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Nation of Islam

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Antisemitism · Jewish history

A number of Jewish organizations, Christian organizations, Muslim organizations, and academics consider the Nation of Islam to be antisemitic, stating that the Nation of Islam has engaged in revisionist and antisemitic interpretations of the Holocaust and exaggerates the role of Jews in the African slave trade.[1] The Nation of Islam has repeatedly rejected such charges as false and politically motivated.[2]


Charges of antisemitism

General claims

The Anti-Defamation League,[3] the American Jewish Committee, the American Jewish Congress, the left-wing advocacy group The Public Eye, government officials, academics, Christian groups, and the Stephen Roth Institute for studying Antisemitism and Racism have described the Nation of Islam as antisemitic.

Catholic magazines such as This Rock have described the Nation of Islam as both antisemitic and anti-Catholic. [4]

Some articles by scholars of comparative religion have argued that the Nation of Islam is antisemitic and advocates Holocaust denial. For instance, in the Global Journal of Classical Theology, Professor Richard V. Pierard writes:

Holocaust denial is a stock in trade of Ku Klux Klan, Neo-Nazi, Skinhead...and one also finds it in Black hate groups like Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, some Afrocentrist writers, and in Arab anti-Israel rhetoric. The common thread running through all these manifestations is anti-Semitism; that is, hatred or dislike of Jews.[5]

The Nation of Islam's official position does not deny the Jewish holocaust. Tim Russert, during a 1997 Meet the Press interview with Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, posed the question, "Do you believe there was a Holocaust in which 6 million Jews perished?"

Of course I believe that Jews perished in Germany, and (those) same Jews perished in Germany while the Pope Pius XII looked the other way and the government of America looked the other way. Now there is reconciliation between Jews and Catholics and the government of the United States. What is wrong with reconciliation between those who looked the other way when my fathers were being brought into America as slaves, and to this very moment have not received justice? I think atonement, reconciliation, and responsibility should be the watch word for this time, and I am willing to sit down with any who wish to discuss atonement, reconciliation, and responsibility.[6]

A number of prominent secular humanists have written that the NOI is anti-Semitic. Hating in the Name of God, by Benjamin Radford (Council for Secular Humanism website), and Madeline Weld's address to the 1995 annual meeting of the Humanist Association of Canada are examples of such criticism.

A report by the Stephen Roth Institute for studying Anti-Semitism and Racism states the following:

Louis Farrakhan, and the Nation of Islam (NOI), which he heads, have a long, well-documented record of hate-filled and anti-Semitic rhetoric. Over the years, NOI ministers and representatives have regularly expressed anti-Semitic, anti-white, anti-homosexual and anti-Catholic sentiments in their speeches. Furthermore, The Final Call, the NOI's official organ, reflects the anti-Semitism of Farrakhan and his organization.[7]

British Home Secretary Jack Straw and lawyers for the Home Office have also described Farrakhan’s views as “anti-semitic and racially divisive,” and as a result he has been banned from the United Kingdom since 1986.[8][9][10]

Claims that the Jews "control the economy"

For many years certain Nation of Islam (NOI) ministers have been preaching that "the Jews" control the American economy and the world economy. Statements to this effect can be found in its newspaper The Final Call and in speeches given in their temples and on college campuses.

For example, the Dallas Observer recorded this dialogue between Nation-of-Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and an audience to which he was speaking:

Farrakhan: "Is the Federal Reserve owned by the government?"
Audience: "No."
Farrakhan: "Who owns the federal reserve?"
Audience: "Jews."
Farrakhan: "The same year they set up the IRS, they set up the FBI. And the same year they set up the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith...It could be a coincidence...[I want] to see Black intellectuals free...I want to see them not controlled by members of the Jewish community."[11]

Criticisms of perceived Jewish "control"

Elijah Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, and other NOI ministers are frequently critical of what they perceive as the Jewish control over African American society, their beliefs frequently approaching conspiracy theory. For example:

