In addition to the profile below, see also this section filled with highly significant quotes by Farrakhan on a variety of issues:
Louis Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott on May 11, 1933 in the Bronx, New York. He grew up in Boston and was raised in the Episcopalian Church. Walcott attended the Winston-Salem Teachers College from 1951-53 but dropped out to pursue a musical career, becoming a popular calypso singer, dancer, and violinist in the Boston nightclub circuit. In 1953 he married a woman named Khadijah and went on to have nine children with her.
While in Chicago in February 1955, Walcott was invited by a friend to attend a Nation of Islam (NOI) Saviours’ Day Convention at a local mosque. Soon thereafter, he joined NOI, and, as was customary among the organization’s members, replaced his surname with an “X,” as a way of distancing himself from a surname that had likely been assigned to his ancestors by white slaveholders in a bygone era.
Louis X first gained some prominence at Temple No. 7 in Harlem, New York, where he was a protégé of the temple’s minister, Malcolm X. NOI’s top leader, Elijah Muhammad, gave Louis X his new Muslim name, Abdul Haleem Farrakhan, and soon thereafter Farrakhan was appointed head minister of Boston Temple No. 11, which had been previously established by Malcolm X.
In the 1960s Farrakhan developed a strong enmity toward Malcolm X, who backed a more moderate vision of black civil rights than did Farrakhan. When Malcolm in 1964 publicly revealed that Elijah Muhammad had impregnated several of his teenage secretaries, Farrakhan, outraged at what he perceived to be Malcolm’s disloyalty, called Malcolm a traitor and denounced him in the December 12, 1964 issue of the NOI newspaper Muhammad Speaks: “Only those who wish to be led to hell, or to their doom, will follow Malcolm. The die is set, and Malcolm shall not escape, especially after such evil, foolish talk about his benefactor; such a man is worthy of death and would have been met with death if it had not been for Muhammad’s confidence in Allah for victory over his enemies.” Ten weeks later, on February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was killed in Harlem’s Audubon Ballroom by three gunmen with ties to NOI.
Three months after Malcolm X’s death, Farrakhan became the minister of NOI’s Temple #7 in Harlem. In 1967 he became NOI’s “national spokesman,” and his popularity soared. In a June 1974 speaking appearance in New York, for example, Farrakhan drew a crowd of 70,000 people.
In 1971 — according to a September 2009 editorial by Farrakhan in The Final Call — Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi loaned NOI $3 million for the purchase of a Greek Orthodox Church in Chicago that became the Nation of Islam’s new headquarters.
When Elijah Muhammad died in February 1975, his son, Wallace Deen Muhammad, succeeded him as Supreme Minister of the organization. Not wishing to be overshadowed by the more charismatic Farrakhan, Muhammad reassigned Farrakhan to an NOI temple located in a poor section of Chicago’s West Side. Moreover, Warith sought to make NOI more like mainstream Sunni Islam and began to permit non-blacks to join the organization, going so far as to change its name in November 1976 to the “World Community of al-Islam in the West.” This greatly troubled Farrakhan, who saw it as an abandonment of Elijah Muhammad’s separatist, anti-white principles. On November 8. 1977, Farrakhan announced that he was reestablishing the Nation of Islam in line with Elijah Muhammad’s principles.
Striving to prove himself as the rightful heir to Elijah Muhammad, Farrakhan purchased Muhammad’s former Chicago home in 1986, and two years later he purchased Mosque #2, the flagship mosque owned by Warith Muhammad’s old NOI. Before long, Farrakhan’s NOI surpassed Warith’s organization in terms of membership and influence.
In 1984 Farrakhan issued a threat against a black Washington Post reporter named Milton Coleman, for having publicly revealed that presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, whose campaign Farrakhan strongly supported, had derisively referred to Jews as “Hymies,” and to New York City as “Hymietown.” Said Farrakhan on a Chicago-based radio program: “We’re going to make an example of Milton Coleman! What do [we] intend to do to Mr. Coleman? At this point, no physical harm . . . We’re going to punish the traitor and make the traitor beg for forgiveness . . . One day soon we will punish you with death! . . . This is a fitting punishment for such dogs.” Farrakhan also promised that Coleman’s wife would “go to hell . . . the same punishment that’s due that no-good, filthy traitor.”
At an October 24, 1989 press conference which he dubbed “The Great Announcement,” Farrakhan detailed what he claimed had been his experience with an unidentified flying object (UFO) four years earlier. To view excerpts of that account, click here.
