by Naba’a Muhammad, Michael Z. Muhammad, Charlene Muhammad and Nisa Islam Muhammad
When reports came of another attack on the U.S. Capitol, it was a stunning development. The news came after an assault by pro-Trump insurrectionists three months ago, amid added security measures, and National Guardsmen still on the ground for protection.
But once word of the incident got out came another disturbing but somewhat predictable trend; mainstream media outlets quickly tried to link the alleged actions of a young man with a history of mental health issues, Noah Green, to the Nation of Islam as he was identified as the Capitol intruder in widespread media reports.
Authorities said an intruder rammed his car into two police officers outside the U.S. Capitol on April 2, killing one while injuring another. He subsequently jumped out of the vehicle with a knife and was fatally shot by U.S. Capitol police, according to officials.
The slander and mischaracterization came despite major Nation of Islam gatherings, including the 1995 Million Man March which drew nearly 2 million Black men to Washington, D.C., that were peaceful and coordinated, as required, with the U.S. Capitol Police.
In 2015, the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, the Justice Or Else! gathering drew hundreds of thousands of people, who came and left in peace. Two other gatherings drew similar numbers and all ended without incident or a hint of trouble.
Amid tragedy comes an expression of compassion
“We are in sympathy with the victims of this tragedy. And we are in sympathy with the families of these victims. And we, like you, can only offer them condolences and our deepest sympathy for their loss. Our prayers are for the full recovery of the officer who was injured,” said the Nation of Islam in an April 6 statement.
“We condemn the wicked mischaracterization of some media reports trying to tie this tragic incident to the teachings of the Nation of Islam and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and all people of goodwill should do the same as well,” it continued.
“This young man had struggled in his early life but overcame much as a student to graduate with a degree in finance. He had a wonderful, noble idea to help the black and brown people through his knowledge of finance. I am sure,” the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said in the statement,
“had he been blessed to come through the crisis that he was going through, he would have been a star in the mission of the resurrection of our people. We need to know what happened to our brother.”
Mr. Green was studying to join the Nation but was not a member at the time of the alleged incident. The Nation of Islam abhors and rejects violence and members are not allowed to carry weapons or to be aggressors, said the statement, which condemned the violent episode reported at the Capitol.
“So, our research is continuing into what happened to this young man, and we cannot rest until we find out what caused him to take a turn like this. We are saddened by the loss of this brother with such great potential,” the Minister added.
When the incident happened, Yogananda Pittman, acting chief of the U.S. Capitol Police, told the media, “The suspect did start lunging toward U.S. Capitol Police officers, at which time U.S. Capitol Police officers fired upon the suspect. At this time the suspect has been pronounced deceased.”
One of her officers, William “Billy” Evans, died and another officer was injured and later treated and released.
Robert Contee, acting chief of the Metropolitan Police Department, said the incident did not appear linked to terrorism.
Media tries to link Nation to incident
But Jewish, mainstream and right wing outlets quickly tried to assign a Nation of Islam connection to the tragedy—despite zero evidence.
It is an old way of trying to discredit and malign the group. Early reports of the infamous attack on the federal building in Oklahoma City by former serviceman Timothy McVeigh on April 19, 1995, blamed the incident on the Nation of Islam. The truck bombing by the White, anti-government adherent was the largest domestic terrorism act on U.S. soil at the time.
“The Nation of Islam, to my knowledge, has never been a violent, aggressive organization. I’ve never known Min. Farrakhan to advocate any kind of aggressive tactic like this brother’s accused of,” said former Black Panther Party member Henry “Hank” Jones.
“It just appears to me that agencies of the State are trying to shift the focus of attention from these racists, right wing, White nationalist, military organizations and share some of the negative press that they’re getting,” the longtime fighter for social justice and human rights told The Final Call.
That’s not the Nation of Islam’s characteristic, so what would be the motive behind that? asked Mr. Jones. America has a long history of trying to criminalise and demonize Black people in general, he noted.
“They are trying to shift the focus so they can bring down the agencies of the government against the Nation of Islam. And the way they do that is partially after demonizing them, then you marginalize them and then criminalize them, and then you try to neutralize them, destroy them. I guess they’re seizing upon this opportunity to try to bring down the Nation of Islam,” he concluded.
The ordeal is pretty sad, from the mental illness to the assault allegations, stated Dr. Opio Sokoni, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based activist and political science professor. It’s a wonder with all the things that Black men go through in society, why many of them are not doing a lot more awful things, not only to themselves, but to other people, he stated.
“But you have to be really, really careful when you blame an entire organization for something. And they only do that to organizations they hate and feel like they want to get out of the way, and they’ve been doing that to the Nation of Islam for a long time,” he stated.
“It’s sad that you have entities that would do something like that, and then blame Min. Farrakhan, when many people know that a lot of people on the streets that may have been murderers, or killers and drug dealers, they don’t do those things no more as a result of Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam,” he told The Final Call.
