The Cynical Covenant of Farrakhan and Qaddafi
by Abraham H. Foxman
Last October, while Louis Farrakhan was basking in the afterglow of
the successful Million Man March on Washington, the Nation of Islam leader
announced he would be "keeping the momentum [of the march] alive"
by encouraging blacks across the country to become politically active. His
plans were welcomed by mainstream leaders and organizations, and praised
as a positive departure from NOI's long-held tradition of shunning the American
political scene. Now it turns out that this seemingly legitimate political
goal is fundamentally tainted -- that Minister Farrakhan will work toward
achieving black political influence in partnership with the anti-American
Libyan strongman, Muammar Qaddafi.
On January 23, Minister Farrakhan and Colonel Qaddafi reached an agreement
to launch a campaign to exert black and Muslim influence in the upcoming
U.S. elections can only be viewed as a cynical covenant between two haters.
With the Nation of Islam leading the effort, Colonel Qaddafi said that
blacks, Arabs, Muslims and native Americans will exercise their political
muscle "and enter the election period as a card stronger than the Jewish
card in the elections campaign." Colonel Qaddafi had already agreed
to bankroll the effort: in September he promised to spend up to $1 billion
to launch a Muslim lobby in America.
Until now, Colonel Qaddafi announced, "Our confrontation with America
was like a fight against a fortress from outside." After speaking with
Minister Farrakhan, however, "we found a breach to enter into this
fortress and confront it." Colonel Qaddafi promised that as it battles
America from the inside, the NOI will eventually fulfill one of its fondest
dreams: establishing a black state within America's borders. Ever the military
man, the Libyan leader also predicted that this new state will boast the"biggest
black army on the planet."
Minister Farrakhan, "happy with the results" of his meeting
with Muammar Qaddafi, has now publicly forged an alliance with an unrepentant
international bully and an enemy of the United States For years, Libya
has sponsored numerous brutal acts of anti-American and anti-Israeli terror.
Despite United Nations sanctions placed on his country four years ago, Colonel
Qadaffi refuses to hand over for trial two Libyan suspects in the bombing
of a Pan Am 103 that killed 270 people. A fierce opponent of the Israeli-Palestinian
peace accords, Colonel Qaddafi has urged Arab countries to expel all Palestinian
refugees and workers from their lands as a way of embarrassing the peacemakers;
in September he followed his own advice and began to expel hundreds of Palestinian
workers from his country's borders.
This is by no means Minister Farrakhan's first encounter with the radical
Libyan leader. In 1985, Colonel Qaddafi granted the Nation of Islam a $5
million interest-free loan, which Minister Farrakhan said he used to launch
his group's POWER personal products line. Months later, Louis Farrakhan
visited Libya to thank his benefactor personally. The Nation of Islam leader
and his lieutenants have travelled on other occasions to Tripoli for meetings
with the Libyan dictator. One such gathering attended by Minister Farrakhan
-- in violation of a travel ban imposed on Americans by President Reagan
-- offered training seminars on weapons and explosives. Minister Farrakhan
has called Colonel Qaddafi "a fellow struggler in the cause of liberation
for our people," and his organization's tabloid, The Final Call, has
hailed the Libyan leader as the "TRUE HERO of liberation struggle."
To all who believe that the Million Man March was a turning point for Louis
Farrakhan, proving that he no longer harbors an extremist agenda, his alliance
with Colonel Qaddafi should serve as a wake up call. His behavior in Libya
fits a pattern that too many Americans -- black and white -- have ignored
for too long. Louis Farrakhan's black separatist philosophy has always run
counter to the American vision of equality for all citizens. His unabashed
displays of friendship toward one of the world's bloodiest terrorists suggest
a troubling complacency toward violence and extremism.
In preparation for the Million Man March, Minister Farrakhan drummed up
support by reciting words of conciliation. He appeared to moderate his often-harsh
rhetoric with appeals to black community responsibility, reconciliation
and atonement. Such statements enabled him to curry favor with the mainstream;
they encouraged congressmen and leading civil rights figures to pay homage
to Minister Farrakhan in speeches at the march.
But Louis Farrakhan has the last laugh now. Respectable black leaders have
proven willing to take a seat at Minister Farrakhan's meeting table, most
recently at the November 1995 African American Leadership Summit. Nevertheless,
it seems that Minister Farrakhan is only too happy to stride both sides
of the fence. He welcomes, even craves, mainstream support, but is at the
same time forges links to terrorists and extremists.
In fact, Libya is not his only outlaw friend in the Middle East. Minister
Farrakhan has also cultivated ties to the Sudan, an Islamic fundamentalist
state notorious for harboring accused terrorists, and also reportedly responsible
for enslaving black African Christians. His current tour included a cordial
visit with the corrupt military dictator General Sani Abacha of Nigeria.
Louis Farrakhan has long poisoned public discourse with malicious words
of racism and anti-Semitism. But recently, many Americans have begun to
overlook the rhetoric. Minister Farrakhan's hate speech, they seem to be
saying, is old news. They believe he has progressed beyond the scapegoating,
beyond the divisiveness and has settled into the mainstream. Minister Farrakhan's
eagerness to cut a deal with one of the world's most violent leaders, should
cause these Americans to think again.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.