At a “Race in America” town hall meeting sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) on September 16, 1993, Farrakhan and NOI announced that they had agreed to establish a more formalized working relationship with the CBC. At the meeting, Farrakhan joined former CBC chairman Kweisi Mfume, NAACP executive director Benjamin Chavis, Rep. Maxine Waters, and the Rev. Jesse Jackson in a discussion about: (a) the poor state of race relations in America, and (b) possible solutions to the problems facing the black community. Among the problems that the panel identified were: societal prejudice against African Americans, black feelings of inferiority, housing and job discrimination, poverty, urban violence, and family dysfunction. As the Washington Post reported: “The agreement between the [C]aucus and the often controversial Nation of Islam means that the two groups will consult on legislative issues and develop common strategies … on major issues.” “We want the word to go forward today to friend and foe alike that the Congressional Black Caucus, after having entered into a sacred covenant with the NAACP to work for real and meaningful change, will enter into that same covenant with the Nation of Islam,” said Mfume. Farrakhan, for his part, stated: “Black people have to take it upon ourselves to end racism. White folks will never end it. But we have the power in ourselves.”
Mfume backed out of the aforementioned covenant with NOI in February 1994, after a number of CBC members voiced concern about Farrakhan’s failure to condemn a recent instance of incendiary racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric by NOI spokesman Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
For many years, Farrakhan has ranked among the most influential black figures in America. He draws enormous, standing-room-only crowds of listeners wherever he speaks. An October 1992 lecture he gave in Atlanta actually outdrew a World Series game played there that same night. In 1996 the National Newspaper Publishers Association, which represents 200 black-owned publishers, gave Farrakhan its “Newsmaker of the Year” award — for which one criterion was the demonstration of “a higher level of moral authority.”
Farrakhan was the lead organizer and main attraction at the October 16, 1995 Million Man March, which was held at the National Mall in Washington, D.C and drew several hundred thousand attendees. Though officially billed as a “day of atonement,” a significant portion of the event focused on America’s historical and allegedly continuing assault on black people. “The real evil in America,” Farrakhan said that day, “is the idea that undergirds the setup of the Western world, and that idea is called white supremacy.” Among the notable individuals who helped Farrakhan organize the Million Man March were Al Sharpton, Jeremiah Wright, and Barack Obama.
On numerous occasions, Farrakhan has formed alliances with avowed foreign enemies of the United States. In January 1996, for instance, he formed a partnership with Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi, who pledged $1 billion to help Farrakhan develop a Muslim political lobby in the U.S. According to Libya’s official news agency JANA, Qadhafi announced: “Our confrontation with America used to be like confronting a fortress from outside. Today, we have found a loophole to enter the fortress and to confront it from within. On this basis, we agreed with Louis Farrakhan and his delegation to mobilize in a legal and legitimate form the oppressed minorities, and at their forefront the blacks, Arabs, Muslims and red Indians — for they play an important role in American political life and have a weight in U.S. elections.”
JANA also quoted Farrakhan as having said: “I have met my brother, Col. Moammar [Q]adhafi … for the sake of unifying Arabs, Muslims, blacks and oppressed communities in America to play a strong, significant role, not only in the American elections but in American foreign policy.”
This was not Farrakhan’s first friendly encounter with Qadhafi. Eleven years earlier, the Libyan strongman — through the Islamic Call Society, a Tripoli-based religious agency supporting Muslim activity across the globe — had granted NOI a $5 million, interest-free loan, in gratitude for which Farrakhan later visited Libya to personally thank his benefactor. When he offered the loan to NOI, Qadhafi not only encouraged black soldiers to leave the U.S. Army, but he also offered to arm such deserters so they could resist their “racist oppressors.” On yet another occasion, Farrakhan and his aides — violating a travel ban imposed on Americans by President Reagan — flew to Tripoli to meet with Qadhafi, whom Farrakhan, at various times, proudly called “a friend,” “a brother,” and “a fellow struggler in the cause of liberation for our people.”
In March 2011, Farrakhan, reacting to President Barack Obama‘s decision to assist rebels who had recently launched an uprising against Libyan President Moammar Qadhafi, said: “I love Moammar Qadhafi, and I love our president. It grieves me to see my brother president set a policy that would remove this man not only from power, but from the earth.” Portraying Qadhafi as a fellow revolutionary and longtime friend of NOI, Farrakhan reported that the Libyan leader had lent the Nation of Islam some $8 million over the years.