We are not giving them [Jews] power by getting into the debate, they already have power. They control Black intellectuals, they control Black politicians, Black preachers, Black artists—they control Black life. I’m not against Jews, I’m against control by any group, of us…I don’t know how you can talk about Black liberation without confronting that and not talk about those who stifle Black thought, freedom of Black liberation.[12]

Farrakhan gave a speech attacking then National Security Advisor Sandy Berger, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, and presidential advisor Rahm Emanuel. In regards to their names, he stated that "Every Jewish person that is around the president is a dual citizen of Israel and the United States of America...and sometimes, we have to raise the question, Are you more loyal to the state of Israel than you are to the best interests of the United States of America?"[13]

References to Jews as "bloodsuckers"

Some NOI ministers have called Jews bloodsuckers. For example, in his Saviours' Day speech in Chicago, Illinois, February 25, 1996, Louis Farrakhan stated:

And you do with me as is written, but remember that I have warned you that Allah will punish you. You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell. But I warn you in the name of Allah, you would be wise to leave me alone. But if you choose to crucify me, know that Allah will crucify you.

One former NOI minister Khalid Abdul Muhammed referred to Jews as bloodsuckers.

I called them [Jews] bloodsuckers. I'm not going to change that. Our lessons talk about the bloodsuckers of the poor in the Supreme Wisdom of the Nation of Islam. It's that old no-good Jew, that old imposter Jew, that old hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, Johnny-come-lately perpetrating a fraud, just crawled out of the caves and hills of Europe, so-called damn Jew. . . and I feel everything I'm saying up here is kosher." (Speech in Baltimore, MD, February 19, 1994)

Quotes from Khalid Abdul Muhammad, the spokesperson until 1993:

Who are the slumlords in the Black community? The so-called Jews... Who is it sucking our blood in the Black community? A white imposter Jew.[14]

Response to charges of antisemitism

The Nation of Islam has repeatedly denied charges of anti-Semitism,[15] and NOI leader Louis Farrakhan has stated, "The ADL .. uses the term 'anti-Semitism' to stifle all criticism of Zionism and the Zionist policies of the State of Israel and also to stifle all legitimate criticism of the errant behavior of some Jewish people toward the non-Jewish population."[16]

In a letter responding to ADL Director Abraham Foxman's insistence that black leaders distance themselves from the Nation of Islam, hip hop mogul Russell Simmons wrote, "Simply put, you are misguided, arrogant, and very disrespectful of African Americans and most importantly your statements will unintentionally or intentionally lead to a negative impression of Jews in the minds of millions of African Americans," he continued, "For over 50 years, Minister Farrakhan has labored to resurrect the downtrodden masses of African Americans up out of poverty and self-destruction" and indicated that he had personally witnessed Farrakhan affirm, 'A Muslim can not [sic] hate a Jew. We are all members of the family of Abraham and all of us should maintain dialogue and mutual respect.'"[17]

Jude Wanniski, a journalist and conservative commentator who worked as associate editor of The Wall Street Journal, was a supporter of Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, and was the author of several controversal articles relating to Jewish issues (For example, Do Jews Control the Media?). Before his death in 2005, he called for Abe Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), to be fired.

In a memo to Howard P. Berkowitz, National Chair fo the ADL, Wanniski stated, "I think you have to offer Abe Foxman an early retirement or flat out fire him...Abe (Foxman) has become drunk with power, swinging his weight around knowing he can label anyone who challenges him an anti-Semitic bigot." Jude Wanniski personally defended Minister Farrakhan and the believers in the Nation of Islam. Wanniski wrote, "I've met dozens of men and women who belong to the Nation of Islam, attended many of their conferences, and prayed with them in their Chicago mosque to the God of Abraham, Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed. I've concluded beyond any reasonable doubt that there is not an ounce of anti-Semitism or bigotry in Farrakhan."

