Extremism

Nation of Islam

Image of Louis Farrakhan giving a speech

Louis Farrakhan 

  • The Nation of Islam (NOI), the largest Black nationalist organization in the U.S., has maintained a consistent record of antisemitism and bigotry since its founding in the 1930s.
  • During his 40-year tenure as the NOI’s leader, Louis Farrakhan has built a legacy of divisiveness as one of the most prominent antisemites in America. He has also espoused anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-white bigotry, as well as a range of conspiratorial beliefs.
  • Although the NOI’s official membership is relatively small — estimated at less than 50,000 people — the influence of Farrakhan and NOI teachings has regularly extended into the mainstream.
  • Some mainstream figures, including elected officials and celebrities, have publicly supported the NOI, focusing on the group’s efforts to bolster Black self-reliance while minimizing or not acknowledging the NOI’s well-established record of bigotry and antisemitism, giving this hateful rhetoric a measure of legitimacy.
  • The NOI’s headquarters are located at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, IL. The NOI also operates numerous mosques and study groups across the U.S. and abroad.
  • The NOI’s theological beliefs and practices differ significantly from the dominant sects of Islam, and many do not consider the organization to be a mainstream Muslim religious group.
     

The Nation of Islam (NOI), the oldest Black nationalist organization in the United States, has maintained a consistent record of antisemitism and bigotry since its founding in the 1930s. Under Louis Farrakhan, who has espoused and promoted antisemitism, bigotry, and anti-LGBTQ+ animus throughout his 40-year tenure as the NOI’s leader, the organization has used its programs, institutions, and media to disseminate its message of hate.

While the NOI does support community development programs and Farrakhan often speaks about serious issues impacting Black people — including racism, police brutality and economic inequity — he often blames Jews for these societal problems. Despite this record of bigotry and hate, the NOI has been given a measure of legitimacy by some mainstream figures in the African-American community and beyond, including elected officials and celebrities.

The Nation of Islam is not considered a mainstream Muslim religious group, and many Muslim leaders have distanced themselves from the NOI. The NOI’s theological beliefs and practices differ significantly from traditional, dominant sects of Islam.

The NOI’s official membership is relatively small, estimated at between 10,000 to 50,000 people (for comparison, the total Black population in the U.S. is estimated at more than 46 million according to 2020 data from the U.S. Census Bureau.) However, the official membership alone does not account for the broader influence of Farrakhan and the NOI. Indeed, Farrakhan’s speeches still draw hundreds of thousands of viewers online and his influence reaches millions through regular mentions in news media, popular culture, social media, and more.

Nation of Islam ideology regularly incorporates bigoted and discriminatory beliefs, particularly aimed at Jews, LGBTQ+ people, and white people. The NOI also promotes various conspiratorial beliefs, which frequently overlap with their other forms of bigotry.

The NOI’s wide-ranging antisemitism, which is consistently promoted at all levels of the organization, includes denying that Jews have a legitimate claim to their religion and to the land of Israel and alleging that Judaism is nothing more than a “deceptive lie” and a “theological error” promoted by Jews to further their control over politics and the economy. NOI leaders also claim that Jewish people were primarily responsible for the transatlantic slave trade and the 9/11 attacks, and that Jews control the government, media, and Hollywood. NOI figures have downplayed the death toll of Jews in the Holocaust and have promoted known Holocaust deniers.

The NOI teaches that Jews and the U.S. government conspire to control Black individuals and organizations through financial means and targeted depopulation tactics. These supposed strategies to both hasten the death of Black people and prevent their reproduction by emasculating Black men and sterilizing Black women include vaccinations, modified food, drugs, the promotion of homosexuality, and more.

Anti-LGBTQ+ bigotry is a regular feature of the conspiratorial claims about depopulation plots and the emasculation of Black men, with Farrakhan and other NOI figures proclaiming that people are not born gay, but are chemically manipulated by the government and influenced by portrayals of LGBTQ+ people in Jewish-owned media.

The Nation of Islam opposes racial integration and advocates for the creation of a separate nation for Black people. Anti-white doctrines are incorporated into NOI ideology. Unlike many civil rights activists who critique whiteness with regard to power structures and systemic racism, the NOI engages in the demonization of and conspiracy theories about the biological nature of all white people, portraying white people as satanic, sub-human, and inherently inferior to Black people.

Early history

The Nation of Islam, modeled after other socio-religious groups of the early 20th century, was founded in Detroit in 1930 by Fard Muhammad, who taught his followers that he was Allah (God) incarnate. Upon Fard’s disappearance later that decade, his disciple Elijah Muhammad took over and promoted the idea that white people were created by an evil Black scientist and that Black people are the superior race. Under Elijah Muhammad's leadership, the NOI attracted a sizeable following and had considerable financial support.

The group expanded in the 1950s and 1960s when Malcolm X joined the NOI and eventually became its spokesman. It was also during this time that Louis Farrakhan joined the NOI and began to rise in its ranks, serving as the minister of NOI’s Boston mosque. After Malcolm X denounced the NOI in 1964 and was assassinated in 1965, Elijah Muhammad appointed Farrakhan to serve as the NOI’s national spokesman and minister of the NOI’s Mosque No. 7 in Harlem.

