Minister Louis Farrakhan

Making Peace and 'Justice... Or Else!'

By The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan | Last updated: Sep 22, 2015 - 10:38:33 AM

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[Editor’s note: The following article contains edited excerpts from a special message delivered by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan on Monday, September 14, 2015 via webcast to street organizations who gathered together in Charleston, Columbia and Greenville, S.C. to receive guidance and instruction, and pose questions. We urge our readers to get the full message by purchasing a DVD or CD from]


We thank Him so much for His coming in the Person of Master Fard Muhammad to Whom praise is due forever, and for His raising up among us, the Black Man and Woman of America, His Messenger/Messiah, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad.  I greet all of you my dear brothers and sisters with the greeting words of peace: 

As-Salaam Alaikum.

I want to first thank Brother Don Enoch Muhammad, Brother DeAndre Muhammad (Student Coordinator of Charleston, S.C. Study Group), Brother William Muhammad (Student Coordinator of Greenville, S.C. Study Group), and Brother Carl Muhammad (Student Minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 38 in Columbia, S.C.) for organizing our brothers and sisters from the so-called street organizations, that the enemy calls “gangs,” so that I might share with them a brief message.

I wanted to be in Charleston to visit Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church where nine of our brothers and sisters were murdered by a young Caucasian who, so filled with hatred of that institution, that church, that he went there specifically with the thought in mind of killing the minister; and in his mind, starting a race war.  Dylann Roof killed nine people, including the pastor, Clementa C. Pinckney ...  but what was so touching and telling about the church that he decided on is that he knew the history of that church—a church that was started by Denmark Vesey, one of our great revolutionary heroes who decided that death was sweeter than slavery, and he organized a slave revolt against the wickedness and the tyranny of slavery.

That great edifice, Mother Emanuel, because it was started by Denmark Vesey (and with him was a man that a great institution in Atlanta was named after, Mr. Morris Brown) was where they used the scriptures to awaken our people to the fact that we are born to be free, justified and equal. Vesey, and those with him, could no longer tolerate being slaves, and so they rose up and fought against the slave masters and out of that struggle, this church was formed. It was formed to give refuge to our people, and to teach our people the Word of God in a way that we would be comforted, that we would be united, that we would be strong as a people struggling for our liberation. The church was burned down [in 1822 by a mob of angry Whites after the capture and execution of Vesey and others for plotting a slave revolt]; and, of course, it was rebuilt.

I think the young man, Dylann Roof, was acquainted with that history and he wanted to make a statement, so he did; and as a result of that, the killing of nine innocent worshipers—who included him in the worship service not knowing that that would be the last worship service they attended. It was a Bible class; it was a place to study the Word of God with Pastor Pinckney. He loaded his gun before, but then he emptied it, reloaded it, emptied it, reloaded it again, and left one of our brothers who was there alive, and told him that he left him alive so that he could go and tell others what happened. You know the story: The young man ran, and was caught by the police, and he said he was hungry, and I understand that they took him to a Burger King and fed him, and then took him to jail ... 

In South Carolina there was no real genuine sympathy for the nine that were slaughtered, because they seem to want to get the young man free by raising over $4 million for his defense. What kind of defense could he mount? The young man that was left alive saw him, and we know that the 9 were dead—and he is the killer. But the sentiment of the people that raised over $4 million in a short amount of time said “they didn’t care that he killed a pastor, a member of the state legislature, and eight others.” Dylann Roof made a statement; as a result of that, people came together and the Confederate flag was taken down.

The Confederate flag is a “symbol”:  The symbol was removed, but the substance of racial hatred and murder for Black people yet remains in the hearts of too many citizens of South Carolina. I wanted to come and pay my respect and lay a wreath there in honor of those beautiful human beings, but I also wanted to say to us that we should never be so quick to forgive when a murderer is not even seeking it. We should not let our religion make us seem so [passive] ... We want to show that we are true followers of Jesus Christ who said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do”—but in reality, these are people that know what they are doing!  Because we’ve been here 460 years and they are still doing the same thing that they did 460 years ago. 

This is why we called a march for “Justice...Or Else!” on October 10, 2015:  Because at some point this behavior of the dominant society against us must end. And our Teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, said if we are killed like this, and the federal government will not intercede on our behalf, we have to find some way to act intelligently on behalf of our own lives.


This is why “courts” are set up in a civilized country: That when people are injured, they don’t take the law into their own hands, they rely on a system of justice; that they can go to a court when the perpetrator is caught and the state becomes the prosecutor of one who has violated law. The violation of the law “thou shalt not kill”—the violation of the law that murder was done at that church on June 17:  The state should prosecute that man on behalf of all of the families that have lost a loved one. But when the prosecution fails, when the federal government will not intercede to oversee the work of the state to make sure that those that are the families of the slain receive justice in accordance with the law, that their breast might be calmed: When the federal government fails to do this, what should we do? What can we do?

What is needed to heal gang conflict?

In the Bible that Denmark Vesey was reading, he read of The Mosaic Law (“an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, a life for a life”). And in The Holy Qur’an, it says, “retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain.”

