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Text Box: Louis Farrakhan 
1933-
Text Box:  Louis Farrakhan (born Louis Eugene Walcott, May 11, 1933 in the Bronx, New York), is the head of the Nation of Islam.

Early life

Farrakhan was raised within the West Indian community in the Roxbury section of Boston, Massachusetts. His mother had emigrated from Saint Kitts and Nevis in the 1920s; his father was a Jamaican cab driver from New York but was not involved in his upbringing.

As a child, he received training as a violinist. At the age of six, he was given his first violin and by the age of 13, he had played with the Boston College Orchestra and the Boston Civic Symphony. A year later, Walcott went on to win national competitions, as well as the Ted Mack Original Amateur Hour. He was one of the first blacks to appear on the popular show.

In Boston, Farrakhan attended the prestigious Boston Latin School and English High School, graduating from the latter[1]. He attended college for two years at Winston-Salem State University teachers college, but left to continue a career as an entertainer. In the 1950s, Walcott became an up-and-coming calypso singer. Popularly known in Boston as "Calypso Louie," he recorded several calypso albums under the name "The Charmer."[1] In 1955, while headlining a show in Chicago entitled "Calypso Follies," Walcott first came in contact with the teachings of the Nation of Islam. [edit]

Nation of Islam

He had been inspired by Malcolm X and he had accepted a friend's invitation to attend the Nation of Islam's annual Saviours' Day address by Elijah Muhammad. Walcott accepted Elijah Muhammad's teachings that day and was renamed "Louis X."

Adoption of the "X" surname is a tradition within the Nation of Islam. In mathematics, "X" represents an unknown variable. In the purview of the Nation of Islam, followers accept the "X" surname as the rejection of their slave name. Eventually, the "X" name is replaced by a proper Muslim name more descriptive of the individual's personality and character.

After joining the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan quickly rose through the ranks to become Minister of the Nation of Islam's Boston Mosque. He was appointed Minister of the influential Harlem Mosque and served in that capacity from 1965 to 1975.

Louis Farrakhan separated from Warith Deen Muhammad in 1978 because of doctrinal disagreements. Farrakhan formed a splinter group using the original name — the Nation of Islam. He reestablished the teachings of Elijah Muhammad and also reinstated the movement's security force known as the Fruit of Islam (FOI).

On October 24, 1989, at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Washington, DC., Louis Farrakhan claimed he had a vision of being abducted in 1985 by an invisible pilot in a UFO and carried up on a beam of light to a "human built planet" known as the "Mother Wheel." There the voice of Elijah Muhammad informed him that the President and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, under the direction of Gen. Colin Powell, were planning a war, which Farrakhan said he later came to realize was "a war against the black people of America, the Nation of Islam and Louis Farrakhan." "I saw a city in the sky," Farrakhan said, after which the UFO "brought me back to Earth and dropped me off near Washington; over to Tyson's Corner and Fifth Street I think...to make The Announcement." His entire inspiration for the "Million Man March", he says, is based on this "vision of being swept into a UFO that took him to a larger mothership." (The Washington Post, Sept. 18, 1995, p. D3).

On January 12, 1995, Malcolm X's daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, was arrested for conspiracy to assassinate Farrakhan. It was later alleged that the FBI had used a paid informant, Michael Fitzpatrick, to frame Shabazz. After Shabazz's arrest, Farrakhan held a press conference in Chicago in which he accused the FBI of attempting to exacerbate division and conflict between the Nation of Islam and the family of Malcolm X. Nearly four months later, on May 1, U.S. government prosecutors dropped their case against Shabazz.
On May 6, 1995, a packed public meeting in Harlem, New York, termed A New Beginning, featured Louis Farrakhan and Malcolm X's widow, Betty Shabazz. Originally organized by community activists as a fund raiser for Qubilah Shabazz's legal defense, the meeting marked the first public rapprochement between Farrakhan, the Nation of Islam and the Shabazz family.

On October 16, 1995 Farrakhan convened a broad coalition of black men in what many say was the largest march in American history, the Million Man March. The calming of Farrakhan's fiery rhetoric in recent years possibly signals a change of direction in the Nation of Islam, and may also be due as well to the seriousness of the advanced prostate cancer with which he was diagnosed years ago, but is evidently now in remission.
Louis Farrakhan is currently the leader of the Nation of Islam and lives in Chicago, Illinois at the former home of Elijah Muhammad, near the campus of the University of Chicago.

