Nation of Islam condemns politically-motivated charges of racism

October 7,  2010

NEW YORK  - The Nation of Islam today expressed outrage at a statement by the National Jewish Democratic Council which erroneously referred to the religious movement as an anti-Semitic group.

"The Nation of Islam is not and has never been anti-Semitic, nor racist. As Muslims, our faith demands that we respect all of the revealed religions of God, which includes the Jewish faith," said Nation of Islam Chief of Staff Leonard F. Muhammad.

Contrary to the National Jewish Democratic Council’s Oct. 6 misstatement, members of the Nation of Islam are a "faith-based organization" and entitled to enjoy freedom of religion, like other believers in God, he said.

Muslim-owned security companies were discriminated against in the mid-1990s and lost federal contracts, at the urging of some Jewish groups, Mr. Muhammad noted. "Is today’s statement an indication that denying Muslims their constitutional rights is a litmus test for presidential candidates? If so, it is immoral, unlawful and out of line with the values America says it believes in," he said.

Members of the Nation of Islam and their family members have fought in America’s wars and their constitutional right to freedom of religion must be respected, Mr. Muhammad said.

In addition, the organization also responded to an Oct. 5, full-page ad in the New York Times placed by the Republican Jewish Coalition, which again falsely accused Min. Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, of racist and anti-Semitic statements.

"For the past 16 years, Min. Farrakhan has sought to correct errors reported in the press and recycled by those who oppose him. Min. Farrakhan is not anti-Semitic, nor a racist, and has sought honest dialog. He has also been an example of leadership that is guided by principle and not partisan politics. We hope Democrats and Republicans would follow his example and try to bring people together for good, rather than separate them for narrow political self-interest," he added.

The Nation of Islam also noted that Min. Farrakhan has responded to these allegations in nearly every public speech, media interview or press conference since 1984. Below is a partial list of instances where Min. Farrakhan has answered false charges of racism and anti-Semitism:

1984 February 25, 1984 Min. Farrakhan responds to over 100 serious death threats made on Rev. Jackson's life, because of statements Rev. Jackson made about the Jewish community to Washington Post reporter Milton Coleman. Rev. Jackson was a candidate for president. Min. Farrakhan defended Mr. Jackson in a speech for the civil rights leader’s presidential campaign. He also called for dialog with the Jewish community.

February 26, 1984 Min. Farrakhan was referred to as "the new black Hitler," by the Nathan Perlmutter, leader of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), in a newspaper article.

March 11, 1984 Min. Farrakhan defends himself against being called "the new black Hitler" and other allegations of anti-Semitism, during a lecture in Chicago.

April 5, 1984 Min. Farrakhan defends himself against the same false charges on Nightline, with host Ted Koppel. June 18, 1984 In an interview with the Boston Globe & Jewish Advocate, the false charges are answered again by Min. Farrakhan. June 1984 Sandy Freeman of CNN questions Min. Farrakhan about the 95-0 vote by the U.S. senate charging him of being anti-Semitic. July 30, 1984 Min. Farrakhan, at his first major press briefing, held National Press Club in Washington, D.C., answers questions about of anti-Semitism/racism before national and international media.

1985 February 17, 1985 Exclusive interview with Washington Post includes response to anti-Semitic allegations. March 15, 1985 Interview with Irv Kupcinet & The Phil Donahue Show yield another response from Min. Farrakhan about old charges of anti-Semitism and racism. October 7, 1985 Madison Square Garden lecture by Min. Farrakhan again deals with friction with Jewish community and clarifies statements. Mayor Ed Koch tried unsuccessfully to ban Min. Farrakhan from appearing at the Garden. Members of the ADL and members of the Jewish community chanted death threats, "Death to Farrakhan!"

1990 February 27, 1990 Front-page interview with Washington Times editorial staff includes answers to old allegations of anti-Semitism and racism. February 28, 1990 Front page interview with Washington Post also answers old allegations of anti-Semitism and racism. March 13, 1990 Interview on The Phil Donahue Show includes answer to false allegations of racism and anti-Semitism.

1994 February 3, 1994 Min. Farrakhan speaks at the Washington, D.C., press conference, regarding his beliefs and remarks made by Khallid Muhammad, who was reprimanded for the manner and language used during a speech that included references to the Jewish community, the Pope and Catholicism.

1995 October 16, 1995 Million Man March in Washington, again includes words about the Jewish rift and what the Minister actually said. October 20, 1995 Interview on Good Morning America, Min. Farrakhan answers questions about false allegations of anti-Semitism statements.

1996 September Essence Magazine interviews Min. Farrakhan about false allegations of anti-Semitism. July 31, 1996 Interview with John F. Kennedy Jr. for George magazine about false allegations of anti-Semitism.

1997 April 13, 1997 Interview on Meet the Press with Tim Russert answers allegations of anti-Semitism. May, 1997 An in-depth interview conducted by the Jerusalem Report addressing same allegations. May 5, 1997 Interview with Fariya Chideya for Vibe Magazine, includes answer to allegations of anti-Semitism.

1998 October 18, 1998 Interview on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, includes answer to allegations of anti-Semitism.

2000 September 28, 2000 Press briefing in Bloomington, Ill., Min. Farrakhan answers questions from female Jewish mayor about alleged anti-Semitic statements.