Farrakhan likens self to Jesus as black leadership summit ends 'I speak and transform human life,' minister says

November 19, 1995|By James Bock | James Bock,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- Lashing out at black ministers who have shunned his leadership, Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam likened himself yesterday to Jesus, saying that he heals the sick and is persecuted by scribes and religious people.

"Don't talk to me about my Lord and savior if you can't do what I do," Minister Farrakhan said at a news conference capping the National African-American Leadership Summit. "I speak and transform human life.

"When I speak, blind people see, deaf people hear, dumb people speak, the sick get healed, and the mentally dead people come to life. Dope addicts get cleaned up, alcoholics get saved, homosexuals get turned around. So don't tell me I don't know Jesus."

It was unclear whether he spoke figuratively or literally.

Farrakhan supporters cheered and shouted "Allah akbar!" (God is great).

Minister Farrakhan said that black church leaders who boycotted last month's Million Man March in Washington misunderstood him and his commitment to God and to Jesus.

"I don't talk Jesus, I live Jesus, and that's why I'm in trouble like he was," he told reporters. "The same scribes were enemies of Jesus. You can't defeat me because he who is in me is the master of it all."

It was an unusual ending to the three-day conference, the first major meeting of black leaders since the Oct. 16 march that was called by Minister Farrakhan. The summit drew an array of more than 500 leaders from the professions, business, academia, student groups, churches, fraternal organizations and local communities to the Howard University campus.

Minister Farrakhan shared the stage with -- and praised -- leaders such as Hugh B. Price, president of the National Urban League. Mr. Price did not attend the march because of the Nation of Islam leader's history of anti-Jewish rhetoric, but he came to the summit impressed by the march's success and positive spirit.

The Rev. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., who was national director of the march, convened the summit. It was the fifth such gathering in 18 months, but by far the most successful.

The summit confirmed Minister Farrakhan's growing influence and Dr. Chavis' renewed acceptance after being ousted 15 months ago as executive director of the Baltimore-based NAACP.

"The objective Chavis set out with the NAACP of building a broad tent with collective leadership is a giant step closer with the Million Man March and this meeting," said Ronald Walters, a Howard University political scientist who was co-chairman of the summit's committee on political mobilization.

Dr. Chavis reported yesterday that the summit had agreed to:

* Sponsor a national black political convention in 1996.

* Campaign for monetary reparations to blacks for slavery and discrimination.

* Call for an immediate moratorium on the death penalty.

* Support statehood for the District of Columbia.

* Hold a peace summit of youth gang leaders.

* Set up an African-American Economic Development Trust to finance black business ventures.

He said details had not been worked out on any of the proposals.

Dr. Walters said the black political convention could result in a third-party presidential candidacy or at least pressure the major-party nominees to respond to a black agenda.

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