Bigotry
Extremism

Rizza Islam

Rizza Islam

Rizza Islam speaking at the Nation of Islam’s 2021 Saviours’ Day conference at Mosque Maryam in Chicago.

Key Points:  

  • Ronnie Steven “Rizza” Islam is a member of the Nation of Islam

  • Mr. Islam is also a social media influencer, with more than 500K followers

  • He regularly posts antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-vaccine rhetoric

  • Mr. Islam also espouses a range of conspiracy theories

Background:

Ronnie Steven “Rizza” Islam is a Nation of Islam (NOI) member and social media influencer. He describes himself as an “activist, speaker, humanitarian,” and “Black intellectual xtremist” [sic]. Mr. Islam has over a half million followers across multiple Instagram accounts, in addition to tens of thousands of followers on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. He intersperses his posts with inflammatory content that regularly includes antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ and anti-vaccine rhetoric, in addition to a range of other conspiracy theories.

In 2019, Mr. Islam published a book titled “Message to the Millineals” [sic], which was inspired by former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad’s 1965 “Message to the Blackman in America.” He is a member of the Fruit of Islam, NOI’s all-male paramilitary and security wing. Since becoming an active NOI member in the mid-2010s, Mr. Islam has become one of NOI leader Louis Farrakhan’s staunchest defenders against frequent allegations of antisemitism and other criticism.

Ideology:

Rizza Islam’s most common claims include popular NOI talking points and other offensive tropes and conspiracy theories, including:

  • Jewish people today are not “true” Jews (he often uses the spelling “Jew-ish” to indicate this derogatory connotation)

  • Jewish people control the media and Hollywood, and use that control to censor Black people

  • Jewish people disproportionately owned slaves or controlled the slave trade

  • Jewish people and members of the LGBTQ+ community are pedophiles or promote pedophilia

  • The LGBTQ+ so-called “agenda” is part of a calculated effort to feminize Black men and bring on the extinction of Black people

  • No one is born gay; it is forced upon them through chemical manipulation by the government and “international bankers”

  • Vaccines cause autism, illness or death, particularly in Black children

  • Vaccines are part of a governmental depopulation plot targeting Black people

For years, Mr. Islam has been a vocal anti-vaxxer. He has often collaborated with prominent non-NOI anti-vaxxers, including participating in anti-vaccine conferences and rallies, such as when he spoke at a March 2021 protest outside the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta. He also sells merchandise branded with his name and anti-vaccine messaging.

Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Mr. Islam has been particularly focused on promoting conspiracy theories and disinformation related to COVID-19 and the COVID-19 vaccine. Early in the pandemic, he posted a conspiracy theory suggesting that the coronavirus was being used to target Black celebrities. Mr. Islam has made numerous false claims about the COVID-19 vaccine causing harm or death, and he has repeatedly asserted that the COVID-19 vaccine is part of a depopulation plot targeting Black people. Another common theme in his anti-vaccine commentary is the disproven claim that mRNA vaccines alter a person’s DNA.

History and Rise in the Nation of Islam:

Rizza Islam was born in Compton, California, in 1990. He was a member of the Nation of Islam and attended the local NOI mosque as a young child, though he also became involved in the Church of Scientology. His mother, Hanan Islam, and his adoptive father, Alfreddie Johnson, were the executive director and founder, respectively, of a Scientology-backed nonprofit organization called World Literacy Crusade. Mr. Islam took on various roles within the organization throughout his teenage years.

In the mid-2010s, Mr. Islam and his family ran into legal trouble stemming from their involvement with Scientology and World Literacy Crusade. Mr. Islam, along with some of his siblings and his mother, were arrested on Medi-Cal fraud and insurance fraud charges in California in 2015. In recent years, Mr. Islam has largely downplayed references to his Scientology past.

Though Mr. Islam had participated in NOI-related events previously, including training Fruit of Islam members while working at World Literacy Crusade, it was around the time of his 2015 arrest that he became a more active NOI member. His association with Scientology and preestablished relationships within NOI likely contributed to his rapid rise within the organization’s ranks. World Literacy Crusade and its associates, including Johnson and NOI’s Tony Muhammad (Farrakhan’s Western Regional Representative and Rizza Islam’s mentor at NOI’s Los Angeles mosque), played a key role in forging an unlikely relationship between Farrakhan, NOI and Scientology in the 2000s.

