note: The following text is from a July 11 interview of
Minister Louis Farrakhan by Black Entertainment Nightly News
host Jacque Reid. The interview continued with BET talk show
host Ed Gordon. Min. Farrakhan was interviewed while in Durban,
South Africa, for the inauguration of the African Union.]
The Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.
Jacque Reid (JR): Minister Farrakhan talked to us after meeting
with, again, government and religious leaders in Iraq. What are
their feelings about reports that the Bush administration wants
to come after Iraq militarily and go after Saddam Hussein? Do
you see them, or did you see when you were there, them preparing
for a military confrontation?
Minister Louis Farrakhan (MLF):
I saw them doing just what you are doing, what the American
people are doing. They are going about their daily chores as
normal. We, in the United States, are living under some fear of
a terrorist attack. But the President has said to the American
people, go on and live your life. Well, thatís exactly what the
Iraqi people are doing. They are going on living their lives as
though there is no eminent threat from the United States
Now, Minister, Iím sure youíve heard from those who say that by
your going to the Middle East and getting involved, if you will,
in this situation that you are stirring the pot, making the
situation worse. Talk to us about your reasons for traveling to
the Middle East and meeting with Iraqi leaders.
I didnít go there to stir the pot. I went there to take the pot
that is stirring off the stove. Peace is better than war. Life
is better than death. Healing is better than killing and murder.
Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the
children of God. Thatís what I want to be and I hope President
Bush wants to be the same.
What advice would you give the President to bring this situation
in the Middle East to peace?
I would say to the President that I believe he needs more
balanced advice. There are wonderful American Muslims in this
country who know the Qurían, who love America, and love Islam,
and they would advise the President so that the President, when
he speaks to the Arab and Muslim world, will speak in a way that
will lessen the hatred and the fear and the distrust of the
Good evening everyone, Iím Ed Gordon. Welcome to a special
edition of Black Entertainment Televisions BET Tonight. We are
very pleased to bring you, in the midst of his whirlwind tour,
the Minister Louis Farrakhan. He joins us as our guest this
evening. Minister, I know that you are in the midst of this
tour. We welcome you. You are in South Africa, correct?
Thank you. Iím very, very honored to be on your show, Ed. Yes,
we are in Durban, South Africa, where we just witnessed the
historic birth of the African Union.
Minister, we will get into that in just a little bit. But I
would like to talk to you so you can convey to our viewers why
you decided to embark on this tour. You and I, frankly, talked
on a number of occasions before you embarked on what you see as
a very important tour. Tell us why you decided to take this tour
at this time?
Well, the first reason was that looking at television and
watching the daily carnage taking place in the Middle East,
particularly among the Palestinians and the Israelis, and
hearing our president say that it was the intention of his
government to remove Saddam Hussein from power. And this would
mean war or even assassination of Saddam Hussein. It is a
combination of these two things that compelled me to ask those
that went with me, let us go and see if we can help to make some
peace and relieve some of the suffering of the people in
Palestine and in Israel and see if we can unite the Muslim
world; to see if we could speak with one voice to request from
President Bush that he not bomb Iraq. This is what compelled me.
We should note that this tour has taken you to a number of
places: Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Kuwait, Iran, and you will continue
through many countries in Africa. Talk to me about the people
that you have met to this point.
No, we werenít in Saudi Arabia. We went to Qatar, to Yemen, to
Dubai, to Syria, to Lebanon, to Iraq, and now we are in South
Africa. And hopefully tomorrow we will be in Zimbabwe and then
we will begin to make our way home. There was difficulty in some
of these countries for timing and scheduling to get in to talk
to those leaders. But I met with the Emir of Qatar, the
President of Yemen, the President of Syria, the President of
Lebanon, one of the ministers of government in Dubai. I met with
all the ministers of government in Iraq including the vice
president. And I was in the Middle East at the time that
President Bush issued his peace initiative on the Middle East
crisis. And I happened to be in the Al Jazerra studios in
Qatar when he made his speech. And, unfortunately, I was
disappointed. I thought that he needed more balance and guidance
from those who love Islam and who love America and want to see
the President come off better than he did. But, unfortunately,
the peace initiative that he gave, many felt that it could have
been written by Prime Minister (Ariel) Sharon himself. It was so
heavily overbalanced on the Israeli side that it increased the
anger and the despair in the Arab world and many feel that
President Bush has really said to the world that he cannot be an
honest broker for peace in this problem in the Middle East.
