In The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
[Editor’s note: The following questions were posed to Minister Louis Farrakhan by The Final Call.]
Final Call News (FCN): Saviours’ Day 2003 will be held Feb. 23. What will be your message?
Minister Louis Farrakhan (MLF): I believe that this will probably be the last public message that I will give before America goes to war with Iraq. The message will contain guidance and warning for the government of the United States, the American people and Black people in particular.
We call this Saviours’ Day because each year we celebrate the birth of Master Fard Muhammad, who came to North America and presented Himself to us on July 4, 1930. Because of Him, we had and we have the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who is the Founder, Leader and Teacher of the Nation of Islam.
As America goes to war and Homeland Security takes away many of the rights and privileges of the citizenry of the United States, we are going to need the Guidance of Allah (God) to get us safely through this period of darkness and even intense darkness. The Saviours’ Day message will be light for those who desire to get safely through this period of war, revolution and unparalleled bloodshed.
FCN: What are your plans and goals for the Nation of Islam for the New Year? Also, are there key concerns that Black America must focus on for the coming year?
MLF: As you know, we have authorized a commission for the re-organization and re-structuring of the Nation of Islam so that we might better serve to fulfill the needs and protect in earnest the rights of every member of the Nation of Islam. So, our goal and plan is to facilitate the activity of the commission and take their recommendations for re-structuring and re-organization into serious consideration for implementation. We also plan to make the Nation of Islam solvent or completely out of debt.
As America goes to war, Homeland Security will be concentrating on Muslims, foreign and domestic, and they will also be concentrating on the gangs that plague and make miserable the life of the inner cities of America. We, the Black community must stop the violence that has caused our community to turn in on itself and we must expose the hidden hand that keeps Black America in this terrible condition.
We must also warn Black America of the serious consequences that we face if we do not alter our way of thinking and doing.
FCN: What has been the progress of your efforts to unite with the Muslim world–as you were instructed to do by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad–particularly since your hosting of Islamic conferences and your Peace Missions to the Muslim World?
MLF: We are making steady progress in this regard. When the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said to me, “Find a way to unite with the Muslim World,” this meant to me, that we should strive to find the way to unite with our World of Islam without compromising the truth that He taught us and the wonderful beginning that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad made for us and the great discipline and moral cleanliness that was indeed the hallmark of the Nation of Islam under His unequaled leadership.
FCN: What is the status of your effort to bring the family of Muhammad together in the United States, speaking of communities of Imam W.D. Mohammed and the Nation of Islam?
MLF: This is a work in progress that is gradually taking place and moving at a proper pace. It necessitates great care so that the re-unification of all of the factions of this great community of Islam will never allow us to be divided again. This re-unification will demand complete openness and honesty in putting on the table the things about which we differ and using first and foremost the Holy Qur’an as our guide to solving the theological problems that exist.
I believe that conferences that bring the scholars of each community together in a room is the best way to bring about theological unity, philosophical unity and then the practical steps for the total re-unification of all factions will emerge from such conferences held in the right and proper manner or spirit.
FCN: What is the future of Islam in America and should the American people fear such a future? What can the faith offer this country?
MLF: Allah (God) says in the Holy Qur’an that, the disbelievers will try to put out the light of Islam with their mouths, but, Allah (God) will perfect His light though the polytheists may be averse. This teaches me that even though Islam may be under assault presently, and even though Islam may have a very negative image at present, yet, as time goes on, the beauty of Islam will become attractive to all who see Islam in its true light.
The faith of Islam properly understood and properly administered can offer to America the end of racial, ethnic and class conflict. Islam, if properly taught and administered, can offer to America the end of sexism and materialism and cultivate the American people into a moral consciousness that will truly make America the greatest nation on the earth and the greatest nation ever in the history of the world.
FCN: How did you view the Trent Lott controversy and its outcome?
MLF: I was sickened by the hypocrisy of the debate that raged on for three weeks or more, the outcome of which has not changed the suffering of Black, Brown, Native American and poor people one iota.