L-R: Tony Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, Alfreddie Johnson, Rizza Islam

L-R: Tony Muhammad, Louis Farrakhan, Alfreddie Johnson, Rizza Islam, in 2016 (source: Twitter)

Under Tony Muhammad’s guidance, Rizza Islam gained prominence within NOI. He met with Farrakhan on multiple occasions in 2015 and 2016 as part of his work with anti-vaccine activism and promoting peace between rival street gangs in Los Angeles. Mr. Islam helped establish what would become a long-term partnership between anti-vaccine advocates like Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Nation of Islam, after he introduced Kennedy to Muhammad and Farrakhan in 2015. More recently, Kennedy and Muhammad served as co-producers for a new anti-vaccine documentary, which premiered at NOI’s 2021 Saviours’ Day conference.

Despite his relative youth, Rizza Islam has proven himself to be a force not only on social media, but within NOI itself. In February 2021, a few weeks shy of his 31st birthday, Mr. Islam shared the stage with longtime NOI leaders like Student Minister Ishmael Muhammad and Dr. Ava Muhammad at the group’s annual Saviours’ Day conference.

Louis Farrakhan singled out Mr. Islam for praise at this event. “When I saw Brother Rizza,” Farrakhan told the audience during the keynote address, “I knew he was good-looking, but that boy was absolutely beautiful. And I listen to his carriage and his handling of the subject matter—he's excellent as a potential great minister of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.”

Rizza Islam and Louis Farrakhan

Rizza Islam and Louis Farrakhan in Chicago in 2015. (Source: Facebook)

Mainstream Influence:

Rizza Islam’s influence and connections have also spread into the mainstream. He has been quoted and praised by various Black rappers, actors, athletes and others; rapper Royce da 5’9” thanked Mr. Islam on a track from his 2020 album, The Allegory, and Snoop Dogg praised him on Twitter in 2016 for “saving lives and educating while elevating the people.”

Mr. Islam has also posted photographs of himself with many other prominent celebrities, such as Jay-Z and Chris Brown. In 2020, Mr. Islam made multiple antisemitic statements during an appearance on the popular TIDAL and Revolt TV program, “Drink Champs.” He has been recognized by various organizations, such as the Los Angeles City Council, for his work as a community activist, before and after he became an active NOI member.

In His Own Words:

Below is a sampling of Rizza Islam’s extensive history of bigoted statements.

Antisemitism:

  • Rizza Islam on Lord Jamar’s YouTube show, October 5, 2020: “The J Mafia, as you refer to it as, or you know, that group that continues to exercise their wicked authority and the manipulation over media, money, banking, etc…The exact thing that the Jewish groups or any of those groups do, is that if someone they perceive to disrespect them, to misquote them, to say anything that they refer to or perceive as ‘antisemitic,’ they have an entire strategic team. They have a SWAT-like team that goes to work to destroy this person's career, their name, their banking, their influence anywhere. They make sure they ruin you. They get you to bow…They make sure you go down all the way.”

  • Rizza Islam on Twitter after the Nick Cannon antisemitism controversy, July 17, 2020: “The #Antisemitic lie that #Zionist / Jew-ish organizations use to attack Black leaders & the Black community is coming to an end. Your #ANTIBLACKRACISM is the TRUE wickedness and it is BLATANT! #whitesupremacy hides in the #Antisemitic lie. WE - BLACK PEOPLE ARE THE TRUE JEWS!”
  • Rizza Islam on “Drink Champs,” April 3, 2020: “The first thing is we are the true original Jews the true Hebrews. We are the original people. Let's make that very clear. This is why there's a big difference between a Jew and Jewish. You say “ish” it means a “kind of,” or “so-so.”

Antisemitic Instagram Post by Rizza Islam

An antisemitic picture Rizza Islam posted on his Instagram account. 