In 1996, Farrakhan traveled to Communist Cuba and met with President Fidel Castro. The two discussed international issues, Cuba’s social development, and conditions among people of African descent in the Western Hemisphere.
Farrakhan returned to Cuba for a friendly, three-day visit in February 1998.
On March 19, 2006, Farrakhan led a 23-person delegation on a nine-day fact-finding mission to Communist Cuba, where they met with Fidel Castro and studied Cuba’s purportedly exceptional example of disaster-relief preparedness. The delegation took pains to contrast Cuba’s efficiency to the Bush administration’s allegedly abysmal response to Hurricane Katrina in August and September of 2005 — a response that Farrakhan, at a March 27 press conference in Havana, cited as evidence of the need for “regime change in America.” As the NOI publication Final Call reported:
“During the mission [to Cuba], the Cuban government provided the delegation with unfettered access to the officials in various governmental departments to impart how the various agencies work together to minimize and/or eliminate human casualties during, and immediately after natural disasters. The delegation learned methods and strategies of collecting vital information in advance of natural disasters that would provide for a more measured and precise evacuation plan. The Cuban government apprised the delegation of procedures it implemented which prevented the loss of any life during Hurricanes Wilma and Henry and a nominal loss of life [in Cuba] during Hurricane Katrina.”
In April 2018, Farrakhan led an NOI delegation to Cuba, to pay homage to the late Fidel Castro by laying flowers at his tomb in Santiago de Cuba.
In 1996, ’97, and ’98, Farrakhan went on three “World Friendship Tours” to exchange pleasantries with government leaders in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Sudan, Kuwait, North Korea, South Korea, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, China, Malaysia, Singapore, the former Soviet Union, 20 countries in Africa, and a number of nations in the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and South America. Many times during these tours, Farrakhan publicly denounced American foreign policy. Particularly noteworthy was his visit as an honored guest of Sudan’s Islamic fundamentalist government, which had slaughtered a million black Christians and enslaved hundreds of thousands of its black inhabitants.
In February 1998, Farrakhan sent a cordial and supportive letter to Saddam: “Your Excellency, we who have grown up in Islam inside of America understand that the West wants to destroy you, sir, in order to make an example out of your destruction to all strong Muslim leaders. You are a visionary, and they want to destroy your vision! If they are able to bring you down, that will serve as a warning to Brother [Qadhafi] in Libya; to Brothers Hassan Turabi and [President] Omar Bashir in the Sudan; it will mean a setback for the goal of unity of the Muslim ummah.”
In 1997 Farrakhan was quoted describing “the white man” as “the anti-Christ.”
In March 2000, The Philadelphia Enquirer quoted Farrakhan saying: “White people are potential humans … they haven’t evolved yet.”
On another occasion, Farrakhan delivered a sermon in which he said, “There is no human being on earth that has murdered more living things than the Caucasian. He is a murderer and a liar.” In the same sermon, he elaborated: “White folks … cannot be reformed [because] you cannot reform a devil. All the prophets tried and failed. You have to kill the devil…. [H]e’s 100 percent wicked…. He’s a snake of the grafted type, and if he’s allowed to live, he’ll sting someone else. It is not the color of the white man that’s the problem. It’s the mind of the white man that’s the problem.”
In the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Farrakhan stated that America had insufficient proof of Osama bin Laden‘s and al-Qaeda‘s culpability. “They [American government officials] have lied before,” he said, “and there’s no guarantee they are not lying now.”
In a March 1, 2015 Saviours’ Day event in Chicago, Farrakhan said that “Israelis and Zionist Jews” had been behind the September 11, 2001 al Qaeda terrorist attacks. “We now know that the crime they say is at the root of terrorism was not committed by Arabs or Muslims at all,” Farrakhan stated. He continued:
“They [so-called 9/11 ‘truthers’] say the world trade buildings were brought down by carefully placed explosives, not by planes. It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Now look, if they can prove me wrong, like I said I’ll pay with my life. Since they want to kill me anyway. Prove me wrong We’re dealing with thieves, liars and murderers. Listen to this. We know that many Israelis were arrested immediately after the attack, but quickly released and sent to Israel….
“We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work September 11. Who sent that message, that keep them from showing up. Within minutes of the attacks Ehud Barak, the founder and master of the Israeli military covert force was in a London studio of the BBC blaming Osama bin Laden and calling for a war on terror. We know that Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience in Israel, we are benefiting from one thing and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon and the American struggle in Iraq. He added that these catastrophes and wars will swing the American public opinion in favor of Israel…. It now appears 9/11 was a false flag operation, which is an attack from one country but made to appear like an attack from another in order to start a war between them.”