Although my friend Jude Wanniski seems to feel that Senator Lott was joking with Strom Thurmond, the emotional intensity of his remarks did not to me seem that he was joking. If I were questioning Senator Lott, I would have asked him, “What did you mean when you said that if Strom Thurmond were elected President in 1948 the country would not have the problems that it is having today?”
What are the problems as Mr. Lott sees them? What in Strom Thurmond’s philosophy offered in 1948, would have made America less problematic and get America out of the mess that she is in? What is the mess? Is the mess integration, inter-racial dating and marriages? Is the mess the degeneration of the culture of the United States? Is the mess the ending of the White race through miscegenation?
What would Strom Thurmond’s ideas have meant for the future of this nation in Senator Lott’s mind? I would have tried to force him to speak openly of his thinking, and if we disagree with his thinking, say so. However, in a society that prides itself on freedom of speech and to discuss and promote ideas no matter how repugnant they may be, should you punish a person for their thoughts or ideas that may not be in harmony with the majority? What happened to freedom of thought and speech?
In a country where honest debate over the rightness or wrongness of ideas is encouraged, does this punishment of Senator Lott lead to less or more freedom of expression? I believe that many in the United States think just like Senator Lott, however, they never would have expressed it in that manner, but, if you probed them deep enough you will find great similarities in their thinking. He’s being punished for what those who have punished him may very well think and say in closed quarters or say in other fora.
FCN: As a man of scripture, where do you see America today in prophecy, considering its recent activities and world posture?
MLF: America is written of throughout the scriptures. All of the great societies, nations and empires of the past, their rise and fall, are signs pointing to America and her world dominance. The greatest of these signs is Ancient Babylon and the Mystery Babylon of the Book of Revelation.
FCN: Rev. Al Sharpton has expressed interest in a presidential campaign. What are your thoughts on such a campaign and on the relationship of Blacks with the dominant political parties?
MLF: The Democratic and Republican parties have been neglectful of the rights, needs and interest of Black and poor people. The democrats have taken us for granted and the Republicans have not made a great effort to attract Black people to the Republican Party.
The Reverend Al Sharpton is emerging as a highly gifted and intelligent voice speaking for the suffering of Black and poor people. Reverend Sharpton may not win the nomination of any of the major parties, but, he would be formidable in any debate. If Black America got behind him and he would be true to the legitimate aspirations of Black and poor people, he might be able to leverage our support into getting something very meaningful from whichever party would need the Black vote to win.
I would, however, encourage the Reverend Al Sharpton not to think in terms of gaining qualified Black individuals political plums of either party, for, we have gone down that road with the great campaigns in 1984 and 1988 of the Reverend Jesse Jackson. If Reverend Sharpton and his advisors will fight for that which will benefit the masses of the people, then, his run for the Presidency of the United States would be a blessing not only to Black and poor people, but, ultimately it would be a blessing for America as well.
FCN: Do you have any thoughts you wish to express on the controversy surrounding the Catholic Church and the lessons for others who are spiritual leaders and institutions?
MLF: The Catholic Church is suffering at this moment from a crisis of confidence in its leadership due to these recent revelations. I would encourage His Holiness, the Pope, to look at marriage and why Allah (God) instituted marriage for the man that He created. In the Book of Genesis, He created for that man a woman. Allah’s (God’s) reason for doing such was, “It was not good for the man to be alone.”
What did Allah (God) know about our being alone and our basic human and biological needs and drives and what those needs and drives unfulfilled would lead to? Does imperfect man know better than the All Knowing God who has no imperfection? The church needs to re-think its policy that priests and nuns cannot marry. This does not, of course, mean that infidelity and immorality will be removed from the Church, Mosque or Synagogue or any religious institution completely, but, it gives the Church a better fighting chance to remove such from its hierarchy.
However, as long as we are in a world like this, we will be faced with infidelity and immorality in religious leaders and the people of religion, but, what our policies should strive toward is eliminating the abuse of women and children and the adoption of good manners that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught us would protect good morals.