“Large organizations have individuals that have done things and they are not raked across the coals, and I think they should stop doing that whether it’s the FBI or CIA or whoever they are,” said Dr. Sokoni.
“They’re not going to somehow make whatever Noah did the pin that ultimately destroys the Nation. It just won’t happen. … People understand, and people are smarter than that,” concluded Dr. Sokoni.
Mr. Green’s family, in a published statement, said he suffered from “depression and potential mental illness.” Brendan Green told the Washington Post his brother was violently ill the evening before the incident in their Virginia apartment. Noah Green complained to family members and on social media of hallucinations, headaches, and suicidal thoughts.
He moved frequently and spontaneously from Newport News, Va., to Indianapolis and from Indianapolis to Botswana, where he reportedly attempted suicide, and back to Virginia. “My brother was not a terrorist by any means,” Brendan Green told the Washington Post. He speculated his brother’s depression and mental illness might have stemmed from football.
Football head injuries have previously been linked to mental health problems, potentially leading to depression, anxiety, and other behavioral changes.
Many players have been found to have suffered CTE, a brain disorder that is caused by repeated head injuries which can lead to memory loss, impaired judgment, and aggression.
Reports of mental distress signaled a need for help?
“On its face, this man appears to be mentally ill, and any White boy that does just about anything in America, we’re always looking for some mental illness. White boys kill 25-30 people, we’re looking for the mental illness,” said former Black Panther Party leader Elaine Brown.
She noted, while a lot of the newspapers want to say Noah Green was reading materials from the Nation of Islam, they also say that he was very depressed towards the end. But, she added, the emphasis seems to be on trying to imply that Min. Farrakhan has something to do with the assault.
“This is such an insult to the good work that the Nation has always done on behalf of Black people, and the hatred that has been built around the Nation is simply because it’s the last, Minister Farrakhan, as I like to say, is the last Black man and Black leader standing,” argued Ms. Brown.
“Everyone knows that Minister Farrakhan has stood strongly on behalf of the Black community, so I say that this is an assault on Black people who are really saying that we know that there has to be fundamental change in America, and that the interest of Black people is to be free,” said the revolutionary activist, who is based in San Francisco.
“My position is that I’m not a member of the Nation, but I certainly follow the teachings and writings of Minister Farrakhan as the last Black leader standing. And so an assault on him becomes an assault on the rest of us who don’t happen to agree with the existing scheme that’s in the United States government and state governments and so forth, because they have not served the interests of Black people,” stated Ms. Brown.
She continued, “This is an incredible attack. Totally unfounded, has nothing to do with anything, and this is pulling out any straw to try to attack Minister Farrakhan. This young brother was clearly mentally ill, and had no affiliation with the Nation of Islam, other than the same affiliation I have. I gave $1,000 for Saviours’ Day to the Nation. I read The Final Call, so are you going to implicate me? Well, you could implicate me. But that’s my point,” Ms. Brown argued.
And she repeated, “An attack on Minister Farrakhan is an attack on those of us who believe in the liberation and freedom of Black people in America.”
She also pointed to U.S. government attempts to discredit, disrupt, and ultimately destroy Black revolutionary organizations through the FBI’s Counter-Intelligence Program that infiltrated, surveilled, and undermined Black nationalists and civil rights groups in the 1960s and 1970s under director J. Edgar Hoover.
U.S. gov’t, media history of anti-Black operations
Cointelpro wasn’t restricted to the FBI, but it continues to be the agenda of the United States to discredit, disrupt and destroy Black organizations, said Ms. Brown.
“So this is a discrediting move, this is a disruptive move. People start walking away. You’re going to find Negroes around that are going to act like they don’t have anything to do with Min. Farrakhan, and so forth, and so on,” she said.
“We had that wave about six or eight months ago, so I see this as another excuse on the part of a certain sector of people, especially those that are the rich in this country that want to maintain the status quo. It’s an attempt to discredit the Nation, and as I say, therefore, any effort by any other Blacks. The idea would be to put a chill on anybody else saying anything oppositional at any time to any part of the United States,” she explained.
“It’s widely understood that the Nation of Islam requires its members to follow the laws at all times, to not engage in illegal activity or acts of violence against the government. So blaming the Nation of Islam for what this individual clearly had, some mental health problems did, is just outrageous,” Caleb Maupin, journalist and political analyst told The Final Call. He is also Caucasian and considers himself a Marxist.
“They don’t blame the U.S. military when many of the shootings we’ve seen have been conducted by ex-military veterans, Timothy McVeigh for example. Many have been with the U.S. military, snipers for the U.S. military. They don’t blame the U.S. military for the Oklahoma City bombing.
Trying to blame a well-disciplined organization for the actions of one deranged individual who maybe went to a meeting or something like that is just a great example of the media pushing a false propaganda narrative,” he added. Lies on the Nation run old and deep from its beginnings in Detroit in the 1930s to the 1950s television program “The Hate that Hate Produced.”
