Friday, October 21, 2005

Farrakhan’s Baggage: What’s All the Fuss?

Minister Louis Farrakhan's portrait from The Final Call, a Nation of Islam publication.

By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor

Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan acknowledges that he has baggage. But after his Millions More March, he enjoys more mainstream popularity among African-Americans than ever.

The Urban League, NAACP, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton supported the Millions More rally, as did celebrities Will Smith, P. Diddy, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Russell Simmons, and Kanye West.

Just before his Oct. 15 Washington, D.C., rally, Farrakhan appeared on Tavis Smiley’s PBS talk show.

Smiley asked: “… How do you respond to people who say … how can y'all rally around Louis Farrakhan?”

The NOI leader responded, in part: “Today, the condition of the masses of the black and the brown and the poor is such that in my heart, I knew we had to do something about this, so I'm making the call on the 10th anniversary of the Million Man March. … I … have made that call, in spite of the baggage that I carry and our disagreements as human beings. ... So I believe, in spite of what they [his critics] say, I would remind them that Jesus said, ‘You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears.’ And if the message is good, the messenger can't be bad.”

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