  • Rizza Islam on “Drink Champs,” April 3, 2020: “They say we [NOI] hate Jews and we attack Jews because we speak the truth about who controls the money, who controls the movie and film industry, who controls the music, who controls the media and the majority of people that do that happened to be Jewish that's all.”
  • Rizza Islam on “Drink Champs,” April 3, 2020: “[Jews] don’t want the world to know about what the hell you have done and continue to do. You owned 75% of the slaves in the south. You sponsored the chains and the ships. They were owned by you. You were Jewish, including Christopher Columbus—he was Spanish and Jewish—they were the ones who helped to initiate this. You’re dealing with the truth behind this. That’s why we have a book titled The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews, [volumes] I, II, and III…that only chronicling is the words of Jewish rabbis, Jewish leaders, and those are their words talking about what they have done to Black people all over the world.”

  • Rizza Islam on Twitter, November 25, 2019: “Soooooo what happened to #JefferyEpstein and his body? No, unlike every OTHER time when we FORGET, we are NOT FORGETTING ABOUT THIS! SHOW! US! HIS! BODY! How to get away with being the ring leader of a pedophile empire? Be a Jewish billionaire. #TRUTH isn't #Antisemitism”
  • Rizza Islam on Instagram, December 27, 2018: “The Jewish people should be the LAST group of people to be ‘Offended’ by ANYTHING!...It is extremely childish and insulting when they literally were the ARCHITECTS of the slave trading of our people! They are KHAZARS and WE ARE THE TRUE HEBREWS/JEWS that the bible speaks of! Read the book: ‘The secret relationship between Blacks & Jews’ books 1, 2 and 3!”

  • Rizza Islam on Twitter after the social media company revoked the verification checkmark from Louis Farrakhan’s account, June 9, 2018: “Yes, JEWS own Twitter. Yes, JEWS own Facebook.  Yes, JEWS own all social media, banking, music and the movie & film industry as well as sports. No need to be verified by Twitter when The Hon. Min. @LouisFarrakhan is verified by ALLAH & THE PEOPLE”

Anti-LGBTQ+ Bigotry:

  • Rizza Islam on Instagram Live, March 10, 2021: “The ‘trans circumstance’ is being heavily sponsored by the United States government, just like the pedophile movement is being sponsored by the United States government.”
  • Rizza Islam on Twitter, June 28, 2020: “#shanedawson demonstrates that there is an element of pedophilia which hides within the #LGBT #LGBTIQ #Pride "movement" that MOST refuse to admit. Fetishizing an 11 year old #willowsmith was the last straw for SOME but many of us have BEEN addressing this. He's NOT the ONLY ONE”

  • Rizza Islam on Twitter, January 13, 2020: “SHARE IF YOU DARE This GOVERNMENT is pushing an AGENDA...... To the #lgbt #lgbtq #lgbtqia - Look up the WORLD DEPOPULATION AGENDA - NSSM 200 and GLOBAL 2000 and Dr. Henry Kissingers push for homosexuality IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY as a STRATEGY to DEPOPULATE #rizzaislam”
  • Rizza Islam on YouTube, September 29, 2019: “How far is being a drag queen off from being a pedophile?...Something called ‘drag queen reading hour,’ which is taking the nation by storm…Men are in full makeup and dresses and glitter, looking crazy as hell, and a crowd of children. And we are sitting here as if this is normal. And you wonder why these sex offenders get off? Because they are sitting here and covered in makeup reading to your children.”

  • Rizza Islam on YouTube, July 2, 2019: “They destroy us and kill us mentally by having men put on dresses and having them do other things with other men.”
  • Rizza Islam on Twitter, December 12, 2018: “SHARE THIS - WHAT DO PEDOPHILES HAVE TO DO WITH THE #LGBT? Now, this is a QUESTION. DID YOU KNOW THIS???? Pederasty AKA pedophilia and NOW AKA "PEDOSEXUALITY" originated with the CAUCASIAN GREEKS as did homosexuality. Caucasian MALES! #toxicmasculinity #rizzaislam”

  • Rizza Islam on YouTube, December 11, 2018: “There is no such thing as anyone being born homosexual…This government has created…chemicals [that] create and enhance femininity within the body of a male, and it actually enhances the heightened likelihood of homosexuality from birth. Chemically-induced—once again, not by nature. You are not born that way.”

Bigotry
Extremism