Tuesday, May 21

From The Final Call Newspaper

Wanting to end war, working to promote peace

By Charlene Muhammad -National Correspondent

LOS ANGELES—Bloods and Crips street organization plans for an all-out family day at the park to promote peace and unity on Memorial Day have seen a little setback. But the work for peace is ongoing.

While Memorial Day may not be the day, those committed to working through challenges and years of urban fratricide are on the case, building with one another and seeking resources to make a great day for peace possible.

They have been meeting and strategizing around ways to maintain the unity forged days after their brother Nipsey Hussle, aka Ermias Asghedom, a prominent rapper and self-made millionaire, was slain in front of his Marathon Clothing store in South L.A. He was a member of the Rollin’ 60s Crips but worked across gang and geographic lines to promote good relations and the development of the Black community and expanded opportunity.

They Still Trying 2 Hate On Our Hard Work and Love ...... But More Then Any- thing ToDay Was A Day Of TRUST * BY EVERY MAN WHO CAME AND PUT THEIR LIFE IN the Hands of the Men/Women From CRENSHAW...... I THANK YOU FROM THE TOP AND BOTTOM OF MY HEART ..... TODAY WAS MADE BY GOD/ALLAH.... LETS KEEP PUSHING THE LONG WAY ..... Do it for the Babys....... ( a Special Thanks to #TANYA & #AD FOR PUTTING THIS EVENT TOGETHER ) ILL FOLLOW A GREAT TEAM.... Photo and caption: bigu1/Instagram

There was hope for a May 27 broad fellowship with each other, as well as mothers of slain children and the broader community but everything from a location, money, and other support to pull it off is needed, according to key organizer LaTanya Ward, aka “F.O.”, a member of the Bloods Black P Stones gang and co-coordinator of an April 6 walk in peace held by over 500 street organization members.

“We don’t have … no backing to help us do nothing; not to help organize, to keep—even just the meetings going,” Ms. Ward told The Final Call.

A friend helped make flyers for meetings held once a week, but those meetings have dwindled to every other week, and attendance from about 50 to 10 people, she said. Even with resources and donations, the outing would be a flop if the most important, targeted population which are the gang members, are not in attendance, she said.

What they need to make the planned park day a success is first and foremost a team of coordinators comprised from each of the gangs. That may not necessarily be people from that specific area, but they have certain expertise and they can assist.

One of the problems is it looks like people are on offense, but many are still on defense with each other, she said. “Humans are naturally self-preserving,” she said. Another is that they didn’t create the situation they’re falling victim to, she said.

Nipsey Hussle

“We’re really just in it, and we’re all on defense, or we’re just participating in the situation that was created for us. The fact is the powers that be know they could’ve been ended it or deadened it from the rip. We just pawns, but, we just don’t know that yet,” continued Ms. Ward.

The event is designed to not just further strengthen peace amongst themselves, but to atone to mothers and families of those slain in gang wars, according to Lil’ A.D., who was integral to the April 6 peace walk crossing Slauson Ave. and Crenshaw Blvd., where Nipsey’s store and plaza stands as a landmark for the community’s cry for change.

The so-called gang members breathed new life into efforts for peace across the country, and Bloods and Crips, as well as other gang sets from Rialto, California (a suburb approximately 50 miles east of L.A.) to New York, began tying their red and blue rags together, signifying peace. Their images went viral in social media.

Some say the hope that sprang up from the streets of South Central then carried abroad demands work from everybody, but in working themselves on internal disputes, they’re uncovering more of the trauma and impact urban fighting has had on something as simple as people’s ability to communicate.

For instance, meeting agendas outlined to accomplish tasks fall by the wayside, because people just want to be heard. They have a lot to get off their chests, and sometimes conversations run off track, and it’s hard to refocus, explained Ms. Ward.“I don’t think it’s fizzling out, because what I do know is that I still have people coming to meetings talking about it, whatever side they’re on, whatever side of the fence they on about it, but they’ll come to me and be like, ‘You know, umm, that’s good F.O., you doing that … I’m proud of you Blood; I’m proud of you Cuz, but I ain’t there yet, you feel me,’ ” said Ms. Ward. She said it’s because that person may still be mad about someone or something or are so for their gang, they’re not with it or that mature yet.

Nipsey Hussle

“I tell them n****r, on Blackstones you gon’ be with it, when yo a** taking your last breaths on the ground. You gon’ wish it would have been a treaty, a truce, a non-aggression agreement and all that sh**,” stated Ms. Ward. 