It marginalizes and denigrates the Nation at every turn, tries to instill doubt in its leadership, and negate its influence from the Black community. It also blames victims of hate for hate. The lies continue today with Jewish groups and operations like the Southern Poverty Law Center falsely calling the Nation a hate group and anti-Semitic.
Tariq Nasheed, film producer and social media commentator, told The Final Call the media knows exactly what they are doing and that Mr. Green’s alleged behavior had nothing to do with Minister Farrakhan. “Before he committed that act, he said that he’s under some kind of mind control. He said that there had been some type of unauthorized operations done on him. This is him talking,” Mr. Nasheed said. “This is what he said on social media. His brother said that somebody slipped him some Xanax a year ago, and he hasn’t been right.”
“They put the Minister’s name in this nonsense so that it would sully his name and also sully the names of his followers because the Minister is going real heavy. Many others in the Nation are talking about these vaccines that Black people are refusing to take rightfully so. So I think all of that is in the grand scheme of the conspiracy.
“There’s a lot of brothers and sisters out there dealing with the system of White supremacy. It messes with our minds. It’s a poisonous system, and it’s designed to cause mental illness. And there’s a lot of brothers and sisters who can’t stand up to that weight and pressure. Some if they don’t know what to do, they get desperate. They do desperate acts,” Mr. Nasheed observed.
Nation of Islam researcher Demetric Muhammad told The Final Call in a recent interview the media will never accurately portray the Nation of Islam and its leadership. “World rulers have deemed that the only way they can have a glorious future is that the power dynamic in America and the world continue to be a master-slave power dynamic, where there’s a White power structure as a master and massive Black people as the slave,” he said.
“The work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the work of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has been anointed by God to interfere with that master-slave relationship and to give the glorious future to the oppressed Black man and woman of America and the world.”
In an article for Genealogy entitled “Black Religion and Black Power: The Nation of Islam’s Internationalism,” Bayyinah Jefferies writes, “The Nation of Islam’s influence has extended beyond the United States. This Black American Muslim movement has used the intersection of race and religion to construct a blueprint of liberation that has bonded people of African descent throughout the Diaspora. Their transnational dimensions and ideas of freedom, justice, and equality have worked to challenge global White imperialism and White supremacy throughout the 20th century and beyond.”
“Why did they want to blame this on the Nation? The young man said that Minister Farrakhan had saved his life and our community,” observed Abdul Akbar Muhammad, international representative for the Nation of Islam and a longtime aide to Min. Farrakhan.
“We understand and know that the power of the message of the Nation of Islam has saved millions of lives of young Black people, male, female, middle age and older, many Black people in this community. It’s an understanding that this message has saved people’s life, but they want to take it in another direction.
“They wanted to make it look as if the Nation of Islam is responsible for his actions and the people that were killed. I don’t go along with that at all. People who know the Nation know our history. In every group or organization, there’s people who may have problems. America is full of problems.”
Min. Akbar Muhammad added, the young man’s “mother clearly said that he was having some mental problems and blamed it on him. We need to look at what is happening in the country and in the world. Minister Farrakhan looked at the picture published of him and said he was a beautiful Black man. He was highly intelligent. The circumstances in America and what’s going on, caused him to go off the track.”
According to the publication Mental Health in America, “People of color and all those whose lives have been marginalized by those in power experience life differently from those whose lives have not been devalued. They experience overt racism and bigotry far too often, which leads to a mental health burden that is deeper than what others may face.
“Racism is a mental health issue because racism causes trauma. And trauma paints a direct line to mental illnesses, which need to be taken seriously,” it concluded.
Medical News Today added, “The National Institutes of Health found that racism is twice as likely to affect mental health than physical health. Of those the researchers sampled, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color) who reported experiences of racism also experienced the following mental health issues: depression, stress, emotional distress, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts.”
Blacks are also more likely to suffer mental health problems and less likely to receive treatment or services.
Psychologist Dr. Naim Akbar, in an interview with The Final Call, described the trauma Blacks have suffered. “We are all under that constant duress,” he said.
Dr. Akbar said a fair comparison would be between how a million Black men came to Washington in 1995 versus several thousand Whites who went to the Capitol at the beginning of the year—and differences in behavior.
“I think that once you look at the bigger picture, for example, what happens when the Nation of Islam calls a group of people who have been absolutely devastated at the realities of racism and destruction comes together peacefully and what you saw was the difference in what happened on Jan. 6. So what happened at the Million Man March? Those are the pictures to compare rather than buying into let’s take one isolated example and use that as typical. The typical (for the Nation of Islam) is actually the exceptional.
“How could you get 2 million traumatized grassroots African-American people called together by this supposedly hate monger, and not one incident occurred, almost 2 million people present there? That day and how that incident is never called to the floor and highlighted,” he concluded.
Dr. Akbar said given Mr. Green’s alleged mental state and the longevity of his problems, his affiliation with the Nation of Islam might have helped him cope over time until he reached a breaking point.