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We Are Farrakhan!: Effort to ban Nation of Islam minister unleashes love for the man and an anti-Facebook furor

By Richard B. Muhammad, Rhodesia Muhammad, J.A. Salaam, Brian Muhammad, Charlene Muhammad, Nisa Islam Muhammad and Tariqah Shakir-Muhammad | Last updated: May 7, 2019 - 10:10:39 AM

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Whatever Mark Zuckerberg and those who pressed the Facebook social media mogul to ban Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan thought, Black America’s reaction was swift, anger was potent and Black outrage was on display.

The May 2 action by Facebook, calling the 85-year-old beloved leader dangerous and pulling his social media posts on Instagram and other places, drew calls for boycotts of Facebook, lawsuits, letter-writing and creation of a Black, independent social media portal.

But if the desire was to limit Farrakhan, it sorely backfired. The Minister trended for nearly two days, on and off, as Believers in the Nation of Islam and supporters blasted Mr. Zuckerberg and company and deluged Facebook with photos, stories, videos and artwork bearing witness to the great work of Minister Farrakhan in 60 years of service. Blacks spoke loudest, but others came to his defense including Whites, who accused Facebook of racism. 

Facebook said it was banning Min. Farrakhan, Alex Jones, his Info Wars website and right-wing leaders Paul Nehlen, Milo Yiannopoulos, Paul Joseph Watson and Laura Loomer, for violating Facebook’s ban against hate and violence pages from their dual platform Facebook and Instagram. 

Yet nothing on the Minister’s pages or his history promotes or is associated with attacks of violence, unlike the current president of the United States. Mr. Trump, in the past, has boasted he could shoot someone and not lose a vote, urged attacks on critics at rallies and offered to pay legal expenses and several White supremacist attacks, some deadly encounters, have been perpetrated by those who find a kindred spirit in the president in some way.

Snoop Dogg: Ban Facebook!

Snoop Dogg and Min. Farrakhan

“For real so that’s how y’all feel? Facebook and Instagram just banned Minister Louis Farrakhan. I want to know for what? All he ever do is tell the truth. But y’all gonna ban him, though? Alright, what if we ban Y’all? What if we stop f****g’ with y’all, Facebook and Instagram? Then f**k y’all gonna’ ban Minister Louis Farrakhan? For putting’ truth out there,” rapper Snoop Dogg demanded to know on an Instagram post that went viral.

“I stand with him, I’m with him, ban me, mother**** ban me. Cause I’m gonna keep posting Min. Louis Farrakhan out there that’s my dear brother … .” He apologized for using profanity but argued there are people who should be banned. “As-Salaam  Alaikum my brother,” he bid to Minister Farrakhan as he closed his candid and heartfelt words. As-Salaam Alaikum means Peace Be With You in Arabic.

“It’s beyond something, but it’s not surprising,” said Elaine Brown, former Black Panther Party chair based on the West Coast.  

“How you can put Minister Louis Farrakhan in the same breath with whoever these White boys are, I have no idea. That’s number one. Number two, Louis Farrakhan has been a voice for the uplift of Black people, so it tells us where Facebook is coming from in terms of Black people, and of course, it’s a racist response and so forth,” Ms. Brown told The Final Call. 

“But I think that we have to be concerned with, not worry about begging a White boy to use his services. You have The Final Call. It has always been the position of the Nation of Islam to do for self and to be self-determining. And so the fact that Facebook doesn’t put Louis Farrakhan on, allow him to use Facebook anymore … we cannot rely on the White man to define us or to create the conditions and the tools for us to use.”

“We’re going to promote him, and I think this is just another example of America’s racism,” said Ms. Brown. 

She said the important lesson for Blacks is they can’t rely on Mark Zuckerberg or any other White, corporate entity to deliver their messages.

“It just means that Facebook has already been working with the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and everybody else, so I don’t know what the implications are. It just means that they are in a position of power.  It’s (Facebook) one of the biggest corporations in the world, and they are in a position of power,” Ms. Brown said, referring to the worldwide draw of people who use the platform for various personal and professional purposes.

