in the garden

 

Oct 2001 Journal

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Charlatan Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan is a homophobe misogynist black supremacist who notoriously called Hitler a ‘great man’. He heads the Nation of Islam – a name which, on closer inspection, makes total logical nonsense. Islam is a worldwide religion whose identification with any one nation would undercut its universal message. Nor do US Blacks (now designated ‘Afro-Americans’) constitute a separate nation – otherwise how could Colin Powell be US President Bush’s Secretary of State? Neither is it conceivable to equate the 20-odd million Afro-Americans with Mohammedanism. It is Christianity, and more precisely the Southern Baptist Church which, in addition to serving as the matrix for Black leaders like Martin Luther King, Black writers like James Baldwin and Black artists like Mahalia Jackson, still provides the spiritual home for the bulk of the community.

The decision by some radical activists half a century ago to call themselves Black Moslems stemmed from the notion that Christianity underpinned White rule, whereas Islam was colour-blind. This represented a total misreading of the actual situation: Arab slave traders perpetrated the same horrors in East Africa as Europeans had done along the West coast of the continent. For good measure, Farrakhan has numbered Jews among the major instigators of, and profiteers from, the slave trade. This, given the Jews’ underprivileged position at the time, is nonsense in historical terms – but it tapped into the resentment twentieth century residents of Harlem felt towards Jews they encountered as landlords and owners of corner shops.

Simultaneously, though, it was Jews who largely initiated the Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, and took part in the (sometimes lethally dangerous) Civil Rights campaign that shook up the Southern States in the 1960s. Mention of the Deep South calls to mind another of Farrakhan’s chimerical notions. He wants the US government to clear out the White population from four States of the Union to provide space on which all Blacks from the entire USA could be settled. To implement this scheme would require uprootings and population transfers approaching the scale of the partitions on the Indian sub-continent in 1948.

The prescription for racially troubled Britain that Farrakhan would presumably offer might well be an all-Black South London mini-state centred on Brixton, into which Afro-Britons from Moss Side, Toxteth etc. would be decanted. This would, in turn, trigger harebrained schemes for autonomous Muslim (or Hindu) mini-states in Bradford (or Leicester). In the current parlous state of race relations, the UK needs a visit from Farrakhan as little as a crowded theatre needs someone who shouts ‘Fire’!
RG

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