What makes gang conflict so difficult is that we kill each other over nothing, and of course there is retaliation (one gang retaliating against another/one street organization retaliating against another, sometimes over nothing).  However, we are going to Washington to say “enough is enough” not only for the federal government and state governments that will not help to secure our lives, but my dear brothers and sisters, “enough is enough” when we are killing each other in the inner cities of America, in an unprecedented way.

We never killed each other as we are doing in the darkest days of slavery. And in the darkest days of slavery, the slave masters from one plantation to another would cause strong Black men to fight each other, sometimes to the death, and they would bet—but we were forced to do that in order to live. But today, nobody is forcing us; we are killing each other at the drop of a hat, or, at the drop of a dime

My dear beloved brothers and sisters:  This has to cease!  And the only ones that can stop it are we who live in the Black community, who are a part of the problem of the Black community. Our problem has to be solved.  What will solve it? First, you must gain a Knowledge of Yourself. 

Self-knowledge will cause you to fall in love with yourself. When you know “who” you are; when you know your origin in the world you know you are a direct descendant of The One Who created the heavens and the earth—and no matter how many branches to the tree, The Root is God Himself. So we are more than just a “Blood” or a “Crip,” or a “Gangster Disciple,” or an “El Rukn,” or whatever the name of the street organization. You are more than that!  Look at the hands that pull the triggers: The hand that is pulling the trigger looks like the hand of the one who is being shot. We are flesh of each other’s flesh.  We are blood of each other’s blood. We are bone of each other’s bone. And all of us have the same history of suffering. Why should we, now, inflict suffering on each other that gives the Caucasian a license to kill us? 

Don’t you realize that if we stopped killing each other, and found the way of peace among ourselves, that it would be difficult for them to come into our community and kill us—when we have stopped killing ourselves and have found The Knowledge of Self, and are in love with ourselves? Then if you’re in love with yourself, then you’ve got to love your brother who is the same as yourself. Isn’t that what Jesus taught? He taught that The First Law is to “Love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength,” and The Second is, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you don’t love yourself, you can’t love your neighbor as yourself; so we are filled with self-hatred, and that self-hatred causes us to be self-destructive.


I am so grateful that 300 young men and women wanted to come to Charleston to meet with me, and I was really anxious to meet with you; I wish I could have seen you as you see me—I wish I were there in person, to embrace you. But thanks to technology, I am there; and, thanks to technology, I certainly am embracing you with the love that God has put in my heart for each and every one of you. And through use of my iPad, I can answer questions that some of you have for me. 

Here is a question from Charleston: “How should we respond to the Black ministers who refused to work with The Nation of Islam and other Black Nationalist organizations who support Farrakhan and ‘10.10.15’?”

To my young brothers who are pastors: Many of our people have been ill-affected by the propaganda of the enemy of them, you and me; and unfortunately, many of them are afraid to make a stand on behalf of justice for themselves and even the members of their congregation. They are not going to join us until fear is removed from them—but you should not worry about them, you should be peacemakers in the city of Charleston. And if you are peacemakers, with all of the institutions that are called “gangs”: You all get together and make peace among yourselves. And once you make peace among yourselves, don’t let the enemy come in and destroy that peace. The scripture teaches in the Book of Matthew, 5:9Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called ‘The Children of God’.” I would love to see you make peace with one another. The preachers can’t do it—they are too afraid of you. They’re afraid to come out of the church and talk to you as they talk to the so-called “saved.” But I am talking to you, and I am giving you Guidance and Instruction:  “Make the peace.” And after peace is made, peace has to be kept. And in order for peace to be kept after it is made, you have to be aware of The Peace Breaker and The Mischief Maker who thrives on the fact that we are harming one another.

The next question is:  “What does The Minister see the overall solution being to the state of people?  And, how can we get away from this ‘Willie Lynch Syndrome’ (‘post-trauma slave syndrome’)?”

The first thing is to recognize that unfortunately we are still “slaves.” Once you are dependent on another man to give you food, clothing, shelter, a job, and education, and you can’t break from him, then a “slave” is one whose sphere of freedom is limited according to the wishes of others. You can’t go where they don’t want you to go; you can’t rise higher than they wish for you to go, so that’s the definition of a “slave.” It’s not “post slavery”—we are still in it. And we’re still suffering from “The Willie Lynch Syndrome”: The lighter against the darker, the educated against the uneducated, the rich against the poor, the ones from the better side of town against the ones who live on the other side of the tracks; the one who seems to “make it” in society, and those of us who are left behind. That hatred and dislike is among us, and the only thing that can cure “Willie Lynch” is a good, strong dose of The Medicine that is brought to us by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad who got it from God Himself as a means of healing Our Condition. So we who have The Knowledge of Self: We don’t feel like we are enslaved because we are not begging the White man for nothing that we could unite and do for ourselves. So I thank you for that wonderful question!  But what we need is 1.) A heavy dose of Self-Knowledge; 2.) A heavy dose of The Knowledge of The Enemy of Self; and 3.) A heavy dose of The Knowledge of The True Religion of God. When you get that Knowledge, “Willie Lynch” is running right now as I am speaking to you.

