Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?” —John 10:31,32 (NIV)
He it is Who sends down clear messages to His servant, that he may bring you forth from darkness into light. And surely Allah is Kind, Merciful to you. —Holy Qur’an 57:9
CHICAGO—Strong, uncompromising Black leaders who fight for the liberation of their people have not historically been appreciated or lauded until after they are long gone. It is often easy to reflect on their lives and contributions and talk about how we would have been right there marching, supporting or working alongside such greats as Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. DuBois, Marcus Garvey, Steven Biko, Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Malcolm X or Martin Luther King Jr.
But the truth is, they were hated and feared not only by the White power structure of their time, but in many cases, they were not supported by their own Black brothers and sisters. Yet they possessed a dogged determination to work and sacrifice on behalf of their people, without fanfare or accolades.
For over 65 years the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has given his life for the liberation and upliftment of fallen humanity and in particular, for the oppressed and spiritually dead descendants of slaves—the Black people of America.
He has been a champion of truth, freedom, justice and equality; carrying the mantle of his teacher, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
His unwavering love and support of Black people has endeared him to generations. He has taught, guided, counseled and when necessary pointed out the wrong in the behavior and character of Black people in efforts to correct and redeem.
“One of the first things that I did with him is when I did the National Peace and Justice Summit,” said Harry “Spike” Moss, a longtime activist in Minneapolis. Min. Farrakhan has always been a guide and advisor to and for Black youth and has facilitated peace gatherings between street organizations most notably in the 1990s in Los Angeles and other cities. The Minister has been a steady, consistent and guiding voice in quelling tensions among gangs to stop the fratricidal violence.
“I had dinner with him at his house in Chicago and that’s when I asked him to join me as I kicked off the Gang Summits across the country and he told me that if it’s God’s will he will be there. When I got back home to Minnesota at about four or five that evening, he called and said that he was coming. Not only did he come, but the Nation (of Islam) paid for about 40 more people to come. And our people were standing outside in line for maybe two blocks long waiting to come into that church to hear him. A true man of his word,” said Mr. Moss.
“When you live on his (Minister Farrakhan) every word, as many of us do. You could be having a bad day and you could hear him speak and it’d be like you’re not having a bad day. The one thing that you have from his voice is hope, you have courage, you have determination and you have what’s called clarity. His leadership has so many followers under him, be they men or women. But it’s a message that my people need to hear to grow and to keep standing up and keep fighting for that’s the message. It’s a very powerful message, truthful message, spiritual message, God felt message,” said Mr. Moss.
In 2012 at the age of 80 the Minister led the Fruit of Islam, the men of the Nation of Islam out into the streets of Chicago and other cities to once again lead by example in striving to bring peace to the streets.
Min. Farrakhan has traveled across the globe teaching millions the importance of living a righteous life in obedience to God. A message that have changed the lives of men, women and children for the better. A message of love, respect, honor and self-reliance.
Whether teaching on the streets of New York, as the Minister of Temple (as they were called then) No. 7 in Harlem; going into prisons around the county to feed a spiritual word of hope to inmates; impacting the hearts and minds of Black students at colleges and universities around the country; Min. Farrakhan has been there, and he has made a tangible impact despite virulent opposition from the U.S. government. His consistency and defense of Black people is why he is still admired, respected, revered and loved. He has addressed hundreds of Black professional organizations, student groups, churches, and to Black politicians, entertainers, activists in the U.S. and abroad. He has given his time and resources in supporting Black liberation causes regardless of religious affiliation or ideology.
“Brother Farrakhan’s messages have consistently been about self-empowerment, self-responsibility, and owning your actions. Righteousness is always his focus and that message resonates across the globe. It is particularly important in communities where a perception exists that these principles do not apply,” said Attorney Anthony Gray, who worked with fellow lawyer Benjamin Crump on the Mike Brown Jr. case in Ferguson, Missouri.
“During these times, more than ever, it is so important to stress and press messages like this in order to keep his honorable ideas alive. Without Farrakhan and his powerful messaging along these influences, there is a huge void in a lot of communities. I love to hear him speak about ideas that compel us to adopt responsibility and handling yourself in a professional and upstanding manner. Who else does this better than him? I venture to say, no one!” said Atty. Gray.
Atty. Crump remarked on the consistent support, advice and counsel Min. Farrakhan has always offered him.
“That’s what I’m always grateful to the Minister on, and he’s always shown compassion to me and my clients in these tragedies where Black people were killed in some of the most unjustifiable ways,” said Atty. Crump.
“That’s what I tell everybody when they ask about the Minister. People say things. I say, ‘This is what I know about Minister Farrakhan,’ and then I just get away from them,” Atty. Crump told The Final Call.
“As a country and a world, I think we’re headed towards a fork in the road. We’re at a tipping point in America. And I think as it relates to freedom of speech, it is really being challenged now on many fronts,” he added, regarding the relentless, increasing, slanderous attacks against Min. Farrakhan.
