THE CYNICAL COVENANT OF FARRAKHAN AND QADDAFI
By: Abraham H. Foxman
Last October, while Louis Farrakhan was basking in the afterglow of the successful Million Man March on Washington, the Nation of Islam leader announced he would be "keeping the momentum [of the march] alive" by encouraging blacks across the country to become politically active. His plans were welcomed by mainstream leaders and organizations, and praised as a positive departure from NOI's long-held tradition of shunning the American political scene. Now it turns out that this seemingly legitimate political goal is fundamentally tainted -- that Minister Farrakhan will work toward achieving black political influence in partnership with the anti-American Libyan strongman, Muammar Qaddafi.
On January 23, Minister Farrakhan and Colonel Qaddafi reached an agreement to launch a campaign to exert black and Muslim influence in the upcoming U.S. elections can only be viewed as a cynical covenant between two haters. With the Nation of Islam leading the effort, Colonel Qaddafi said that blacks, Arabs, Muslims and native Americans will exercise their political muscle "and enter the election period as a card stronger than the Jewish card in the elections campaign." Colonel Qaddafi had already agreed to bankroll the effort; in September he promised to spend up to $1 billion to launch a Muslim lobby in America.
Until now, Colonel Qaddafi announced, "Our confrontation with America was like a fight against a fortress from outside." After speaking with Minister Farrakhan, however, "we found a breach to enter into this fortress and confront it." Colonel Qaddafi promised that as it battles America from the inside, the NOI will eventually fulfill one of its fondest dreams: establishing a black state within America's borders. Ever the military man, the Libyan leader also predicted that this new state will boast the "biggest black army on the planet."
Minister Farrakhan, "happy with the results" of his meeting with Muammar Qaddafi, has now publicly forged an alliance with an unrepentant international bully and an enemy of the United States. For years, Libya has sponsored numerous brutal acts of anti- American and anti-Israeli terror. Despite United Nations sanctions placed on his country four years ago, Colonel Qaddafi refuses to hand over for trial two Libyan suspects in the bombing of a Pan Am 103 that killed 270 people. A fierce opponent of the Israeli- Palestinian peace accords, Colonel Qaddafi has urged Arab countries to expel all Palestinian refugees and workers from their lands as a way of embarrassing the peacemakers; in September he followed his own advise and began to expel hundreds of Palestinian workers from his country's borders.
This is by no means Minister Farrakhan's first encounter with the radical Libyan leader. In 1985, Colonel Qaddafi granted the Nation of Islam a $5 million interest-free loan, which Minister Farrakhan said he used to launch his group's POWER personal products line. Months later, Louis Farrakhan visited Libya to thank his benefactor personally. The Nation of Islam leader and his lieutenants have travelled on other occasions to Tripoli for meetings with the Libyan dictator. One such gathering attended by Minister Farrakhan -- in violation of a travel ban imposed on Americans by President Reagan -- offered training seminars on weapons and explosives. Minster Farrakhan has called Colonel Qaddafi "a fellow struggler in the cause of liberation of our people," and his organization's tabloid, The Final Call, has hailed the Libyan leader as the "TRUE HERO" of liberation struggle."
To all who believe that the Million Man March was a turning point for Louis Farrakhan, proving that he no longer harbors an extremist agenda, his alliance with Colonel Qaddafi should serve as a wake up call. His behavior in Libya fits a pattern that too many Americans -- black and white -- have ignored for too long.
Louis Farrakhan's black separatist philosophy has always run counter to the American vision of equality for all citizens. His unabashed displays of friendship toward one of the world's bloodiest terrorists suggest a troubling complacency toward violence and extremism.
In preparation for the Million Man March, Minister Farrakhan drummed up support by reciting words of conciliation. He appeared to moderate his often- harsh rhetoric with appeals to black community responsibility, reconciliation and atonement. Such statements enabled him to curry favor with the mainstream; they encourage congressmen and leading civil rights figures to pay homage to Minister Farrakhan in speeches at the march.
But Louis Farrakhan has the last laugh now. Respectable black leaders have proven willing to take a seat at Minister Farrakhan's meeting table, most recently at the November 1995 African American Leadership Summit. Nevertheless, it seems that Minister Farrakhan is only too happy to stride both sides of the fence. He welcomes, even craves, mainstream support, but at the same time forges links to terrorists and extremists.
In fact, Libya is not his only outlaw friend in the Middle East. Minister Farrakhan has also cultivated ties to the Sudan, an Islamic fundamentalist state notorious for harboring accused terrorists, and also reportedly responsible for enslaving black African Christians. His current tour included a cordial visit with the corrupt military dictator General Sani Abacha of Nigeria.
Louis Farrakhan has long poisoned public discourse with malicious words of racism and anti-Semitism. But recently, many Americans have begun to overlook the rhetoric. Minister Farrakhan's eagerness to cut a deal with one of the world's most violent leaders, should cause these Americans to think again.
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