Press Conference
by the Hon. Minister
Louis Farrakhan
Washington, D.C.

June 17th, 2002





See Below For
Updates & Links

Minister Farrakhan delivers Friday lecture as guest of Grand Mufti of Syria, Sheik Ahmad Kuftaro 07-05-2002


Farrakhan received by Syrian President Assad
FCN 07-03-2002


Muslim leaders welcome Minister Farrakhan
FCN 07-02-2002


Qatar Farrakhan Ďdisappointedí
with Bush plan

FCN News 06-27-2002


Full Press Conference Transcript  w/ Q & A
June 17, 2002

Peace Initiative: Africa & Middle East Tour


Understanding Minister Farrakhan's Middle East and African Peace Mission


Community offers prayers and support of Farrakhan mission
FCN News 06-25-2002






WEB POSTED 07-24-2002
Interview with Black Entertainment Nightly News
ĎMy prayer is for the victory of peace over warí


(óEditorís 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.]

In 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 government.

JR: 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.

MLF: 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.

JR: What advice would you give the President to bring this situation in the Middle East to peace?

MLF: 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 American administration.

Ed Gordon (EG): 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?

MLF: 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.

EG: 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?

MLF: 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.

EG: 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.

MLF: 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.

EG: 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 bit dejected?

MLF: 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.

EG: 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 misquote?

MLF: 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 space.

So now 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?

EG: Do you believe that any of that could be true?

MLF: 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.

EG: 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.

MLF: 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.

EG: Do you believe he will, Minister?

MLF: 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.

EG: 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?

MLF: 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.

Look, 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 people.

EG: 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 States.

MLF: 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.

EG: 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.

MLF: You can tell Iím healthy.

EG: Minister, good to see you. Thank you very much.

MLF: Good to see you. Thank you.

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