The Minister has been an influence and sage to the hip-hop community since the development of the groundbreaking musical genre in the late 1970s. He has continuously taught artists the importance of their role and influence particularly among youth. He has squashed and mediated “beefs” among rappers in efforts to keep the peace.
“I think that some of the things that drew me to the Minister was how he spoke to me personally eye-to-eye,” College Park, Georgia rapper 2 Chainz told The Final Call. He was a recent guest of Min. Farrakhan for his worldwide July 4 message, The Criterion, and has attended a lecture at Mosque Maryam at Nation of Islam headquarters in Chicago. The hip hop artist said he grew up in a Baptist background and his grandparents lived next door to a church.
“When I was invited to hear him (Min. Farrakhan) speak he was able to analyze some of those stories because although he NOI, he’s still able to teach out of the Bible and make it relate on a level where it’s clear and understanding especially for the youth,” said 2 Chainz. “I think that’s probably why you see a lot of younger being interested in what he has to say about certain things. Because when he breaks stuff down to laymen terms it gives you an understanding whereas you’re able to formulate your own opinion based off how it’s given. So, if it’s given to you in that way that’s how I got started rocking with it or just being interested and being in perspective from the industry,” he added.
Through the years, the Minister has spoken at numerous Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) reaching and challenging the minds of young men and women oftentimes declining honorariums. In 2012 after Min. Farrakhan spoke at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He had a private meeting with members of the SGA (Student Government Association), fraternities and sororities, and students in leadership positions. Monica Butler of the Echelon Center of Baton Rouge was working behind stage with the media team and was permitted to sit in the meeting. “This was my first time experiencing the Minister in person,” she explained. “The students had some in-depth questions during the discussion, in which I was thoroughly impressed. But the thing that impressed me the most was the feeling of truth that was overpowering the room, and it all came from him. It was everything he was saying about the Qur’an, the Bible, and Jesus. The responses he gave with these young people bore witness that I was looking at truth right in front of me, and the only thing that deem to be truth to me is the Lord Jesus Christ. So, for me, I saw Jesus and that has affected me, empowered me, and inspired me, from that point on,” said Ms. Butler.
When the Nation of Islam fell after the departure of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the movement was left for dead in the eyes of many people. But in 1977 the Minister began rebuilding his Father’s work and decades later is still going strong.
Min. Farrakhan’s importance as a great spiritual leader is something that cannot be overlooked. People of various faiths have dialogued and learned from him and he has spoken in various houses of worship of various Christian denominations; in masjid’s and mosques of various Islamic schools of thought and also a synagogue. He has shared the message and teachings of his Father, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad all over the world.
“I just want to say I thank Minister Farrakhan for standing up and not being afraid to tell the truth and for lifting up the name of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He has stood the test of time and have walked his post in a perfect manner keeping always on an alert. And I’m thankful he keeps standing up against these so-called Jews,” said Ferguson activist Anthony Shahid.
“I thank Allah that the Minister have kept the Honorable Elijah name up. A man who have taken a scattered and broken people and taught us how to come together and do something for ourselves. I thank the Minister for not deviating from his teacher’s teachings,” said Mr. Shahid.
“My relationship and knowledge of the Minister goes back more than 55 years,” noted Dr. James Smalls, former imam of Muslim Mosque Incorporated (founded by Minister Malcolm X in 1967), an African historian and one of the preeminent scholars in African Studies.
“I have watched him grow as I have grown in these years too. I have watched Minister Louis Farrakhan pick up the spiritual, the political and the cultural banner of Black people. I have watched the Minister come forward in a way that we can even call him a redeemer. People don’t like that term, but when you can take the deadest of your people and put life back in them when everybody and every institution in this country has rejected them and threw them to the bush—the Nation of Islam, and particularly in these last 40 years under Minister Louis Farrakhan—has raised and saved more of our people than any other institution in this country,” said Dr. Smalls.
One of Min. Farrakhan’s close friends for over five decades, Abdul Akbar Muhammad shared some historical occurrences when the character assassination attempts about his friend occurred during Rev. Jesse Jackson’s run for president in 1984. Rev. Jackson received death threats from members of the Jewish community for his balanced approached to tensions in the Middle East between Israelis and Palestinians.
“The dislike eventually leading to hatred of the Minister because he spoke truth regardless of who it may offend and his boldness to stand up with Rev. Jackson increased the attacks made on him by elements within the Jewish community,” said Akbar Muhammad, international representative of the Nation of Islam.
He said during that time a negative propaganda campaign was launched against Min. Farrakhan and powerful Jewish leaders in America blocked the Muslim leader from speaking in Europe. Mr. Muhammad continued “The Jewish element in America pushed the home secretary of England to ban the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan when he was planning to speak in Prince Albert Hall in London and they continued to fan the flames of hatred across Europe against the Minister,” he added.
“The attacks against the Minister has persisted so long because if they let his message get to the ears and the hearts of our people across the UK and all of Europe it would change the direction of Black people for the betterment of them now and generations to come.”
(Charlene Muhammad contributed to this report)