“But period! They’re talking about it, so it hasn’t fizzed out because it’s like, ‘Oh, the audacity! Oh! They think they could have made that work? And it failed in ’92 or, period. Nipsey, the s*** still a shock, and it was tied to that, so it’s still a conversation. Secretly, everybody want it … want to be safe, in a perfect world to be able to not f*****g die!”

Youth who identified himself only as “Twilight,” left, and youth who identified him- self only as “Twelve, clasp hands at end of three days of talks between members of warring Los Angeles gang factions in Carson, Calif., July 29, 1988. Photo: AP Photo / Ira Mark Gostin

Ms. Ward was referring to the April 28, 1992 peace treaty struck by gang members from the Imperial Courts, Jordan Downs, Nickerson Gardens and Hacienda Village housing projects in the Watts section of Los Angeles to end bloodshed that was resulting in over 1,000 murders a year in the 1980s. That came after four White cops were acquitted in ’92 of the brutal beating of Black motorist Rodney King, now deceased.

Student Minister Tony Muhammad (now known as Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad) and Nipsey Hussle at Cren- shaw High School in 2014.

“Everybody who comes to the endeavor doesn’t have the same motives. You’re dealing with 40 years of violence, 40 years of hatred and fratricide, so you’re not going to settle that overnight,” observed Student Minister Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad, Western Region pepresentative for the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, in an exclusive interview.

“What we saw at Ground Zero with Nipsey was the greatest sign we’ve ever seen, in my opinion,” he stated. “People may want to say it was after the Rodney King verdict, see, but that verdict was on the basis of what some White cops had done to the Black man. This is the first time we’ve ever wanted to come together on a Black man killing a Black man,” Min. Muhammad stated.

“We want to earn more of the right to help just facilitate those who are already beginning to keep the peace, and our mission is to unite, as we already have done, with gang intervention, to unite with Stop the Violence-Increase the Peace, and Cease Fire, and 2nd Call, all of the groups already doing the best they could to maintain the peace. We are now going to unite as a solid wall and do it together, because no one group can do it! It’s going to take a team effort and I don’t care about no position. I don’t want to head it. We want to get up under it and support it and support them,” said Min. Muhammad.

It can start by getting gangs to adopt moral codes in stages and degrees, one or two things, but don’t try to put too much on them, he said.

“Nurture that. If we could just say no more killings. Start with that. No more shootings. No verbal attacks on social media. Just start with just two things. Now that’s with the gangs,” said Min. Muhammad.

Rappers have a part to play by putting out more positive, uplifting lyrics, and bring conscious rap music back, he said. Then the community and world must buy-in with support for peace, jobs and education, he said. “But it can’t be no minuscule budget with you giving just enough to keep these brothers and sisters fighting and killing each other,” he added.

That is part of the goal for an upcoming Peace Ride slated for mid-October in honor of Nipsey Hussle. The United in Peace Foundation spearheading the event is also dedicating the ride to mothers of children killed in gang violence. It was originally scheduled for this June 23, but most of the venues are booked up. Alternatively, every Peace Ride, on the fourth Sunday of each month this year is being dedicated to Nipsey Hussle and the unity of the various gangs, according to Min. Muhammad. In October, it culminates with a ride in the same month commemorating the historic Million Man March.

The peace blueprint calls next for rebuilding the wasted cities, as instructed by Minister Farrakhan when the beloved Muslim leader called for 10,000 Fearless to not only make their communities safe and decent places to live, but to serve the needs and wants of suffering masses in their communities and show gang members how to build their own companies, from construction, carpeting, landscaping, to roofing, he said.

“Peace is a process, and what frustrates people is because we want immediate gratification, but Allah says seek assistance through patience and prayer. You’ve got to be patient with a 40-year war,” said Min. Muhammad, echoing sentiments from his May 12 address at the Nation of Islam headquarters Mosque Maryam in Chicago entitled, “God Is Rising.”

“It’s been 10 years of the Peace Rides, and if it takes 10 more to completely manifest peace, then it’s worth it, but remember, people are still using drugs and when they get high, they get restimulated and fights will break out. The key is to stop glorifying the violence,” he said.

For his part, Min. Muhammad plans to visit all the gangs in L.A. in Compton, Inglewood, Long Beach, Pasadena and Watts, between now and October. In part so they can feel the spirit of Minister Farrakhan, just as many did when he visited Ground Zero Nipsey Hussle’s parking lot memorial site and delivered a riveting message of love to the Rollin’ 60s, street gangs and the world.

