By Richard B. Muhammad – Editor
In any situation, there comes a time when enough is enough and that time has come for those who malign and attempt to smear the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.
Some of the latest slime was thrown by columnist Mary Mitchell of the Chicago Sun-Times, who took great umbrage at the fact that Min. Farrakhan said the Fruit of Islam, the men of the Nation of Islam, would protect singer BeyoncÃ© after cops threatened not to protect her. The entertainer’s crime was a spirited performance at the Super Bowl that appeared to pay homage to the Black Panther Party and a new video that included the words “stop shooting us” and a little boy squaring off in front of a line of heavily armed cops.
While the writer’s paymasters at the Sun-Times may have felt the piece was on point and the Minister was a great foil for a different take on the BeyoncÃ© controversy– the column was ridiculous and inaccurate. Ms. Mitchell screeched that a group of women in a Chicago neighborhood, mothers who are standing against violence, should be getting F.O.I. support. But, according to Jeffery Muhammad of the Chicago Local Organizing Committee for Justice Or Else!, the group and the female activist Ms. Mitchell named is part of the Justice Or Else! LOC and has received backingfrom the men in the Nation of Islam.
It was also ridiculous that Ms. Mitchell saw no value in supporting artists showing a social conscience and a willingness to challenge American racism and injustice at this critical time. BeyoncÃ© is a major cultural force and for her to embrace Blackness and to include themes of justice in her work is to educate young people and inspire young people to get involved.
The Minister also expressed support for all hip hop artists, saying it’s their time and since they were given range to call Black women “bitches” and “whores” their right to show self-love and self-respect must not be restricted.
These artists must not be intimidated by police officers whose work is public order and public safety.
Ms. Mitchell complained that the Minister didn’t come riding to the rescue when Mayor Rahm Emmanuel was bemoaning his multi-million dollar police force folded up in a “fetal position” after criticism and protests against police brutality. I beg your pardon. Min. Farrakhan is not the slave, the manservant, nor the butler of the mayor of the Windy City. If police were not doing their job because they did not want to face accountability, the mayor should have shown some leadership.
If the mayor wanted Min. Farrakhan to return to the streets–as the Minister did almost three years ago leading the F.O.I. into the streets to lessen violence–he should have asked. He should have treated the Minister with the respect due an elder, freedom fighter and a great servant and credit to this city. Half-hearted recognition isn’t enough.
Min. Farrakhan is not seeking to curry favor or political support for doing good. What he does with his life and the F.O.I. risking their lives to try to bring peace comes from a place of deep love and a sense of duty. The Minister has no one pulling his strings–and he didn’t create the havoc that roams city streets. His love and faith compels him to move against the death, degradation and destruction of Black people created by centuries of oppression and genocidal plots.
As Phillip Jackson of the Black Star Project in Chicago asked, why was the Minister being asked to do with no resources what the police department with millions of dollars could not or would not do? (See Perspective on the next page.)
Ms. Mitchell accused the F.O.I. of “hustling” bean pies and Final Call newspaper–insinuating that somehow Farrakhan’s minions are ripping people off . Ridiculously insulting, ridiculously wrong and ridiculously inaccurate. We “hustle” no one–we are not trying to deceive people and trick them out of money. Bean pie sales help financially support Muhammad University of Islam and Final Call distribution is an effort to enlighten, inspire and uplift our community. It is a tool used to spread the faith and organize our people.
The Final Call is devoted to giving our people good information that can help us rise and resolve our own problems. What’s wrong with that? Apparently Black men well dressed, mannerable and committed to a mission and Black folks having an independent voice are a problem for Ms. Mitchell. But some of us are unwilling to trade in our voices and our power for 30 pieces of silver. We believe we have to speak for ourselves.
The Minister has never said no one can disagree with him, never said he could not be critiqued and never said he cannot be questioned. But any questions or disagreement must be focused on program and position, strategy, public policy and ideas. Attacks on his character and disrespect are out of bounds and will not be tolerated. There is a proper tone when you wish to dialogue with an honorable and committed man. If you cannot abide by those rules, we respectfully invite you to keep your mouths shut. We will defend our Minister against such scurrilous attacks. It’s time now. This man who has served us for 60 years must not and will not have to defend himself. That’s our job and we plan to be on our post. Enough is enough.