CHICAGO (FinalCall.com)—Cheers and tears followed the motorcade of the
Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the delegation he leads
on a Peace Mission to the Middle East and Africa as they
departed his Chicago home June 20 for O’Hare Airport.
“We love you, Farrakhan” and “May God Bless
You” were the words that flowed from the mouths of followers and
supporters who gathered outside his gate to give him a warm
send-off. Many of them held signs giving similar greetings and
“The Lord be with him,” said Rev. Willie
Taplin Barrow, Rainbow/PUSH Board of Directors co-chair, as she
was ushered into Min. Farrakhan’s home for a few words with him
before he departed.
After weeks of watching the carnage
escalate between Palestinians and Israelis and listening to the
propaganda war of President Bush as he seeks a coalition to
attack Saddam Hussein in Iraq, Min. Farrakhan held a major press
conference and rallies in Washington and New York to explain his
purpose and goals for taking the trip.
In Chicago on the eve before his departure,
he met with community, religious and political leaders and Black
journalists to brief them on the intent of the mission.
“It appears that no one that has a view
different from the (Bush) administration’s view should be heard.
But, nevertheless, with the help of God, I’m hoping that what
our view is will be the prevailing view because it is absolutely
wrong for the United States government to go into another man’s
house and unseat him. It is absolutely wrong for the president
of the United States to use the authority of his office to
advocate murder and promote war, which he knows will take
countless innocent lives.”
He said the delegation wants to “try to
stop a war” by organizing an anti-war campaign inside the U.S.
Min. Farrakhan said he will travel into the Muslim world to
encourage the Muslim leaders to be united against Mr. Bush’s
desire to “prosecute this war” against Iraq, because they
(Muslim leaders) may be next on the list.
During the meeting with leadership, Min.
Farrakhan held separate interviews with four television stations
and the Chicago Defender, the city’s Black daily paper.
He candidly answered their questions and told the media that
they are the watchdogs over government and must not be afraid to
report the truth and challenge errant government decisions.
Community leaders told Min. Farrakhan that
spontaneous prayer and fasting movements already have begun in
churches for the safety of the delegation. Also, a defense
committee is organizing to respond to untruthful media reports
and mis-characterizations of Min. Farrakhan.
“I would hope that those of us who have
gathered here tonight would continue to meet and strategize and
talk about how we’re going to respond to the media because they
are going to come after [Min. Farrakhan]. We have not always
organized and galvanized the force [he] needs behind [him],”
said activist Doris Lewis.
Also suggested was a letter writing
campaign to congresspersons “who have been strangely silent”
about Pres. Bush’s plan against Saddam Hussein.
“My father went to Korea and came back an
amputee,” said Florence Cox, a former Chicago Public Schools
superintendent. “One of my brothers went to Vietnam … and he
died never really coming back to himself. People who have never
had men in the military to come back like that do not understand
the tremendous impact it has. We are faced with losing our
future, and the women of the world—Black, White, Brown—do not
“God will be with you and we will also be
in support of you and the truth will come out. I’d like to
commend the Minister for the fact that he, by the will of God,
has heard a message of unity and support and has set before
himself a mission. I pray that all of us support that mission,”
said Rev. Archie Hargrave, the prominent pastor of South Shore
Harlem hears Farrakhan
Although they could not get into the
already packed auditorium at Windows on Harlem in the State
Office Building June 18, more than 400 people outside did not
leave until Min. Farrakhan was finished with his message to the
leadership of New York to whom he had come to explain the
purpose of the peace mission.
He told the audience that he also plans to
travel to Zimbabwe to support President Robert Mugabe and a stop
in Durban, South Africa, to “witness the birth of the African
Union,” an organization that will replace the Organization of
African Unity (OAU).
“This is not a suicide mission,” Min.
Farrakhan said, adding, “They say I shouldn’t go because it is
dangerous. You can take my life,” he said, citing the sacrifice
of the lives of the prophets and men and women of God, “but I
will never die.
“I would like to serve as a bridge. As a
Muslim, I believe that I understand the Palestinian/Islamic
point of view more than most Americans,” he continued.
Min. Farrakhan also did not lose sight of
his presence in New York City and the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Who benefited from [the attacks]?” he asked. “How did you know
so little before that day, and so much after?”
He suggested that perhaps the 7th
anniversary of the Holy Day of Atonement (Oct. 16, 2002
anniversary of the Million Man March) should be held at “Ground
As he discussed the issue of reparations,
Min. Farrakhan acknowledged the presence of Viola Plummer of the
December 12th Movement, saying he supports their planned
“Millions for Reparations March” scheduled for August 12 in
“Min. Farrakhan, tonight, demonstrated that
he is ready to take his place on the world stage of leadership
as a Black man,” Ms. Plummer told The Final Call.
“Tonight showed a renewed determination that Black people are
his base and that his mission is a mission to secure peace. This
is what is missing in Africa and definitely in the Middle East.”
“Minister Farrakhan has elevated the
message to the 21st century,” added Brooklyn Councilman Charles
Barron. “This is a bold initiative that elevates our causes to
the international arena. This is a timely trip. We need an
Min. Farrakhan talked about the work of
Black activists such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, whom he had
visited earlier but who was not in the audience, and Bob Law, a
national radio personality who was in the audience. Some
observers commented that local Black elected officials were
“What is interesting is that he [Min.