Minister, I know at the outset you wanted to meet with Sharon
and Arafat. Upon your return having not done so, do you feel a
Well, certainly we tried through the Israeli Embassy in the
United States and they contacted the foreign ministry in Israel.
And then I understand there was discussion in the Knesset and
they decided that Louis Farrakhan should not be permitted into
Israel at this time. And they adopted the same posture as the
government of Great Britain, saying that the Minister would not
be in the public good, when, in fact, I went there to do good.
But, unfortunately, I was not able to do that good. But through
the blessing of television I was able to get my message across
to the Arab and Muslim world. I probably spoke to over 100
million Arabs and Muslims in that part of the world during my
short visit there.
Minister, let me ask you of reports, you have denied them, but
we want to give you an opportunity to tell our viewers first
hand what it was you said exactly. Let me read from press
accounts. It says here, ďNation of Islam leader Minister Louis
Farrakhan Wednesday denied an Iraqi News Agency report quoting
him as saying he hopes Iraq wins any military confrontation with
the United States.Ē Is this an out and out lie or did they
First let me say, yes. Itís an outright lie. There will be no
winner in a military confrontation. American soldiersí lives
will be lost. Many American families will be grieving. And on
the Iraqi side there will be many, many lives lost there. My
prayer is for the victory of peace over war and right over
wrong. I would never, ever say that I wished that somebody would
prevail in a military conflict. I went there for peace and that
is my hope, that is my prayer, and that is what the people of
Iraq want. In all of my talks to the officials of the
government, to the people in the street, to the religious
leaders, they do not want war. They want peace. And it was so
sad for me to talk to the minister of health in Iraq and to hear
of the problems of the sanctions and what they have done already
to the Iraqi people. And the United States and Great Britain
have been bombing Iraq for 11 years in these no fly zones that
America and Great Britain have put up to the north and the south
of Iraq. And the Iraqis have not, according to the news, been
able to shoot down one of these planes in 11 years. And a part
of the sanctions is to deny Iraq these conventional weapons that
would allow them to defend the sovereignty of their own air
America, with all of her great arsenal of weapons of war, is now
preparing to fight a country that cannot protect their air
space. And you are going to come at them by land, by sea, and by
air. For what? You say you are going to set down this dictator.
When have you become so righteous? You have been upholding the
dictators in Central America, South America, the Caribbean and
in other parts of the world as long as they went along with the
corporate greed of American corporations that were taking the
raw materials of these countries. You are not pressing for
democracy in the Arab world. So now you mean to tell me that
Saddam is so bad (that) you are going to kill off all of these
Iraqi people to remove one man and set up a government to your
liking? Itís not working in Afghanistan. It will not work in
Iraq. And so I pleaded with the Arab and Muslim world, please
donít allow your nation to be a base for such a war. You are a
Muslim and you should feel the hurt and the pain of your own
fellow Muslims and say to America with one voice, no, no to war,
no to murder. And inside the United States of America, if it
pleases God, when I return I am calling for congressional
hearings because the American people need to know both sides of
this question: Did Saddam Hussein gas his own people? Is Saddam
Hussein planning or did he plan to murder President Bushís
father? What kind of evidence is there?
Do you believe that any of that could be true?
There is enough that I have heard that most of it is propaganda;
and this is why there has to be hearings. And if the government
will not call these hearings, we are prepared to call these
hearings in Washington, D.C., and invite these scholars and
scientists who have a different view than the lobby that is
pushing the American administration to use the power of the
United States to destroy the Iraqi leadership and the Iraqi
people. This is not right.
You have said on this program before, and we clearly understand,
that outside of Colin Powellís voice you believe that the rest
of the Bush administration walks in lock step in terms of how
they see this situation. And much of that administration, as
does a lot of America, I donít know what the percentage is, sees
Saddam Hussein, whether it be by virtue of propaganda or not, as
a devil in disguise. Let me go back because Iím not sure you
answered what I asked before. Do you believe that any of the, as
we put it just moments ago, propaganda that youíve heard may
indeed have some credence? I assume that you are giving that in
the sense of thatís why you at least want the hearings.
Ed, even if some
of it is true, how is America so righteous with blood dripping
from their hands of the peoples of the world? How has America
all of a sudden become so righteous that she can now go to Iraq
and set that man down? Is America so righteous? What about the
people that are suffering in the United States of America from
the evil of our own government? Who will redress that? Who can
bring America to the bar of justice? Iím a plain Warner, Ed,
from Almighty God that if no one can bring America to the bar of
justice, God is able. And that is why I warned President Bush
that just as God allowed Pharaoh to become so strong and so
powerful but he became so arrogant and so spiritually blind that
he thought himself to be a God beside God. So God sent 10
plagues against him that brought Pharaoh and Pharaohís army to
their knees. Should we repeat history? Will not the president
heed sound counsel and warning? This is a wrong step for the
United States of America.