“I think that the implications are that we have to strengthen our own community and develop our own forms of communication and make our own messages clear without relying on this man’s technology.  And for me, that’s where we need to focus on. I’m not going to worry about Mark Zuckerberg, we already know where he’s coming from.”

Calls to create ‘BlackBook’

Facebook and Instagram’s lifetime ban of the Minister resulted in Blacks saying Black users should ban the platforms, and called for tech coders to create a Blackbook platform.  

Ms. Brown said people could boycott, but the level of Black commitment to the tech giant is almost unbearable and shocking.

“I don’t see this as anything other than another American racist’s effort to shut down one of our leaders and really, the last leader we have,” said Ms. Brown, who remains an activist in the Bay Area in California.

Benjamin Crump
Responses from legal minds, including Human Rights Attorney Nana Gyamfi and Civil Rights Attorney Benjamin Crump continued pouring in at press time.

“The Nation of Islam has constantly and consistently been attacked, and there’s always been this effort to try to lump them in with actual, real life violent, dangerous hate groups, and they know that it’s a lie!  They know it’s a lie,” said Atty. Gyamfi, who called The Final Call from Brazil to express her outrage against the treatment of Minister Farrakhan.

She said the ban comes out of the U.S. government’s playbook against the Black Panther Party and others.  “This is the same thing that the Black Identity Extremists lie is about—this idea, this notion that when you are someone who is not just speaking up and out for Black people, but is standing firmly in opposition to White supremacy, in opposition to the forces which depress us, then you suddenly become the terrorist!  You suddenly become the one that is the danger,” argued Atty. Gyamfi, founder of Justice Warriors for Black Lives and executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI).

“And I’m particularly concerned about the continual conflation of anti-Zionism with “violent and dangerous.”  There’s been no evidence, there’s been no history of any Black person engaging in a violent act against other people based on their race, religion, ethnicity or anything else, in the name of the Nation of Islam!  That has not happened,” Atty. Gyamfi said.

She continued, “Now you can’t say that about the face in the White House. There are people killing people!  Talking about, I listened to what he said, and it made sense to me, so I went out and slaughtered people.  Not just in this country. That’s what the man said in New Zealand!  That’s what folks have been saying all over this world as they literally murder people, slaughter people.  They say, ‘Oh yeah. That President Trump, I listened to what he said and that’s what led to this,’ okay!”

Atty. Gyamfi was referring in part to 28-year-old Brenton Tarrant accused of murdering at least 50 Muslims and injuring at least 50 more during Jumu’ah, traditional Friday congregational prayer service on March 15. He praised President Trump. 

Farrakhan has no acts of violence!

“I would challenge anyone to say, ‘Oh we went and bombed some White Christian church because of Minister Farrakhan.  It ain’t never happened! This is foolishness, but it’s targeted.  It’s intentional.  It is part of this ever attack that is just baseless, ‘violent and dangerous.’  They can’t say that because you have free speech rights in this country still … so they have to make it something connected to violence, something connected to danger in order to violate The Minister’s and the Nation’s free speech rights,” said Atty. Gyamfi.

“I think it’s outrageous and it has a chilling effect on First Amendment Freedom of Speech and that we should always be careful when you start saying people can’t speak out against the powers that be,” said Atty. Crump.

“I think that it obviously stymies the opportunities for him to convey his message.  It denies him the ability to communicate with our people in a way that has become advantageous with being able to exchange free thoughts, and it’s very problematic when so many of us look to his leadership and guidance on issues of social justice,” Atty. Crump told The Final Call.

Atty. Crump added that this is untapped territory where legal ramifications factor in. “It will be challenged in the courts and I think everybody would be wise to understand that this could have a ripple effect on all of our free speech,” he said.

