(Updated June 11) As the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a legal challenge to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a coalition of black leaders is planning a caravan across Alabama, with a very controversial special guest.
Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, will be part of the June 14 tour. His visit was announced by the National Coalition of Leaders to Save Section 5 on June 4.
The tour is seen as historic because it will be the first time that the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Farrakhan will be linked together.
Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford said “we have risen above our historical differences.” In March, Farrakhan spoke at Tuskegee University and to public school students in the area. He spoke at Alabama A&M in 2012.
Also taking part in the caravan are State Sens. Hank Sanders and Bobby Singleton, and Alabama Democratic Conference Chairman Joe Reed.
It was announced that the caravan would begin at the historic Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham at 9 a.m., then continue to the Shelby County Courthouse, the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma and conclude at the State Capitol in Montgomery at 4 p.m.
Contacted by SJL, Sixteenth Street Pastor Arthur Price Jr. said that was the first he had heard of Farrakhan’s upcoming visit. As of June 11, the church was never consulted, is not involved in any way with the caravan and they do not know where the rally is supposed to be taking place.
Shelby County was targeted by the caravan because it is the county that filed suit against the pre-clearance clause of the Voting Rights Act. The clause states that any change to voting procedures or districts in 16 Southern states with a history of discrimination must be approved by the Federal government. Opponents say the Justice Department review is no longer necessary.
Coalition organizers said if that clause is struck down, it would result in the overturning of many civil rights victories of the 1960s. In April, the coalition filed suit “in order to keep the vote.”
Sanders said overturning Section 5 could lead to there being no black elected officials in the state. He also stated that he does not see Farrakhan as a divisive figure.
The Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, which monitors hate groups, considers Farrakhan a “black supremacist” and lists the Nation of Islam as a hate group. The SPLC does support Section 5, though.
The Anti-Defamation League also weighed in on the caravan. Southeast Regional ADL Director Bill Nigut said while the ADL has frequently spoken out in favor of extending Section 5, “the inclusion of Louis Farrakhan in this campaign is a terrible mistake.”
Last month, Farrakhan spoke at a Detroit church, after which U.S. Rep. John Conyers, who was in attendance, apologized for being there.
During that speech, Farrakhan spoke of “Satanic Jews” and the “Synagogue of Satan,” stating the Jews control major U.S. institutions, including the media. He also said President Barack Obama “surrounded himself with Satan… members of the Jewish community.”
He also said that Jews have mastered civilization but “mastered it in evil.”
At another Detroit church the day before, Farrakhan denied being anti-Semitic. “Is there a Jewish synagogue I’ve defaced?”
The ADL noted that “Just two months ago, Minister Farrakhan claimed in a speech that ‘Nobody becomes President of the United States without going before Israel or AIPAC and promising the Zionists everything you think will allow you access to their wealth, their influence and their power’.”
Farrakhan often accuses Jews of conspiring against blacks through manipulation of the film and music industries as well as the legal and medical fields, claiming “You can’t go nowhere in their world without paying obeisance to them,” Nigut added.
The Birmingham Jewish Federation has written pieces on Farrakhan to local media outlets, and is urging black leaders to distance themselves from him. An email was sent to the caravan organizers stating that “While we respect your efforts to draw attention to the important issue involving the Voting Rights Act, we regret that Mr. Farrakhan has been chosen to help lead this effort.”
Other groups in the coalition include the World Conference of Mayors, the International Black Broadcasters Association, the National Voting Rights Museum, Bridge Crossing Jubilee, Inc., the Slavery and Civil War Museum, the National Policy Institute, Women of Will, the Alabama New South Coalition, the Alabama Democratic Conference and the National Conference of Black Mayors.
Recent Farrakhan remarks
On May 25, Farrakhan gave the 20th weekly lecture in a 52-week series, “The Time and What Must Be Done,” focusing on “The Revelation of ‘The Synagogue of Satan’ and those so-called Jews who say they are what they are not.”
He spoke of the Jews as the most successful and powerful ethnic group in America, but spoke of the “Synagogue of Satan” as “comprised of Jews and Gentiles who are in rebellion against God” and give a “bad name to the righteous Jews who are practicing the teachings that Moses and the Israelite prophets have given them.”
God gave the Jews the Torah, Farrakhan noted, “however, you gave yourself the ‘Talmud’… and it is against The Teachings of the Torah.” He said the Talmud alters God’s word to deceive people and is the work of Satan, and “this wicked, false synagogue has to be exposed.”
Though all of modern Judaism is based on the Oral Law interpretations of the Written Law — the Torah — as eventually written down in the Talmud, Farrakhan asks “observant Jews” to denounce those who accept the Talmud just as “you are always asking Negroes (sic) to denounce the so-called ‘bad ones'” in their midst, such as the Nation of Islam.
He added that the “Satanic Jews” are “leading America and this world to ruin, to destruction, to desolation” through control of the media, Hollywood, banking and government, and that Jews “are also the leading mobsters.”
“The Jewish media has normalized sexual degeneracy, profanity, and all kinds of sin; it also leads us into war to make the Mid-East ‘safe for Israel’ — this happened in Afghanistan, Iraq; and tomorrow, maybe Iran,” he said, adding that President Obama has surrounded himself with these individuals as his top advisers.
He concluded, “this is why ‘the good Jews,’ the righteous Jews, have to separate themselves from ‘the Talmud lovers,’ and come back exclusively to God, standing up for The Torah, and what God Revealed.”