Beliefs

Farrakhan ‘Justice or Else’ rally reaches beyond ‘Black Lives Matter’

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan speaks from behind a layer of glass on the steps of the U.S. Capitol at a rally billed as “Justice or Else” to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

WASHINGTON (RNS) Facing throngs of people on the National Mall, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan called for justice Saturday (Oct. 10) as he rallied African-Americans, Latinos and others during an anniversary protest at the U.S. Capitol.

In a speech that lasted more than two hours, Farrakhan said the United States was hypocritical for insisting other nations were violating human rights, all the while describing its own misconduct as something that causes Americans “dissatisfaction.”

His “Justice or Else!” event came 20 years after hundreds of thousands of black men came to the same stretch of lawn between the Capitol and the Washington Monument to rededicate themselves to being better fathers, sons and citizens.

Farrakhan’s remarks were preceded by supporters of the “Black Lives Matter” movement along with Latino, Native American and Palestinian activists who took turns at the microphone urging better treatment.

The sunny fall day brought out hundreds of thousands, according to organizers, though no official estimates were available. The crowd was predominantly black, ranging from millennials in “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts to Nation of Islam adherents with women in brown headpieces and matching garments.

Attendees are led in prayer at a rally convened by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and billed as "Justice or Else" to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

Attendees are led in prayer at a rally convened by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and billed as “Justice or Else” to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March on the National Mall in Washington October 10, 2015. The original Million Man March took place on October 16, 1995. Photo courtesy REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

The rally addressed a range of grievances connected to justice including calls to stop deportation and to reduce mass incarceration.

Farrakhan, 82, called for 10,000 men to help address crime in the African-American community.

“I want 10,000 names that we can train ’cause we got to stand between the guns,” he said, alluding to both black-on-black crime and the killing of unarmed black people by police.

He also listed a range of other “instructions,” including doing more to educate children in schools that promote “white supremacy,” and focusing on Jesus instead of Santa this Christmas.

“Today is both a call and a demand to come together and focus on not what divides us but on what unites us,” said the Rev. Willie Wilson, a Washington minister who was one of the organizers of the gathering. “Let us bind ourselves together, stick together, stand together, demand together.”

Farrakhan praised Pope Francis for visiting the United States, but sided with those Native Americans who criticized his canonization of St. Junipero Serra, a 17th-century Spanish Franciscan who helped establish the mission system in California.

“The pope is not a foolish man but he made a saint out of somebody that the native people don’t see any sainthood in,” said Farrakhan. “That’s like us taking the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and beatifying him and making him a saint.”

Several in the crowd said they appreciated the gathering’s emphasis on a diverse range of calls for justice.

“Everybody is of like mind or trying to build their mind to be about the cause,” said Paul Miller, a nondenominational Christian from Auburn, N.Y., and CEO of a charter school of mostly African-American males. “We need to be allies and band together and fight against injustice.”

Cammy Payne, a nurse from Tulsa, Okla., welcomed the focus on unity across races and religions.

“I’m actually delighted to see it, especially to see the incorporation of the Native American community and the Latino community,” she said. “Because we are all one.”

Donna Auston, a Ph.D. candidate at Rutgers University who is a researcher and an activist with the “Black Lives Matter movement,” said the event demonstrated a confluence of the Nation of Islam and other activists joining with the newer Black Lives Matter on addressing police brutality, an issue that has long been fought in the black community.

“There’s a long history of folks across the spectrum of black politics organizing and advocating around issues of fair and safe policing,” she said. “It’s a new spin on an old fight.”

YS END BANKS

About the author

Adelle M. Banks

Adelle M. Banks, production editor and a national reporter, joined RNS in 1995. An award-winning journalist, she previously was the religion reporter at the Orlando Sentinel and a reporter at The Providence Journal and newspapers in the upstate New York communities of Syracuse and Binghamton.

14 Comments

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  • “Cammy Payne, a nurse from Tulsa, Okla., welcomed the focus on unity across races and religions.”

    Well, maybe not ALL races and religions, eh?

    Louis Farrakhan on Jews:

    “ 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.”

    “[F]or the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States, they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government…Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and Black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control…”

    “You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell. But I warn you in the name of Allah, you would be wise to leave me alone. But if you choose to crucify me, know that Allah will crucify you.”

  • He called for 10 thousand women too. His speech was very empowering, thoughtful, and educational. My hood will be speaking about this and violence may decrease because of it.

  • Just to make it clear, Minister Farrakhan is calling on a boycott of the pagan mess that’s so-called “Christmas”

  • The race-baiting, race-profiteering, anti-Christian, anti-Jew, anti-Constitution mouthpiece for the destruction of America has once again been given a national forum to spread lies, hatred and anarchy. America has freedom of speech. This rabble-rouser would be locked up if he tried this in another country.

  • Absolutely truthful statement! Well said and accurately stated! Farrakhan proliferates hatred and bigotry, like no other in America! His talking about Jesus or the Pope is an insult to all Christians. He is a hypocrite and enhances conflict & hatred!

  • Heaven? Where is it? Maybe Hillary knows. But then again, she failed to find her Billy Boy and his gal friend playing around in the White House.

  • On 10/10 I pointed out that Farrakhan (who is portrayed in this article as mainstream and uncontroversial) is a vicious anti-semite, and someone at RNS deleted my post.

    Is it against RNS’s terms of service to simply point out that a beloved and influential advocate of “social justice” is a raving Jew-hater?

  • The real meaning of Christmas has nothing to do with buy up Wal-Mart or buy anything. And Santa / Saint Nicolas (which is a black man ) is not a old white man with rain deer from the north pole. Being a Christian that insults me. This nation has capitalize d on religion and belief. To me Farrakhan is right, at lease focus on the real meanings. As adults we cultivate the future (or children etc) but we are not the future. So tell me what are we going to create and leave for the future?

  • I hate to say this, but Pan does have a point on this one (just this one time).

    If Farrakhan wants to give out “instructions” regarding “Justice Or Else”, he’d better start by cutting out his own bigotry against the Jewish people and Israel.

    (In case any of Farrakhan’s minions are reading this, that also means Farrakhan giving a public apology on national television! )

  • He says the emphasis has been taken off 9f 9f Jesus and more on economic gain instead of the celebration of Jesus. Christmas has taken the Christmas out and replaced him for gifts and Santa claus. The Minister has called for us to put our money together and not be wasteful and begin to ha e something to call.our own. The video is Uploaded https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fq63JLejd1g&feature=youtu.be check out my video and dobetta

  • The softball articles I see on this march are whites trying to be nice, but it’s really patronizing. Blacks can gather and sit and listen to a black racist fake Muslim nee grow nazi for two hours at our nation’s capital and they try to make it like it’s a walk in the park. the reality is, that group are people who believe in NOI UFO’s and government conspiracies. It was a kook-fest. The church stands for enlightened faith. This was off the charts black racist nonsense. God Christians who are not into ignorance stand for what is right, so either call this the black hate fest it was or don’t say anything about it. The black people who went there wasted time and money they could have used to help those in need in their own communities, but they wanted the thrill of listening to a demagogue instead. This was not a Muslim gathering. This was a fake Muslim (Minister knee grow hitler) calling out and using ignorant Christians and this is something all decent people need to speak against.

  • “Hundreds of thousands”? Total BS!!! It was close to two million. #FakeNews

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