Wanniski put the focus on Abe Foxman, pointing out, "My conclusion is that Foxman is in the wrong, not Farrakhan, that the ADL has spent the last 15 years using its political and financial clout to demonize Farrakhan and financially destroy the Nation of Islam... the ADL, which has spent a fortune trying to destroy him and the financial underpinnings of his religious institution."

Wanniski also pointed at the one-sided media coverage of Farrakhan and the NOI. Wanniski wrote, "I can post a defense of Farrakhan on the Internet, as I do with this (memo) to you, but there is no major news outlet that would entertain such a defense, wary of being condemned by Foxman as an agent of hate—as he has done to NBC."[18]

Despite the historic discord between the Jewish community and the Nation of Islam, a handful of Jewish leaders have declared that it is worth attempting to engage the Nation of Islam in dialogue to foster better relations. For example, Prominent Rabbi Marc Schneier, President of the Foundation For Ethnic Understanding (FFEU), held a private meeting with Minister Louis Farrakhan. Jewish leaders who engaged in this outreach stated that they hoped this would lead in a change of tone and content from NOI spokespeople in regards to the Jewish people. Since then, however, further attempts at dialogue have faltered.

Commenting on Rabbi Schneier's willingness to engage in dialogue with Farrakhan, black political commentator Cedric Muhammad wrote:

If the FFEU's mission of fostering direct, face-to-face dialogue between ethnic groups is a sincere one and is accepted by the Black community; and if the organization's leader, Rabbi Schneier can resist pressure from AIPAC and the ADL and continue to demonstrate an unusual degree of courage and openness in meeting with Black leaders selected and supported by the Black community, and not hand-picked by philanthropy and political parties; indeed, a better relationship between Blacks and Jews in America can be worked out in the near future.[19]

During a 1991 speech at the University of Illinois, Farrakhan responding to the controversy between him and members of the Jewish community:

"In my hands is a manuscript, brothers and sisters, that arose out of the controversy between myself and the Jewish community. I want to tell all of you I have never been antisemitic. I have never been a hater of Jews, nor am I now that, but I discovered in my tussle with them that they were on me because I had the nerve to pull the cover off of some deceitful practices that they practice on us and on others. And so they tried to make me the worst Black man in history. When they did that, some Muslims in the Nation rose up to defend me and went into libraries and did research and compiled a manuscript of over 300 pages from their own writings not from us. And not one scholar that we quote is an antisemite. Here are Jewish rabbis, Jewish scholars, Jewish writers. They document their own hand in the slave trade. They document their own hand in owning the ships, running the ships, buying and selling our fathers—it's here.[20]

Endorsement by Neturei Karta

The Nation of Islam has had friendly relations with the Neturei Karta, a tiny, fringe Orthodox Jewish group that is well-known for its highly unusual association with and support for anti-Zionists. Neturei Karta stressed that NOI leader, "Minister Louis Farrakhan is an extraordinary force for good in the Black community. His followers are responsible, industrious, modest, and moral. And for this he and they have our respect."[21]

In 2005, members of the Neturei Karta counter-demonstrated at a rally held by a few individuals who publicly accused Minister Louis Farrakhan of anti-Semitism.[22]

On Jews, Nazis, and the Holocaust

Farrakhan has stated that the Jews financed the Holocaust.

German Jews financed Hitler right here in America...International bankers financed Hitler and poor Jews died while big Jews were at the root of what you call the Holocaust...Little Jews died while big Jews made money. Little Jews [were] being turned into soap while big Jews washed themselves with it. Jews [were] playing violin, Jews [were] playing music, while other Jews [were] marching into the gas chambers....”[23]

Khalid Abdul Muhammad has stated that the Jews deserved to be exterminated by the Nazis. Echoing white supremacy propaganda, he holds that Jewish people undermined German society, and thus deserved to be targeted by the Nazis.