Ferguson, Missouri’s fiery activist and longtime supporter of Minister Farrakhan, Anthony Shahid said, “When you attack Minister Farrakhan you can kiss my a--. It’s going to be a terrible day for them. Mark my word, watch what happens now, watch the weather. Watch how Allah blesses him more than ever,” said Mr. Shahid. “They are trying to silence the Minister, but they can’t because he represents all of us Black people and we are going to represent him. They can’t take his freedom of speech away. Everyone should have a right to speak. When they attack him, they are attacking us. Farrakhan is a mindset and he’s all over the world. They are too late! You can’t destroy the mind of Farrakhan. People all over the world not just Muslims stand with him because he tells the truth and that’s why they took him down. He’s a man that tells the truth and they hate him for that.”

“He’s not a man of hate,” said Dr. Charles Steele Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference which is a non-profit organization committed to the principles Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. practiced and advocated for.

“He’s not been recognized in the way he should have in terms of his love for humanity, and I think that says it all,” he continued. “He can’t be compared to anything or anybody. No one can really be compared, only your record of your success and what you have done for those who are less fortunate—that’s the only thing you can compare and how you have a track record of those who’ve been disenfranchised and poor people of all ethnicity backgrounds.”

Minister Farrakhan has always been about bringing folks together, said the civil rights leader.  

The deliberate targeting of Black America’s strongest voice?

Dr. Conrad Worrill
Writer, educator and activist Dr. Conrad Worrill, based in Chicago, was deeply troubled by the permanent ban. “As a supporter and friend of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan who is one of the great leaders in the world, I am deeply troubled by what has been announced that the Minister is being permanently banned from FB. I find this extremely troubling in a society that espouses the idea of a free and open press. 

“White supremacy and all its ugly manifestations are at the core of this contradictory and controversial decision. But one thing for sure it won’t stop the voice or impact of the Minister,” he posted on his personal Facebook account.

In an interview, Dr. Worrill called the accusations of Min. Farrakhan being a violent and hateful man a lie. “That is one of the greatest lies that is currently being perpetrated. It’s a lie, straight out. The environment that is created to service these White supremacy groups goes directly to the White House and the White man sitting in the White House, Trump,” he stated.

Kamm Howard, midwest regional representative of the National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America (N’COBRA), agreed that the ban was an attack from White supremacist groups. 

“I thought it was more of a White supremacy attempt to silence a legitimate Black voice,” he said. “I think there’s really no comparison,” he said about the accusations. “The Minister has never advocated violence; he’s always left that to Divine Providence. It might be coming from the Minister’s support of reparations right now and there’s been a lot of right wing detractors around reparations, and [who] see his support as being racist which is in a support of reparations, is really about justice. The Minister is truly calling for justice and not anything antagonistic to this country.”

Mr. Howard believes other people will raise their voices in response to the ban. “It has a reverse effect of what it was intended; it was intended to silence the Minister and the Minister’s voice will be heard even more now.”

Ja’Mal Green Photo: Haroon Rajaee
“It is ridiculous that they would censor Minister Farrakhan, but they won’t censor Donald Trump,” stated Ja’Mal Green, CEO of Majostee Allstars, Progressive advocate and former candidate for mayor of Chicago. “They won’t censor someone who is talking about in actual power to affect lives and affect other cultures and build walls and ban Muslims, but they would ban someone like Minister Farrakhan who just posts videos and posts things that are in his truth and he should have the freedom of speech to do that as many others do.”

“To me, this is a larger conversation about the power that Mike Zuckerberg has with owning not just Facebook but owning Instagram and the power that media and social media has but we have none,” said the young Chicago-based activist.

“We are in a position where Black people should be investing in the next generation of young people to create the new Facebooks, the new stations and the next journalists so that we can control our narrative and be able to have platforms where local and national mediums can put out their messages.”

In Houston, Kofi Taharka, national chairman of the National Black United Front, was not surprised by the move. “And I asked myself the question, what is it that he’s saying that they are scared of? Because we know through history, this is the modern day 2019 mainstream media. We don’t control these platforms and sooner or later, a voice like his is getting to millions of people, will be perceived as a threat and then they remove that platform to prevent him from communicating with the people,” said the activist.

“It provides an example for us because we’re in a high tech digital world that provides an example of the contradictions of the system.”

