ROSEMONT, Ill. (Christian Examiner) – Osama bin Laden was a "good man" who only decided to wage war against the United States after it broke its Cold War promises to rebuild Afghanistan once Russia was expelled from the country, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan said in an address to his followers, a handful of Muslims and several Jews Sunday.
In the video of the address (at 2 hours, 36 minutes), Farrakhan – who spent the better part of an hour-and-a-half attempting to convince Mulsims that he, too, is Islamic – embarked on an explanation of the reasons bin Laden founded al Qaeda, which he called one of two "illegitimate children of U.S. foreign policy."
The Islamic State (ISIS) is the other, he said, because it was created as the United States "meddled" in the affairs of Middle Eastern nations and sought to overturn countries with dictators, such as Libya, Syria and Iraq. Farrakhan said ISIS had picked up the weapons left by Shiite Muslims in Iraq who no longer wanted to do the bidding of the United States in a war against Sunnis.
Farrakhan also said former Vice President Dick Cheney was only interested in overthrowing Afghanistan and Iraq for their oil and alleged former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and those who authorized the bombing of the countries (such as President George W. Bush) were "murderers." He said the men were the devil incarnate – or "Shaytan."
"Open your eyes and see that the devil is real. Then he lies now and takes our young boys – black, brown, red, yellow and poor white – and sends us over there to die and we come back maimed and broken – mentally and spiritually," Farrakhan said. "So al-Qaeda now is angry with America. 'So whatever we can destroy of America we'll do it,' that's al-Qaeda. That's America's illegitimate child."
"America goes into every nation. She is in Iran fermenting disturbance. She is in Syria, so when the Syrian people rose up—they got legitimate grievances maybe against Assad, but that's an internal thing. They should solve it. But no. America sends weapons and then all of a sudden now thousands upon thousands Syrians are dead and now they are fleeing Syria. Who created the refugee problem? It got so bad that yesterday morning I saw a Syrian woman with her baby in her arms lay her head down on a railroad track to allow a train to decapitate her and kill her offspring. And as I looked at the little boy, three-years-old, washed up on the shore, I said this is a problem created by American foreign policy," Farrakhan said.
Farrakhan was referencing a widely circulated photo of a Turkish policeman picking up the body of a little boy who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea as his parents tried to cross from North Africa.
At two hours and 25 minutes into the video, Farrakhan also blasted President Barack Obama for the killing of militant Islamist Anwar al-Awlaki in a drone strike in 2011.
"I talked about a law of retaliation that is in both the Quran and the Bible. That's why they didn't want me over here today. 'I just heard Farrakahn was talking about the law of retaliation,' as though America doesn't practice that. Why is Imam [Anwar] al-Awlaki dead? What did he do? Did he kill Americans? No, he spoke against the policies of America. And what does my president do, who got the peace prize. He sends a drone. Killed the man, a citizen, without due process."
Awlaki was said by U.S. intelligence officials to be involved in the Christmas Day bombing plot that was supposed to be carried out by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab aboard an American airliner. Awlaki was also said to have risen in the ranks of al-Qaeda in Yemen, a country which ordered his capture dead or alive. He also preached at the mosque frequented by at least one of the Sept. 11 hijackers in Virginia.
Muslims in the crowd could be seen smiling and nodding as Farrakhan laid the blame for the problems in the Middle East at the feet of the Unite States. He was also cheered by members of the Nation of Islam.
On killing white people
Farrakhan also reiterated, in spite of video evidence to the contrary, that he did not call for the murder of white people. He said the "10,000 fearless" he needed were meant to go into the black community and separate warring factions through proper "conflict resolution."
Two hours and 34 minutes into the video posted by the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan said white people killing black people is nothing new because "they've been killing us since they met us." But black people killing other black people is new and has to be addressed, he said.
"So I said, 'I'm looking for 10,000 fearless men out of the million, that death is sweeter than living under tyranny.' So the media said, 'Farrakhan said he's is looking for 10,000 men to rise up and kill all white people.' My God. I'm passionate, but I'm not stupid. Killing all white people with 10,000? And I never said what the 10,000 were going to do. We need 10,000 fearless men to go into the black community and stand between the gangs with guns and settle this with conflict resolution and bring peace in our own community. That's not killing white people."
The video of Farrakhan encouraging his followers to "stalk and kill those who kill us" has since been removed from YouTube. The video, however, is embedded in a video recording from radio host Jesse Lee Peterson and others and has been verified by Snopes. The original Snopes article also embedded the video, which has now been removed, and referred to Farrakhan's own Final Call website newsletter article which it quotes.
Farrakhan and real Muslims
Mainstream Muslims generally reject Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam for its allegiance to Fard Muhammad and Elijah Muhammad, regarded by the group as a great teacher and a type of messiah, respectively. But the group also teaches that blacks are the original creation of Allah and the heirs of the promises God made to Abraham in the Book of Genesis. They also teach that blacks were among the first Muslims, stolen from Mecca in the pre-Islamic era.
"Don't tell me I'm joining your religion," Farrakhan said to Muslims in the audience. "This is not an Arab religion. You the latest exponent of it. And if you don't rise to do your job, you will be chastised because you had it and you are failing to do what prophet Muhammad desires for you to do."
Farrakhan asked why Muslims were coming to America, and if they came for wealth or to spread the message of the Quran.
"What is your assignment? Has the mission of the prophet ended? Is it over? If it is not over, what part do we play in finishing the work of the prophet? And what is the work of the prophet? That every human being will have a chance either to reject or accept Allah and his message of the Quran. You can't call the people disbelievers and you've never even offered them that which they could reject."
"But Farrakhan is not a Muslim ... who of you is Allah that you now can judge who is and who is not? And by what standard, what criteria are you using?"
Farrakhan also chastised Muslims who move to America for buying houses in the suburbs so they can live among "white folk."