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Elijah Muhammad in 1964 (source: World Telegram & Sun photo by Stanley Wolfson / Library of Congress)

Revival under Farrakhan

When Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, his son, Warith/Wallace Deen Muhammad, inherited the group’s leadership and steered the organization toward more traditional Islam. In response, Farrakhan formed a separate group to uphold Elijah Muhammad’s original separatist beliefs, taking many members — and the Nation of Islam name — with him.

Farrakhan became widely known in 1984, when he endorsed the presidential campaign of Jesse Jackson. At the time, Farrakhan attracted significant attention for his antisemitic and anti-white statements. While Jackson disavowed some of Farrakhan’s remarks at the time, he has since taken part in several NOI events.

In subsequent years, Farrakhan was condemned for his consistent hate mongering, calling white people “blue eyed devils” and Jews “bloodsuckers.” At the same time, Farrakhan also continued to gain prominence among some Black civil rights leaders, including joining a coalition of Black leaders for the National African American Leadership Summit (NAALS) and organizing the 1995 Million Man March in Washington, D.C.

Recent history (mid-2000s to present)

The NOI has maintained a significant following under Farrakhan’s leadership, operating mosques across the country and attracting thousands of supporters to its events. More than any other NOI leader, Farrakhan has built a legacy of divisiveness and antisemitism. Since the early 2000s, Farrakhan has embarked on a wide-ranging anti-Jewish campaign featuring some of the most hateful speeches of his career.

In recent years, Farrakhan’s health issues and advancing age have raised questions about his plan of succession. After Farrakhan suffered a heart attack in 2013, Student National Assistant Minister Ishmael Muhammad was chosen to deliver the annual Holy Day of Atonement keynote address. Though Farrakhan resumed making public appearances later that year and made it clear he had no plans to step aside, he has since acknowledged the need to think about the NOI’s future without him at the helm. In 2021, Farrakhan ceded the majority of his Saviours’ Day keynote address, again selecting Ishmael Muhammad to speak in his place.

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Louis Farrakhan in 2020 (source: Internet Archive)

The Nation of Islam operates under a hierarchical structure, with its headquarters located at Mosque Maryam (also known as Muhammad Mosque No. 2) in Chicago, IL. The NOI advertises at least 130 local chapters in the United States, which are identified as numbered “Muhammad Mosques” or “Study Groups.” Individual leaders of these groups are referred to as “Student Ministers.” The NOI also designates regional representatives in the U.S. and internationally.

Registered NOI members are encouraged to join gender-specific training programs. The Fruit of Islam (FOI) is comprised of male NOI members and serves as the group’s paramilitary and security wing. The equivalent training program for women is the Muslim Girls Training and General Civilization Class (MGT and GCC).

NOI Research Group

The Nation of Islam Research Group (NOIRG), which claims to serve as the NOI’s “his­tor­i­cal research depart­ment,” is a leading source in publishing and promoting the NOI’s virulently antisemitic and conspiratorial beliefs. Prominent current members of the NOIRG include Demetric Muhammad, Ilia Rashad Muhammad, Nuri Muhammad, and Wesley Muhammad.

The NOIRG has authored some of the NOI’s most significant antisemitic publications, including the multi-volume “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews.” The group also pro­motes its materials online and in articles published in the NOI’s official newspaper, The Final Call.Before it was terminated in April 2021, the NOIRG’s Twitter account had amassed over 18,000 followers, serving as a daily source of antisemitic and anti-Israel content. Antisemitic graphics created by the NOIRG are often incorporated into posts from other NOI accounts and members.

Popular themes in NOIRG materials include blaming Jews for the transatlantic slave trade, social media censorship, medical experimentation on Black people, and police brutality. The NOIRG has repeatedly falsely implicated Israel and Jews in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, including by publishing a series of interviews in 2016 with antisemitic 9/11 conspiracy theorists Kevin Barrett, Christopher Bollyn, James Fetzer, and Richard Gage.

Saviours’ Day

Saviours’ Day is an annual celebration that commemorates the birth of NOI founder W. Fard Muhammad. Saviours’ Day gatherings consistently feature extensive antisemitism and other bigotry. During his keynote address to 18,000 people at Saviours' Day 2014 in Detroit, for example, Farrakhan likened himself to auto magnate and antisemitic conspiracy theorist Henry Ford, calling him “a great man.” Farrakhan used his Saviours’ Day 2015 speech to claim that Israel and Jews orchestrated the 9/11 attacks.

At Saviours’ Day 2016, Farrakhan promoted conspiratorial claims about Jewish control of the government and praised then-candidate Donald Trump for “[standing] in front of some members of the Jewish community and [telling] them ‘I don’t want your money.’” During Saviours’ Day 2017, Farrakhan said that contemporary Jews are “not really Jews but are in fact Satan,” described Jews as “great and master deceiver[s]” and encouraged his followers to consider Jews “the enemy of God and the enemy of the righteous.” Farrakhan used his keynote speeches in 2018 and 2020 to again express antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+, and conspiratorial views, including stating that the NOI 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.”

