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Racist sect ‘helps Jacko’

This is London, UK
Dec. 31, 2003
Laura Benjamin
www.thisislondon.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Thursday January 1, 2004

Michael Jackson has fallen under the influence of the controversial Nation of Islam movement, it was claimed last night.

The black separatist group – whose leader Louis Farrakhan views whites as ‘devils’ and Jewish people as ‘bloodsuckers’ – is keeping the singer ‘semi- captive’, according to his close aides.

They are also allegedly having a greater say in his legal and media affairs following his arrest five weeks ago on child abuse charges.

Sources in America claim Jackson has moved into a Los Angeles house with members of the sect – which advocates a separate African-American state – after vowing never to return to his Neverland Ranch.

Claims that the movement is slowly taking over the singer’s affairs come as Jackson’s official spokesman resigned over so-called ‘strategic differences’.

There are also suggestions that Jackson’s recent American television interview took place only after negotiations with the group’s chief of staff, Leonard Muhammad, Farrakhan’s son-in-law.

Muhammad is now working out of the office of Jackson’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, it is claimed.

One senior employee of the singer told the New York Times that the black separatist group had ‘taken over completely and are in full and total charge’ of the pop star’s affairs.

‘They have gone in and taken over control of the finances in terms of who’s getting paid,’ he said.

‘They are working out of Geragos’s office – in essence they are telling him what to do.’

Another source added: ‘These people are basically brainwashing him.

‘They offer a false sense that they can control everything. Everyone is scared of them. They pretty much keep Michael semi-captive.’

Representatives of the group were present at a press conference held immediately after Jackson was charged with seven counts of child abuse on December 18.

They also provided security at a party held for his supporters at the Neverland Ranch two days later.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Jackson, a Jehovah’s Witness, had joined the Nation of Islam.

His brother Jermaine, although not a member of the group, recently converted to Islam, but denied Jackson would be following suit.

Last night, the group denied it had anything to do with Jackson’s business affairs.

‘The Nation of Islam has said that it has no official business or professional relationship with Mr Michael Jackson,’ a statement issued by the group’s newspaper The Final Call said.

‘The Nation of Islam joins thousands of other people in wishing him well.’

Jackson’s lawyer refused to deny that his client had ties to the sect.

Mr Geragos said: ‘They are not part of his defence. I’m certainly not pushing away support from anyone, but I don’t ask people what their religious affiliation is when they offer support.’

It is thought that the group’s relationship with Jackson was one of the reasons why his chief spokesman Stuart Backerman resigned on Monday night.

Yesterday, Mr Geragos said he fired Mr Backerman after he held a press conference to publicise the Neverland Ranch party on December 20.

Mr Geragos said: ‘He was terminatedby me personally for talking when I told him not to.’

However, Mr Backerman responded by saying: ‘That’s not true. I was the spokesman up until I just resigned.

‘I was actively involved with management. I wasn’t fired. We just had strategic differences.’

Legal sources in America suggest that Mr Backerman may now be called as a witness for the prosecution-in the trial against Jackson-which will begin next year.

He is charged with seven counts of molesting a boy aged under the age of 14 – thought to be 12-yearold Gavin Arvizo – and two counts of administering an ‘intoxicating’ agent to a child.

He was released on 2million bail but faces up to 20 years in prison if found guilty.

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