Travels with Tyrants: Minister Louis Farrakhan's 1996 Anti-American World Tour

On February 22, Louis Farrakhan's 23-nation "friendship tour" drew to a close in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, where he called for the Muslims of the world to unite and form a "superpower." "Those who fear Islam fear that Islam is going to replace the Western hegemony in the world, and they are right," he said.

Farrakhan appeared to shrug off the angry responses of U.S. officials to his meetings with militant dictators, saying jokingly that he would love to take his Africa Middle East tour all over again, "if American officials allow me." But it is hard to see the humor in all of this. In the space of 27 days, Louis Farrakhan, who was recently saluted by eminent civil rights and political figures at the Million Man March, publicly embraced half a dozen of the world's most treacherous leaders, turning a blind eye to the blood on their hands. He heaped praise on the tyrannical regimes of Iran, Iraq and the Sudan, while denouncing the United States government.

While he was able to moderate his message significantly in the months before the Million Man March, it seems that it was only a matter of time before Farrakhan's extremist core came rushing to the fore. His inflammatory statements and his meetings with some of America's greatest enemies cannot be casually dismissed. They display a callous disregard for human rights, and an incomprehensible complacency toward terrorism and violence.

Midway through Farrakhan's trip, an article in The Final Call insisted that their leader's mission abroad was to "lift the boot of oppression from the backs of the oppressed." But his inflammatory, self-serving behavior along the tour makes this claim hard to swallow. And, though a great many of the black Americans who attended the Million Man March in October said they do not support the Nation of Islam or its teachings, Minister Farrakhan chose to ignore this as he made his way through Africa and the Middle East. He depicted himself as the representative of the "million" marchers, exploiting their goodwill for his own purposes.

It has been widely noted that most march attendees were simply demonstrating their eagerness to revitalize the black community, not anointing Farrakhan as their spokesperson. As black columnist Carl Rowan commented:

A lot of us black Americans are worried and angry about the widening racial divide in America, especially the upsurge of white politicians trying to wipe out almost every gain made by minorities dur ing the last 35 years. But we have not designated Farrakhan to articulate our concerns in words that sound treasonous or approving of all the murderous dictators and scoundrels of Africa and the Middle East.

If Farrakhan's itinerary had included only one controversial locale, or one meeting with an unsavory dictator, perhaps those who have been welcoming Farrakhan into the mainstream could feel comfortable ignoring his trip. Some have made it clear that they are willing to overlook his record of bigotry. But the NO1 leader's recent performance is not an aberration. The Nation of Islam is an extremist organization with a racist ideology and an apocalyptic vision of America's future. Farrakhan's promise that "God will destroy America by the hands of the Muslims," in keeping with NOI teachings, should drive this point home.

Click on countries highlighted orange to learn more about Farrakhan's travels.
Click on countries highlighted
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Farrakhan's travels.


World Tour 1997-98
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