“The National Black United Front has had an outstanding relationship with the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan going back 40 or 50 years. I speak myself, personally of interactions of support for our organization that he has given, financial support, support in terms of opening resources that the Nation of Islam have so that we can get word and information and our point of view out. He’s been a great ally to us as an organization and he’s been one of great character and self-determination. One of the reasons we have a good relationship is that he has refused to bow down under pressures, under various pressures over time. He has always been about lifting our voices that are being marginalized. No one in this day and time have the stature that Min.  Farrakhan has amongst Black people in North America and to a large extent, around the world. Who else can speak, who can say something, who can call for some action, some program, or some idea like the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan?”

‘White supremacist censorship’

“Today, it can be Min. Farrakhan and tomorrow, it can be anybody else.” 

Killer Mike

In Instagram, Killer Mike, hip hop artist and activist, declared: “No matter where you stand with the Kap’s or Roseanne’s, the Alex Jones or Farrakhan’s, with the Kevin Hart’s or Ann Coulter’s, if you cheer for others you disagree with to be silenced, soon your muzzle will be delivered to you as well.

“I knew this would happen when they went to ban Alex Jones months ago,” he told The Final Call. “Back in October, I put up a post where Min. Farrakhan said, ‘be weary of laughing at people. And be weary of celebrating when people are torn down, because certainly it will be you.’ I watched members of the African American community celebrate and I knew they would be coming for us next. Not just Min. Farrakhan, but anyone who’s on the cusp now of fighting, revolutionary fights for the original man and woman.

“I knew it was coming and I think the Minister knew it was coming. He’s a wise man. He seen this happen to his teacher, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He seen it happen to Bro. Malcolm when he was alive, and he seen it happen with Bro. Khalid Muhammad. He’s no stranger to this.

“I think that as a people, we’ve become so dependent on devices that have been given to us by people outside of our community that we’re in an outrage about it. But I didn’t need social media to discover Min. Farrakhan. It took me reading ‘Message to the Black Man’ and showing my teenage butt up to Mosque No. 15 in Atlanta. The real world brought me to Farrakhan, books brought me to Farrakhan. And when I say Farrakhan, I mean the product of the Nation of Islam. A lot of times we get caught up in cultism and personality worshiping and I love the Minister as a human being and as a leader for what he’s done in our community, but ultimately, the organization that is the Nation of Islam started by Elijah Muhammad, under Master Fard Muhammad, if we didn’t have the Nation of Islam, we wouldn’t have the structure. I see this as not only an attack on him, but bigger, freedom of speech and even bigger, the organization that has produced successful black men and women and communities for over 60 years. 

“I would argue that we as a community have become lazy in real world support of many leaders, not just Minister Farrakhan and not just leaders that are alive, but the theology. I tell people all the time, the two men who have literally created economic independence for African Americans in this country, are the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Honorable Marcus Garvey. Those men are not tip of our spear anymore and we’re suffering because of that. We’re not banking Black, we’re not farming Black, we’re not buying land, we’re not re-gentrifying our community. There’s a plethora of things we could be doing besides being mad that a media company that is not owned by us is trying to mute us.

“We have to ‘white down’ the market place. Black Planet still exists. Convoz is an up and coming Instagram or Twitter-like communication vehicle that’s been invested in by people like me, Chamillionaire, and Big Boi. You could literally switch all of your following. In an instant, Black people could say you know what, enough of arguing with you guys, we’re going to take all our money out of all your banks and put all our money into all of our banks. Black people could instantly say, we’re going to pull off all social media that is not only influenced by us and switch to social media that is. If we don’t have that determination to do that in one swoop, then we shouldn’t be voicing the outrage that we’re voicing because you’re telling the master I’m in your house, the temperature is too cold, how do I adjust the heat or the air?

“I judge the product of the work. Whenever you see a member of the Nation of Islam that’s a man or a woman, you see one that is respectful. You see one that is highly engaging. You see one that depends on intellect and not emotion. You see families that are united. You see people who are committed economically to turning the black dollar longer than six hours in the community. You see upstanding citizens. As for me, in my house, we are not a religious household, but where we see success we support. The Nation of Islam is successful in its endeavors in making our people fit and whole human beings. Mind, spirit, and body. We support that.”

