Click here for complete press conference text transcript

Philadelphia activist killed by D.C. sniper


CHICAGO (FinalCall.Com)–The accused deadly D.C-area sniper has had no link with the Nation of Islam for over three years and anyone guilty of such murder violates Islamic teachings, said the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“Nowhere in the teachings of Islam, nowhere in the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, would we countenance any man taking the lives of innocent human beings,” Min. Farrakhan told reporters and community activists during an Oct. 26 news conference at Mosque Maryam here.

“I and we grieve for the senseless loss of life. I and we grieve with all the families that lost loved ones for we were touched in grief as well. But we also grieve for John Allen Williams’, also known as John Muhammad’s, first wife and his son and his second wife and their three children, who will have to grow up in an environment and live with whatever comes from the trial of these two persons.

If they are found guilty, that will affect every member of his family. “Members of his family said, ‘This is not the John that I knew.’ And this is not the John that we knew. What happened to him, what caused this remains at present to me and to us a mystery. It’s something that must be probed and it must be found. What turns a person into a cold killer of innocent people?” he asked.

One of the victims, Ken Bridges, was a Black empowerment activist and longtime friend and associate of Min. Farrakhan. “It grieved us much to hear that his life
was lost as a result of the sniper,” he said.

Maryland officials Oct. 25 charged Mr. Williams, 41, and teen John Lee Malvo with six counts of first-degree murder in the shootings. A third man, reportedly
co-owner of a blue Chevrolet Caprice the pair was caught in, was arrested as a material witness Oct. 26.

The accused sniper was in bad standing with the Nation over a child custody dispute with his second wife, who attends a D.C.-area mosque, Min. Farrakhan said. He had not been heard from since 1999, the Minister said.  If guilty aS charged, the man will not be considered a member of the Nation, he said.

“We would all ask that any who is guilty of such be punished to the fullest extent of the law,” Min. Farrakhan added. Under the Nation’s teachings, members are not allowed to possess any weapon, Min. Farrakhan explained.

“It is horrific for us to learn that someone who once was a part of our ranks may be involved in something as horrific as this. But, I respectfully say, to the members of the media and the American people, Timothy McVeigh confessed that he was a Christian, but nobody blames the church for his misconduct,” he observed. Mr. McVeigh was found guilty of the April 1995 Oklahoma City Federal Building bombing.

Likewise, the pastors of those imprisoned are not linked to their crimes, but there is a bias that allows for Islam to be wrongly attached to crimes, he said. Muslims already suffer from a stigma and pain of Sept. 11 that have been associated with Islam, and now these horrendous acts, he said. Those who share the name Muhammad face an additional stigma now, Min. Farrakhan said.

Mr. Williams first attended a study group in northern California and later a small study group in Seattle, said Min. Farrakhan, adding that Mr. Williams may have attended the peaceful Million Man March, but had no role as personal security for him.

Every Black man at the 1995 march was entrusted with keeping the peace, Min. Farrakhan said.

In 1996, at the annual Saviours’ Day convention, all of the believers present were given the right to wear the name Muhammad, as a sign of religious ties to Nation of Islam patriarch Elijah Muhammad, the Minister said. The name Muhammad means, “one worthy of praise, and one praised much,” he said. Those who took the name had to pledge to act in a manner that would bring honor, praise and credit to that name, he said.

The accused sniper’s wife at the time was at the convention. He later legally changed his name to Muhammad in the courts, the Minister said.