Thursday, October 20, 2005

A Kinder, Gentler Louis Farrakhan?

Continued from previous page

Of late, Farrakhan has been drawing heavily on Christian themes in his talks. Although Muslims believe that the Bible contains some divine revelation, that revelation is tainted. Only the Quran contains the pure truth about God.

Muslims believe Jesus is a prophet, but they reject the notion that he is the Son of God. According the Islamic Web site Sound Vision: “The notion of Jesus as son of God is something that was established under the influence of Paul of Tarsus (originally named Saul), who had been an enemy of Jesus, but later changed course and joined the disciples after the departure of Jesus.’’

Sound Vision says that Paul’s teachings that Jesus is the Son of God who atoned for the sins of the world on the cross are “blatant misrepresentations of the message of Jesus.”

Now Farrakhan cites Paul (a heretic in Islam) in his speeches and interviews. The Chicago Tribune quoted Farrakhan citing 1 Corinthians 13:11: "In other words, you know, Paul said it like this: `When I was a child, I spoke as a child, because I understood as a child. But when I became a man, I put away childish things.'"

Morever, Farrkhan proclaims his love of Jesus and the church.

“The church is my family. I had a Christian upbringing; I sang in the choir; I carried the cross; I know all the hymns of my church. Sometimes, on Sunday morning while I am changing channels on my television, I hear some of those hymns that I used to sing and I sing quietly to myself and the tears fall from my eyes, because I remember my church,” Farrakhan states in a speech posted on the NOI Web site. “There is no power that will separate me from the church. Even though I say that I am a Muslim, without the church our people are lost.”

Muslims have a duty to invite non-Muslims to accept Islam – an obligation known as dawa. By glossing over the significant differences between Christianity and Islam, Farrakhan can draw a broader audience. Could dawa be his unstated goal?

Supporters say the leader is sincere and that he has softened his views on many topics, including his notorious anti-Semitism. Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation League, is not convinced. (The ADL tracks anti-Semitism and other forms of discrimination.)

He dismissed Farrakhan as “a bigot and a racist and an anti-Semite and conspirator," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Farrakhan will remain a pariah to some and a charismatic inspiration to others. One thing is certain: He will never be ignored.

  • CNN, “Crowds Gather for Millions More Movement”

  • Chicago Tribune, “Farrakhan Now Opens Arms With Millions More March”

  • The Advocate, “Gay Rights Leader Barred From Speaking at Millions More Event”

  • The New Standard, “Millions More Organizers Bar Gay Black Speaker, Upsetting Many”

  • Brainy Quote, Farrakhan statements

  •, reviews of books about Farrakhan

  • Sound Vision, mainstream Islamic view of Paul and Jesus

  • Nation of Islam, Farrakhan speech about Jesus

  • Anti-Defamation League, reports on Millions More Movement

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