Killer Mike continued: “People are saying (the Minister’s) gotten banned from Facebook and Instagram, but he’s been banned from CNN and Fox, he’s been banned from the local news. BET isn’t owned by us anymore, so we weren’t seeing that. I wasn’t seeing him on C-Span anymore and this has forced a national public conversation about him. He has been drug into a national conversation, and it is up to us now to keep him and his work alive.”

Dr. Melina Abdullah of Black Lives Matter Los Angeles responded: “Facebook and Instagram’s decision to ban The Honorable Minister Farrakhan along with known white-supremacists represents the ultimate in false equivalencies. What the social media platforms are doing is falsely equating racist violence as embodied by White-supremacists with Black self-love and self-determination as advanced by Minister Farrakhan. They are not the same thing; in fact, they are opposites. I also believe that the timing is not coincidental, with the resurgence in the Minister’s profile around the Nation’s work with Nipsey Hussle, it very well may be that White corporate interests wanted to be sure that the Minister’s message of Black empowerment did not spread. As a Black community, we should be very wary when others attempt to silence our leaders. We should also think about how to organize beyond social media. I continue to appreciate the Minister’s fearless leadership and intense love for our people.”

Min. Farrakhan and Scarface

“Anytime a brother speaks against what’s happening in the system, they’re going to do whatever they can to not let that word get out to everybody else. They been keeping us in the dark for so long, until social media began shining a light on a whole lot of injustices that’s being done to our people,” said rapper Scarface, one third of the legendary rap group Geto Boys, which came to fame out of Houston.

“It’s bad when Black people speak on injustices, but when the enemy speaks on it, they’re being patriotic. Abraham Lincoln is not a great man to me, George Washington is not a great man, Thomas Jefferson is not a great man. Christopher Columbus is not a great man. Donald Trump is not a great man. When Min. Farrakhan speaks on what’s going on, they don’t want nobody to hear that. They want to keep us in the dark and blinded. I get it because Min. Farrakhan opens a lot of eyes.” 

“This is good for White folks because the darker our alley, the better for them, but it doesn’t hurt us as much as they hope it would because we already got the Teachings. We already know who our enemy is and it’s not us. My enemy don’t look like me.” 

He added, “Min. Farrakhan wasn’t scared to speak his mind. Some people bite their tongues when it comes to talking about White folks. They get scared and I admired the fact that Min. Farrakhan was fearless.” 

“Needless to say, his voice is not going to be silenced. This is an exercise in White supremacist censorship,” said Dr. Ray Winbush, director of the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University in Baltimore Maryland. 

“I would go as far as to say it’s clear that this whole process is totally subjective,” Dr. Winbush added.

There is data to prove that Black voices who talk about racism on Facebook and other social media get banned and the Minister has talked  about racism, he explained. “But he has also talked about health … education (and) the Black family,” Dr. Winbush said. “It’s almost as if the part that they don’t like—and I emphasize ‘they’—that’s the part that gets censured.” 

Dr. Winbush said it was ironic, the day the  ban was announced was the same day he experienced a 30-day ban from Facebook for posting “The Europeans were the greatest thieves on earth.” 

“If Whites talk about White supremacy, they don’t get banned. If Black people talk about racism or White supremacy, they get banned,” said Dr. Winbush.

“Give me one instance where the Minister has tried to incite violence against another person … . You can’t find it. But at the same time, the president of the United States, who is a White supremacist is allowed Facebook status, Twitter status. And he has done more to incite people to violence … but  he won’t be banned  from Facebook.” 

Although the other people like Alex Jones was banned, “the real target behind all this was the Minister,” Dr. Winbush told The Final Call.  

Because of Minister Farrakhan’s following they consider him as a social media “influencer” making an impact, said the Morgan State University professor. 

For years the media and those who want to control the narrative about Minister Farrakhan have taken his words  out of context, he observed. “Talking the Minister out of context has become an indoor sport by White media to try to silence the Minister,” he said.