Saviours’ Day conferences have also provided a platform for non-NOI speakers to spread their bigoted or conspiratorial beliefs. The NOI invited a group of 9/11 conspiracy theorists to participate in a panel discussion at Saviours’ Day 2017. Notorious Holocaust denier and antisemitic ideologue Michael A. Hoffman II spoke at Saviours’ Day 2019; Farrakhan and Hoffman used the keynote session to attack Judaism and blame numerous ills of modern society on Jews. In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Saviours’ Day 2021 featured anti-vaccine conspiracy theorists Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Dr. Judy Mikovits in pre-recorded virtual sessions.

Nation of Islam

Louis Farrakhan speaks to a crowd of several thousand at Saviours’ Day 2019 in Chicago, IL (source: YouTube)

Million Man March anniversaries/Holy Day of Atonement

The original Million Man March brought together hundreds of thousands of Black men on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. on October 16, 1995. Organized primarily by Farrakhan, the NOI benefited from a degree of support from some in the mainstream African-American community, who underscored the NOI’s promotion of Black self-reliance and minimized its long record of hate. The NOI celebrates the march’s anniversary (also known as the Holy Day of Atonement) each year at events which have regularly showcased antisemitism.

Weekly sermons

The NOI broadcasts a sermon every Sunday from its Chicago headquarters at Mosque Maryam. Livestreamed online, these sermons frequently receive tens of thousands of views on platforms like YouTube and Facebook and regularly include antisemitic and conspiratorial commentary.

Social media campaigns

Social media is a popular method for the NOI to spread messages of hate. Some mainstream sites have deplatformed Farrakhan, including Facebook in 2019 and YouTube in 2020, though numerous affiliated accounts remain active. Criticism of Farrakhan and deplatforming efforts have little impact on Farrakhan’s core supporters, who commonly push back on these actions by using hashtags like #DefendingFarrakhan, #FarrakhanTwitterArmy, #HandsOffFarrakhan and #WeAreFarrakhan. Farrakhan himself still has an active Twitter profile with nearly 350,000 followers.

Online lecture series 

As part of the NOI’s efforts to spread its hateful propaganda to new audiences, Farrakhan delivered a 58-part online lecture series from January 2013 through February 2014, titled The Time and What Must Be Done. In the series, which received an average of 40,000 views per sermon, Farrakhan frequently characterized Jews as “satanic” and promoted his classic antisemitic conspiracy theories about Jewish control of the media, the economy, and the government. Farrakhan also used the sermons to target LGBTQ+ individuals. Recordings of the lectures continue to be regularly promoted and replayed on official NOI social media channels.

The Final Call

The Final Call, the NOI’s official newspaper, is published weekly and distributed both online and in print by NOI members nationwide. The newspaper features articles about current events, promotes the group’s ideology, profiles local NOI activities across the country, publishes excerpts from Farrakhan’s speeches, and advertises NOI publications.

The Final Call serves as the centerpiece of the NOI’s antisemitic propa­ganda cam­paign against Jews and has promoted numerous antisemitic conspiracy theories over the years. Multiple 2012 articles writ­ten by con­trib­u­tor Deric Muham­mad, for example, alleged Jewish con­trol of the gov­ern­ment and Black people. After the 2015 terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris, an article by then-Assistant Editor Asha­hed Muham­mad cited antisemitic conspiracy theorist Kevin Bar­rett to bolster his claim that events in France could have been a false flag operation carried out by Jews.

In 2020, The Final Call launched an online radio station which streams NOI content 24/7. The Final Call Radio claimed that it had drawn more than one million listeners from over 100 countries in its first year.

“The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews”

A three-volume antisemitic publication written by the NOI’s “Historical Research Department,” “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” has been heavily promoted by NOI leaders, in The Final Call, at NOI events, and online. The first volume, published in 1991, presents a multi-layered attack against Jews, arguing that slavery in the New World was initiated by Jewish ship owners and merchants. This alleged control of Black people by Jews has continued into the present day, according to Farrakhan.

The follow-up book, “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews Volume Two: How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy,” was released in 2010. It expands on the original allegations that Jews played a disproportionate role in the transatlantic slave trade, which it claims resulted in deep and prolonged repercussions for Black people. It further falsely alleges that Jews refrained from participating in the abolition movement out of an affinity for the system of slavery, and blames Jews for promoting the myth of Black racial inferiority.

The third volume alleges that early 20th century “Jewish businessmen” worked to subjugate Black people and enrich themselves by masterminding the rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan. The NOI also claims that Jews were secretly responsible for the lynching of Leo Frank, a Jewish man falsely accused of murdering a white Christian girl in 1913. Frank was posthumously pardoned in 1986 by the state of Georgia.

Nation of Islam

The three-volume set of “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews”

Other Publications

Another NOI publication, the 2010 “Jews Selling Blacks: Slave Advertising by American Jews,” is a compilation of newspaper advertisements that purports to present “disturbing evidence of American Jewish participation in the Black African slave trade.”

