On February 25, 2007, approximately 40,000 people – including Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and Congressman John Conyers – attended the final event of the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) annual Saviours’ Day convention in Detroit, which featured a keynote address by Louis Farrakhan. Despite prior speculation that Farrakhan’s address would be his last, Farrakhan did not name a successor and seemed to suggest that he would be speaking again: “It’s gonna take me several days, several weeks and a few months to deliver what God has laid on my heart.”
In his speech, Farrakhan praised several notoriously anti-Semitic and anti-Israel books. Urging the audience to “become readers,” he recommended the NOI’s The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews¸ which argues essentially that slavery in the New World was initiated by Jewish ship owners and merchants, and The Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins, an anti-Jewish conspiracy theory propagandist. This book claims that the banking system in the U.S. is controlled by a few elite families (most of them Jewish). It is a key text used by anti-Semites on the far right.
Farrakhan also recommended President Jimmy Carter’s Palestine Peace Not Apartheid, a biased, simplistic and distorted view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that portrays Israeli policies in dealing with Palestinians in the territories as inherently racist, and Victor Ostrovsky’s By Way of Deception, a discredited book that makes unsubstantiated claims about Israel’s Mossad. In addition, The Synagogue of Satan, written by NOI member Ashahed Muhammad, was sold during the event. This book’s overarching theme is that unknown to most, the world is being manipulated and corrupted by Satanic powers led by Jewish elites.
Farrakhan focused another part of his speech on American foreign policy. Calling for the impeachment of President Bush, he predicted “the fall of the great Babylon, the United States of America.”
The weekend long convention began on February 23 with the NOI’s Jumu’ah prayer at the Cobo Center, which attracted an estimated 5,000 people. Imam Siraj Wahhaj, of the Islamic Society of North America, led the prayer.
Omar Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, spoke to those in attendance via satellite. Al-Bashir likened the United States, Britain and Israel to “colonial powers,” alleging that the U.S. is exaggerating troubles in Darfur in an effort to gain control over the country. He described the Darfur region as “quite calm,” denying casualty numbers and ethnic cleansing among tribes.
After nearly 30 years, Farrakhan ceded his leadership role with the NOI due to illness in September 2006, handing over responsibilities to an executive board.