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.