Nation of Islam’s Long History of Antisemitism, Bigotry

Nation of Islam's Long History of Antisemitism, Bigotry Nation of Islam's Long History of Antisemitism, Bigotry Louis Farrakhan (Getty Images)

By Sandy Fitzgerald | Saturday, 03 April 2021 03:26 PM

The Nation of Islam, which the suspect accused in Friday afternoon's attack at the Capitol had reportedly identified himself as following, has a long history of antisemitism and bigotry, as does its leader, Louis Farrakhan.

Noah Green, 25, of Indiana, who was shot and killed after driving his car into a vehicle barrier at the Capitol Friday afternoon, resulting in the death of a Capitol Police officer and injuring another, had identified himself on a Facebook profile that has been removed as a "Follower of Farrakhan."

He also said he considers Farrakhan as "Jesus, the Messiah, the final divine reminder in our midst" and as his "spiritual father" and asked others to join him in following Farrakhan and former Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.

For more than three decades, Farrakhan has railed against Jewish people, whites, and the LGBT community, and according to a lengthy document from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) that has not changed in recent years.

For example, during a speech at the Watergate Hotel in 2017, Farrakhan said Jews who "owned a lot of plantation" had been responsible for undermining Black emancipation after the Civil War. He also endorsed the anti-Semitic book, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews" and has said he thinks the book, which blames Jews for promoting a myth of Black racial inferiority, should be taught in schools.

He has also posted anti-Semitic comments through social media, warning followers about the "Satanic Jew," has been known to defend Adolf Hitler, and in 2018, in a speech about the 23rd anniversary of the Million Man March, Farrakhan told followers that “When they talk about Farrakhan, call me a hater, you know how they do – call me an anti-Semite. Stop it, I’m anti-termite!”

Meanwhile, the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated the Nation of Islam, founded in 1930, which is now one of the wealthiest organizations in Black America, as having a "prominent position in the ranks of organized hate" because of its "theology of innate Black superiority over whites" because of the "deeply racist, antisemitic and anti-LGBT rhetoric of its leaders."

The NOI's belief system has been rejected by mainstream Muslims, notes the SPLC.

The organization was founded in the 1930s by Wallace D. Fard, and he and his successor held initially that more than 6,000 years ago, the Black race "lived in a paradise on earth that was destroyed by the evil wizard Yacub, who created the white “devil” through a scientific process called “grafting.”

The organization started its real growth in the 1950s and '60s, and new members like Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali (whose birth name was Cassius Clay before joining the organization), contributed to its growth, but the organization's advocacy of self-defense, non0nonviolence, alienated it from civil rights groups. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. warned by 1959 about a "hate group arising in our midst that would preach the doctrine of Black supremacy.”

Still, the NOI had a second membership surge in the 1960s, and after Malcolm X split in 1964 from Elijah Muhammad, his former mentor, Farrakhan was appointed to replace him.

Many blamed NOI for the assassination of Malcolm X in 1965, reports the SPLC, after Talmadge Hayer, an NOI member, was arrested on the scene and eyewitnesses identified two more suspects that were members of the NOI. All 3 were charged, but Hayer testified that the other men were not present or involved.

One of the suspects, Norman 3X Butler, now known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985 and became head of Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque in New York in 1998.

But even before Farrakhan, who has become the most known member of the group, the NOI characterized white people as "devils" and Elijah Muhammad early on was preaching about the "greedy" Jews who surrendered Jesus Christ to authorities.

Farrakhan was banned in 1986 from entering the United Kingdom, a ban that continues to this day, but continues to refer to "so-called Jews" while arguing "true" Jews were Black North Africans.

The NOI, however, could eventually turn itself around by censuring its own history while focusing on its community service projects, but the SPLC says that Farrakhan himself does not appear likely to do that, as he continues making anti-Semitic statements.

"His reign is coming to a close and his successor could choose to make the organization a force for good instead of hate in the future," the organization says.