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October 24, 2013

Farrakhan’s Absence From NOI Event Spotlights Possible Successor, Ishmael Muhammad


Ishmael Muhammad with Mayor Johnny Ford at 2013 Holy Day of Atonement in Tuskegee, Alabama

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Far­rakhan’s last minute absence from the 2013 Holy Day of Atonement event in Tuskegee, Alabama, on October 20, may shed light on the future direction of the group’s leadership.

Farrakhan was not able to give his annual keynote address due to hospitalization for “an infection,” according to his daughter Donna. In previous years, his Holy Day of Atonement addresses have been marked by his notoriously anti-Semitic worldview, including his two-part keynote address last year in Chicago and Charlotte.

Ishmael Muhammad, assistant minister at Mosque Maryam, the NOI’s flagship mosque in Chicago, and son of former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, gave the keynote address in Farrakhan’s absence.

Muhammad was introduced by Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford as one of the “new leaders of the Nation of Islam” and as “a new beginning.” In Muhammad address, he delivered “the message that [Farrakhan] gave to [him],” prolifically praising Farrakhan, and announcing the NOI’s new “economic blueprint.”

The day after Muhammad’s speech, he tweeted, “We showed the world on Sunday that the Nation is not just Louis Farrakhan, it is Allah’s!!!”

Muhammad has long been regarded as the most likely successor to Farrakhan. His public role grew in 1999 when Farrakhan was seriously ill with complications from treatment for prostate cancer. And in 2006, when Farrakhan issued an open letter saying that he was relinquishing his leadership role with the group after nearly 30 years due to illness, Muhammad continued to play a central role in most major NOI events.

In 2007, W.D. Mohammed, another son of former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, who rejected his father’s racist ideology and steered a new course away from hatred, reiterated the widely held belief that Ishmael Muhammad is the most likely contender for NOI leadership. During a lecture at the Clinton Presidential Library in Arkansas, W.D. said Ishmael is poised to “clear up the destruction of the religion in the Nation of Islam.”

Unlike Farrakhan, Muhammad does not have an extensive public record of anti-Semitism or bigotry, but he has frequently defended Farrakhan’s blatantly hateful messages.

While Muhammad has discussed his reluctance to take on the leadership of the NOI on several occasions over the years, he continues to fill in for Farrakhan at the most critical moments.

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June 13, 2013

Farrakhan Invited By Public Officials To Alabama Rallies

Update – June 17, 2013: During his remarks in front of the Alabama State Capitol, Farrakhan reportedly stated that white people, “don’t have the will to allow you to vote uncontested.” Farrakhan also reportedly told the crowd that Jews “know the value of money” and “misuse their power.” Speakers at the rally had no shortage of praise for Farrakhan. Sen. Hank Sanders’ wife, Faya Toure, a Selma lawyer who helped organize the event, called Farrakhan “one of the greatest leaders of our generation. I don’t care what the SPLC says, I don’t care what the Jews say.”

Update – June 14, 2013: In a letter to the Birmingham Jewish Federation, State Senator Hank Sanders reiterated his unabashed support for Louis Farrakhan speaking at the Alabama rallies. In the letter, Sanders stated, “I applaud him [Farrakhan] for the good things he has done,” turning a blind eye to Farrakhan’s decades of hateful words against Jews, white people, and the LGBT community.

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan was invited by a group of Alabama elected officials to participate in multiple June 14 rallies to support the extension of the federal Voting Rights Act. The rallies will take place in Birmingham, Selma, the Shelby County Courthouse, and the steps of the State Capitol in Montgomery.farrakhan-alabama-jews

The invitation to Farrakhan comes at a time when Farrakhan has made numerous egregiously anti-Semitic statements, claiming that “Satanic Jews” and the “Syn­a­gogue of Satan” control America’s gov­ern­ment, economy, media, and other sectors.

Despite his recent hateful statements in Detroit as well as his racist and anti-Semitic remarks over a three-decade career, Farrakhan was publicly endorsed by Alabama State Senators Hank Sanders (D-Selma) and Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro) and Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford.

During a speech in front of the seal of the Alabama State House last week, Senator Sanders said, “We’re really proud that the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has agreed [to speak].”

Mayor Ford added, “We reached out to Minister Farrakhan because we know that he has the power to mobilize Black people as well as some whites who believe in progress in working for freedom and justice.” He also called Farrakhan’s participation “historic.” Ford previously publicly showered Farrakhan with praise in March. While introducing Farrakhan before his speech to students at Tuskegee University, Ford gave him a key to the city and proclaimed him “honorary mayor of Tuskegee for life.”

On June 5, ADL called the invitation “a terrible mistake” and urged the public officials who invited Farrakhan to Alabama to “withdraw their invitation and reject his hateful rhetoric.”

In addition to the elected officials, others participating include the NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

Farrakhan’s demonization of Jews expands beyond his public speeches. He also spreads his hateful conspiratorial worldview through social media, the NOI’s traditional media arm, and his 52-week online lecture series, launched in January 2013.

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