CHICAGO (AP) — Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan said Thursday that despite assertions by Facebook when it banned him from its platform, he is not a hater of Jewish people, is not a misogynist, nor a homophobe.
During a speech at a Roman Catholic church on Chicago's South Side, Farrakhan asserted people shouldn't be angry with him if "I stand on God's word."
Farrakhan was invited to speak at the church by the Rev. Michael Pfleger after Facebook banned Farrakhan, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and conservative personality Milo Yiannopoulos, saying they violated its ban on "dangerous individuals."
Farrakhan said those who think he is a hater don't know him and have never had a conversation with him. He added those who hated him before and got to know him came to love him. He went on to say Facebook's contention that he is dangerous is true because what he says can be researched by his listeners.
"Social media you met me tonight. I plead with the rulers, let the truth be taught." he said.
The Archdiocese of Chicago distanced itself from Pfleger's decision to invite Farrakhan to St. Sabina Catholic Church, saying Pfleger did not consult with Cardinal Blase Cupich or other diocese officials before extending the invitation.
"There is no place in American life for discriminatory rhetoric of any kind," the archdiocese said in a statement. "At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, when religious believers are murdered in their places of worship, we cannot countenance any speech that dehumanizes persons on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, economic status or country of origin."
Farrakhan noted Cupich's predecessor, Cardinal Francis George, visited him in his home and had dinner with him, and he met with Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.
"For those angry about me about coming to St. Sabina, how many would be angry with me meeting with Cardinal George. and with the previous cardinal," he said. "That kind of hatred is insanity."
Pfleger defended his invitation, saying he was responding to the Facebook ban as a defender of free speech.
Hours before Farrakhan was scheduled to speak, officials of the Illinois Holocaust Museum spoke out against Pfleger for "giving hatred a platform."
Museum president and Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall said when community leaders like Pfleger provide a platform for bigotry and antisemitism, "it increases the threat against all of humanity."
Farrakhan has been labeled an extremist by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center for allegedly making anti-Semitic, anti-white and anti-gay comments.
Facebook says it has always banned people or groups that proclaim a violent or hateful mission or are engaged in acts of hate or violence, regardless of political ideology.