“We have to be willing, but right now, the Minister, the Nation, we are the most consistent of everybody. People would like to overlook us, but it’s hard, because they don’t have the discipline, and that’s what we bring to the table,” said Min. Muhammad. “And it’s our mission! We believe in the resurrection of the dead and our sole purpose is to deliver the 17 million.”

Tuesday, May 14

From The Final Call Newspaper

Somebody taught you to hate me: Supporters pack Catholic church to hear Farrakhan respond to Facebook ban

By James G. Muhammad Contributing Editor @jgm3000 

CHICAGO—A rousing crowd in a packed St. Sabina Catholic church greeted the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and church pastor Fr. Michael Pfleger as they walked arm-in-arm into the sanctuary during an event held for the Minister to respond to being banned from Facebook and Instgram.

The media giant cancelled the Minister’s account and those of others they described as “dangerous” individuals who deliver “hate speech” in violation of the platform’s policies.

Fr. Pfleger, a White Catholic priest, offered the Minister his church May 9 to respond to the ban, setting himself up for days of condemnation, personal threats and hateful speech as a result.

To the White people who think I am a hater, “You’ve never had a conversation with me but somebody made you to hate me,” Min. Farrakhan said during an hour long message. “But after you get acquainted with me, the hate began to be diminished and you began listening. After you began listening, your hate began to turn to love,” he said.

The 86-year-old Minister said his critique of Jewish actions—specifically his public exposure of writings in the Jewish Babylonian Talmud that declares that Jesus is in hell boiling in excrement and describes Mother Mary as a prostitute – has fueled the anger of powerful members of the Jewish community.

“The enemy is so hateful of me,” he said. “You make me the litmus test for any Black person who wants to rise in America.”

As an example, the Minister said Barack Obama would never have been elected president if a photo of him and the former Illinois senator had been released to the public.

“Poor Barack. We (Nation of Islam) helped him to win in Illinois,” he said. “I’m a hated man today, you can’t even have a picture with me. That kind of hatred is insanity.”

He also criticized the hypocrisy of those who condemned Fr. Pfleger for inviting him, but would those critics condemn the late Cardinal Francis George who dined with the Minister at his home and took a photo with him, he asked? Would they condemn the late Cardinal Joseph Bernadine or former Mayor Richard M. Daley, both of whom met with him?

Reaction to the Facebook ban was swift as Blacks and others who support the beloved Minister flooded the platform with his picture and his words. The audience was asked to stream the event on Facebook Live during the event.

With the image of a Black Jesus painted in the church looking down upon him, the Minister said when Jesus walked the earth he was hated without a cause. What have I done that you hate me like that, he asked?

The answer, perhaps, is rooted in his stance in defense of Rev. Jesse L. Jackson during his run for president in 1983. During that time, members of the Jewish community held demonstrations outside Rev. Jackson’s campaign events chanting “Ruin, Jesse, Ruin” and sending death threats to the prominent leader.

Min. Farrakhan advised Jewish leaders to sit down with Rev. Jackson to discuss differences, adding, “If you harm this brother, I warn you in the name of Allah, this will be the last one that you harm.”

From that time to the present, media and Jewish leadership have dogged Min. Farrakhan with the label of “anti-Semite” and continue to pressure prominent officials from associating with him.

Enemy tries to tarnish Farrakhan
In 1985 a Black Chicago bank was pressured to refuse deposit of a $5 million loan to Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam from Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi for economic development.

In 1993, Jewish leaders pressured Black leaders to disinvite Min. Farrakhan from speaking at the 30th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1995, some of those same Black leaders spoke at the Million Man March.

In 1994, after Nation of Islam male members known as the “Dopebusters” disarmed a drug dealer and cleaned up several Washington, D.C., projects, Jewish influence caused the government to cancel a contract with a security firm established by members of the Nation of Islam.

“Some of us could not come out tonight because they did not wish to be censured by those who presently have power to censure,” the Minister said. “But that power is gradually being taken from you, and I am so grateful to God that He made me an instrument to bring that end to your wicked system of injustice.”

Min. Farrakhan explained that after the prophets died, Satan entered their communities and divided the followers. God’s coming is after the workings of Satan and many of us don’t know that we’re followers of Satan thinking we’re following Jesus Christ, he said.

“You can have a church on every corner, but don’t fight Satan. Satan has won against all the prophets of God,” he said to clergy. “Discipleship will cost. Are you really willing to pay the price?”