The next question deals with the subject of “The Blood, The Crip and The Folk building communities & families”“The sheriff in Columbia, S.C., has declared ‘war on gangs’.  How can we stop division among the gangs and our people?”

I think that answer was given in my opening statement. “War on the gangs” is a slogan to kill Black youth. You must understand how powerful you really are. They are afraid of our young people because youngsters don’t seem to be afraid like our parents and grandparents; and when fear is removed from us, we are already free. Because the only thing that stops Black people from being as great as we could be is not the White man, but it is our fear of the White man, so teaches the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. (Brothers and sisters, you come over and get these Teachings, and I guarantee you:  Fear will leave you. And when fear leaves you, the scripture teaches, “Perfect love casts our fear.” (1 John 4:18) So when you love God and love yourself, and love one another, you strengthen The Brotherhood; then, what is there for them to make war on?)

They are making war on Black Youth. Who brings the guns into our community? It’s not you. Who brings the drugs into our community? It’s not you. It’s brought in. And oft-times it’s brought in by very rogue policemen themselves. Somebody is profiting from our ignorance. Somebody is profiting from our filth. Somebody is profiting from The Condition of The Black Community; and so, it is again written in the Bible that “wheresoever the carcass is, there shall the eagles be gathered together.” (Matthew 24:28)  We are a “carcass”: “The remains” of a once-great People. And so there are those “feeding off” of our death: Our mental, moral, spiritual, educational, social and political death.  There are those who get rich off of the poverty of our spirit, and the poverty of our knowledge, there are those who want to see us make merchandise of our women; and, there are some rogue cops who will put young people out to sell drugs—and if you don’t do it right or bring them what they want, they will kill you and blame it on a Crip or blame it on a Blood, or blame it on somebody else.  This is the kind of thing that we see happening in the hood, and that’s why we are asking for 10,000 Fearless Men that are willing to stand in the gap between the guns—so that we can set up conflict resolution centers to help you with your beefs; so that the beef doesn’t get to be death on either side. Once we can stop the beefs, and stop the killing, and start seeing how valuable our lives are, and fall in love with self and one another, the war on gangs is over. 

And so I’m looking for some of you to help me bring peace in our community, help us to clean up our community!  And don’t worry about how you are going to live! Of course, you will worry; but once we come into self-knowledge, there’s a way that we can teach you to make money without lying or stealing or murder, or selling drugs, and putting our women in a terrible condition to give pleasure to the enemy that we might live better. Brothers and sisters, it all comes from our coming into the knowledge that will allow us to clean ourselves up.

The next question is from Dr. Germon Miller-Bey, a gang interventionist, a youth advocate; a sister very instrumental in helping us with gang outreach:  “Could our communities return to the concepts of ‘ancestor’ and ‘path finder’—Marcus Garvey’s basic financial community collaboration—with no religious mandates, just simple spiritual morality?  ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, and ‘Why’?”

The answer is “YES.”  Marcus Garvey is one of our great ancestors ...  He knew one day that somebody would come bringing the religion—he said that was not his focus; but when he said, “One God! One Aim! One Destiny!” [the motto for the Universal Negro Improvement Association]: That’s the basis of spiritual morality with no “religion” attached to it! My Teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, one day asked me:  “Brother Minister, what is the ‘best religion’?” And of course, he was teaching me “Islam,” so what could I say, or what should I say? So I said, “Islam.” He didn’t say I was wrong, but here is what he said: “The best religion, brother, is that you do unto others what you would have them do unto you.” 

If we practice that simple morality, without any name to it, we will be practicing the best religion; and we, then, would be ambassadors and examples to the religious community—who have all these rituals, all these wonderful things that they say.  But if it doesn’t boil down to “I love for my brother what I love for myself,” if it doesn’t boil down to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” then “rituals” will never produce a heavenly life, nor will hypocritical, sanctimonious behavior.  But if we want to produce a heavenly life in Charleston, in Columbia, in Greenville, just start practicing doing unto others exactly what you would have them do unto you.

The next two questions are “Honorable Mentions from G.D. (Gangster Disciples)”“Do you have a personal relationship with Larry Hoover?”

No, I don’t have a “personal” relationship with my brother, but we have communicated with each other over time.  And I admire Brother Larry; and I understand that they let him out of solitary confinement, and he was able to sit down with Chief Malik of the El Rukns, and they had a conversation.  Brothers and sisters: When leaders of different, great street organizations, in prison, sit down and talk, that’s a good sign! Your leaders of these organizations are very great men; that’s why they’re in prison.  

Larry Hoover is not in prison because he was such a bad man; he’s in prison because he was so good [at] [organizing] young Black people—and in that, they were afraid of him. So he is in prison, and they don’t want to let him out; but soon they’ll have to let him out. He deserves to be out here with us helping to clean up our communities, and as the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, “Make where we live a safe, clean, successful community.”  That’s within our power to do. Let’s get busy, and make our neighborhoods, our community, safe and good for our people to live in.