The NOI also sells and promotes “The Synagogue of Satan,” published in 2005 by the Truth Establishment Institute and written by former Assistant Editor of The Final Call, Ashahed Muhammad. The book takes its title from a phrase in the New Testament book of Revelation (2:9 and 3:9) and applies this phrase to contemporary Jews and to Jews throughout history.

Its overarching theme is that the world is being secretly manipulated and corrupted by satanic powers led by Jewish elites.

Ashahed Muhammad trades heavily in antisemitic conspiracy theories and Holocaust denial, alleging that these supposed satanic powers are influenced and guided by the theology of Judaism, and by a Jewish predilection for immorality. The book’s themes derive from a 1995 speech by Farrakhan in which he claimed that Jewish organizations control the Federal Reserve, and a May 2003 speech in which he called Jewish members of the Bush Administration a “Synagogue of Satan.”

Despite their long record of spreading hateful rhetoric, Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam have influence far beyond the group’s official membership. Many nonprofit and faith-based organizations regularly collaborate with the NOI on community development programs. Notable elected officials, celebrities, athletes, and academics have also publicly expressed support for Farrakhan and some have endorsed his antisemitic and other hateful beliefs.

Politics, activism and community development

For decades, the Nation of Islam’s promotion of Black self-reliance and Farrakhan’s advocacy on behalf of Black communities have led some people and organizations to support or collaborate with the NOI. In addition to high-profile national events such as the Million Man March and its subsequent anniversaries, the NOI’s impact is also felt at the local level through its community development programs, which regularly involve partnering with non-profit organizations, interfaith groups, and others. These collaborative efforts include chapters of 10,000 Fearless, a program led by NOI members that was created in response to Farrakhan’s 2015 call for “10,000 fearless men” to get involved in their communities.

Among individual activists, prominent Women’s March organizer and racial justice activist Tamika Mallory has repeatedly supported Farrakhan, calling him “the GOAT” (greatest of all time) because of his positive contributions to Black communities, but refusing to criticize him, even when directly confronted with examples of his antisemitism and bigotry. American academic and activist Cornel West has maintained a relationship with Farrakhan for years, calling him a “dear brother” and stating that, “though for many [Farrakhan’s] controversial, and for many he’s deeply misunderstood and misconstrued, and yes, even though I might have deep disagreements, my love for him cuts deeper.”

Farrakhan’s supporters also include various politicians and elected officials. For example, mayors of several Michigan cities joined Farrakhan on stage during his speech at Saviours’ Day 2020 in Detroit, including the mayors of Benton Harbor, Eastpointe, Flint, and Muskegon; Benton Harbor mayor Marcus Muhammad is himself a longtime NOI member and vocal Farrakhan supporter. That same week, Detroit City Council President Brenda Jones sponsored a resolution in honor of The Final Call’s 40th anniversary, praising the NOI newspaper’s “truthful articles” and “courageous journalists” — despite the publication’s history of disseminating antisemitic lies and conspiracy theories.

Farrakhan received sup­port from elected offi­cials in at least three states for the Million Man March’s 20th anniversary in 2015, includ­ing U.S. Representative Yvette Clarke and various New York State rep­re­sen­ta­tives and New York City Coun­cil mem­bers, who met with Farrakhan as part of his promotional tour ahead of the anniversary. In 2013, a group of elected officials in Alabama invited Farrakhan to participate in rallies to support the extension of the federal Voting Rights Act. State Senators Hank Sanders and Bobby Singleton and Tuskegee Mayor Johnny Ford publicly endorsed Farrakhan. Ford had previously presented Farrakhan with a key to the city and proclaimed him “honorary mayor of Tuskegee for life.”

In recent years, the NOI has developed a close relationship with the Nubian Leadership Circle, a group that promotes Black unity worldwide. Farrakhan spoke to the group in 2018 and again at their National Black Leadership Summits in 2020 and 2021.

Musicians, athletes, and celebrities

Musicians, athletes, and other celebrities continue to lend support to Farrakhan and, in some cases, proactively amplify his antisemitism and hate.

In the lead-up to the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March in 2015, for example, several well-known rap artists met with Farrakhan and shared supportive messages on social media about the planned event, helping Farrakhan reach millions of additional followers and outperforming Farrakhan’s own Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Nation of Islam

Louis Farrakhan with artists (left to right) Rick Ross, The Game, and CeeLo Green, posted to social media in 2015 ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March (source: Instagram)

This pattern has continued into the present. A number of celebrities traveled to Farrakhan’s Michigan farm in July 2020 to attend a speech replete with antisemitic lies and stereotypes, including Nick Cannon, Stephen Jackson, TI, 2Chainz, Rick Ross, Jay Electronica, Stephanie Mills, and Syleena Johnson. Many of those who attended the speech also expressed their admiration for Farrakhan online. The speech was streamed by Revolt TV, a digital cable network founded by Sean “P Diddy” Combs, and garnered over a million views. NFL player DeSean Jackson expressed his agreement with the speech and repeated antisemitic sentiments on Instagram (Jackson later apologized).

