The current leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), Louis Farrakhan was born Louis Eugene Walcott on May 11, 1933 in Roxbury, Massachusetts. As a young man in Boston, he became a popular entertainer as a calypso singer, dancer, and violinist. While in Chicago in February 1955, he was invited by a friend to attend a Nation of Islam Saviours’ Day Convention at a local mosque. Soon thereafter Farrakhan joined NOI.
In the 1960s Farrakhan developed a strong enmity toward fellow NOI member Malcolm X, who backed a more moderate vision of black civil rights than did Farrakhan. When Malcolm in 1964 publicly revealed that NOI leader Elijah Muhammad had impregnated several of his teenage secretaries, Farrakhan, outraged at what he perceived to be Malcolm’s disloyalty, called him a traitor and denounced him in 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.
As recently as 1993, Farrakhan tried to justify Malcolm X’s assassination when he said in a speech, “Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with [Malcolm] like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats.” In May 1995, however, Farrakhan spoke for the first time in repentant tones about the slaying, and admitted to having “helped create the atmosphere” that led to it. “I may have been complicit in words that I spoke leading up to 21 February,” he said. “I acknowledge that and regret that any word that I have said caused the loss of life of a human being.” Soon thereafter, however, Farrakhan named the U.S. government as the real villain that had fomented zeal and bitterness inside NOI’s ranks.
In 1984 Farrakhan issued another death threat against someone he perceived to be a race traitor. After a black Washington Post reporter named Milton Coleman publicly revealed that presidential candidate Jesse Jackson had derisively referred to Jews as “Hymies” and to New York City as “Hymietown,” Farrakhan told Coleman: “One day soon we will punish you with death.”
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.
Farrakhan has a long, well-documented history of venom-laced references to the “white devils” and Jewish “bloodsuckers” who purportedly decimate America’s black community from coast to coast. He has referred to Judaism as a “gutter religion,” and to Adolf Hitler as “a very great man” — though he later claimed that he had meant only that Hitler was “wickedly great.” He has made innumerable statements depicting whites and Jews as loathsome, racist oppressors of blacks.
In 1997, for example, the Clarion-Ledger reported Farrakhan’s characterization of “the white man” as the “anti-Christ.” In a 1997 Meet The Press interview, Farrakhan stated, “It is not accidental that the black male is in the condition he is in,” and he charged that there was a “conspiracy of our government against the black male.” In August 1997, the New York Amsterdam News quoted Farrakhan stating, “A decree of death has been passed on America. The judgment of God has been rendered and she must be destroyed.” A month later the NOI newspaper The Final Call (formerly called Muhammad Speaks) reported Farrakhan’s assertion that just as African Americans are under a “death decree” from the U.S. government, America is similarly under a “decree of death from God.” “There is no wicked nation in the past that approaches the evil that is practiced in America on a daily basis,” said Farrakhan on another occasion.
In March 2000 the Philadelphia Inquirer quoted Farrakhan saying, “White people are potential humans … they haven’t evolved yet.” At other times, he has referred to whites as “vicious beasts” and “the skunks of the planet.” Additional noteworthy Farrakhan statements include the following:
On numerous occasions, Farrakhan has made 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: “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, Arab Muslims and Red Indians — for they play an important role in American political life and have a weight in U.S. elections.” The Jana story further stated that Qadhafi and Farrakhan had pledged to fight America from the “inside.” “Our confrontation with America,” said Qadhafi, “was [previously] like a fight against a fortress from outside, and today [with the NOI alliance] we found a breach to enter into this fortress and confront it.”
This was not Farrakhan’s first friendly encounter with Qadhafi. Eleven years earlier, the Libyan strongman had granted NOI a $5 million, interest-free loan, in gratitude for which Farrakhan later visited Libya to personally thank his benefactor. Qadhafi once told a crowd of NOI followers at a Chicago convention that he sought to sponsor an armed black revolution in America. 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 has proudly called “a friend,” “a brother,” and “a fellow struggler in the cause of liberation for our people.”
In 1996 and again the following year, Farrakhan went on “World Friendship Tours” to exchange pleasantries with government leaders in Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Sudan — all of which were on the State Department’s list of nations that supported terrorism. Many times during these tours, Farrakhan publicly denounced the United States as “the Great Satan.” 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.
Before Farrakhan left Iran for Syria in 1996, a Tehran newspaper quoted him saying: “God will destroy America by the hands of the Muslims. … God will not give Japan or Europe the honor of bringing down the United States; this is an honor God will bestow upon Muslims.”