Remember, there is no perfection in this world; yet, we are commanded in the New Testament, “Be ye perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect.” This teaches us that Allah (God) has set into motion those things that manifest defects in order that we might make correction that would lead ultimately to a perfect union with Allah (God). This perfect union would produce a perfect human being in perfect submission to Allah (God); a perfect society that flows from perfect obedience will mean that the Kingdom of Allah (God) shall have been established on earth.
FCN: You have hosted and participated in hip-hop conferences to talk with young entertainers about their industry, lyrics and video images. Has there been any progress on these issues where you’ve expressed concern? Is your message getting through?
MLF: I believe our message is getting through, however, the process of growth and the pace of growth could be quickened. If those who own the recording companies and those in management and promotion would encourage better from their artists, the pace would be greatly quickened. Instead, however, many of those in positions of power discourage lyrics that inspire and promote proper thinking and proper actions.
The re-education of the public, which is the duty of all in leadership, will cause us to make demands on our artists, their managers, promoters and the owners of the recording, movie and television industries so that the public will be fed a better diet spiritually and mentally, as well as musically and artistically. If the public refused to patronize filth, it would go a long way in encouraging producers, managers and owners of record companies and music companies, as well as artists to re-think how they express themselves on television, in movies, videos and recordings.
FCN: Did President Bush ever respond to your letters of advice to him regarding his “War on Terror” that you wrote shortly after the September 11, 2001 attacks on America. If so, what was his response?
MLF: No. He never responded.
FCN: Since 9/11, Arab and Muslim immigrants are feeling the discrimination and racial profiling that Blacks have experienced for centuries. They are also feeling the attacks experienced by the followers of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in establishing Islam in America. What can they learn from our experiences?
MLF: They are now learning from their own experience and they can learn from our experience as well. They can learn from us perseverance because opposition and persecution is not permanent. Allah (God) says in the Qur’an, “With difficulty comes ease.” In another place it reads, “After difficulty comes ease.” As Muslims, in America, we are experiencing great difficulty and the difficulty will get even greater. The hardship and difficulty will greatly increase when America goes to war with Iraq. The Holy Qur’an teaches, “Give good news to those who are patient and steadfast under trial.”
FCN: Do you think it is at least a double standard that the U.S. is planning an attack on Iraq under the assumption that they are developing weapons of mass destruction, but President Bush is not talking about attacking North Korea, which has openly announced it is resuming its nuclear programs? Why do you think Mr. Bush has taken such a position on North Korea?
MLF: Iraq, in my judgment, is considered easy pickings in the war room with the war room strategists, because for all intents and purposes, since the end of the Gulf War in 1991, Iraq has been deprived of weapons of mass destruction and through unjust sanctions have been weakened militarily, scientifically, economically and otherwise. Iraq has weapons but I do not believe she has weapons of mass destruction and whatever weapons she has, I do not believe she has enough military power to stop the aggression of America and Great Britain, unless Allah (God) intervenes on Iraq’s behalf.
This easy picking (War on Iraq) is a lure for America to goad her into a trap that will ultimately bring about the downfall of the U.S. Government and the destruction of the power of America as we know it. I will discuss this in greater detail in my Saviours’ Day message, on February 23, 2003, which, Insha’ Allah (Be it the Will of Allah (God)), will be seen throughout America and the world on satellite.
FCN: You recently delivered a message to the United Kingdom, which effectively nullified the 17-year-old ban on you from visiting the UK. What did you hope to accomplish from the message, and what was it?
MLF: Through this message to the United Kingdom, we gave many a chance to see and hear the Minister for themselves and to make their own judgment of me and my message. From what I have learned, the audience greatly received the message and are saying that the message was good, not only for the Caribbean and African Blacks who attended the lecture, but it was good for Christians, Muslims, as well as Jews and certainly good for the United Kingdom.
FCN: Kofi Annan has created a new office, undersecretary general on African Affairs, to interact specifically with the African Union. What is your message to Africa today regarding the necessity for such a Union in dealing with the many issues that are impacting the continent? Would UN involvement help or hinder the African Union?