Farrakhan] brought such a strong message to Harlem in the State
Office Building, where many Black officials have offices,” noted
Harlem Democratic District Leader William Allen, who attended
with Democratic leader Theresa Freeman.
D.C. rally follows press conference
Union Temple Baptist Church quickly filled
to capacity June 17 following Min. Farrakhan’s international
press conference announcing his peace mission.
“We are saying tonight on record, that you
can’t say that you are with God and not stand with the Honorable
Minister Louis Farrakhan,” declared Mid-Atlantic and East Coast
Regional Minister Abdul Khadir Muhammad, as the audience
exploded in a standing ovation. “Now is the time that we should
not hide, or be afraid, scared and run. We must stand. And when
he is away from us—along with the prayers and the fasting—let’s
tell America, ‘hands off’ the Honorable Minister Louis
A day filled with news conferences and
interviews detailing the purpose and dangers associated with the
month-long excursion culminated when Rev. Willie Wilson and
members of Union Temple showered the Minister with songs of
praise, vows of fasting, prayers for his safety and success
abroad, as well as for a safe return to the United States.
“Open up your mouths and give praise for
victory of this mission,” demanded Rev. Wilson. “We are here
tonight to recite, remember, rehearse, renew something that took
place here. We believe on God for a miracle because He did it
before and He will do it again,” he said, referring to a similar
sendoff gathering held at Union Temple in 1995, the eve before
the historic Million Man March.
The pastor and friend of Min. Farrakhan for
more than 25 years announced that his congregation will remain
in prayer and will fast for the duration of the delegation’s
peace mission to prove the power of God, reflecting His
“By the time we get up on the plane there
will be millions of people all over the world, that for the
first time in the history of our folk, will be fasting and
praying,” delegation member Rev. Al Sampson, pastor of Fernwood
United Methodist Church in Chicago, said.
Rev. Sampson read from the Beatitudes of
the Bible and asked the congregation to embrace the passages
found in the fifth chapter of Matthew for the trip’s duration.
Particularly, he cited what he called Min. Farrakhan’s favorite
verse, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called
the sons and daughters of God,” he read.
Min. Farrakhan laid out some of the details
of the trip to the audience, but he also warned them not to be
tricked by negative press reports aimed at creating doubt about
“History tells us that good men in this
world have suffered from their contemporaries and the rulers of
their time period because they (righteous men) represented a
truth that the rulers did not desire the people to be persuaded
by, lest the people be persuaded against the policies and the
programs of the leadership that was against the will of God,”
said Min. Farrakhan in his message.
In spite of the penalties suffered by such
persons—penalties such as imprisonment, soiled reputations, or
even death—Min. Farrakhan said that at some point and time
someone would research those persons’ lives and vindicate them
and give honor for their stand for generations after those
persons are dead and gone.
“I thought what he said was right on time.
He reiterated for us the division among religions and what must
be done to correct this,” said D.C. resident Michael Wilson
after the Minister’s presentation. “For my first time seeing the
Minister, it was very, very good for me. I thought it was good
that he had the press conference and then came to the people to
tell us what was going on.
“He had his prayer warriors with him—Rev.
Wilson and Rev. Sampson—but, Min. Farrakhan had prayer warriors
in the audience, too. We’re backing him up,” Mr. Wilson said.
“Thank God for the Minister. If anybody can
do something to help this situation, he can. I’ll be in
constant prayer for him while he’s gone. We need his healing on
this war,” said Yvette Robinson, a resident of Capital Heights,
Min. Farrakhan closed his message citing
the chapters of refuge, the last two chapters found in the Holy
“It’s a dark time but seek refuge in the
Lord of the Dawn, because there is a new day coming for you and
the righteous. Be careful of your hearts. Be careful of the
whispering of a devil outside of yourself that causes a devil to
whisper inside from yourself and seek refuge in God because this
is the end of this world of evil.
“America is the showdown place and no
nation will be able to handle this. This has been set up by God
so that He can show you and the world that He is God. He made
America powerful so that nobody can deal with America … and the
dealing is going to get harder as President Bush and his
administration lashes out to kill, maim, malign and destroy.
God, on the other hand, will bring His wrath down more and more
on this house (America),” he said.
Earlier that day, Nation of Islam Chief of
Protocol Claudette Muhammad attended a press conference held by
Israeli Minister of Transport Ephraim Sneh at National Press
Club June 17, moments before Min. Farrakhan’s news conference.
After telling journalists “anyone is welcome” to come to Israel,
Mr. Sneh told Ms. Muhammad, that if it were up to him, “I would
not allow him in our country. Past comments, though I can’t
recall what they were, I remember they were perceived as
hostile” and against the Jewish state.”
Mr. Sneh said if the Minister could provide
recent declarations showing a change in position, he would more
than likely be welcome. Min. Farrakhan, on the other hand, has
held the position that if anyone can show him where he was
wrong, he would make a path to the mountaintop to apologize and
Min. Farrakhan reiterated that position
even during his press conference.
Ms. Muhammad also delivered a personal
letter from Min. Farrakhan to the hands of UN Secretary General
Kofi Annan during his visit June 22 to Chicago. In the letter,
Min. Farrakhan apprises the secretary-general of his goals while