A 2022 press conference with supporters for a Black Lives Matter mural that includes the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and other known Black leaders in Greenburgh, New York. The mural is located under the I-287 bridge on Manhattan Avenue in Westchester County. Photos: Eddie Muhammad

U.S. Congressman Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) is the latest Black leader being asked to take the “Farrakhan litmus test,” a test often used by members of the Jewish community to distance primarily Black people from the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

The Black congressman recently came under fire for remarks he made last year in defense of a Black Lives Matter mural that includes the depiction of Minister Farrakhan. The New York Daily News brought his comments to the public sphere, sparking recent outrage by Jewish community members.

The mural, located in Greenburgh, a town in Westchester County, New York, depicts several other Black leaders, including local leaders and national figures such as Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali. In his past remarks, Rep. Bowman acknowledged that while the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has said many things he disagrees with, “he is a part of Black history.”

“That’s a fact. And if the Greenburgh community—particularly that section of Greenburgh—supports the mural, then the mural should be there as is,” he said.


“Congressman Bowman feels that they shouldn’t be able to tell the Black community who they have as their heroes on their wall,” A.J. Woodson, editor-in-chief and co-owner of Black Westchester, an online magazine, radio show, and newspaper, said to The Final Call. “He said like I feel. The Black community should not have anyone else dictate who their heroes are, and for that, he’s getting a lot of flak.”

The mural first received backlash in fall 2022, as the Greenburgh Town Board called for the removal of the Nation of Islam Minister from the mural due to the decades-old false charges that Minister Farrakhan is anti-Semitic. Members of the Jewish community are using the same lie to paint Rep. Bowman as anti-Semitic.

“That’s not the case. He has a lot of Jewish supporters who stand with him. But that same narrative that they use over and over and over again,” Mr. Woodson said.

“If you’re just not pro-Jewish, you’re anti-Semitic. If you’re not pro-Israel, you’re anti-Semitic. If you’re calling for a ceasefire, you’re anti-Semitic. So that’s what the Congressman did. He called for a ceasefire,” he added.

“Now they’re trying to pull back all these old issues to try to say he’s had a history of this, and the whole narrative of the Minister is always one that they use, repeating words from The Washington Post and The New York Times from 20, 30 years ago.”

As a political candidate, Rep. Bowman faces opposition from George Latimer, who is heavily funded by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), a leading pro-Israel lobbying group. Rep. Bowman has been calling for a ceasefire since October 2023 to stop Israel’s assault on Gaza and the “mass murder of Palestinian civilians and Palestinian children.”

Student Minister Arthur Muhammad of the Nation of Islam’s Mosque No. 7 in New York, noted that the attacks against Rep. Bowman are just the latest in a list of Black politicians who were ostracized for having a favorable sentiment toward the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan.

“Unfortunately, the fear that the (Anti-Defamation League) and others put on Black leaders, Black politicians, Black entertainers, causes our Black prominent people to have a secret relationship with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, because they don’t want their support to be made public to hurt their career, as we see it manifesting recently with Rep. Jamaal Bowman,” he said to The Final Call. 

“So now they are supporting a candidate not because of that candidate’s politics, (but) just because that candidate can rival Jamaal Bowman,” he added. “They want to have control over the thoughts and the speech of people to ensure that what comes out of the mouths of politicians is nothing that is in condemnation, criticism or just opinion against the State of Israel or Jewish behavior in general.”

He said that members of the Jewish community fear the truth coming from Minister Farrakhan. They fear his condemnation of how the State of Israel was established and the truth that the Palestinians have been colonized in their own land.

“That is the truth that the Minister speaks that they don’t want politicians knowing. And then the other piece is that the Minister desires from the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad for us as a people to unite and to be dependent on Allah (God) and each other. And to the degree that we do that, the less there will be a need for Jewish involvement in our organizations and affairs,” Student Minister Arthur Muhammad said.

Mr. Woodson wrote a recent article for Black Westchester in defense of Rep. Bowman and Minister Farrakhan. In the article, he included Rep. Bowman’s full statement, in context.

“When I talk about the excluding of Black history from us, it also excludes it from other people,” Rep. Bowman said. He added that because White men have been in positions of power, historically, they feel they can speak on anything they want with authority.

“The fact of the matter is, like all things, it’s a bit more complicated than that. We are a nation that was founded by slave masters, yet we celebrate Washington and Jefferson and others,” he said.

“Jefferson and Washington owned slaves, and many of the White men who attended the constitutional convention to ratify the constitution were slave owners. But we celebrate them. We name buildings after them and streets after them and holidays and all of that.”

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan is not only an instrumental figure in Black history, but he also did a lot of good work in New York, specifically, as the Nation of Islam’s minister of Temple No. 7, under the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam. Under his leadership, the Minister established 18 mosques in New York, several Muhammad Universities of Islam and dozens of businesses.

“Not to mention, he did organize a Black family day at Randall’s Island, where we had over 70,000 Black people. That’s Black history. We’ve never had a crowd like that,” Student Minister Arthur Muhammad said. 

He encouraged Black people to stand with Black leaders such as Rep. Bowman who stand on their principles in the face of political retaliation and possibly political suicide.
“When they stand on that principle that is not the popular or the politically expedient thing to do, you know that person is serious,” he said. “So, let’s support Brother Jamaal Bowman and all politicians who stand on the principles of freedom, justice and equality.”