I’ve had so much to tell you while we were down! (Some technical glitch I don’t understand, and which I put down to the machinations of David Axelrod anyway.)
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressed an estimated 600 students at UC Berkeley last Saturday and told black students not to befriend any Jew without first reading “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews,” a book that promotes the thesis that Jews were behind the black slave trade. Heck of a way to start up a friendship!
Scholars both black and white have exposed the NOI book as a pack of lies, a modern day calumny which, much like their medieval analogues — “the Jews poisoned the wells,” “the Jews make matzo with the blood of Christian children” — is meant to incite hatred toward Jewish people. Dangerous hatred. The Daily Californian reports that Jewish students were hurt and shocked.
But that’s not even the point of the author. After all, this is Farrakhan and this is Berkeley. What else would one expect?
Perhaps not this:
In 1994, an African Muslim from Mauritania — Mohammed Athie — and I broke the story of a modern-day slave trade in Mauritania and Sudan in The New York Times. We reported that perhaps 300,000 African Muslims were still serving Arab/Berber masters; “Black Africans in Mauritania were converted to Islam more than 100 years ago,” we wrote, “but while the Koran forbids the enslavement of fellow Muslims, in this country race outranks religious doctrine. These people are chattel: used for labor, sex and breeding. They may be exchanged for camels, trucks, guns or money. Their children are the property of the master.”
In Sudan, Africa’s largest country, we reported that slavery was “making a comeback, the result of a 12-year-old war waged by the Muslim north against the black Christian and animist south. Arab militias, armed by the Government, raid villages, mostly those of the Dinka tribe, shoot the men and enslave the women and children. These are kept as personal property or marched north and sold.” We based our reports on government documents, human rights publications and a stunning interview with a UN official.
PBS’s Tony Brown Show, the most popular black news program at the time, invited Mohammed and me to speak about slavery. Immediately after our appearance, we were verbally attacked by Farrakhan’s spokesman, who denied that blacks served Arab masters in Sudan or — worse from the NOI’s point of view — that black Muslims served Arab Muslim masters in Mauritania. Farrakhan’s “calling,” funded in part by Arab dictator Muammar Gaddafi, was to break the black-Jewish civil rights alliance while teaching American blacks that Islam was their path to freedom. Not in Sudan and Mauritania, it wasn’t!
The NOI was serious about shutting us up. Samuel Cotton, a black reporter for the City Sun, New York’s second-largest black paper, conducted a thorough investigation that resulted in a five-part series. “Arab Masters, Black Slaves” screamed across the front page in New York’s news kiosks. The NOI warned Sam. They followed and menaced him when he spoke in Chicago, not far from their headquarters. Sam’s book “Silent Terror” — which chronicled his experience reporting on the Mauritanian slave trade — has since become an underground classic.
At a press conference in Washington, D.C. in 1996, Farrakhan was asked about reports of slavery in Sudan. According to the New York Times, he challenged them: “If slavery exists, go … to Sudan, and come back and tell the American people what you found.” The Baltimore Sun sent two reporters to Sudan. They found and liberated slaves and published a special four-page insert in the paper’s weekend edition. Farrakhan refused their request for an interview and pretty much went radio silent on slavery issues until fairly recently.
Why has Farrakhan decided in recent days that he can safely replay his “Jews were the slavers” card? I believe that the anti-Israel/anti-Semitic climate on California’s campuses emboldened him to regurgitate the attack. UC President Mark Yudof condemned Farrakhan’s message but defended his rights to free speech. I wonder what Mr. Yudof would do if a Ku Klux Klan speaker asked for the same rights and a platform on his free-speech campus.
Meanwhile, I encourage the student body to visit our website at www.iabolish.org to learn about the plight of modern day slaves, especially those in Sudan and Mauritania, where political correctness and fear have blocked human rights activists — who should be the slaves’ most vociferous champions — from taking moral action to set them free.
I’m glad the African American students in the video clip above took the message of self-reliance and empowerment from Reverend Farrakhan, and ignored (judging from their comments) his nastier insinuations. After all, Hitler delivered pretty much the same message to the Germans, and they were nowhere near as discerning.
BTW, forget the Klan speaking at Berkeley. Would Mark Steyn be invited? Alan Dershowitz? Caroline Glick? Clarence Thomas? Don’t bother packing your parka, Rev. Farrakhan; Hell would freeze over first.
PS: I knew California was bankrupt, but I didn’t realize that extended to morality as well.