Travels with Tyrants: Minister Louis Farrakhan's 1996 Anti-American World Tour
World Tour 1997-98

Beginning in early December 1997, Louis Farrakhan and his 24 member delegation embarked upon the third "World Friendship Tour." Farrakhan stated that he "…would like to demonstrate how diplomacy and friendly relations should be carried out" while paying visits to 52 nations on the tour; in the end, the total number of nations visited was 37. Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Russia, the Far East, Australia, and Cuba were among the areas visited by Farrakhan and his delegation. According to Farrakhan himself, he met with "13 heads of state, a few heads of government, prime ministers, foreign ministers, ministers of information, ministers of trade and commerce, deputy foreign ministers, scholars of every type." Farrakhan returned to the U.S. in time for N.O.I.'s annual Saviour's Day celebration held February 20-22, 1998 in Chicago.

The Middle East: Iraq, Israel, Lybia and Sudan

During the tour, aside from denying accusations that he is anti-Semitic, Farrakhan focused on denouncing the U.S. government and its policies in the Middle East, as well as criticizing local governments. Farrakhan arrived in Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 9 and shortly after, called President Clinton a "killer of babies." He asked, "President Bill Clinton, in your youth, you had the moral courage to oppose the war in Vietnam…would you want history to write [that] you were the killer of babies though sanctions? Where is your courage today?"

Farrakhan stirred up much discussion within Israel when he announced that he intended on stopping in Israel in mid-January. Israeli society and press debated whether or not to offer Farrakhan an official visit (ADL called his request for an official visit to Israel a "cynical ploy to insinuate himself into the Middle East peace process and gain undeserved legitimacy," but supported a visit as a private U.S. citizen). Following the decision to allow Farrakhan to enter the country as a regular citizen, Farrakhan showed up just days later, on December 14, an entire month earlier than expected. He visited the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, meeting with Yassir Arafat for the first time. He then canceled his planned visit to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, giving as a reason his fear about his safety in Israel--demonstrations protesting his presence had been held in Israel--and an alleged lack of assurance about his protection by Israel. Claiming that any attack on him could damage Black-Jewish relations in the U.S., Farrakhan left the country 24 hours after arriving.

The timing of Farrakhan's visit to Libya, December 21, coincided with the ninth anniversary of the bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Visiting with Libyan leader Muammar Qadaffi, he claimed that President Clinton was surrounded by advisors who were Israeli agents. He also claimed that he never said that Jews hated Black people, only that they exploited them. He called for the lifting of U.N. sanctions against Libya, calling them "collective terrorism." Regarding Iraq and the recent confrontation with the U.S. and the U.N., Farrakhan asked, "Now they are saying that there may be weapons of mass destruction in the various palaces. I wonder could this be a pretext to bomb the palaces and use weapons of mass destruction on the Iraqi people, then claim that after they bombed the palaces they bombed a supply of biological weapons?…I'm just raising this as questions."

In mid January, Farrakhan arrived in Khartoum, Sudan and met with Sudanese President Omar al Beshir, Islamic leader Hassan al Turabi (Secretary General of the Popular Islamic Conference), and other officials. The Nation of Islam's web site reported that Farrakhan claimed that "Islamic militants were not to blame for the massacres carried out in Algeria and were the victims of anti Islamic machinations." He reportedly told worshippers at a Khartoum mosque that "It is a challenge and a test for Muslims in Sudan to be the target of plots and conspiracies that aim at obstructing the spread of Islam in Africa." It is important to note that the Minister continues to be a supporter of this Islamic extremist dictatorship and continues to ignore reports of Black enslavement in the country. He also apparently said nothing about the widespread starvation going on in the Sudan.

Russia, Australia, Cuba

When Farrakhan was in Russia meeting with Russian Muslims at the end of January, conflicting reports surfaced regarding a possible expulsion of the delegation by Russian authorities. The Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported that Russian officials in Dagestan (one of the autonomous regions in Russia) claimed that Farrakhan and his group lacked proper documents, and thus expelled the delegation. However, the leader of the Union of Muslims of Russia, an umbrella group that invited Farrakhan, said the expulsion was politically motivated and was due to the fact that Dagestani authorities "erroneously described Farrakhan as an extremist."  According to the NOI website, a  Dagestani spokesman said, "This is not true. He did not have a single problem here…Farrakhan's mission was accomplished and he left. His visa expired today as well but he was planning to leave anyway."  In a footnote to his Russian trip. Farrakhan revealed during his Saviours' Day speech that "…they [Russian authorities] tried to guide our plane into the mountains, it's true, they tried to kill us!"

Before his arrival in Australia, protests against Farrakhan's impending visit resulted in a conditional visa  being granted to the Minister and his delegation. While Farrakhan was still in Seoul, South Korea, he was warned that he would be thrown out of Australia if he were to break Australia's anti-racism laws. He had to give a written pledge that he would not incite racial hatred or insult any segment of Australia's society. Regarding this conditional visa, NOI. spokesman Akbar Muhammad said "We want to make sure the document doesn't infringe on our rights as human beings or attempt to muzzle us like a dog."

When he finally arrived in Australia in mid February, Farrakhan visited Redfern, a notorious  inner-Sydney Aboriginal community. During the tour, he called white Australians "thieves and murders" of Aboriginal people. The Sydney Herald-Sun reported that in an address at a local mosque, he said all Australian Christians should be ashamed of what he had seen in Redfern and that Jews had forgotten their duty to lift the fallen. He said that it was hypocritical of the Austrailian government to lecture him before coming to the country, saying "you counseled me before I came into the country…how nice of you." However, the former Aboriginal Legal Aid spokesman, Mr. Lyall Munro, said he was suspicious of Farrakhan's "uninvited fly-by-night" visit to Sydney before the 2000 Olympics.

One of the last stops on the tour was in Cuba, where Farrakhan met with President Fidel Castro for 3 hours. Farrakhan expressed his disdain that there was little or no media coverage of his last two stops in Bermuda and Canada. During his Saviour's Day speech, Farrakhan said, "Don't tell me media, that you're not controlled, and the same forces that control you are a part of that world-wide conspiracy…"

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


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Iran | Iraq | Libya | Nigeria | South Africa | Sudan | Conclusion

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