CHICAGO ( – With the precision of a surgeon, three officials of the Nation of Islam (NOI) delivered clear arguments that cut through the media controversy purportedly over statements by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered during his Feb. 26 Saviours’ Day address.

Ishmael Muhammad, assistant minister to Minister Farrakhan, Leonard F. Muhammad, NOI Chief-of-Staff, and Claudette M. Muhammad, NOI Chief-of-Protocol, appeared Mar. 7 as guests on the Clifford Kelley morning talk show on WVON radio station, 1450 AM, followed up by a brief press conference.

In a warmed-over reincarnation of the poison propaganda that began in the 1980s, members of the Jewish community in Illinois, particularly the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), aimed their virulent pressure on Governor Rod Blagoievich, urging him to dismiss Sister Claudette from his Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, on which she has served since August 2005, as well as attacking her for not denouncing Minister Farrakhan. Four Jewish members of the commission have resigned: Lonnie Nasatir, Midwest regional director of the Anti-Defamation League; Richard Hirschhaut, executive director of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center; Howard Kaplan and state Rep. Lou Lang (D-Skokie).


The governor instead issued a statement supporting Sister Claudette, and Sister Claudette refused to disassociate herself from Minister Farrakhan.

“For those who try to condemn me because of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s remarks on Saviours’ Day, which were perceived by some as anti-Semitic, it is absolutely ridiculous,” she maintained.

To those who are criticizing Minister Farrakhan, she had a special message. “I highly recommend that they be man and woman enough to direct their concerns to the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and have open dialogue with him,” she declared on WVON. “He is my minister of whom I love and respect, and he will remain my minister until Allah decides differently.”

She noted that members of her family are Jewish; her travels since 1984 to Israel at least 12 to 15 times spending six to eight weeks at a time; her work with Jewish people and her worshipping in synagogues with many rabbis who know that she is a member of the Nation. She also shared stories of her family members who have been victims of violent hate crimes, as well as her personal encounters with racist discrimination in the sixties.

She pointed out her experiences working as a special assistant to the Commissioners of the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders set up by former president Lyndon Johnson, which was chaired by the late Otto Kerner of Illinois, and New York Mayor John Lindsey.

Coined the Kerner Commission, she informed that the initial report was deemed too strong by Pres. Johnson, who told them to go back for six months and “water the commission report down.” She quoted the conclusion of the commission in the words of Mayor Lindsey, “We live in two separate societies, one Black, one White, separate and unequal.”

She added that, “This remains as true today as it was when it was written decades ago, which gives me even more of an incentive to work on the governor’s Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes.”

Contention rooted in cowardice

Despite her “impeccable credentials,” as one caller into the radio station stated, some Jewish members insist on taking exception to Minister Farrakhan pointing out in his Saviours’ Day address, Hollywood Jews who promote filth in movies and music.

Yet, their point of contention is off base, since it obscures the context of Minister Farrakhan and his message–for Minister Farrakhan was illuminating the modern-day recognition of the scriptural reference of the synagogue of Satan.

But Min. Ishmael and Bro. Leonard adeptly dissipated the cloud of confusion, stressing the fact that the differences have always been an ideological debate that the Jewish community has avoided out of cowardice.

Bro. Leonard informed the listening audience that Minister Farrakhan “has always been willing to meet any members of the Jewish community or other community, and if they proved him to be incorrect, he would apologize. That offer is still there and no one has taken him up on that offer.”

While he thanked the governor for standing by his appointment of Sis. Claudette, Bro. Leonard also expressed that the governor received bad advice that made him comment on the nature of Minister Farrakhan’s message even though he had not heard the lecture in context. Bro. Leonard also raised the stakes of the dialogue by charging that if the governor had dismissed Sis. Claudette from the commission, this act would not only be immoral, but also illegal because it would be without cause. He urged members of the ACLU to speak out against the request by the ADL for such an illegal dismissal.

“The American people are tired of this debate,” he said, referring to the ADL history of asking politicians and leaders to repudiate Minister Farrakhan, yet refusing to come into a conference and have discussion with members of the NOI.

He urged the members of the commission who resigned to return to settle the differences properly. “You left out of confusion. You misunderstand what the commission is about. Come back to the commission and debate your points, and if you are correct, then from that meeting can come a greater understanding between Jews and Blacks not only in the state of Illinois, but throughout America,” he explained.

He concluded by saying that if the ADL cannot prove their points of contention, then maybe it should apologize for the last 15 to 20 years of this battle against the Nation and pressuring other groups into isolating members of the NOI.

A spiritual context

Min. Ishmael laid the spiritual base to understand Minister Farrakhan and his message, condemning the media for taking a 15 to 30 second sound bite out of a message of over two hours and characterize the entire message.

“The press chose to lift the statement in respect to hate; that it is alright to hate,” he elaborated, “but he went on to defend that statement based upon what we read in the Bible and Holy Qur’an.”

He explained the range of human emotions of God, which includes hatred for what is wicked and evil, therefore, the basis of the scriptures that tell of God’s destruction of His enemies, bringing plagues and judgement into the house of Pharaoh and drowning its members in the Red Sea.

“Does God love the devil? Does He like sin? He hates all of that that is against His Will, so it is unfair for anyone to take the Minister’s statements out of context.”

He posed the question of how electronic media would handle the message of Jesus when he said, “I come not to make peace, nay I come for war. I would make a man turn against his father, a woman against her mother,” Min. Ishmael quoted from scripture.

“Surely they would say this is divisive; this is hatred,” he added. “As it is today, when you have a man of God who is speaking what God has put in his mouth for his people, those who are not of God cannot hear God.”

He concluded by imploring everyone to be more careful and responsible in their comments. “We are here today because it is not for Minister Farrakhan to defend himself. We can defend him because we believe in every word of truth that he has spoken.”

Calls of support

When the radio show opened up for comments from its listeners, a stream of support for Sister Claudette and Minister Farrakhan flowed through the airwaves.

Father Michael Phleger, of Saint Sabina Church, stressed that the community should rise up and say these attacks are unacceptable.

“I am so tired of those who have made their life agenda, and the ADL is one of those, to demonize the Minister and to continue to misinterpret, attack and discredit him. They can’t dispute his truth and when you can’t dispute the truth of what somebody is saying, you attack the personality and discredit the person, so people won’t listen to the truth,” he charged. “It is time to stop–people are not so stupid. People know the truth of what the Minister stands for. His consistency over the years has been there. The maligners and demonizers are the ones we need to cut off and stop allowing them to continue to attack this man.”