In Baghdad, Farrakhan met with Saddam Hussein and expressed his hope that the U.S. would “halt its mass murder of Iraqis” — a reference to the economic hardships caused by the post-Gulf War sanctions imposed on Iraq.
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 [among Muslims].”
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’re not lying now.”
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.” Added Farrakhan: “[S]anctions [are] a weapon of mass destruction [against the Iraqi people]. America is angry with Saddam Hussein because his people love him. And they want to punish the Iraqi people to make the Iraqi people rise up and overthrow Saddam. They [the Iraqis] had a so-called election, a referendum. Ninety-nine percent of the people vote[d] for their man. You can’t get that in America. They love their man.”
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.”
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, “F___ 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 Muhammad explained 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.
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’s October 16, 1995 “Million Man March” 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.
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.
Impugning the U.S. government for supporting “the State of Israel on Palestinian lands,” Farrakhan has cultivated a friendly relationship with the leaders of Neturei Karta, a small Jewish organization that opposes Israel’s existence.
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.”
Farrakhan is a longtime friend and ally of Michael Pfleger, pastor of Chicago’s Saint Sabina Catholic Church. As of April 2008, he had preached in Pfleger’s church on three separate occasions.
In September 2010, Farrakhan dined with members of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, 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 had 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?”
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 an April 10, 2012 speech at Alabama A&M University, Farrakhan referenced the Jewish tradition of the Prophet Elijah’s arrival at every doorway on Passover night, and said: “If Elijah was at the door and he was black, you would call 911 and say there’s a ni**er at the door, claiming he’s Elijah! Send the police!” This, Farrakhan explained, was “because you are not trained to accept wisdom from a black person, no matter how wise that black person is.” Further, the minister asserted that “Jesus was a black man” and “a Muslim.”
In the same speech, Farrakhan said: “White people suffer from the false notion that white skin makes them superior. And we suffer from the falsehood that the blackness of our skin makes us inferior. So we’re bowing to white supremacy and manifesting black inferiority.”
In the summer of 2013, Farrakhan said: “Even though we in 2013 are celebrating a two-term black president…the brother simply has not been able to repair the damage caused by centuries of racism [and] greed, which has now run this nation over a fiscal cliff.”
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.
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 Michael 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 March 1, 2015 Saviours’ Day event in Chicago, Farrakhan said that “Israelis and Zionist Jews” were 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.”
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!”
When Farrakhan spoke at NOI’s annual gathering in Detroit in February 2017, attendees greeted him with thunderous cries of “Allahu akbar” and listened raptly as Farrakhan railed against the Jews: “I want to disabuse the Jews today of the false claim that you are the chosen of God — that Israel or Palestine belongs to you. I want to disabuse you of that. I’m going to tell you about your future. You that think you have power to frighten and dominate the peoples of the world. I’m here to announce the end of your time.”
In his Saviours’ Day keynote speech in February 2018, Farrakhan said:
On November 4, 2018, Farrakan 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!”
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. with him — specifically Tamika Mallory (of Black Lives Matter), Linda Sarsour, and Carmen Perez. He also denounced Jews in the harshest of terms: “The wicked Jews want to use me to break up the women’s movement. It ain’t about Farrakhan; it’s about women all over the world, have the power to change the world.” In other remarks, Farrakhan said that Jews “think so much of themselves” that they become offended when blacks use the term “holocaust” to refer to the transatlantic slave trade, lynching, and other racist abuses: “How many of you have heard Jewish people tell you you can’t use ‘holocaust’ when you talk about black suffering? Do you know why? Because to them the suffering of six million Jews is worth seven billion human beings on our planet. So when you say ‘holocaust,’ that to them is blasphemy. That’s how cheap they think a Palestinian life [is], the life of the gentiles. Only their life is sacred.”
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:
In a three-hour Independence Day address that was live-streamed on YouTube, Farrakhan said the following about Anti-Defamation League national director Jonathan Greenblatt and the Jewish people: “Mr. Greenblatt, you are Satan. Those of you that say that you’re Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You are not a Jew… you are Satan and it is my job now to pull the cover off of Satan so that every Muslim when he sees Satan, pick up a stone, as we do in Mecca. When you know who Satan is, you don’t have to kill him [but] the stone of truth, that’s what you throw. We cast truth at falsehood till we knock out its brains.” Farrakhan also described the renowned Jewish attorney Alan Dershowitz as “a skillful deceiver” and “Satan masquerading as a lawyer.” And he accused Israel of promoting police violence against black people: “That’s why you gotta come at us like a coward. Like snakes trying to wrap yourself around us so you could give us the treatment that you were taught in Israel. You may, as you gonna stop your police from going to Israel to learn how to kill better.”