Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Louis Farrakhan?

By Lisa Haddock
NJ Faith Forum Editor

Ten years after the Million Man March drew massive crowds to the Mall in Washington, D.C., Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Minister Louis Farrakhan returned to the nation’s capital on Sunday (Oct. 16) to promote his Millions More Movement, CNN reported. This time, men, women, and children of all races were invited.

Farrakhan, a 72-year-old cancer survivor, is trying portraying himself as a unifier. His stated aim is to build a political movement targeted at African-Americans, Native Americans, other people of color, and poor people of all races. The Chicago Tribune quoted Farrakhan as stating: "If we don't make the movement inclusive, then we minimize the potential of leveraging the power of black, brown, red and poor."

No crowd estimates were offered, but the gathering was described as smaller than the Million Man March, which drew between 600,000 and 1 million people, CNN reported.

Farrakhan has a loyal core of support in the Nation of Islam and broader popularity among many African-Americans. U.S. Rep. Mel Watts, D-N.C., singer Erykah Badu, and the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton were among the speakers at his rally, CNN said. The socially conservative Farrakhan had even agreed to allow gay activist Keith Boykin of the National Black Justice Coalition to take the platform during the 12-hour event, the Advocate (a gay magazine) reported. But at the last moment, Boykin was barred from speaking, sparking anger among gays gathered for the event, the New Standard reported.

But Farrakhan's true purpose remains enigmatic.

Read more of this article.

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