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Farrakhan Speaks on Controversial Flag Issue

By Final Call News | Last updated: Oct 26, 2017 - 9:58:25 AM

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CHICAGO—As the country and the National Football League grapples with the right to player protests, social and racial injustice and questions about respect for the flag, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan issued a definitive statement about the so-called controversy and the questions at the core of the “flag” controversy.

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan Photo: Andrea Muhammad

The statement from Min.  Farrakhan reads:

Colin Kaepernick took a knee.  That brother was not trying to disrespect the flag; he was disturbed over the police killings of Black and Brown people outside of the law of justice, and he wanted to draw attention to it.  Because all of the evil that we have suffered, we suffered it under the Confederate flag, and we suffered it mostly under the so-called American flag.  So, Colin took a knee on September 1, 2016, when the flag was presented and the national anthem was played.  It has generated much controversy.  But did you know that there is a code on how to respect the American flag? 

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) prepared a report for members of Congress in 2009 on the federal law relating to the U.S. flag and its display, which was enacted by Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the president, in 1942.  The CRS report says the “Flag Code” “is designed for the use of such civilian groups or organizations as may not be required to conform with regulations promulgated by one or more executive departments of the federal government.”  You don’t have to conform—and there is no punishment, according to the code.  Section IV of the “Flag Code” covers “The Pledge of Allegiance.”  Congress has, by U.S. Code Statute 36 (U.S.C. Section 301) designated the national anthem as “The Star Spangled Banner,” and set out the proper conduct during its presentation.  But pay attention to this: no penalty or punishment is specified in the “Flag Code.”  Lastly, the “Flag Code” is not a mandate of federal law: it does not proscribe [forbid] conduct, but is merely declaratory and advisory. Meaning it does not give punishment.  Section 8 of the Flag Code is entitled “Respect for Flag,” and it gives all the things that are in the code of disrespect for the flag.  And guess what?  One such act that shows disrespect for the flag reads in point no. (c): “The flag should never be carried flat or horizontally, but always aloft and free.”

Now, (as we have seen during football games): Is that flag horizontal?  That’s disrespect of the American flag.  And when my brother takes a knee, and his brothers join him, the president of the United States calls us “sons of bitches.”  Now, when I was young, say something about mom: those are fighting words, brother.  And to add insult to injury, the National Football League, and the Department of Defense have been paid millions of dollars to display the flag in that way, and play the national anthem.  It leads to people joining the armed forces.  It doesn’t have anything to do with “patriotism,” they get millions of dollars from the Department of Defense for displaying the flag in a disrespectful manner.  It’s about money.  It’s about recruiting.  It’s about using the patriotic zeal of the people.

A giant United States flag is held on the field by military personnel in honor of Veterans Day before an NFL football game between the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins, Nov. 13, 2011, in Miami. Photo: AP/Wide World photos

Mr. Trump has changed the narrative.  Black people don’t hate the flag, as such; they don’t hate America as such, but they just wanted to draw attention to what we are suffering under the flag.  And the police that shot us down, they have a flag somewhere on their uniform.  When we go to court, the flag is there—and we can’t get justice.  My son’s father-in-law fought in World War II, and he saw his buddies shot down, blown to pieces, on Normandy Beach.  So every time he sees the flag, he stands, puts his hand over his heart; not so much for the flag, but for the noble men and women who have died for that flag. 

But Mr. Trump:  When did your father get here from Germany?  And you so-called “patriots,” see, when you all came here from Europe, you had a country to come home to.  The Statue of Liberty welcomed you: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.  Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  It never was a golden door for us.  The first man to die in the Revolutionary War that gave America a nation was a Black man.  Black folk died in the War of 1812; Black folk died in the Civil War on both sides, North and South.  Black brothers have died in World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam, and the army is full of them now. 

Mr. Trump, no wonder the generals are a little kind of “p.o.’d” at you; because these same Black men whose mother you referred to in such a negative way for producing giants in the world of sport and play, you’re going to be calling on them to fight the war that you’re building up to now. 

I want you to understand our Position.  Evidently, the Messenger, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, saw this years ago; but Mr. Muhammad told me you can stand for the flag out of respect for a symbol that governs a sovereign nation, because that’s what you want for yourself one day, to fly your flag, over a sovereign nation of your own.  But we can’t pledge allegiance. 

I can’t put my hand over my heart for you, but I’ll stand.  

I don’t take a knee; because, in the prayer service of Muslims: we bow to Allah, we kneel to Allah, we prostrate to Allah.  We don’t have nothing for you like that.  I’m not going out in front of the White House, and kneel down, and throw my fist up like [“Black Power”].  No, the hell with that.  Your salvation is not in the house that’s called “The White House”—salvation wasn’t there when they put a Black man in there for you.  It’s Jesus who saves. 

Jesus said, the first and the greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. So when you give your all to God, a true Christian is forbidden to pledge allegiance to a temporal power, when we have given our all to God.  And the Qur’an comes right back, where the Muslims take an oath. My Prayer, my sacrifice, my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. So we have been forbidden by our Islamic tradition to pledge allegiance to any temporal flag, but to respect that flag, is what we’re commanded, but we can’t give it allegiance.”

Part of the statement is taken from a recent speech, “Separation Or Death,” delivered Oct. 15 by Min. Farrakhan in Newark, N.J., as part of the 22nd commemoration of the Million Man March. Visit to access the message and an edited speech transcript.