Do you believe he will, Minister?
I donít know what he will do. If he is like Pharaoh and God
hardens his heart and he feels that it is his duty to go to Iraq
and unseat Saddam Hussein or call for his assassination, then he
will do this. But he will do this and lose the prestige of
America in the world community. Russia doesnít want it. China
doesnít want it.
In your opinion, if that happens, Minister, what do you believe
happens in that region if the United States unseats Saddam
Hussein or any other leader they deem inappropriate?
I believe that
the Arab and Muslim world will turn against the United States of
America with more hatred. It is not that they have the power to
destroy America, but America is not in the world by herself.
America needs the friendship of the nations of the world. So if
the European Union turns her down, if Russia and China turned
her down, she begins to look like a bully because she is
bullying Iraq. She doesnít agree with China. China is communist.
Why donít you pick on China? Because you know you will get a
response that will bring many American body bags home. This kind
of bullying tactic is wrong. It is immoral.
Ed, last year 666 murders took place in Chicago, Illinois. How
in the world can I go back home and we go back home and tell the
gang bangers (to) stop murder, stop murder in the inner cities,
when from the highest office in the land of the United States
the President, himself, is calling for the assassination of
another human being with whom he has a disagreement. Even if
Saddam is an enemy, what can he do against the great and
powerful United States of America? I want this thing debated in
the Congress. I want those who want war to stand up and tell the
American people why. And those who donít want war, let us give
the reason why we donít want war and let the American people
judge and our representatives in Congress act on the will of the
American people and not the will of a lobby, whether it is a
Jewish lobby or a Zionist lobby or any kind of lobby. That
government body should represent the will of the American
Minister, it struck me as you talked about domestic problems
here. You have not, we should acknowledge to our viewers, been
able to see the video tape that all of this nation has seen. It
is reminiscent of the Rodney King incident in the sense also of
the amount of times, unfortunately, it has been played across
the news media. And it is of a 16-year-old Black male being
manhandled if you will by Inglewood and Los Angeles County
Police officers, allegedly being punched and thrown upon his
head upon a patrol car hood. Iím curious as you hear about this
and acknowledge the concern that many African Americans have had
with continued racial profiling, police brutality, and the like.
Talk to me about how you see this landscape in the United
Let me say, Ed,
that the armed forces of the United States has over 400,000
Black men and women who have joined the Army and are patriotic
in their love for the United States of America. There are also
many Hispanics and poor Whites that will be used if President
Bush launches this attack on Saddam Hussein. It is very
difficult for us as Black people who suffer in the United States
of America from racial profiling, police brutality, redlining,
and all of the abuses that we suffer, and yet we have fought,
bled and died for this nation for a freedom that we yet do not
enjoy. And some people would say to Farrakhan, ďWell, Farrakhan,
you should leave America and live in Iraq.Ē Just a moment.
America is where I live. I have a stake in that country. Our
people have fought, bled and died for this country and we donít
want to see the country mismanaged by anybodyóWhite or Black. So
who do you speak for, Farrakhan? I speak for the voiceless
AmericansóBlack, Brown, and Whiteówho would like to say what Iím
saying but they donít have a voice. I speak for those in
Congress who may be afraid because of this climate of patriotism
to speak truth to power. I even think I speak for Colin Powell
in aspects of this policy that he disagrees with but he canít
come out and say it. So Iím speaking for those who have no voice
and I believe there are many in America who will join me in
speaking against this war, particularly the mothers and the
fathers whose children will die. Die for what? Die on a
vendetta; die because this man is a dictator. If he is a
dictator, let his own people overthrow him. Thatís not our
business. It will be Saddam Hussein today, Gadhafi tomorrow,
Castro the day after, Bashar Assad of Syria the day after that.
Whoís next? America, youíre not raised by God to be a superpower
to go into other nations and set them down saying that they need
a change of leadership. Maybe we need a change of leadership in
the United States of America.
Well Minister I was going to ask you a little earlier about your
health. So many people are concerned. But if nothing else, this
is the Louis Farrakhan, the firebrand who is healthy once again.
You can tell Iím
Minister, good to see you. Thank you very much.
Good to see you. Thank you.