Springfield News-Sun, Feb. 23, 2003
By ISMAIL TURAY JR., News-Sun Staff Writer
America, as we know it, will cease to exist if the United States goes to war with Iraq, Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan said during a speech in observance of Saviour’s Day on Sunday.
Farrakhan’s message was broadcast via satellite to a worldwide audience, including Springfield and more than 100 other U.S. cities. Saviour’s Day is a birthday celebration for the founder of the Nation of Islam, Fard Muhammad, who was born Feb. 26, 1877.
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Nearly 300 people occupied a South High School auditorium to participate in the celebration, which was sponsored by Springfield’s Nation of Islam Mosque. There were performances by local singers, poets, a drill team and dancers from area churches.
Another aim of Saviour’s Day is to help strengthen the bond between Muslims, Christians and even Jews, said Wali Muhammad, who referred to himself as the local representative of Farrakhan.
Farrakhan’s speech was titled “America at the Crossroads: War is not the Answer.”
These are dangerous times; the United States has entered a period of darkness. And President Bush’s leadership is going to lead to the country’s demise, Farrakhan said.
He cautioned Americans not to allow their patriotic zeal to cloud their judgment and blindly follow “your blind leader,” because Bush is spiritually blind. The government uses the people’s grief and patriotism to set policies that citizens think are in their best interest, he said.
For instance, he said, the president took office with an agenda to remove Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Also, the thousands of lives lost in the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks in 2001 were a cover for a war that was planned in the interest of oil, he said.
“I don’t care how bad Saddam Hussein is, that’s Iraq’s problem,” Farrakhan said. “Bush is our problem. America says it wants to liberate Iraq,” but Americans need to be liberated from such domestic problems as poverty, homelessness, hunger and the lack of health care.
Bush, in many of his pleas to get support for the war, has said he has no ill will toward Islam, just radicals within the religion, Farrakhan said.
“It’s true that there are radicals who have hijacked Islam,” he said. “But I want to tell Bush that you, too, are a radical who has hijacked Christianity.”
Referring to slavery and racism in the United States, Farrakhan said the white man’s mind “has been made sick by a doctrine that leads him to believe he’s better and smarter than those with dark skin.”
Whites were never interested in the wellbeing and education of blacks and other minorities. Instead, their intent was to groom blacks to be servants and oppress them, he said.
Additionally, Farrakhan said, white supremacy has ruined religion as we know it today. During slavery, blacks were allowed into white churches, but they were separated, he said.
Certain blacks were selected to be preachers and were encouraged to preach that slaves who obeyed their masters would be allowed into heaven, he said.
“They misused the sweet name of Jesus,” Farrakhan said.
Aside from that, churchgoers were taught to forgive and love their enemies, but Bush constantly preaches hate against North Korea and Muslim countries, Farrakhan added.