Two speeches delivered by Louis Farrakhan as part of the Nation of Islam’s annual Saviours’ Day celebration included expressions of homophobia, transphobia, anti-white racism, and antisemitism. In his speeches, which took place in Detroit on February 23 and in Chicago on March 1, 2020, Farrakhan also claimed that the biblical descriptions of Jesus as the messiah were actually referring to Farrakhan himself. Farrakhan sees himself as a Christ-like figure and a prophet for African Americans.
On February 23, Farrakhan told the assembled in Detroit that their success hinges on the whims of Jews. “No black man becomes great in America without the help of the Jewish people,” he said. “You don’t become wealthy in America without the help of white people—Jewish people.” Farrakhan also claimed, without proof, that the state of Israel had targeted the Nation of Islam for opposition. On March 1, he went on to claim that the spirit of opposition that ancient Jewish leaders felt toward Jesus is the same spirit that animates Jewish leaders today when they reject Farrakhan’s hateful message.
Farrakhan’s homophobia and transphobia were also on display. He said on February 23 that the Nation of Islam is “trying to make our children respect their own sexuality” and not homosexuality, which is “created by Satan and his manipulation of biology and chemistry.” He said with feigned horror, “You don’t want to be a man anymore? And some of you don’t want to be a woman anymore? Just look at yourself. Men coming to men with lust like you should react to a female!”
In his introduction to Farrakhan’s March 1 speech, Ishmael Muhammad, the national assistant minister to Farrakhan, said, “The messiah is attacked by the powerful Satanic Jews…What black man do you know has been more ridiculed and evil spoken of by these Satanic Jews other than the honorable minister Louis Farrakhan?” He also asserted that the coronavirus is part of a global conspiracy bent on “culling” two billion people from earth.
The February 23rd speech took place in front of more than 4,000 attendees at the TCF Convention Center in Detroit. The March 1 speech took place at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, with several hundred people in attendance. Both speeches were streamed live on Facebook. The first speech was also streamed on YouTube, Twitter, and Periscope.
Farrakhan’s Detroit speech was preceded by greetings from Stephen Grady, the Chief of Staff to Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones. Grady, who was introduced as Stephen Muhammad, told the crowd that Ms. Jones is a supporter of the Nation of Islam, and that “700,000 Detroiters are with you, are behind you, [and] love the Nation of Islam, and we want to welcome you officially home to your city of Detroit.” Also on stage during that speech were the mayors of several Michigan cities, including Flint, Benton Harbor, Muskegon, and Eastpointe.
At a different session that weekend, Grady announced that Council President Jones had sponsored a resolution honoring The Final Call, the official newspaper of the Nation of Islam, which was celebrating its 40th anniversary. The resolution, which was signed by eight members of the Detroit City Council, praised The Final Call’s “truthful articles” and “courageous journalists.” The Final Call routinely publishes antisemitic and racist content.