A Facebook statement said the process “for evaluating potential violators” of Facebook policies “is extensive and it is what led us to our decision” to ban Min. Farrakhan. A spokesperson told CNN such factors include “whether the person or organization has ever called for violence against individuals based on race, ethnicity, or national origin; whether the person has been identified with a hateful ideology; whether they use hate speech or slurs” in their social media profiles.

Facebook also banned broadcaster Alex Jones and his Infowars page, right-wing media personalities Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Paul Joseph Watson among others.

“I am really dangerous,” Min. Farrakhan said to a standing ovation. “I’m not dangerous on my own. God, the Lord of the Worlds, made me dangerous to Satan and his world.

“That day, what day? Judgement cannot come unless there is a falling away first and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition,” he continued.

“If you study your scripture and study my work, you will find there’s not another human being on this earth that speaks like Farrakhan, that challenges like Farrakhan, that has the wisdom of Farrakhan, even to the pope of Rome and all those you think as wise,” he said.

In opening remarks, Student Min. Ishmael Muhammad said Fr. Pfleger has always answered the call of justice and been on the right side of history.

Knowing that his brother is innocent of those charges, Fr. Pfleger saw this as another effort to silence those who would dare speak truth to power, Min. Ishmael Muhammad said. Even though Fr. Pfleger is now being attacked, we remind him that no weapon formed against the righteous will prosper in the time of God, he said.

Referring to the cell phone as the modern day “picket sign,” Min. Ishmael encouraged the audience to text “#wearefarrakhan” to 990-00 to register support for Min. Farrakhan and to be kept updated on the campaign.

Min. Farrakhan teaches us to pool our resources in a collective manner and to do something for ourselves, the student minister said. He leads us to establish an independent school system and make our communities a decent and safe place to live, he said.

Farrakhan did not neglect the people of Flint; Farrakhan did not lie to the American people about weapons of mass destruction that caused thousands of lives to be lost on the battlefield, Min. Ishmael Muhammad charged.

“By calling the Minister dangerous you want him to be hated by those who love, respect and admire him. And for us to distance ourselves from him. For which one of his works do you stone him,” he asked?

“The truth of the matter is, you are the real clear and present danger to the suffering masses. You lie, you steal and you murder the innocent,” Min. Ishmael Muhammad said. “You charge the innocent with what you really are.

“We are here tonight because we have benefitted from his teachings and the example of righteous character. We love Min. Farrakhan and we will not let you tell us who we should listen to. Your day of being ‘Massa’ is over!”

Hypocrisy of Facebook

This is the same Facebook that has been live streaming shootings, attempted rapes, White supremacists, racial name calling and countless other racist and dangerous acts, Fr. Pfleger told the audience.

“It is dangerous to me when we begin to stop free speech and seek to silence prophetic voices. There are many who say they do not like Min. Farrakhan because all they have heard is various sound bites. Perhaps that is why Facebook wanted to ban him, to keep people from hearing his entire message and the truth that he seeks to teach us,” the Catholic priest explained.

Citing the work of cleaning up Black men and saving lives, Fr. Pfleger added: “Min. Farrakhan has been a bold voice against injustice done against Black people in this country and his voice deserves and needs to be heard.”

Fr. Pfleger said he has been cursed at, received hateful Facebook postings, had to cancel a fundraiser, had financial support withdrawn, called an “n-lover” and a traitor to White people since inviting Min. Farrakhan.

He said St. Sabina historically has invited imams, rabbis, prophetic preachers, civil rights leaders, and icons to speak and “live the faith we say we profess.”

“It is interesting to me that those who accuse (Min. Farrakhan) of hate have been so hateful this past week. Oh, the hypocrisy,” he said.

Sitting on a step outside the church waiting for the line to diminish, Suave Griffin, 17, said he came to hear the message because Min. Farrakhan has been “like a wise grandfather and teacher” to him.

“I have been waiting for him (Farrakhan) to disappoint me a little but he still hasn’t said anything to let me down. If you can go 86 years of life without being fake says a lot about him. I can listen to him for two hours and say ‘wow’. It’s like music. I can’t sit that long and listen to my mom without dozing,” the high school student said with a laugh.

Aliyah Redmon, 22, said she disagrees with the ban. “Black people are the strongest and most resilient people on earth. Why is our unity such a threat? Anyone preaching unity and love and taking a radical stance against oppression is bound to be silenced.

