A new report alleges that the U.S. government has given hundreds of thousands of dollars over the last ten years to anti-Semitic and racist preacher Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam and its leaders in order to fund religious study programs.
The leaders of Farrakhan’s movement have received at least $364,500 in contracts and awards from the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice, according to The Washington Examiner. The most the federal government gave in one year occurred during the tenure of former President Barack Obama in 2012; $47,000 in contracts was given; under the Trump administration, the federal government gave $17,000 in 2018 and is projected to give $8,250 in 2019.
Records kept by the U.S. Bureau of Prisons indicate the funding has been given for “Nation of Islam religious services,” “Nation of Islam spiritual guide services,” “Nation of Islam study services,” and other services provided by the leaders of the movement.
The Examiner reached out for comment from New York Republican Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence; he stated bluntly that the funding was “beyond the pale,” adding, “Categorically, no group or entity or individual associated any way with Farrakhan or the Nation of Islam should receive any federal funding. What Farrakhan preaches is hatred and anti-Semitism and racism, and to use any federal money for any group that’s he’s involved with that do any type of teaching or proselytizing is just wrong.” He also noted, “Since there have been too many instances of radicalization occurring in prisons, that, to me, is a public concern as to what is being taught. To me, once you’re associated with Farrakhan, that, to me, would end the vetting right away.”
Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the Centre for Analysis of the Radical Right, pointed out that a 2003 court ruling in 2003 cited the First Amendment in order to permit Nation of Islam reading materials in the prisons. But he added that the ruling didn’t force the federal government to fund the Nation of Islam, continuing, “I can’t imagine the reason why the federal government would have any obligation to give any money to the Nation of Islam or its proponents, and it seems quite incredible if they do.”
A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons said they could not confirm when the payments began and what materials from the organization were used in its dealings with prisoners, saying, “Contracts are retained six years after final payment, so we are not able to provide details regarding the original contract on which the Nation of Islam began contracting with the Bureau of Prisons.” The spokesperson quoted a government regulation that federal correctional institutions “may contract with representatives of faith groups in the community to provide specific religious services which the chaplain cannot personally deliver due to, ordinarily, religious prescriptions or ecclesiastical constraints to which the chaplain adheres.” The bureau noted that religious materials must “be previewed by [Bureau of Prison] staff, or any other staff-designated volunteers, prior to distribution” and “materials shall not denigrate or disparage any other religion or religious groups.”
Examples of the virulent racism and anti-Semitism displayed by Farrakhan are numerous; he termed Hitler “a very great man,” referred to Jews as “termites,” and said last February, “White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that satanic Jew, and I’m here to say, ‘Your time is up. Your world is through.’” Farrakhan has likened the Jewish Star of David to sexual immorality and claimed the Jews run government agencies, asserting, “They [Israel and Jews] have been working for years to control your representatives in Congress, in the Senate, in the House of Representatives. They don’t fear America because they control it from within.” He announced he was here to announce the “end of your time” for Jews, and said Jews were responsible for the 9/11 attacks, saying, “It is now becoming apparent that there were many Israelis and Zionist Jews in key roles in the 9/11 attacks. Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks … we know that many Jews received a text message not to come to work on September 11.” Farrakhan has called Judaism a “gutter religion.”
The organization has published a pamphlet arguing Jews were responsible for the transatlantic slave trade.
The Examiner noted:
Farrakhan has implored his followers not to accept money from the U.S. government, saying in a Dec. 14, 2013, statement: “If they offer you anything, look carefully into it, lest the Nation will no longer be tied to the principles that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad desired for us: to make us an independent nation on some of this Earth that we can call our own.”