MLF: The African Union is an idea whose time has come. That idea, however, is in its infancy and as such is more easily hurt, derailed or destroyed because the idea may not yet have taken firm root in the hearts and minds of not only the leaders of Africa, but, of African people as well. It would be our hope that the United Nations would be a help to the African Union and offer to it a protective influence in its infancy and help the African Union to fulfill its destiny.
FCN: Several cases in Nigeria of Muslim women being sentenced to death by stoning for fornication have reached international attention as injustices against women. What is your view on these incidents and the portrayal of Islam?
MLF: I would hope that the Muslims in Nigeria would not stone to death this sister for her moral lapse. The Shariah is a beautiful law that is part and parcel of a complete Islamic system of governance, embodying a complete Islamic way of life comprising social, educational, political, economic, cultural and legal systems. When all of these systems are functioning properly, we minimize the chance for the harshness of the Shariah to be implemented. When a nation has suffered under colonialism and slavery, and, the purposeful destruction of a true Islamic way of life, then, the imposition of one aspect of Islamic life rather than the imposition of all aspects of Islamic life could be seen by non-Muslims and even by Muslims as oppressive.
It’s interesting to me that this woman was found in adultery or fornication and we know that there could be no pregnancy without the agency of a man, unless we are dealing with the virgin birth (smile). Yet no man is charged with this crime. Where is the man in this case of adultery or fornication? Why isn’t he being stoned? There is science today that can prove whether the man she claims is the father of her unborn child is actually so. So, if the law was fair, then, it would be carried out on both. This case reminds me of something that I read in the Bible.
There was a woman found in adultery and was sentenced to death by stoning. The Biblical story is similar to the real life drama of our sister in Nigeria, for, this woman in the New Testament was found in adultery, but, no man was brought forward to be punished by the Mosaic Law. So, Jesus who had come into the world not just to follow the law, but, to fulfill what was written in the law took up the case. This fulfillment of the law is a deep theological discussion. However, suffice it to say that Jesus knelt down and wrote in the sand, “He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone.” All those who were willing to cast a stone before in someway were in violation of some aspect of the law so no one picked up the stone to stone the woman. Jesus, who came to fulfill the law, asked the question, “Woman, where are your accusers?”
He who it is written is perfect could have fulfilled the Mosaic Law of stoning her to death, but, He said, “Neither do I accuse you, go and sin no more.” The Great Mercy of Allah (God), the most mercifully and the oft-forgiving, needs to be applied in this case to allow this woman to live and nurture her child that perhaps through this experience she might see the value of a righteous and just law and the great mercy of Allah (God) and rear this child, male or female, to live in obedience to Allah (God), and, perhaps if it is a male child, he might grow to be like Jesus, Moses or Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Them).
FCN: What is the significance of Time magazine’s “People of the Year” featuring women who blew the whistle on major corporations and the FBI?
MLF: Time magazine’s featuring of these women as “Women of the Year” says to me that whistle blowers are not generally loved, respected, honored or revered, but, the courage that these women showed in standing up for truth against individuals and institutions apparently so much more powerful then they, their being honored for doing such is to me a sign of things to come. Every Warner from Allah (God) is a whistle blower. We are not just blowing a whistle, we are blowing a trumpet today to warn President Bush and his administration of the danger of the course that they are on.
I am sure that I will be persecuted for such, and, I am already being called everything but what I really am, and, maybe one day we, who blow the trumpet or whistle to alarm the world that something has gone wrong in America, perhaps our blowing of the whistle or the trumpet may lead to something eventually that parallels what these three women and their blowing of the whistle has led to, and, that is honor and respect for those who guide and warn of the danger of corruption in leadership.
FCN: Thank you.
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s Saviours’ Day 2003 address is scheduled to be carried live via satellite from Chicago, IL. on Sunday, February 23rd. Click here for Satellite Broadcast locations in numerous cities and towns throughout America.