“Everything I have heard from Farrakhan has been truth backed up by facts. Nothing he says has been biased. He is strong with his words and he knows what needs to be done as far as us being unified,” she said.

Lamar Johnson, 29, directs the Violence Prevention program at St. Sabina Church. He said no other Black leader has done to reform Black men over the last 60 years than Min. Farrakhan. Banning the Minister shows the hypocrisy of White privilege, he said.

“To say that what the Minister has said is hate speech when no other demographic of people in America has experienced hate more than Black people. A statement on social media is never equated to the systemic and literal oppression Blacks have experienced for centuries. We have been at the front end of receiving hate. I love the Minister and the things he’s been doing,” he said.

“This is much ado about nothing. Those of us who have been in the presence of Bro. Farrakhan for now 40 years, we’ve seen this movie before. In the ‘90s when they were repudiating him, Black United Communities put him in our Hall of Fame,” said longtime activist Eddie Read.

Min. Farrakhan is a truth teller, he said noting the absence of established Black leadership that normally draw media attention. They’ll come running to the Minister when they need his aide, but they won’t stand with him in the time of challenge when others are beating on him, he said. I say that Fr. Pfleger is a Black man trapped in a White man’s body, he commented.

“I came to support a man I know that has benefited our community. He’s the one who shows us our value and uplifted many of our brothers broken down by the injustice of the criminal justice system,” said State Senator Jacqueline Collins (D-16), a member of St. Sabina. “He knows his people; he loves his people. I came to shine the light of love back on him.”

“Hands off Farrakhan,” added activist Zakiyyah Muhammad. “Anybody who comes after Min. Farrakhan is an enemy of mine. He’s been a leader, teacher and healer to millions of people. The enemy hates him because he’s revealing their hatred for Black people.”

Tuesday, May 7

From The Final Call Newspaper

Farrakhan, Facebook, and the fight for freedom

By Starla Muhammad Managing Editor

CHICAGO—Livid. Outraged. Undeterred and determined. These are just a few words describing what Black folks, supporters and allies of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, proponents of free speech, freedom of expression and truth felt and expressed.

They were responding to social media giant Facebook’s decision to shut down and remove social media accounts of the world-renowned Muslim leader.

The decision to ban the Minister’s worldwide social media presence and growing appeal was met with swift rebuke and condemnation not only from members of the Nation of Islam and Black people, but from people of various ethnicities, religions, political ideologies and backgrounds.

On May 2 Facebook announced a ban on the accounts of Min. Farrakhan; Alex Jones of InfoWars who has been called America’s leading conspiracy theorist; right-wing pundits Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, Joseph Watson, of InfoWars; Paul Nehlen, described as a White supremacist who ran twice unsuccessfully for Congress; and InfoWars. The ban also includes their accounts on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.

“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today,” the statement continued.

With no record of violence perpetrated or inflicted by Min. Farrakhan or by the thousands of men, women and children under his leadership over the past four decades against Whites, Jews, LBGTQ community or people of different religious ideologies—the move to ban him and equate the 85-year-old leader with White nationalists and White supremacists with a history of violence was baffling, a false equivalence and outright wrong, noted observers.

Minsiter Farrakhan with rapper 2 Chainz

Celebrities and well-known Black movers and shakers joined the chorus of critics, voicing their displeasure, anger, frustration and support of the Minister on social media including rapper Snoop Dogg, activist and media personality Jeff Johnson, rapper 2Chainz, singer Stephanie Mills, social media and internet personality King Keraun, comedian and radio host D.L. Hugley, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others. Don Enoch Muhammad, an aide to Min. Farrakhan facilitated several interviews with entertainers to share with The Final Call, their thoughts on the controversial social media ban.

Hip hop star T.I. told The Final Call via email that he thinks the decision by Facebook is unfair and unconstitutional. “It’s baffling to me how you make a decision that seems to be imposed at your discretion and not applied equally; and then cite your policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. It’s perplexing because there is no voice more dangerous in the world right now than that of the sitting president. So, to remove some and not allow others to remain is unacceptable,” responded T.I.

Nick Cannon

Actor, TV host, producer and businessman Nick Cannon told The Final Call the move was careless and not well thought out.

“In my opinion the Honorable Minister Farrakhan has only spoke truth and only spoke to what’s right and that scares a lot of these major corporations,” said Mr. Cannon.

