Farrakhan aide charges plot by whites to wipe out blacks

March 27, 1994|By James Bock | James Bock,Sun Staff Writer

The Nation of Islam's minister of health told a Baltimore audience last night that whites are unleashing chemical and biological warfare to eliminate the black race.

Dr. Abdul Alim Muhammad charged that the AIDS epidemic, contraceptive implants and proposals to legalize drugs are all part of a conspiracy of genocide against black people.

Speaking to a gathering of about 125 at the Forest Park Senior Center in Northwest Baltimore, Dr. Muhammad singled out Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke of Baltimore for criticism. The mayor has proposed a study of decriminalizing drugs nationwide.

"He needs to be brought down," Dr. Muhammad said. "He needs to be attacked and either reformed or run out of town."

The appearance of Dr. Muhammad, an eloquent, fiery speaker who is the black separatist group's top man in Washington, marked the third time in two months that a leading spokesman for Louis Farrakhan's organization has come to Baltimore.

Like Khallid Abdul Muhammad, who appeared twice in Baltimore last month after touching off a national furor by calling Jews "bloodsuckers of the black nation" in a New Jersey speech, Dr. Muhammad is highly controversial, though less widely known.

Dr. Muhammad said last night that history's worst case of biological warfare was the creation of the white race itself, which the Nation of Islam believes that a black scientist named Yacub accomplished 6,600 years ago by "grafting" whites out of the original black people.

"You think AIDS is bad -- AIDS can't be worse than white folks. They are devils. That's not some kind of name-calling. Scientifically, that's what they are," he said, as the audience laughed and applauded.

The 45-year-old physician, director of the Abundant Life Clinic in Washington, says he is combating what he views is the genocidal weapon of AIDS by promoting an unconventional treatment.

He has sold hundreds of patients low-grade oral doses of alpha interferon -- an unproven therapy for people infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Clinical tests have shown that low-dose oral alpha interferon -- sold under the names Kemron, Immunex and ImmuViron -- "provides no benefit in fighting HIV . . . or in improving the immune systems of those infected," according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Nevertheless, as a result of pressure from Dr. Muhammad and the National Medical Association, a black physicians group, NIH has begun to design another clinical trial of the alpha interferon therapy -- first touted as an AIDS breakthrough in 1991 by Kenyan researchers but subsequently found by other scientists to be a bust.

While scientists haven't been able to duplicate the Kenyan results -- including a World Health Organization study carried out by black African researchers in Uganda -- Dr. Muhammad has charged that a racist, white-dominated medical establishment has purposefully ignored the therapy as "some kind of African jungle mumbo-jumbo."

Dr. John G. Bartlett, chief of infectious diseases at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, said the alpha interferon treatment "has never been taken seriously because it doesn't make biological sense. . . . There's no scientific reason to think this stuff should work."

Nor does Dr. Muhammad's conspiracy theory make scientific sense, Dr. Bartlett said. AIDS was present as early as the 1950s, he said, well before the development of "all molecular biological techniques that could possibly create this kind of virus."

He noted that the first Americans attacked by the AIDS virus were not blacks, but white, middle-class gay men.

"You have to have an extraordinary degree of paranoia" to believe that AIDS is the result of a genocidal conspiracy, he said.

But a 1992 poll showed that nearly 30 percent of black Americans believed that the AIDS virus may have been deliberately created in a laboratory to infect black people.

Blacks' distrust of government scientists is rooted in incidents such as the Tuskegee Project, a 1930s study of syphilis in which the U.S. Public Health Service deliberately left a group of blacks untreated for the disease even after penicillin was developed.

Dr. Muhammad has claimed "reversal of all symptoms of AIDS in most cases" after treating patients with alpha interferon. His clinic has received $213,000 in federal aid awarded by the District of Columbia government. Mayor Sharon Pratt Kelly has honored him for his AIDS work.

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