Talk-show host Arsenio ''It's a night thing'' Hall was much criticized for devoting the lion's share of a recent show to an unchallenged forum for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan. Mr. Hall -- an infuriatingly uninquisitive man -- asked few questions during the session, in which the good minister expressed his love for humanity and insisted he had no ill will toward Jews, whites or anyone else.
It was classic television. Mr. Hall, ineffective as he was in the interview, should be commended for having Mr. Farrakhan on the show. The minister, for his part, deserves an Emmy Award for the best acting performance ever to grace a television screen. He was soft-spoken and urbane to the point of being unctuous -- sounding somewhat as a well-tanned Eddie Haskell might have sounded if he were to join the Nation of Islam.
Once, just once, I'd like somebody to ask Louis Farrakhan the questions I'd like to ask him. The list would be quite extensive, probing well beyond his much-publicized anti-Semitic remarks -- for the man is guilty of so much more than that. Here is just a sample:
* Please reiterate, for those blacks who seem to have forgotten or who simply never knew, what will happen to them if they should fail the Louis Farrakhan Litmus Test For Racial Loyalty.
* While you're at it, tell us who died and made you the judge of every other black person's racial loyalty.
* Since we're on the subject of loyalty, is it true you snitched on Malcolm X back in 1962 and delivered him into the hands of his enemies in Chicago?
* You admitted -- at long last -- that you wrote an article in the December 4, 1964, edition of the Nation of Islam newspaper Muhammad Speaks in which you said Malcolm X was worthy of death. You denied any involvement in his assassination 2 1/2 months later. Assuming you are not guilty from a legal standpoint, aren't you still morally culpable, inasmuch as a hit squad of Nation of Islam members from the Newark (N.J.) mosque carried out the deed?
* One writer has said that you were in Newark the day Malcolm X was assassinated. If that's true, what were you doing there?
* The same writer, Karl Evanzz, says that you made one of your notorious ''Death to Traitors'' speeches after some Nation of Islam members were arrested for the murder of several members of a rival Muslim sect in Washington in 1973. One of those arrested who had agreed to testify against the others hanged himself the next day. Would we be correct in assuming that you feel no moral responsibility for his death either?
* The television show ''A Current Affair'' taped one of your speeches in which you admitted that the Nation of Islam had ''dealt with Malcolm X the way nations deal with traitors.'' While you should be commended for abandoning the black-nationalist fantasy that Malcolm X was assassinated as a result of some FBI/CIA conspiracy, do you really believe the Nation of Islam has the legal status to go out and execute whomever it pleases?
* In the same speech, you said that you loved Elijah Muhammad so much that you would have killed someone for saying something against him. Isn't that sentiment closer to fanaticism than it is to love?
* Is it true that you believe Elijah Muhammad is still alive?
* Is it true you believe he's on a spaceship somewhere?
* Is it true that you were on this spaceship, talked to Elijah Muhammad and that the spaceship dropped you off somewhere in the vicinity of Washington?
* Malcolm X was a thug who became a civilized man. You are a civilized man who became a thug. That is the essential difference between you and Malcolm, isn't it?
* Did you break with Wallace Muhammad in 1977 after he had been leader of the Nation of Islam for two years because of a commitment to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad or because Wallace Muhammad ended the flow of money that had been funneling into the pockets of top Nation of Islam officials for years?
* Your love of black people and disdain of white devils notwithstanding, the fact is the only violent acts Nation of Islam members have committed have been against other black people.
Care to offer a comment as to why?
Gregory P. Kane is a reporter for The Sun.