Farrakhan, along with New Black Panther Party leader Malik Shabazz Zulu, Al Sharpton, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Illinois) and other prominent black Americans marked the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March by holding a second march, the Millions More Movement on October 14, 2005 through October 17, 2005, in Washington.

In a February 2006 AP-AOL "Black Voices" poll, Farrakhan was voted the fifth most important black leader with 4% of the vote[2]. Farrakhan often wears a bow tie. [edit]

Controversy  [edit]

Farrakhan and anti-Semitism

Probably the most provocative aspect of Farrakhan's political philosophy is to many people his alleged anti-Semitism. Farrakhan rejects accusations of anti-Semitism as politically motivated and without any ground in fact. One of the most controversial quotes attributed to Farrakhan, and which led to him being censured unanimously by the United States Senate, was, "Hitler was a very great man." Farrakhan continued by saying "I'm not proud of Hitler's evil toward Jewish people [...] don't compare me with your wicked killers." Farrakhan made this statement in response to a Jewish journalist at The Village Voice referring to him as a "Black Hitler":

"So I said to the members of the press, 'Why won't you go and look into what we are saying about the threats on Reverend Jackson's life?' Here the Jews don't like Farrakhan and so they call me 'Hitler'. Well that's a good name. Hitler was a very great man. He wasn't great for me as a Black man but he was a great German and he rose Germany up from the ashes of her defeat by the united force of all of Europe and America after the First World War. Yet Hitler took Germany from the ashes and rose her up and made her the greatest fighting machine of the twentieth century, brothers and sisters, and even though Europe and America had deciphered the code that Hitler was using to speak to his chiefs of staff, they still had trouble defeating Hitler even after knowing his plans in advance. Now I'm not proud of Hitler's evil toward Jewish people, but that's a matter of record. He rose Germany up from nothing. Well, in a sense you could say there is a similarity in that we are rising our people up from nothing, but don't compare me with your wicked killers."

Farrakhan: "Is the Federal Reserve owned by the government?" Audience: "No." Farrakhan: "Who owns the federal reserve?" Audience: "Jews." Farrakhan: "The same year they set up the IRS, they set up the FBI. And the same year they set up the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith… It could be a coincidence… [I want] to see black intellectuals free… I want to see them not controlled by members of the Jewish community."[3]

“Dewey, Kant and Hegel, and the rabbis that wrote the Talmud, make blacks inferior.”[4]
Farrakhan has referred to Jews, Palestinian Arabs, and Asians collectively as "bloodsuckers" and maintains that "Murder and lying comes easy for white people." [5] He has also been accused of calling Judaism a "gutter religion," although Farrakhan and his supporters deny this. An article in the NOI's periodical, Final Call, has responded by claiming that Farrakhan instead used the expression "dirty religion," and that "...in Minister Farrakhan’s vocabulary the phrase 'dirty religion' has a particular meaning... 'dirty religion' is the distorted faith which emerges from its manipulation by hypocrites or sinners."[6]

In 1998, former The Wall Street Journal editor Jude Wanniski attempted to foster dialogue between Farrakhan and his critics. He arranged for Farrakhan to be interviewed by reporter Jeffrey Goldberg who had written for the Jewish weekly, The Forward and The New York Times. Since the extensive interview was never published in either publication, Wanniski decided to post the transcript on his website in the context of a memo of Senator Joseph Lieberman. The following are links to the interview, parts one, two and three:
Interview with Farrakhan Part I
Interview with Farrakhan Part II

Farrakhan has had friendly relations with leaders of the Neturei Karta, a small but controversial Jewish group that is well-known for its association with and support for anti-Zionists. Neturei Karta stressed that "Minister Louis Farrakhan is an extraordinary force for good in the Black community. His followers are responsible, industrious, modest and moral. And for this he and they have our respect." [7]

In 1999, after battling prostate cancer, Farrakhan adopted a more concilliatory tone. During Christmas of the same year he met with catholic leaders and rabbis at a gathering in Chicago where he called on all peoples of the world to "end the cycle of hatred".[8]However, Farrrakhan subsequently made numerous anti-Semitic statements.[9]

