The U.S. Attorney’s Office for Southern Florida has determined the racially charged July 30 speech by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan did not cross the line of what is considered protected political speech under the First Amendment.
WND inquired last week with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, asking for an opinion as to whether Farrakhan’s call for 10,000 men to “rise up” and to “stalk them” and “kill them,” warranted any sort of criminal investigation.
Farrakhan, in a fiery sermon delivered from the pulpit of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Miami, referred to a “400-year-old enemy,” which many took to mean white people.
Louis Delgado, spokesman for the South Florida U.S. Attorney’s citizen complaints division, responded Friday with the following statement:
“… after looking into the matter we have determined that the Farrakhan speech is protected by the First Amendment and we will not be pursuing an investigation into the speech.”
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WND reported Wednesday the reaction of conservative black leaders, including Alveda King, niece of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, an author, mentor to black youths in Los Angeles and a radio talk-show host. All were critical of Farrakhan’s remarks.
Add Sheriff David Clarke of Milwaukee County, Wisconsin, to that list.
But Clarke, one of the nation’s leading law-enforcement voices as a contributor to Fox News, told WND he was not surprised that the U.S. Department of Justice didn’t see anything potentially illegal in the Farrakhan speech.
“They’re cowards at the Department of Justice, especially the Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch-led DOJ,” Clarke said. “I wonder why the DOJ doesn’t feel that Dylann Roof waving the Confederate Flag (in South Carolina) isn’t protected speech?”
What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander?
Clarke said he also wondered if the reaction of the DOJ would be the same if a white person issued a similarly racist call to take violent action against blacks?
“Would they say that same speech is protected, and you know with this DOJ the answer would be that it is not,” Clarke told WND. “And there is some discretion, but the thing to watch will be if there is increased tension that is incited between the races here in the U.S. as a result of Farrakhan’s speech, and if some sort of white supremacy group makes a threat, then what sort of reaction will come from this White House? What if some Aryan Nation group tells their people to go to black churches and kill people, and would they come out and give you an answer as matter-of-factly as they gave to you (about Farrakhan)?”
The full context of Farrakhan’s July 30 remarks are as follows:
“I’m looking for ten thousand in the midst of the million. Ten thousand men who say, ‘death is sweeter than continued life under tyranny,'” Farrakhan told the congregants at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Miami.
“Death is sweeter than to continue to live and bury our children, while white folks give the killer, hamburgers.
“Death is sweeter, than watching us slaughter each other, to the joy of a 400 year old enemy. Yes, death is sweeter.
“The Quran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter. Then it says, ‘retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain.’ Retaliation is a prescription from God (beats his breast), to calm the breast of those whose children have been slain.
“So if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us. Stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling.”
Clarke said that if Farrakhan were to come and make a similar speech in Milwaukee County, it could fan the flames of racial tensions.
“I suppose if he were to come through Milwaukee I would take a deeper look at this to see if my county would be at risk of him being here,” Clarke said. “He’s got to know that there is a line and sometimes he has to be shown where that line is, and you know, he’s a fraud in terms of a man of the cloth.”
There has been some doubt as to whether Farrakhan was calling for his 10,000 men to go out and kill those seen as white oppressors in general or if he was specifically referring to white police officers.
WND received several emails following the posting of its Aug. 5 story from men who indicated they were Farrakhan supporters and said they understood the target of the speech as specific cops who had killed unarmed blacks.
On Wednesday, Aug. 5, a week after Farrakhan’s July 30 speech, a white officer was shot and killed in Shreveport, Louisiana, and a black male suspect has been arrested.
Fox 2 in St. Louis reported that a cab driver, Mahad Abdinoor, attacked a man Wednesday who was sitting on the tailgate of his truck, put him in a headlock and said he wanted to kill the man for no other reason than that he was white. Abdinoor last month had allegedly threatened to behead police officers. After the latest incident last week, he was charged with hate crimes.
After more than 25 years of declining numbers of police being killed, the last year, with tensions fueled by riots in Ferguson and Baltimore, have brought a reversal of that trend.
Farrakhan given green light
Clarke said he wants to wait until more facts come in about what happened in Shreveport and St. Louis. But the Farrakhan sermon “will be an interesting test case, I think, because there are limits on speech but some government entity would have to take action first.”
But if the response to WND’s inquiry is any indication, it appears Farrakhan has been given a green light to continue issuing racially provocative sermons that, in the opinion of some, could incite his followers to violence.
“When you’re talking about Louis Farrakhan the guy is an embarrassment to the cloth so to speak and a vile and hate-filled individual who has been around for a very long time,” Clarke said. “Back in the time when Elijah Muhammad was the head of that organization (Nation of Islam), I won’t even call it a church, and this is the same guy who claims to have been visited by a UFO and taken to visit Elijah Muhammad but that doesn’t mean he’s above inciting violence.”
The Nation of Islam, founded in 1930, does not release its membership numbers, but estimates have ranged from 20,000 to 50,000. It has mosques and study groups in more than 120 American cities.
In 1995, the Nation of Islam sponsored the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., which was joined by tens of thousands of black Christians and other non-Muslims.
On May 8, 2010, Farrakhan publicly announced his embrace of Dianetics and has actively encouraged Nation of Islam members to undergo “auditing” from the Church of Scientology.
Auditing involves the use of “processes,” which are sets of questions asked or directions given by an auditor. Through these auditing processes the adherents of Scientology believe they can free themselves from unwanted barriers that inhibit their natural abilities. Critics have called it a form of mind-control.
“His organization spans different states so it’s pretty obvious that the FBI wouldn’t have any interest in this out of fear to be honest with you, but not only out of fear,” Clarke said. “Whenever you’re talking about the First Amendment it’s not always real clear, it’s blurry, and some of the most vile speech is protected as political speech, but there are limits on even political speech and he does give cryptic messages and try to protect himself from prosecution, but this recent speech, even by his standards, seems over the top.
“But it gets to be a little dicey when you’re talking about a man of the cloth.”