After a health scare in 1999, committing to reconcile with the American Jewish community and a rather quiet decade, Louis Farrakhan has taken aim at the Jewish community and hostilities have renewed.
The source of the controversy is Farrakhan’s new book and statements he made Sunday during an address celebrating the founding of the Nation of Islam movement. While there have always been tensions and accusations volleyed back and forth between the two groups, the Nation of Islam’s latest statement in front of 18,000 people that Jews are “demons and satan” has raised the ire of the Jewish community while going unnoticed in comparison to his comments about Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
According to Lonnie Natasir, who represents the Chicago office of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the comments were “highly charged, anti-Semitic, insulting, hurtful and divisive” and that the ADL hopes people recognize these statements as propaganda and the sort of anti-Semitic stereotypes that have always caused Jews problems in the past.
However, Farrakhan’s latest book which claims to correct history and is entitled “’The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews” only seems to be fanning the flames further. The book claims that Jews were behind the slave trade, lynching and the Ku Klux Klan and exploited blacks whenever possible. According to Farrakhan, his goal is to “expose Satan and become an instrument of God to end [the Jews’] world”, but he claims not to hate Jews.
However, Farrakhan’s comments have struck a chord with black leaders in Chicago who participated in the Nation of Islam convention and condemned the Jewish community for supposed mistreatment of blacks.
Farrakhan wants to “force the book into every classroom” because he claims “white people don’t know what happened.” He also sent his highly inflammatory book to Jewish leaders with threatening letters warning of “Allah’s [wrath which will] destroy your power and influence.”
The ADL meanwhile wants to find out what Farrakhan’s problem is. Together with recently elected mayor Rahm Emanuel, they have decided to pursue the leader to find a peaceful solution and end the divisive comments once and for all.