Efforts to silence Min. Farrakhan on social media and other online platforms dates back to June 8, 2018 when Twitter, Inc. de-verified his Twitter account (@LouisFarrakhan) by removing his blue verification badge which lets people know that “an account of public interest is authentic and a verified badge does not imply an endorsement by Twitter,” noted the website. The Minister’s Twitter account is still active. Weeks later on July 31, 2018 and less than 24 hours before airing “My Life’s Journey Through Music”—a documentary on the Minister, the Nation of Islam became aware through news and online outlets that Netflix decided not to air it due to “internal miscommunication.”

Activists and leaders in Chicago, home of the international headquarters of the Nation of Islam, expressed concern with these latest developments.

“I am just appalled that they would ban him from Facebook when they have so many people who are spreading real venom in this country and to single him out along with a few other people, it seems to me that Facebook is again floundering in what they ought to be doing in this medium,” said Dorothy Leavell, publisher of the Chicago Crusader, the Gary Crusader in Gary, Indiana, and chair of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), an organization that represents over 200 Black-owned newspapers including The Final Call, which was founded by Min. Farrakhan in 1979.

“I’m personally appalled but the good thing about it is that the Minister speaks to those people that believe in what he says, including the Black Press. He’s a member of our National Newspaper Publishers Association and we revere his membership and we support him 100 percent, so Facebook better get ready because we’re going to be supporting him.”

Congressman Danny Davis (D-Ill.) in the past has worked with Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam, but last year was one of several Black congresspersons forced to denounce him following pressure from the Republican Jewish Coalition. When contacted by The Final Call on May 3, Rep. Davis stated he was not aware of the Facebook ban but said he would “certainly look into it” and raise the issue at the next scheduled meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus on May 8.

“I will certainly raise it at that point, but I don’t know what their (Facebook) allegations are, what the rationale is or what they’re saying. I really have not heard about it until Ira Cohen told me, but I will definitely look into it,” he said. Mr. Cohen is Rep. Davis’ communications director.

Min. Farrakhan greets his longtime friend and ally Father Michael Pfleger of St. Sabina.

Father Michael Pfleger, pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago, is a longtime friend of Minister Farrakhan and said the Minister’s mission is to expose the injustices and evil done to Black people.

The activist priest, who is White, called Min. Farrakhan his brother and said he would “take a bullet” for him.

“The Minister’s Instagram and Facebook page allows him to get his message out. And, if they can stop his message from getting out, and they can now in social media and the established media can try to define his message, that’s the very dangerous part to me … that they decide how they’re going to frame his message,” he told The Final Call.

At Final Call presstime, it was announced there will be an open community rally to give people the chance to show their love and support for Min. Farrakhan, including an official response to the ban by the Nation of Islam, on May 9 at St. Sabina, 1210 W. 78th Place at 7:00 p.m.

Hypocrisy at its finest and a false equivalency

The irony that U.S. President Donald Trump—who has called for and advocated and promoted violence against his political rallies, and admitted sexually assaulting women—has weaponized Twitter as a tool to denigrate perceived adversaries was not been lost on those questioning the decision to ban Min. Farrakhan.

Additionally, the Minister has been threatened on social media by those calling for his death and harm. It is unknown whether accounts of individuals that have threatened the Minister on social media—including an Akron, Ohio, police officer who asked on his personal Facebook page asking why someone had not “offed” the Nation of Islam leader—have had their accounts shut down or banned.

Mr. Cannon said to try and categorize Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam with “far right-wing” or “White supremacist” doctrine is unfair.

“I think it comes from a place of ignorance where someone can mistake truth for hate and I have never witnessed the Honorable Minister Farrakhan speak and do anything hateful; wish anything hateful or incite or even allude to anything violent in any type of nature like some of those other groups actually hang their hat on. I’ve only heard Minister Farrakhan speak to his community as what we need to do as individuals, as Black men and Black women, as families,” said Mr. Cannon.

Min. Farrakhan, T.I. and Mustapha Farrakhan

T.I. said he thinks those comparisons demonstrates a lack of understanding for Min. Farrakhan’s mission and his purpose.

“Those that take progressive steps are often misunderstood, especially when they regularly inconvenience others. Min. Farrakhan doesn’t fit neatly into anyone’s agenda; and thus is often perceived and mislabeled as ‘dangerous,’ ” observed T.I.

Finance expert Dr. Boyce Watkins said the actions leveled at Min. Farrakhan are just another example of “White folks being White folks,” but agreed with many who opined that this ban on the Minister presents an opportunity for Black people.

The most important outcome that could result from this ban is the development and support of Black-owned media and social media platforms, he argued.

