When you least expect it, the old Farrakhan returns

September 07, 2005|By GREGORY KANE

MINISTER Jamil Muhammad, the national spokesman for the Nation of Islam, pointed last Friday night to Minister Farajii Muhammad as a prime example of what their leader, Minister Louis Farrakhan, is trying to accomplish. "He's the youth minister for Mosque Six," said Jamil Muhammad, who at one time was the minister in charge of that mosque, which sits on Garrison Boulevard near Liberty Heights Avenue.

Farajii Muhammad is 26 years old. He wore a bow tie, a sharp dark suit and a white shirt. When I asked him how long he'd been in the Nation of Islam, his answer was direct and succinct. "I was born into it, sir," Farajii Muhammad said. Articulate, well-groomed and calls his elders "sir" or "ma'am."

So there I was in the Masons Hall on Eutaw Place performing a ritual I've gone through for well over 30 years: listening to a Louis Farrakhan speech. He was in town to promote his Millions More Movement, which grew out of the Million Man March he organized in 1995.

Truth in advertising requires my saying I wasn't a fan of the march. In fact, I wrote some pretty unkind things about Farrakhan at the time. But a funny thing happened. Once the march -- which Farrakhan said was about atonement -- ended, I continued to read his speeches and writings.

They revealed that the good Nation of Islam leader had pulled off the ultimate double-cross. The march was about atonement. It turned out old Lou was serious.

The depth of that seriousness came in a piece Farrakhan wrote for Essence magazine several years after the Million Man March, in which he lamented his failings as a father and told of his painful experience with one of his sons who was addicted to drugs.

I noticed a change in Farrakhan after that and a change in his ministers. There were times when members of the Nation of Islam out-Christianed Christians. And there were times when Farrakhan and I seemed to be having the same thought at precisely the same moment.

When, during the reparations debate, I wrote that most blacks would spend a reparations check with white or Asian merchants within a week after receiving it, Farrakhan came to town soon after and said the same thing, practically verbatim.

Only he got a standing ovation for his remarks, and I got called an Uncle Tom. Go figure. This past Friday, only hours after I'd written that I couldn't possibly guarantee I wouldn't loot food or water if I were trapped in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans, Farrakhan told the crowd, "When the first law is self-preservation, all other laws are off."

And then, as if to prove that the old Farrakhan isn't quite dead yet, the good minister pronounced that Hurricane Katrina's destruction of New Orleans was part of God's divine judgment of America. Actually, Farrakhan said he predicted it nearly three years ago, just before President Bush sent troops into Iraq.

In all fairness, the man does have a letter on the Web site of the Nation of Islam newspaper The Final Call to prove it.

"Mr. President," Farrakhan wrote in October 2002, "if you [invade Iraq], you will bring down upon America an increase in the Divine Judgment of rain, hail, snow, wind, earthquakes, pestilence and famine that is already witnessed in the country. As you go about destroying other nations and cities, you will bring this kind of Divine Wrath on the American people and American cities."

You have to wonder why God has a divine judgment against America when other nations are more suited. There's Germany, where the Nazis exterminated millions during the Holocaust. There's Stalinist Russia with its millions killed. There was the murderous Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, where even millions more were dispatched.

There's Rwanda, where Hutus slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Tutsis. And then theres the Sudan, where Arab Muslims routinely kill black Africans no matter what their religion.

It must be a God who practices some flagrant double standards and who has a weird sense of justice who would single out America for divine judgment.

Farrakhan would probably respond that, according to his religion, America is singled out because it fulfills the biblical prophecy of being a modern Babylon. I'd respond that if claims that God has a divine judgment planned against America are indeed true, it proves why I've never questioned the existence of the Supreme Being.

Only His sanity.

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