Also in 2020, rapper and actor Ice Cube, whose relationship with the NOI dates to the 1990s, used Twitter to elevate Farrakhan and share certain posts that appeared to touch on antisemitic conspiracy theories. On Instagram, comedian and author Chelsea Handler shared a video of Farrakhan with her millions of followers and commented, “I learned a lot from watching this powerful video” (Handler later removed the video and issued an apology). On YouTube, rapper, actor, and TV host Nick Cannon posted a video of an interview from 2019 in which he defended Farrakhan and voiced his own antisemitic thoughts (Cannon later apologized).

In October 2020, rapper Busta Rhymes released an album that incorporated references to the Nation of Islam in multiple songs, including featuring Farrakhan’s voice on the title track. While promoting the album, which debuted at number seven on the Billboard 200 chart, Busta Rhymes repeatedly presented Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam as models of inspiration and empowerment for Black people and dismissed criticism of Farrakhan’s history of bigotry.

Anti-vaccine advocacy

The NOI has a long history of discouraging Black people from receiving vaccines, claiming that vaccines are used to intentionally harm Black people. This advocacy began in the 1960s, when Elijah Muhammad instructed his followers not to receive the polio vaccine, and has continued through today. Farrakhan met with Robert F. Kennedy Jr., chairman of the prominent anti-vaccine advocacy group Children’s Health Defense, in 2015. In 2021, Kennedy and NOI Western Regional Representative Tony Muhammad co-produced an anti-vaccine documentary which had its premiere at NOI’s Saviours’ Day event. The NOI was especially vocal in its conspiratorial anti-vaccine rhetoric during the coronavirus pandemic, with Farrakhan calling the COVID-19 vaccine “death itself” and the NOI warning against the vaccine in its sermons, publications and online content.

Nation of Islam

A graphic shared on social media by the Nation of Islam warning against the COVID-19 vaccine (source: Twitter)

Scientology

Since the mid-2000s, the Nation of Islam has forged an unlikely alliance with the Church of Scientology. Farrakhan was honored by Scientology in 2006 amid the Church’s increased outreach to communities of color. By 2010, Farrakhan openly encouraged NOI members to practice Dianetics. NOI Western Regional Representative and Student Minister Tony Muhammad was among Scientology’s earliest allies within the NOI, helping to develop the relationship between the two groups. Tony Muhammad was honored with Scientology’s highest honor in 2017 and regularly appears in Scientology promotional materials.

Relationship with foreign leaders and governments

Over the years, Farrakhan has maintained relationships with various foreign leaders and governments, including U.S.-recognized state sponsors of terrorism. For example, Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi loaned millions of dollars to the NOI during both Elijah Muhammad and Farrakhan’s tenures and served as the Saviours’ Day keynote speaker in 1985, urging Black members of the U.S. armed forces to form their own army to “destroy white America.” In 1996, Farrakhan embarked on a 23-nation tour of Africa and the Middle East, meeting with numerous foreign political and military leaders.

NOI has also had a particularly strong relationship with Iran. On a 2016 trip to Iran, Farrakhan was a guest of honor at an official ceremony attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. On a 2018 trip, Farrakhan reportedly met with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Farrakhan continued to spew antisemitic and anti-Israel rhetoric during these visits, criticizing “the Zionist-controlled media in America” and claiming that Jews conspire to divide Muslims. Naba’a Muhammad (AKA Richard Muhammad), editor of The Final Call, has appeared on Iran’s state-run Press TV news network and publishes articles from Press TV in The Final Call.

While Farrakhan is the NOI’s most well-known source of antisemitism and bigotry, a range of prominent NOI figures — from longtime national leaders to NOIRG members — have helped the NOI propagate its antisemitic beliefs and conspiracy theories. As the group considers the years ahead and a future without Farrakhan as its leader, it is likely that one or some of these individuals will assume significant leadership roles within the Nation.

Nation of Islam

Top row (left to right): Ishmael Muhammad, Ava Muhammad, Wesley Muhammad, Ilia Rashad Muhammad, Demetric Muhammad. Bottom row (left to right): Nuri Muhammad, Rizza Islam, Abdul Malik Sayyid (AKA Tony) Muhammad, Abdul Haleem (AKA Robert) Muhammad, Sultan Rahman Muhammad.

Ishmael Muhammad

Ishmael Muhammad is the Student National Assis­tant Min­is­ter to Farrakhan at the NOI’s flagship mosque in Chicago, a member of the NOI Executive Council, and son of former NOI leader Eli­jah Muham­mad. He has long been regarded as Far­rakhan’s most likely successor. Although Ishmael Muham­mad does not have as exten­sive a pub­lic record of antisemitism or big­otry as Farrakhan, he has regularly referred to Jews as “imposters” and the “Synagogue of Satan” and has also defended Farrakhan’s blatant antisemitism.