You see, everybody always talk about Hitler exterminating 6 million Jews...but don’t nobody ever asked 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.[24]

NOI cooperation with antisemitic groups

NOI cooperation with Holocaust deniers

According to The Public Eye, "One Revisionist author, Dr. Arthur R. Butz, was invited to share the stage with members of the Nation of Islam and other guests at a February 1985 Chicago NOI forum." [25] There has been cooperation between supporters of the Nation of Islam and Holocaust deniers such as the Institute for Historical Review (IHR), and the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust. A Nation of Islam supporter's website quotes from these groups, and these groups reciprocate. For example The Institute for Historical Review links to, a Web site run by supporters of the Nation of Islam.

The Nation of Islam's official position does not deny the Jewish holocaust. Tim Russert, during a 1997 Meet the Press interview with Nation of Islam leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan posed the question, "Do you believe there was a Holocaust in which 6 million Jews perished?"

Of course I believe that Jews perished in Germany, and (those) same Jews perished in Germany while the Pope Pius XII looked the other way and the government of America looked the other way. Now there is reconciliation between Jews and Catholics and the government of the United States. What is wrong with reconciliation between those who looked the other way when my fathers were being brought into America as slaves, and to this very moment have not received justice? I think atonement, reconciliation, and responsibility should be the watch word for this time, and I am willing to sit down with any who wish to discuss atonement, reconciliation, and responsibility.[6]

Cooperation with LaRouche groups

During the 1990s the NOI and the widely-criticised Lyndon LaRouche network were cooperating on matters including the Million Man March, and criticism of the Anti-Defamation League. NOI writers have been published in LaRouche publications and vice versa. Both organizations were targets of the ADL files controversy.

Endorsement by White supremacists

In 1961 and 1962, George Lincoln Rockwell, the leader of the American Nazi Party, was invited to speak by Elijah Muhammad at a Nation of Islam rally.[26] At a Michigan meeting of Neo-Nazis and White supremacists in 1985, Farrakhan was praised as someone who understood that the real enemy is the Jews, and the need for separate white and black nations. However the Nation of Islam has not openly reciprocated these gestures of support.

Tom Metzger has attended NOI functions.

See also


  2. ^ Farrakhan and the Jewish Rift; A Historic Reference
  3. ^ "Farrakhan In His Own Words" (HTML). Retrieved 2007-08-19.  
  4. ^ This Rock, Dragnet: Well-rounded bigotry, November 1995
  5. ^ Pierard, Global Journal of Classical Theology, (4)2, 2004
  6. ^ a b Farrakhan Meets The Press
  7. ^ Anti-Semitism Worldwide 1997/8. Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam
  8. ^ Farrakhan still barred from Britain
  9. ^ Black Leader Farrakhan Vows UK Visit Despite Ban
  10. ^ Opponents attack Farrakhan ruling
  11. ^ Dallas Observer on-line, August 10, 2000
  12. ^ Daily Challenge, 10/12/00
  13. ^ News conference at the National Press Club, October 19, 1998
  14. ^ Speech at Kean College, NJ, November 29, 1993
  15. ^ Farrakhan and the Jewish Rift; A Historic Reference
  16. ^ The Final Call, February 16, 1994
  17. ^ Hip Hop Summit Action Network Press Release, May 9, 2005) [1]
  18. ^ Memo, 10-28-98, Fire Abe Foxman!
  19. ^ :: ::
  20. ^ Min. Farrakhan and the Jews
  21. ^ Letter to Journal News 12/31/99
  22. ^ Orthodox Jews Counter demonstrate Against Farrakhan's Accusers
  23. ^ Sermon delivered at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, March 19, 1995
  24. ^ Speech at Kean College, NJ, November 29, 1993
  25. ^ - 9/11/01 Repercussions: Black Nationalists, the Third Position, and Antisemitism
  26. ^ "The Messenger Passes". Time magazine. March 10, 1975.,9171,917218,00.html. Retrieved 2007-08-19.  

Further reading

External links

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