Farrakhan revisited this theme in 2018, when he narrated a video that, according to the Nation of Islam, cited “many experts” who “say the World Trade Center Towers were destroyed in a controlled demolition.” According to the video, this “false flag” operation was designed “to deceive” the public by making “activities appear as though they [were] being carried out by entities, groups, or nations other than those who actually planned and executed them.”
Appearing on CNN’s Late Edition in 2002, Farrakhan portrayed America’s contemplated attack on Iraq as an unprovoked act of aggression against a regime that posed no tangible threat to the U.S. “I would feel so much better,” he said, “if the government of the United States of America would not seek to make Saddam Hussein a trophy for the reelection of President Bush. Saddam Hussein is not responsible for the collapse of Enron and thousands of American citizens losing their life savings.”
On Black Entertainment Television in July 2002, Farrakhan asked, “How is America so righteous, with blood dripping from [its] hands of the peoples of the world? How has America all of a sudden become so righteous that she can now go to Iraq and set that man [Saddam] down?”
In the February 17, 2005 issue of The Final Call, Farrakhan condemned the United States for seeking “to change Islam, to make Islam suitable and non-threatening to Western hegemony over the entire world.” “[T]he war [against Iraq] is not just against brutal dictators,” he said. “The war, at the root, is against Islam. The government will not admit to that, but I see signs. … I say to you that there’s no way that I, as a Muslim, could countenance my children or grandchildren fighting a war against fellow believers in any part of the world.” Asserting that America’s involvement in the Iraq War was a consequence of its loyalty to Israel, Farrakhan added:
“Once the American people understand the agenda of the neo-conservatives, you would be foolish to send your children to die for that which is against the best interest of America, but in the best interest of Israel. All of the agenda of the neo-conservatives was to bring President Bush in line with Israel and use the power of the American military to destroy the real and perceived enemies of Israel. Iraq never threatened America; could not threaten America. But as long as Saddam Hussein was alive, in their minds he was a threat to Israel. Syria is a threat to Israel. Iran is a threat to Israel. Anyone that does not believe in their justification of the State of Israel on Palestinian lands is an enemy that must be destroyed.”
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina which devastated America’s Gulf Coast in August 2005, Farrakhan accused President Bush of ordering that one of New Orleans’ strategically located levees be dynamited so as to enable the flood waters to kill a maximum number of black people. “I heard from a very reliable source, who saw a 25-foot deep crater under the levee breach,” said Farrakhan “It may have been blown up to destroy the black part of town and keep the white part dry.”
At a Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) meeting in 2005, Farrakhan posed for a very friendly photograph with then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama. Also posing with Farrakhan and Obama were Mustapha Farrakhan (Minister Farrakhan’s security chief and son), Joshua Farrakhan (his other son), and Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad (his chief of staff and son-in-law). In addition, the photo included a Farrakhan ally named Willie F. Wilson, who had once led a protest against an Asian business by a mob shouting, “Fuck the Chinks!” The photographer, Nation Of Islam employee Askia Muhammad, subsequently hid the photo for the next 13 years, in order to protect Obama politically. As Askia Muhammad would later explain in January 2018, he had “basically swor[n] secrecy” and handed over the picture to the aforementioned Leonard Farrakhan Muhammad, who had kept the photo hidden for 13 years.
In 2005 Farrakhan organized the Millions More Movement to mark the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March, and to demand that the U.S. government increase its spending on welfare programs designed to recompense blacks for the suffering that America has historically inflicted on them and their forebears.
Addressing a crowd of some 20,000 people at the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day celebration in February 2008, Farrakhan said that presidential candidate Barack Obama represented the “hope of the entire world” that the United States might become a better neighbor to other nations.
Also in February 2008, Farrakhan called Obama “a herald of the Messiah.” “Barack has captured the youth,” said the NOI leader, referring to the passionate support Obama had drawn from young people in America. “And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the messiah speaks, the youth will hear. And the messiah is absolutely speaking.”
In 2010 Farrakhan publicly embraced Dianetics, a practice of Scientology. He urged all NOI members to become practitioners of Scientology’s one-on-one counseling technique designed to help people handle their “engrams,” which, according to Scientology teachings, are mental images of past experiences that have negative effects on their emotional life.