Ishmael Muhammad’s pub­lic role grew in 1999 when Far­rakhan was seri­ously ill with complications from treatment for prostate can­cer. In 2007, W.D. Mohammed, another son of Eli­jah Muham­mad, who rejected his father’s racist ide­ol­ogy and steered a new course away from hatred, reit­er­ated the belief that Ish­mael Muhammad is the most likely con­tender for NOI leader­ship. After Farrakhan’s 2013 heart attack, the NOI tapped Ishmael Muhammad to give a keynote speech in his place. At Saviours’ Day 2021, Farrakhan selected Ishmael Muhammad to deliver the weekend’s closing keynote address — a sermon traditionally delivered by Farrakhan himself.

Ava Muhammad

Ava Muhammad is one of the NOI’s most prominent female leaders, serving as the group’s National Spokesperson and a member of the NOI Executive Council. She is also a Student Minister within the NOI and hosts a weekly radio show, regularly interviewing NOI guests.

Ava Muhammad has promoted virulent antisemitism. At an event in 2017, an audience member asked why it was necessary for Farrakhan to keep attacking the Jewish community, and how those attacks benefit the African American community. In response, Ava Muhammad called Jews “godless” and proclaimed: “we will be free of this bloodsucking parasite so they will no longer be able to sell us alcohol, drugs, depraved sex and every other type of low-life thing that is keeping us from hereafter.”

Wesley Muhammad

Wesley Muhammad is a Student Minister, a member of the NOI Executive Council, and a member of the NOI Research Group, contributing to the NOIRG’s antisemitic publications. Wesley Muhammad regularly spreads his antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+, and conspiratorial views online and in his sermons. He claims that Black people are not born gay, but are chemically manipulated to become gay as part of an effort by Jews and the U.S. government to control the Black population; he promotes what he calls the “Pot Plot” conspiracy theory, which alleges that modified strains of cannabis and other drugs are used to “de-masculinize and feminize the Black male of America.”

In January 2021, Wesley Muhammad delivered a sermon from Mosque Maryam in which he explicitly and repeatedly blamed Jews and Israel for the coronavirus pandemic. In the sermon, Muhammad declared that the pandemic was sent to earth as punishment for the sins of Jews and Israel. He also claimed that Israel intentionally manipulated the virus to make it “more transmissible, more contagious, and more deadly.”

Ilia Rashad Muhammad

A member of the NOIRG and a Student Minister in Memphis, Ilia Rashad Muhammad is a prominent proponent of antisemitic claims and conspiracy theories on social media. He advances tropes about Jewish power and control and defends Farrakhan against allegations of antisemitism by further attacking Jews. He frequently uses antisemitic tropes to criticize Israel and promotes claims that 9/11 was a false flag operation orchestrated by Jews and Zionists.

Demetric Muhammad

Demetric Muhammad is a member of the NOIRG and a Student Minister in Memphis who has a history of expressing antisemitism. The assassination of Malcolm X is a frequent area of focus for Demetric Muhammad, who has written a book on the subject and claims that a conspiracy involving Jewish organizations and the U.S. government were responsible for the murder.

Nuri Muhammad

Nuri Muhammad is a member of the NOIRG and the Student Minister of Muhammad Mosque No. 74 in Indianapolis, IN. He has delivered Sunday Sermons from Mosque Maryam and has been a featured speaker at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day. He has frequently expressed antisemitism on social media, calling Jews “so-called Jews” and the “Synagogue of Satan.”

Rizza Islam

Ronnie Steven “Rizza” Islam is an NOI and FOI member and a social media influencer. He promotes inflammatory content that regularly includes antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-vaccine rhetoric, in addition to a range of other conspiracy theories. Rizza Islam is also an author, publishing a book in 2019 titled “Message to the Millineals” [sic], which was inspired by former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad’s 1965 “Message to the Blackman in America.”

Since becoming an active NOI member in the mid-2010s, Rizza Islam has quickly gained prominence within the Nation and has become one of Farrakhan’s staunchest defenders. In 2021, Rizza Islam spoke at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day conference, promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Farrakhan singled out Rizza Islam for praise at the event, telling the audience: “he’s excellent as a potential great minister of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.” He has also received praise from various celebrities over the years and appeared on the primetime ABC television show “Soul of a Nation” in 2021.

Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad (AKA Tony Muhammad)

Abdul Malik Sayyid Muhammad (also known as Tony Muhammad) is the NOI’s Western Regional Representative, Student Minister at its Los Angeles mosque, and a trusted advisor to Farrakhan. Tony Muhammad helped develop the relationship between Scientology and the Nation of Islam in the mid-2000s. Alongside Rizza Islam, Tony Muhammad has also played a significant role in revitalizing the NOI’s anti-vaccine campaign in recent years, including facilitating collaborations between prominent anti-vaxxers and the NOI.

Abdul Haleem Muhammad (AKA Robert Muhammad)

Abdul Haleem Muhammad (also known as Robert Muhammad) is the NOI’s Southwest Regional Representative and a Student Minister in Texas. He hosts a weekly radio show, which often incorporates excerpts of Farrakhan’s speeches and sometimes includes antisemitic content. He has promoted antisemitism on social media, blamed Jews for the coronavirus pandemic, and referred to Jews as “wicked,” “fake,” and the “Synagogue of Satan.”