Charlamagne Tha God, author and one third of the trio of hosts of “The Breakfast Club,” a popular national hip hop morning show that airs on Hot 105.1 FM, agrees. He told The Final Call that though he does not agree with censorship there is another way to view what is happening.

“Especially a company like Facebook that’s made a living off peoples thoughts, people’s opinions, people’s ideas. They’ve made a living off the concept of Free Speech. I just thought that was a little hypocritical of them,” he told The Final Call.

“But then I had to step back and say to myself, OK Facebook is a private company so they have the right to do that if they choose and when I started thinking about it from that perspective in my mind all I immediately said was it’s just another reason as to why we need to have our own,” said Charlamagne.

Dr. Ava Muhammad, student national spokesperson for Min. Farrakhan said these latest actions further confirm the position of the Nation of Islam that the highest law of the land in the U.S. is not the Constitution but is the law of White supremacy.

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Louis Farrakhan’s continuing demand for the freedom to establish a separate state or territory of our own emanates from this type of oppressive action. We will never know freedom, justice and equality because we are not allowed to think, speak nor are we allowed to listen to who we chose to listen to and therefore it is essential that we follow the commands of God though the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and his National Representative to go for self.”

A blessing in disguise?

According to Facebook, those banned from the platforms will be prohibited from creating new accounts, although Facebook and Instagram users will continue to be able to create posts praising them and their viewpoints, reported theverge.com.

But Facebook has also said it will remove those who praise those that the platform deems dangerous.

When the ban was announced, Min. Farrakhan began trending on Twitter, said Jesse Muhammad, his social media director. According to Jesse Muhammad he received no notification from Instagram prior to the Minister’s account being shut down. He was not aware of what happened until he began receiving notifications from others that follow the Minister on social media inside and outside of the Nation of Islam.

Regarding the Facebook page, it was removed while Jesse Muhammad was in the middle of updating the page on May 2 when it was shut down. Media had already been reporting the page was being shut down before he was notified, he said.

“About 2 o’clock CST they did send me a notification right when they completely removed it. I was on the page putting out a notification on behalf of the Minister as his web team social media director and as soon as I put that notification out to people to join the Nation of Islam’s email list to stay connected in case the page would be taken down, when I refreshed within seconds it was gone and they (Facebook) sent me a notification.”

The enemy knows that social media has freed the Minister to be able to reach and impact millions of people worldwide, he explained.

“We anticipated this time coming and we’re in no ways wallowing in grief or dismayed or sad. This is fuel to fight harder with truth!”

Russell Simmons Photo: Haroon Rajaee

Russell Simmons, businessman and legendary hip hop executive and record label owner, told The Final Call this encourages people to continue posting Min. Farrakhan’s messages on their individual social media accounts to keep spreading his message.

Facebook boasts 2.23 billion users worldwide and is the most popular worldwide social network site. Instagram has over one billion users. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reportedly boasts a net worth of over $72 billion.

Facebook is no stranger to controversy and accusations of censorship. According to a December 30, 2017 article written by Glenn Greenwald for The Intercept, an online news publication, a year before Facebook representatives were meeting with the Israeli government to determine which Facebook accounts of Palestinians should be deleted on the ground they constituted “incitement.”

“The predictable results of those meetings are now clear and well-documented. Ever since, Facebook has been on a censorship rampage against Palestinian activists who protest the decades-long, illegal Israeli occupation, all directed and determined by Israeli officials,” wrote Mr. Greenwald in the article, “Facebook Says It Is Deleting Accounts at the Direction of the U.S. and Israeli Governments.” The article goes on to reveal that Facebook censorship was extensive when it came to suspending and shutting down pages of Palestinian activists but, “Israelis have virtually free rein to post whatever they want about Palestinians,” the Intercept article reported in part.

Other Black activists have also accused the social media giant, stating that posting about racism is censored as hate speech. “Black activists say hate speech policies and content moderation systems formulated by a company built by and dominated by white men fail the very people Facebook claims it’s trying to protect. Not only are the voices of marginalized groups disproportionately stifled, Facebook rarely takes action on repeated reports of racial slurs, violent threats and harassment campaigns targeting black users,” reported USA Today in an April 24 article, “Facebook while black: Users call it getting ‘Zucked,’ say talking about racism is censored as hate speech.”

