"Capitol Suspect Struggled Before Attack, but Motive Remains Unclear." So reads the headline of the New York Times bio of "the dependable and good-natured" Capitol cop killer, Noah Green.
Indeed, so deeply does the article flirt with parody that it had me wondering for a moment whether I was reading the Babylon Bee.
Tricky as it was to write about a murderer who was "laser-focused on Black economic empowerment, counseling teammates on financial management and plotting a career helping close the racial wealth gap," what made it trickier still is that Green was a fan of the Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (NOI).
As the Times acknowledged, even the absurd Southern Poverty Law Center has condemned the Nation for its "deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric," but apparently the editors thought a little nuance was in order.
To help answer the question of Green's motive in the April 2 attack, they dispatched a five-person squad of multi-ethnic reporters to find a specialist "in American Islam." They came up with Michael Muhammad Knight, an assistant prof at the University of Central Florida.
"The Nation has a very strong anti-violence discourse that goes all the way back to the beginning," Knight told the credulous reporters. "Consistently, if you look at the Nation, you don't see the body count that white supremacist organizations have."
That's it. Knight's word is allowed to stand uncontested. The Nation doesn't believe in violence; thus, Green's motive can remain officially "unclear."
If Knight didn't "see the body count," it was because he wasn't looking. The reporters didn't look either. For their sake, I have put together a highlight reel of NOI's recent history of violence beginning with the assassination of Malcolm X.
Boxing great Muhammad Ali gets a pass for his role in Malcolm's murder. He shouldn't. As the death threats against Malcolm X morphed into murder plots, Malcolm's wife Betty Shabazz begged Ali's intercession.
"You see what you're doing to my husband, don't you," she pleaded after a chance encounter with Ali. By "you" Shabazz meant Ali and his new NOI buddies. Ali blew her off, disingenuously raising his hands in the air and saying, "I'm not doing anything to him."
(For a complete account, I recommend Thomas Hauser's "Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times.")
The fatal plot centered on the Newark mosque. Several news organizations implicated Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in the plot's orchestration, a charge Farrakhan has denied.
What is undeniable is that several NOI brothers caught up with Malcolm X during a February 1965 speech at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem.
They blasted away in front of Shabazz and the couple's four children. The autopsy report listed 15 "shotgun and other caliber bullet wounds."
Then there was the all but forgotten case of basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's spiritual guide, Hamaas Abdul Khaalis. In 1972, Khaalis publicly denounced NOI chieftain Elijah Muhammad as a "lying deceiver."
In January 1973, John 38X Clark and seven of his fellow NOI brothers from Philadelphia paid a house call on the mansion in Washington that Abdul-Jabbar had bought for Khaalis.
Although Khaalis was not at home when Clark and pals arrived, several of Khaalis' relatives were not so lucky.
One was Khaalis' daughter, Amina. After wrenching her newborn from Amina's arms, Clark made her kneel in a bedroom closet and shot her in the head.
Clark's crew then shot Amina's 10-year-old brother, Rahaman, twice in the head. They stuffed Amina's 2-year-old brother, Abdullah, into a closet and shot him in the head three times. When a friend pulled up to the house in his car, the gunmen invited him in and shot him dead as well.
Before the killers were through, they poured eight bullets into Khaalis' wife at pointblank range and drowned a 1-year-old and a 9-day-old in the bathtub. "The seed of the hypocrite is in them," raged one of the holy warriors when questioned as to why the babies had to die.
In 1977, apparently to call attention to the 1973 assault, Khaalis and a dozen gunmen seized three buildings in Washington and took 150 people hostage.
Before they were through Khaalis and his posse killed a reporter and a cop and even shot future mayor Marion Barry. Khaalis would die in prison.
Then there was the quartet of renegade NOI members, known to police as the Zebra killers, who in the mid-1970s went on an openly racist killing spree that resulted in the shooting of at least 21 whites and Asians in San Francisco, 14 of whom died.
More recently, in August 2007, 57-year-old Oakland Post editor Chauncey Bailey, an African American, became the first American journalist killed for domestic reporting in more than 30 years.
The search for the killers led to a place called "Your Black Muslim Bakery" in Oakland. The bakery had a history. Its founder Yusuf Bey, a protégé of Elijah Muhammad, had been arrested in 2002 on 27 counts of rape involving underage girls.
When Bey died in 2003, the war of succession led to the murder of two of Bey's sons among others. Bailey was investigating the bakery when he was murdered.
In November 2014, Farrakhan spoke at the publicly funded Morgan State campus in Baltimore, demanding "retaliation" for the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. One of the attendees, Ismaaiyl Abdullah Brinsley, took Farrakhan literally. A month later, Brinsely ambushed two cops in Brooklyn, killing them both.
"You don't see the body count that white supremacist organizations have," Knight told the Times. He is right. No white supremacist organization in modern times comes close to matching the NOI numbers.
As to Green, although the Times blamed his rampage on "a bruising pandemic year that … left him isolated and mentally unmoored," Green could have found all the motive he needed in reading NOI history.
Jack Cashill's new book, Unmasking Obama: The Fight to Tell the True Story of a Failed Presidency, is widely available. His forthcoming book, Barack Obama's Promised Land: Deplorables Need Not Apply, is available for pre-order. See also www.cashill.com
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