Sultan Rahman Muhammad

Sultan Rahman Muhammad, grandson of former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad, was appointed by Farrakhan to be the NOI’s first Student National Imam in 2012. He leads weekly prayer services as Mosque Maryam’s resident imam and appears at other NOI events. He has a history of injecting antisemitism into his services and repeating these claims online, regularly using phrases like “imposter Jews” and “satanic Jews,” accusing Jews of practicing a “dirty religion,” and denying that Jews have a legitimate claim to their religion or the land of Israel.

This is a select list of statements made by Louis Farrakhan and other prominent NOI figures.

* View additional quotations from Farrakhan here.

On Jews and Judaism

“Those of you that say that you are Jews, I will not even give you the honor of calling you a Jew. You’re not a Jew. You’re so-called. You’re Satan. And it’s my job now to pull the cover off of Satan.” – Louis Farrakhan, “The Criterion” speech, Michigan, 7/4/2020

“There’s a group of them that are so wicked, but they say that they’re Jews, but they’re not. They’re the Synagogue of Satan…The Jews in Israel is fake Jews…They’re not the real Jew.” – Abdul Haleem Muhammad, sermon at Muhammad Mosque #45, Houston, 7/28/2019

“You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell.” – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours' Day speech, Chicago, 2/25/1996

“There can never be any peace structured on injustice, thievery, lying, deceit and using God's name to shield your dirty religion…You cannot tell me your religion is what you profess. Your religion is what you practice, and if you practice lying and stealing and cheating and murder and whoremongering, then your religion is a dirty religion.”  – Louis Farrakhan, speech at Morgan State University, Baltimore, 9/26/1985

On Jewish power and control

“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.” – Rizza Islam, interview with Lord Jamar, YouTube, 10/5/2020

“The Talmud permits Jews to cheat non-Jews…These are the same principles that have conned and exploited the American people through institutional usury and predatory lending practices…Federal Reserve ain’t no governmental operation. That’s a family of rich Jewish people who print the money.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 2/17/2019

“When you say, Mr. Trump, ‘America first,’ ask any Jew, even your son-in-law. America is never first; Israel is always first. And as long as Israel is first, then whatever you think or plan will be in Israel before you leave the room in the White House. Mr. Trump, you have to extricate yourself from being controlled by any one of these.” – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 2/26/2017

“Who owns America? Who runs America?…You have a small population of Jewish people in America, but they’re the most powerful. Nobody can deny their influence, their power, their money. You’ve got nine people on the Supreme Court — three of whom are Jewish. They control Hollywood. They control media. They are the greatest of the bankers. So when you want to be something in America — in all the fields of human endeavor that have meaning — you’ve got to pass by them.” – Louis Farrakhan, interview on The Rock Newman Show, 9/10/2015

“The government of America is owned lock, stock and barrel by those Zionists that love Israel above the United States of America.” – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours' Day speech, Chicago, 2/26/2012

“Every Jewish person that is around the president is a dual citizen of Israel and the United States of America and sometimes, we have to raise the question, ‘Are you more loyal to the state of Israel than you are to the best interests of the United States of America?’” – Louis Farrakhan, news conference at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, 10/19/1998

“The Jewish Lobby has a stranglehold on the government of the United States.” – Louis Farrakhan, speech at Madison Square Garden, New York, 10/7/1985

On the relationship between Jewish people and Black people

“Every effort by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam to stop Black people from killing one another has been met with vicious, deliberate Jewish assault and sabotage…Jewish friends? No. These individuals and organizations are our enemies.” – Naba’a Muhammad (AKA Richard Muhammad), article in The Final Call, 7/14/2020

“Pedophilia and sexual perversion institutionalized in Hollywood and the entertainment industries can be traced to Talmudic principles and Jewish influence. Not Jewish influence — satanic influence under the name of Jew…The wicked practices that govern their industries are largely justified and influenced by such Talmudic principles. The pervasive rape culture, Hollywood’s casting couch, sex trafficking and prostitution, the age-old buck breaking process that emasculates Black men and corrupts Black women.” – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 2/17/2019

“What has remained a secret and not spoken of is the Jewish involvement in the undoing of Black people and the slave trade and the owners of ships and the selling and dehumanizing of Black people.” – Louis Farrakhan, interview on the Michael Eric Dyson show, Baltimore, 8/23/2010

On conspiracy theories involving Jews and the U.S. government

9/11

“Thanks to the exemplary work of scholars like Victor Thorn and Christopher Bollyn it is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks…It now appears that 9/11 was a false flag operation.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 3/1/2015

“We know that many Israelis were arrested immediately after the attacks but quickly released and sent to Israel…We know that an Israeli film crew dressed as Arabs were filming the Twin Towers before the first plane went in. In other words, these Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks…We know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 3/1/2015

The Holocaust

“I don’t know how many Jews were killed. I know something happened in Nazi Germany, and if it’s one million, two million, three million; it’s one million, two million, three million too many. But to deny a person the right to challenge your articulation of numbers and to put you in jail if you deny aspects of the Holocaust…You can’t speak about Jews. You can’t criticize Jews. If you do, you’re an antisemite.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Holy Day of Atonement address, Chicago, 10/21/2012

