December 1997

Min. Farrakhan to U.S. Government:
to
 come to terms with Iraq

BAGHDAD, IRAQ 

'Let us stop the killing of these innocent people and sit down at a table and come to terms.'
--Minister Farrakhan

After a picture perfect beginning on his third World Friendship Tour in the African nation of Mali, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan arrived in the Iraqi capital December 9. During Min. Farrakhan's visit, he was questioned by CNN reporter Hilary Bowker during a live December 11th interview from Baghdad, broadcasted on CNN's Worldview. The following is the text of the interview.


Video of
CNN Interview

Q: Min. Farrakhan, thank you very much for joining us. This is a pretty controversial trip, sir. What do you hope to achieve and have you or will you be meeting with President Sadaam Hussein? 

MLF: I have not yet met with President Sadaam Hussein. My hope is for peace in this troubled area of the world because this area can engulf the whole world into that war which the Bible calls Armageddon. 

Q: Sir, you have called, and I'm quoting here, you are talking about U.S. and UN backed sanctions on Iraq as "a mass form of terrorism." Are you worried about being used as a propaganda tool? 

MLF: Not at all. I'm a servant of God and I believe in truth and I believe in justice. Terrorism are acts of violence against innocent people for political purposes. The United States government is obsessed with Sadaam Hussein and one million, four hundred thousand Iraqi people have died since the end of the war. And what is the purpose for their death? To get the people of Iraq to rise up and overthrow their own government and leaders. This is morally wrong and the world must condemn it as a mass form of terrorism. 

Q: Sir, there are people who are also very worried about Sadaam Hussein using weapons of mass destruction. What do you say to them? 

MLF: Well, certainly I would hope that the whole world would destroy all weapons of mass destruction so that human beings would sit down as human beings and dialogue about the things of which they differ so that the human life that has sanctity will be preserved. All nations need to disarm. 

Q: What can you bring to this particular issue in Iraq that nobody else can? There are some people who are saying or who will say that you are not focusing attention on the issues, but you are focusing attention on yourself. What do you say to them? 

MLF: That's silly. You know that wonderful Canadian woman (Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams) who stood up against the horrible use of land mines, a simple woman with a dedicated purpose, now 125 nations have signed a treaty banning that weapon. Individuals have power that they can use if they believe in what they are doing. There are good people in America and if those good people knew that children were dying at a rate of 400 a day in Iraq because of sanctions, those good people would rise up and say, enough is enough. Let us stop the killing of these innocent people and sit down at a table and come to terms. I think Iraq is ready to do that if the United States government is ready to do that. We do not need to bully smaller and weaker nations. As the only super power, we should act in a manner after the manner of God. 

Q: Min. Farrakhan, with all due respect, sir, aren't you worried though that what's going to happen is that people are going to be looking at a rather inflammatory visit or what is perceived to be an inflammatory visit in Washington and not focusing on the plight of Iraqi children? 

MLF: No, unless there are those who wish to make my visit inflammatory. I inflamed no one. I am a servant of God and a man of peace, and I call on President Clinton and his advisors to hearken unto the voice of one born among you that can bring peace to America and peace to the world. But if you won't listen to me because I am a Muslim and because I am a descendant of slaves and Black, would you please listen to his holiness the Pope who has called for an end to sanctions and has called for a political solution to the problems in Iraq. Listen to your Pope if you will not listen to me. Surely, if I am insane, is he too? 

Q: Sir, if I can just change the subject for a moment, what about Israel? Are you actually going to Israel? 

MLF: I would hope that Israeli authorities would give me permission to enter. I wish the Palestinians well and I wish Israel well also, otherwise, I would not go. That area is the most important area of the world. It is the birth place of the prophets. And look at the hatred between the Arabs and the Jews who claim to be the children of Abraham. Surely if Abraham were alive today he would be upset at his children. And as one who claims to be a follower of Abraham, I want to raise this debate above the political, into the spiritual, so that we as people of God might resolve our differences in a manner that is pleasing to God. 

Q: Min. Farrakhan, you are perceived as being extremely anti-Semitic. Aren't you worried about your presence in Israel or the territories could further inflame an already very tense situation? 

MLF: I would not go there to inflame tensions that are already high. That is not my purpose. I am, as I see myself, a man of peace. I am not anti-Semitic. I do not hate Jews nor do I hate Arabs. I want to see peace between these children of Abraham. And if there is anything that I can say or do to bring that about, I would hope that God would bless my words to find their mark in the hearts of Palestinians and Jews. 

Q: Min. Farrakhan thank you very much for joining us and staying up so late.

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