General Eisenhower," he announced defiantly. In August 1998 Muhammad told a New York Magazine reporter, "I honestly wanna kill the enemy. I mean, goddamn it, we're supposed to have at least one Colin Ferguson. I would be embarrassed if we couldn't point to one Colin Ferguson that decided one day to . . . just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw."
On October 16, 1995, Louis Farrakhan held his now-famous "Million Man March" in Washington, DC. On October 15, a number of Farrakhan's kindred spirits organized, as a preview to the following day's activities, an event billed as the "Black African Holocaust Nationhood Conference." Malik Zulu Shabazz served as master of ceremonies, telling those in attendance that blacks were little more than outcasts of American society. "America should be glad that every black man is not on a killing spree for all the suffering they [white Americans] have done," he said. The highly anticipated climax of the proceedings began when Shabazz introduced the event's final scheduled speaker, Khalid Abdul Muhammad. With the audience standing and cheering, Shabazz said, "We wanna bring on a man who gives the white man nightmares. We wanna bring on a man who makes the Jews pee in they [sic] pants at night. He's like black Raid on white roaches." At that point, Muhammad stepped to the microphone and addressed the frenzied crowd:
"I came [today] to place the blame squarely where it belongs. I didn't come to pin the tail on the donkey. I came to pin the tail on the honky….We want to try the white man today. We want to hold court on this devil today, hold court on this cracker. . . . And we will find this cracker guilty beyond any reasonable doubt, with moral certainty, and with no recommendation for mercy. . . . We gonna keep this cracker on death row with no possibility for a stay of execution. . . . There must be a time and a generation that will rise up…and take our political prisoners from this no-good, low-down, dirty white man. …[T]he white man is the coldest, most vicious one that has ever lived….[on]the planet earth."
Such rhetoric was the emblem of Muhammad's career as a public speaker. Also among Muhammad's notable statements over the years were the following:
Eventually Muhammad's manner became too extreme even for Farrakhan, who, very much aware of the negative public image NOI was developing as a result of Muhammad's verbal excesses, expelled the fiery orator from the organization. Farrakhan explained, however, that he was doing so only because of the tone, and not the content, of Muhammad's message.
In 1998 Muhammad became the Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which evolved from small, loosely connected groups in Milwaukee and Dallas that had been established around 1989 by Aaron Michaels. Muhammad brought the NBPP national media exposure when he led the organization in a menacing public protest - featuring some 50 men wearing fatigues and berets, and brandishing assault rifles and shotguns - in response to the racially motivated, June 1998 murder of a black man named James Byrd in Jasper, Texas. Muhammad, who favored the creation of a separate school district for black students in Dallas, also led a series of angry, confrontational disruptions of school board meetings in that city. In May 1996 one such meeting was canceled after the NBPP threatened to attend with loaded weapons.
In 1998 Muhammad organized the so-called "Million Youth March" in Harlem, New York. In contrast to the lofty implications of its name, however, the event drew only about 6,000 people. It featured a deep roster of speakers shouting denunciatory remarks about the police. Co-organizer Erica Ford, for one, told the crowd, "The police are our [blacks'] number one enemy, brothers and sisters. . . . We can't get these people off our backs." Malik Zulu Shabazz concurred, "Police brutality is out of control, and we must unite to defeat them, and destroy them by any means necessary." Muhammad himself encouraged the attendees to physically attack police officers before leaving the premises. "Get to whaling on their asses today," he instructed. Some people did in fact throw chairs and bottles at the police.
Muhammad continued his work with the NBPP, striving to foster interracial hatred and ultimately a full-blown race war in the United States, until he died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm on February 17, 2001, at the age of 53, in Atlanta.
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