At an NOI-sponsored event in February 2006, Farrakhan provoked accusations of anti-semitism in Illinois by stating that "These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood. It's the wicked Jews, the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality, [and] Zionists have manipulated Bush and the American government [over the war in Iraq]" [10]. Farrakhan's former aide, Sister Claudette Marie Muhammad currently serves on Illinois' Hate Crimes Commission, which has caused tension between the Black and Jewish populations, and has resulted in the resignation of the HCC's five Jewish members.[edit]

Farrakhan and 'Yacub'

Louis Farrakhan has also alluded to a figure called "Yacub" (or, Biblically, "Jacob") in regards to whites. According to Farrakhan's mentor, Elijah Muhammad, blacks were "born righteous and turned to unrighteousness," while the white race was "made unrighteous by the god who made them (Mr. Yacub)." [11] [edit]

Farrakhan and Hurricane Katrina

In comments regarding the decimation of New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina, Louis Farrakhan stated that there was a 25-foot hole under one of the key levees that failed, and implied that the levee's destruction was a deliberate attempt to wipe out the population of largely black sections within the city. Farrakhan later claimed that the informant was current New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, who allegedly told him of the crater during a meeting in Dallas, Texas. [12] Farrakhan further claimed the fact that the levee broke the day after Hurricane Katrina is proof that the destruction of the levee was not a natural occurrence. Farrakhan has raised additional questions and has called for federal investigations into the source of the levee break.[13][14][edit]

Family

Farrakhan married Betsy Ross in September 12, 1953. The Farrakhans have been married for 53 years and have a number of children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. Farrakhan's son Mustapha Farrakhan is the supreme captain of the Nation of Islam is Louis Farrakhan's likely successor[15] [16]. Mustapha Farrakhan's son, also named Mustapha Farrakhan is an up and coming basketball player who is likely to play college basketball. He recently caught the eye of the media who were speculating on the impact of the shadow of his grandfathers name may have on his sporting career[17] . [edit]

Farrakhan and classical music

When Farrakhan first joined the NOI, he was asked by Elijah Muhammad to put aside his musical career. After 42 years of abstinence from playing the violin Farrakhan decided to take it up once more, particularly due to the urging of prominent classical musician Sylvia Olden Lee.
In early 1993, Farrakhan made his concert debut with performances of the Violin Concerto in E Minor by Jewish convert to Christianity composer Felix Mendelssohn, which was widely seen as a response to his critics, such as the Anti-Defamation League, who had charged him with Anti-Semitism.[18][19]
Reviews were mixed, but some critics agreed that Farrakhan, while not on a par with established solo violin performers, had nonetheless put in a creditable performance.[20][21] He has gone on to perform the Violin Concerto of Ludwig van Beethoven and has announced plans to perform those of Tchaikovsky and Brahms. [edit]

Farrakhan parodies

Damon Wayans portrayed Farrakahan in several sketches on In Living Color, imitating his style of dress and his slow, measured way of speaking. One sketch, called "The Wrath of Farrakhan", introduced the Nation of Islam leader to the Star Trek franchise, having him appear on the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise and stir up dissent among the crew[22].

On the Rush Limbaugh program, an actor periodically impersonates Farrakhan in several fake infomercials for an educational product called "Million-Man Math Made Easy".

On MADtv, Aries Spears played Farrakahan in a sketch entitled "Elton John Duets", which features a duet with the singer and Farrakahan singing a parody of "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues" entitled "I Guess That's Why I Hate The Jews." [edit]

Farrakhan videos

March, 2006 Havana, Cuba Press Conference
May, 2004 Washington, D.C. Press Conference on U.S. Government's War on Terrorism
April, 2002 Press Conference on Arab, Muslim/Israeli Conflict
Let us make man Part I - africanconnections.com
Let us make man Part II - africanconnections.com
BBC Video
FOX News Interview on Millions more movement
The Murder of Malcolm X
Mike Wallace interview on CBS with Farrakhan and Atallah Shabazz
birth of a nation [edit]

Other information

Millions More Movement
Nation of Islam

Quotes:

“I am hoping that in this year of the family we will go into our families and reconcile differences… I think that rather than condemning Islam, Islam needs to be studied by those who are sincere…If someone has a difference with their mom, dad, their uncle, their cousin, their wife, their husband, children, with one another, go to that party and tell them why, give them a chance to acknowledge their wrong; give them a chance to confess it openly…United we can solve our problems and divided we have nothing.”  Louise Farrakhan
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Credit: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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