In 2011, Farrakhan said: “All white people should flock to [Scientology founder] L. Ron Hubbard. You can still be a Christian; you just won’t be a devil Christian. You can still be a Jew, but you won’t be a satanic Jew.”
In September 2010, Farrakhan dined with members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (who was in the United States for the 65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations), and several dozen Iranian Imams at New York City’s Warwick Hotel. According to NBPP leader Malik Zulu Shabazz, who attended the dinner, the participants talked “about perhaps bringing natural gas and oil and other reparations [in compensation for past Arab slaving activities] into the black nation,” along with “other things—unmentionable.” Indicating that the tenor of the New York meeting was positive, Shabazz said: “You know, there is no greater enemy than the white man. You know, uh, again we have to learn because it’s just as many Arabs who hate this white man as we do. So, am I not to ally myself, alliance myself with this Arab in fighting this white man?” Also present at the dinner was Imam Siraj Wahhaj, amir of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA).
On September 24, 2013, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani hosted a dinner-party reception for approximately 20 people at his One UN hotel room in New York City. One of those guests was Farrakhan, who was escorted to the event by Iranian secret-service officers. Also present at the dinner were Democratic congressmen Keith Ellison, Andre Carson, and Gregory Meeks.
Farrakhan was outraged when — on August 9, 2014 — a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri shot and killed an 18-year-old black male named Michael Brown, who had committed a strong-armed robbery of a convenience store just a few minutes before his death. Some witnesses initially claimed, falsely, that Brown, just prior to being shot, had his hands raised above his head and was trying to peacefully surrender. When compelling ballistic, eyewitness, and forensic evidence eventually (in late October 2014) indicated that Brown in fact had assaulted the officer and tried to steal his gun just prior to the fatal shooting, Farrakhan’s outrage over the incident was undiminished. And when a grand jury announced on November 24, 2014 that it would not indict the officer—because of overwhelming evidence indicating that the shooting was done in self-defense—Farrakhan delivered a speech at at Morgan State University — a black college located in Baltimore — in which he stated that a violent response by blacks would be entirely justifiable under by the scriptural “law [of] retaliation.” For example:
In a July 2015 sermon at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Miami, Farrakhan issued what was, in essence, a call for black people to murder whites who allegedly oppress and terrorize them: “I’m looking for 10,000 in the midst of a million. Ten thousand fearless men who say death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny. Death is sweeter than continuing to live and bury our children while the white folks give our killers hamburgers. Death is sweeter than watching us slaughter each other to the joy of a 400-year-old enemy. Death is sweeter. The Quran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter. Then it says retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain. Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breasts of those whose children have been slain. So if the federal government won’t intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us; stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling!”
In early 2016, Farrakhan led a delegation to Iran to participate in the 37th Anniversary commemoration of the Iranian Revolution. During a news conference, he said: “Whenever America wants to destroy a nation, a people, they must first demonize them, and the Zionist controlled media in America has chosen to demonize Iran.”
On November 4, 2018, Farrakhan was in Tehran to participate in a celebration commemorating the 39th anniversary of the takeover of the U.S. embassy by Iranian extremists in 1979. Iranians marked the event by using American and British flags to apply black polish to their shoes, and by trampling mock-ups of the U.S. dollar. Angered by President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that economic sanctions against Iran would be renewed, Farrakhan said: “Today, I warn the American government that sanctioning Iran is a big mistake.” He also helped lead the crowd in chants of “Death to America! Death to Israel!”
In November 2018 Farrakhan traveled to Iran, where he led a University of Tehran law-school audience in chanting “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”
During his Saviours’ Day Conference speech in Chicago in February 2019, Farrakhan spoke in defense of Women’s March national leaders who had recently been criticized for associating with him — specifically Tamika Mallory (of Black Lives Matter), Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez.
Farrakhan was outraged when President Trump in January 2020 ordered the U.S. military to kill Qasem Soleimani, the longtime leader of the terrorist Quds Force division of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. Several weeks later, on February 23, Farrakhan delivered a three-and-a-half-hour keynote speech at NOI’s annual Saviors’ Day conference in Detroit. Some noteworthy excerpts from the speech include the following:
Farrakhan: In His Own Words
By The Anti-Defamation League
Minister Louis Farrakhan: In His Own Words
By The Jewish Virtual Library
Seven Louis Farrakhan Quotes On Jews, Gays And White People
By The Daily Caller
January 26. 2018