by Tyrone Muhammad
WASHINGTON--Black America's most controversial and
popular Muslim was given a warm "bon voyage" send-off Nov. 28, during a
rally/press conference at Union Temple Baptist Church, where some 3,000 Muslims,
Christians, Black nationalists and leaders of organizations came to wish the beloved
leader well as he embarks on a 50-nation World Friendship Tour.
celebration, Min. Farrakhan discussed his Third World Friendship Tour and the reasons for
it. It is time for Blacks in America to get involved in "international affairs"
to lead a world gone off course back to peace, he said.
Blacks in the U.S., the descendants of slaves, he said,
"must understand that you are an international people. It's no accident that we live
in America ... that your fathers were brought here in the holds of ships."
Most of the Minister's 90-minute lecture was spent
detailing his hopes that the tour would help bring peace to a world engulfed in conflict
and yield trade, cultural and intellectual relationships for the Black community.
Min. Farrakhan detailed plans to visit Israel, where a
peace deal brokered by the United States, Egypt and Jordan three years ago has nearly
dissolved and violence between Palestinians and Jews has escalated.
"That area is so critical to world peace that if war
breaks out there it may bring the whole earth into the war which is called
Armageddon," the Minister warned.
Other tours stops include Iran (for an Islamic
Conference), Iraq, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel,
Palestine, China, Malaysia, Singapore, 20 countries in Africa, Libya, North Korea, South
Korea the former Soviet Union and nations in the South Pacific, the Caribbean and South
"I would like to demonstrate how diplomacy and
friendly relations should be carried out," Min. Farrakhan said, explaining how the
U.S. and other world governments have strayed from the path to peace.
According to the Muslim Minister, the U.S. government is
making "a grave mistake" in its dealings with Iraq and the Arab and Muslim
World. Increasingly bad U.S. foreign policy towards Muslim nations, namely Iraq and Libya,
could bring "grave consequences" to the U.S., he said.
The Minister also pointed out the double standard employed
by the U.S. in dealing with Arab governments as opposed to European governments.
"The Cold War is over so America wants to help
Russia," Minister Farrakhan noted. "The war with Iraq has been over nearly seven
years and seven years after the war is over, nearly a million and a half Iraqis have
died," but no help has come from the U.S., he said.
"The war has continued in the name of sanctions.
What's the problem America? ... 'Well we have a mad man over there, Saddam Hussein and he
is making weapons of mass destruction.' "
The Iraqi president "can hide weapons for seven
years, but he can't even fix an incubator in a hospital?" asked Min. Farrakhan.
"When it becomes policy to destroy, the American
people's minds are prepared so that you can go along with the policy. They want Saddam
Hussein dead, so they started the media campaign. Now, some of them are getting on the
television openly calling for the man's assassination," he told the audience.
"I don't know who's advising the president, but he
needs better advice. I'm not lobbying for the job," the Min. Farrakhan said.
"But you know sometimes God raises from the abject someone to give the powerful and
the great wise guidance. It seems to me that ... America needs overhauling."
The press conference/rally was the spark that ignited a
flurry of media events for the fast-moving Muslim leader, whose grueling schedule over the
last two years has included two legs of his World Friendship Tours--one to Africa and the
Middle East, the other to the Caribbean.
that day he appeared on CNN's Evans and Novak news program where he was introduced as the
"most influential and most criticized Black leader" in America. The Minister
discussed his desire to bring peace among Muslims in the Middle East, destroy the idea of
terrorism against innocent life and to see Israel halt construction of settlements in the
He said that every time America misuses her tremendous
power, she loses influence among Muslims and her allies. And concerning America's demand
for trial in the United States or Britain instead of a neutral country of the Libyans
accused of the Pan Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, Min. Farrakhan said:
"America uses her influence to impose sanctions ... over an incident they haven't
proved is entirely correct. We ought to go to trial somewhere to find where the truth
On Sunday morning, Nov. 30, the Muslim leader was
questioned on Fox television's "The Tony Snow Show" Min. Farrakhan said he hopes
President Clinton and his advisers would see the failure of policies toward Saddam Hussein
and immediately end the sanctions on Iraq.
"Let's sit down and talk to Saddam Hussein,
leader-to-leader, human being to human being. And I do believe he wants a better
relationship with America, and I hope when I go to Iraq that I will be able to report to
American people that here is a man that is ready to sit down talk with the American
administration and come to terms with the disagreements with America," he said.
The following day, Min. Farrakhan dispatched Nation of
Islam attorneys Min. Ava Muhammad and Min. Arif Muhammad to the State Department for a
briefing with Secretary of State Madeline Albright in response to a suggestion by U.S.
Ambassador to the United Nations Bill Richardson on "Meet the Press" television
news show. Min. Benjamin Muhammad and Min. Kevin Muhammad in New York were dispatched to
the United Nations to seek a meeting with Ambassador Richardson. (See related story on
At the rally/press conference at Union Temple church,
representatives of various groups and organizations attending the celebration hailed Min.
Farrakhan's World Friendship Tour
Ahmed Al-Kaissiy, of the Iraqi diplomatic mission, told
The Final Call that if anyone could bring peace to the world, even in Iraq, it is Min.
"The Iraqi people thank Min. Farrakhan for what he is
doing at the present time to uplift these unjust economic sanctions against Iraq,"
Mr. Al-Kaissy said. "He has the highest voice in the world these days, and can reach
the whole world."
Mr. Al-Kaissy, who grew up in the Middle East, said he
found it amazing that Min. Farrakhan could reach so many people in a Christian church.
"It is important for us to send Minister Farrakhan
off on this very important mission," said Maryland state legislator Clarence
Mitchell, who hoped the trip would solidify economic linkages for Black America with
Africa and China.
"Baltimore has the largest open-water port on the
East Coast. We can make use of that with linkages with African and Asian nations, but
we're not doing that right now. I'm hoping that Min. Farrakhan can build that
bridge," State Sen. Mitchell said.
Southwest Regional Minster Robert Muhammad sees the World
Tour as an example of the "universality" of the teachings of the Nation of
"We had the teaching amongst us for 67-years, but now
it's time for the world to get it because the world is actually sick, as we were sick, but
sick in a greater way," Min. Robert said.
"The world is saying we are out of solutions, we need
solutions, but solutions which come from a pure heart, through clear eyes and from a
balanced mind. The man of God is the Honorable Louis Farrakhan and he brings these
qualities to the world's situation," he added.
During his tour, Min. Farrakhan plans to answer an
invitation extended by Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and Sheik Mohammed Al-Jamal
Ar-Rifai, the Resident Imam at Al-Asqa Mosque in Jerusalem. The Minister was invited to
visit and pray at the mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam.
The Palestinian sheik predicted "one million of the
faithful," will greet him at the mosque, Min. Farrakhan said.
While in Israel, the Minister would like to meet with the
Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government. "I know there will be some who'll
say don't give him an ear, but I will only offer to come," he said.
But, Min. Farrakhan, stressed the role of peacemaker is
not his alone. "God is raising you (Black Americans) up to play an important role in
world affairs," he said.
"You are chosen of God really to bring about complete
change in this country. You are the soul of it. You have soul to give America a sense of
balance now that she's imbalanced by her own power, wealth and corruption. God is raising
you up, you are no longer the old plantation boy or girl that you were, " he said.
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