“I believe that Zuckerberg or whoever was really directly involved in the decision believes that they’re justified because they have refused to listen to truth and it makes their stomach hurt especially when we start talking about the condition of Black people. We’ve always had leaders who wouldn’t tell us the truth and lay it out for us and they’ve been controlled by their jobs, the corporations that fund them. So when the Minister says ‘I’m a free Black man’ and then says the truth they take it as if it’s an attack on them when he’s a unifier. He talks about the higher calling of all human beings. No matter what they say about him whenever they say it, I always post his speeches and things I think the Black community needs to hear all over my Facebook page, my Instagram, all the time,” said Mr. Simmons.

A lot of rappers with millions and millions of followers on social media are posting Min. Farrakhan’s image, he continued. Mr. Simmons said he has also noticed quite a few people posting #Farrakhan on their social media pages.

“Any one person can be #IamFarrakhan that’s not hard. … You can’t stop him from speaking to the people and we did the Million Man March without them! There was no social media,” said Mr. Simmons referring to the October 16, 1995 gathering of nearly two million Black men in Washington, D.C., for a day of atonement and reconciliation that was called by the Minister.

“I don’t see it as a setback, I see it as a branding exercise and a growth process for him. A blessing in disguise.”

Unwavering support

For critics and adversaries that attempt to fit Min. Farrakhan into a particular box based on their limited understanding, misunderstanding or outright opposition, it is a mistake, said observers.

Min. Farrakhan has an undeniable passion for his people and their struggles, explained T.I.

“I think that I have been able to, over the years hear a man thinking through things (many times out loud) to find his truth. I believe he has shown us and continues to show us (and tell us in various ways), that his journey has been about finding a way … his own way … of serving the good of his people and of humanity,” added the platinum recording artist, actor and family man.

Dr. Mark Stevens of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity was blunt, telling The Final Call the Minister has been banned from Facebook “simply because he and his followers are Black.” The Omegas’ inducted Min. Farrakhan as a full lifetime member of the fraternity earlier this year.

“He is a righteous man of integrity and strength who has sought to uplift and empower and enlighten all people who believe and pursue justice and equality. It is ironic and hypocritical that Facebook, a powerful social media tool which allows posts which are devoid of morality now seeks to silence the voice of morality. This is the same entity which invades the privacy of its members for financial gain and is little more than a capitalistic tool. It is Facebook that put this democracy in peril by failing to vette accounts,” Dr. Stevens told The Final Call.

Hip hop legend Busta Rhymes told The Final Call the ban was frustrating and disappointing. “For me, I looked forward to waking up and feeding my mind, body and soul with going to the Minister’s Instagram page. I’m not really a Facebook individual but I go to Instagram pretty much every morning just to grab a jewel from the Minister,” he said.

However, Busta Rhymes pointed out there is so much content online by Min. Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam to repost and share. “The Minister has such a significant impact on all walks of life, culture and races. This ban on Facebook and Instagram really has had no impact other than the Minister being able to give us a direct feed. His presence now probably with them doing that has made the Minister that much more of a presence,” he pointed out.

“Now what they have done has brought so much more attention and light to the Brother Minister that it backfired! They was better off leaving him alone!” said the hip hop veteran.

It’s not just well-known people coming to the defense of Min. Farrakhan and condemning the actions by Facebook. Venus Hill is a flight attendant and lives in Long Island. She is also a Jehovah’s Witness. Ms. Hill told The Final Call, she was “outraged.” Though she practices a different faith tradition she has listened to Min. Farrakhan, attended a few of his addresses “to learn and to be educated and to know and choose.

“The fact that I am a different faith doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what’s going on. When I hear what he says it’s similar to what we preach and teach. Now there are some differences but nothing that would cause me to think that this is going to incite any riot; that this is going to make me to want to go out and kill or this is going to cause me to go to a school and shoot up children or go into synagogues and churches and do all these things that we see people are doing right now. None of that.”

William Spiller of Chicago is a course development trainer and was so angry after seeing the reports of the ban that he called The Final Call to share his concerns.

“I am totally outraged that they would deem and even try to suggest that Min. Farrakhan is preaching hate and that he is not someone that should be represented on Facebook or any other media. He preaches the truth ... information he gives is life changing. It has saved me and my family and I am just really outraged,” said Mr. Spiller.

“I even named my youngest boy after Min. Farrakhan because of the life-giving teachings he gives and how he helped to change my life and me in turn helping to raise my five boys that I’m raising.”

As one Facebook user posted in part, “Farrakhan was loved before social media existed! To ban him you have to ban us all!”

(Final Call staff contributed to this report.)