“The Jews don’t like Farrakhan, 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 person, but he was a great German…He rose Germany up from nothing. Well, in a sense you could say there’s similarity in that we are rising our people up from nothing.” – Louis Farrakhan, Radio broadcast, 3/11/1984

Plots against Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam

“Look at the forces of evil that’s against this tiny little nation of God and the Messiah. You can tell the weight of a man by the weight of his enemy. You have the most powerful government on earth that is working against Elijah Muhammad, the Nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan…Along with members from the Arab world, members of the Jewish community that goes all the way to Israel.” – Ishmael Muhammad, Saviours’ Day, Chicago, 2/28/2021

“All of [Farrakhan’s] enemies are our enemies…The ADL and Jewish watch groups and even the government started to pay attention to the helpers of the Minister…We actually made that list of being so-called antisemites. And there are some things that come with that…You start to find things happening with your bank accounts. Things suddenly appear on your taxes. We’re dealing with a very, very wicked Satan right there.” – Ilia Rashad Muhammad, Saviours’ Day, Chicago, 2/27/2021

“They attempted to kill me non-violently with radiated seeds filling my body…When I went into the hospital, The New York Times, CNN, they had written my obituary…You really think that I hate the Jewish people?…They hoped that I would die. I became very weak and sick, full of pain…My Jewish friends? No. My enemies have raised the Talmud above the Torah and then spread the lie against God that they are stronger than God.” – Louis Farrakhan, “The Criterion” speech, Michigan, 7/4/2020

“The germ of murder is already sewn into the hearts of Jews in this country…The Jews talk about ‘never again.’ Well, I am your last chance, too, Jews. Listen, Jews, this little Black boy is your last chance because the Scriptures charge [you] with killing the prophets of God, but if you rise up to try to kill me, then Allah promises you that he will bring on this generation the blood of the righteous. All of you will be killed outright…You cannot say ‘Never again’ to God because when He puts you in the oven, ‘never again’ don't mean a thing.” – Louis Farrakhan, speech at Madison Square Garden, New York, 10/7/1985

Coronavirus Pandemic

“This pestilence from heaven [COVID-19], as Minister Farrakhan laid out for us, is because they have taken the word of God and altered it out of its place and given it back to the world and said that this is from God, when it’s really from their own hands. At the root of it is the Talmudic Jews…The whole world has been captured by this satanic mind in every field of endeavor.” – Abdul Haleem Muhammad, interview on NNV News, 1/12/2021

“The evidence suggests that the release of the novel coronavirus in Wuhan and then in Iran was a multinational intelligence operation involving a Five Eyes intelligence alliance but spearheaded by the US and Israel. What has been called a Zio-Anglo-American operation. Just as the arsonist is the one who first knows where fire is starting, over one month before Chinese officials knew in late December that a pandemic was incubating in their midst, the US National Center for Medical Intelligence, the National Security Agency, the CIA, and the Israel Defense Forces in November knew.” – Wesley Muhammad, sermon at Mosque Maryam, Chicago, 1/10/2021

On the LGBTQ+ community

“God did not create man to lay with man. But you are being chemically programmed against your nature. You don’t know it.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 2/25/2018

“These false Jews promote the filth of Hollywood that is seeding the American people and the people of the world and bringing you down in moral strength. It’s the wicked Jews, the false Jews that are promoting lesbianism, homosexuality. It’s wicked Jews, false Jews that make it a crime for you to preach the word of God, then they call you homophobic.”  – Louis Farrakhan, Saviours’ Day speech, Chicago, 2/26/2006

“It seems like being gay or whatever sin you wish to be a part of is okay...but I have the duty to lift that gay person up to the standard to ask if they want to live the life that God wants them to or live the lifestyle that they want to live.” – Louis Farrakhan, Boston, 8/7/1997

On white people

“How did the Caucasian come into existence?…You’re not a natural man, you’re a grafted man…And when the white man was made, his father was a liar, his father was a murderer, so they are born with lie and murder in their nature.” – Louis Farrakhan, “The Criterion” speech, Michigan, 7/4/2020

“The God who taught me calls the white man the skunk of the planet earth. He is so wicked and so filthy that God calls him the skunk of the planet earth.” – Louis Farrakhan, article in The Final Call, 6/5/1992

“The Caucasian is born by nature to be the enemy of…the Original man and ideas, ideals and laws that rule the Original creation. This is why the Honorable Elijah Muhammad called them a race of ‘devils.’ Devil means ‘opposer to God and qood; one who is wicked.’ The idea at the base of their making (not creation) is contrary to the idea of Allah (God). This is why throughout their rule, they have never established justice, equity or freedom. They have never established righteousness. The idea they work from is contrary to the idea of the Originator.” – Louis Farrakhan, The Final Call, 5/15/1988

“The origin of sin, the origin of murder, the origin of lying are deceptions originated with the creators of evil and injustice — the white race…They cannot produce good, for they are without the nature of good…All manner of evil and corruption has come from the white race.” – Elijah Muhammad, “Message to The Blackman in America,” 1965

Extremism