Detroit Leaders Should Have Spurned, Not Embraced, Minister Louis Farrakhan

Detroit, MI, May 21, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed deep disappointment with the members of Detroit City Council and local clergy who met with and embraced the anti-Semitic and racist leader of the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, during his visit to the city last week.

During his visit to Detroit, Minister Farrakhan was invited by Rev. Wendell Anthony, President of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP, to address the Fellowship Chapel on May 17. His speech, which was attended by U.S. Rep. John Conyers and Detroit City Councilmember JoAnn Watson, among other prominent city leaders, invoked hateful anti-Semitic canards and open racism. Thus far, none of the leaders present for his remarks have publicly condemned Minister Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic rhetoric, and several have praised him.

“Although we acknowledge the significant challenges that Detroit faces, providing a platform to an individual with a long history of promoting anti-Semitism and racism is not the solution,” said Heidi Budaj, ADL Detroit Regional Director. “It is deeply disappointing that so many Detroit leaders are apparently so willing to turn a blind eye to Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism. Where are the voices in our community who are willing to stand up and say no to racism and anti-Semitism?”

During his speech to the congregation at The Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, Minister Farrakhan spewed hateful anti-Semitic invective, referring to “Satanic Jews” and the “Synagogue of Satan” supposedly controlling major institutions. He expressed his love for President Barack Obama, but added that the president “surrounded himself with Satan...members of the Jewish community.”

As head of the Nation of Islam, Minister Farrakhan has espoused bigoted and anti-Semitic rhetoric over the past 30 years. In recent years, the NOI’s campaign to demonize Jews, whites, the LGBT community, and others has continued unabated. Not only have the recent speeches delivered by Farrakhan been among the most hateful of his career, but the organization’s media arm has also reinforced these messages through a range of anti-Semitic propaganda.

More information on Farrakhan’s long record of anti-Semitic and bigoted rhetoric is available on the League’s web site.

In response to ADL's call, Rep. John Conyers addressed Minister Louis Farrakhan's remarks. The League welcomed his strong condemnation.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.