Photos: Mikal Veale


[Editor’s Note: On Thursday, September 2, 2010, members of the Coalition of African American Muslims (CAAM) gathered together at the Nation Press Club in Washington, D.C. to conduct a live press conference to make known their views and concerns regarding the controversy surrounding the “Park 51 Project,” a plan that involves the building of a mosque and cultural center near the area where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The following article contains excerpts of the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan’s comments delivered that day.]

In the Name of Allah, The Beneficent, The Merciful.

In the face of our difficulties, Allah says to us in the Qur’an, “Surely I’m going to try you with something of fear and hunger and loss of property, and loss of life, and diminution of fruit. But give good news to those who are patient and steadfast under trial.”

Islam is on trial, now, all over the world; but particularly, in the United States of America. America, the beacon light of the entire world, has the world looking at America, for America to show the world the example of a great nation. The greatness of the nation is not determined by her highways, and bridges and tremendous infrastructure, and skyscrapers. The greatness of a nation is determined by its righteousness.

And what is righteousness? It is the doing of good according to Divine and Moral Law. Every nation has rules and regulations, but when those rules and regulations are not followed, there are consequences. And, in the universe, Allah has set down Divine Law, Moral Law, taught by all of the prophets; and when we violate those laws, there is a consequence. And only God, in His Ultimate Power over all things, can hold back the consequences of an evil deed done by His servants.


The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan

America is a great nation. What we want to help is to make America a good nation.


She started wrong: Slavery was not “good.” The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade was not good. The dehumanization of an entire people was not good. The destruction of the original inhabitants of this part of the Earth was not good. Working a people for 310 years for no pay was not good, and 150 years of Jim Crow and injustice was not good. How do you right a wrong like that? When we go to The Cause of all causes, Who is God Himself, we can’t blame the agents of God’s Cause. We have to look at God and ask Him, “Why did You permit the horror of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade? Why did You allow us to suffer in this manner? What was Your reason?”

And if we can get past emotion, and rise up into the Thinking of Allah, The Most High, He will tell you: “I allowed you to suffer for My Purpose and for My Glory. Because in the furnace of affliction, you were being tried, but you were also being prepared for a duty that I’m about to place on your shoulders.”

Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said he heard the footsteps of an African going into Paradise ahead of his own. Surely—surely—one as noble as the Holy Prophet Muhammad would never have another going into Paradise ahead of him when he opened the door to Paradise! But what he was really saying is that the Muslims that were entrusted with the book Qur’an, and the Sunnah of the prophet, to spread it to the entire world, that they, somehow, would fall short; and a whole world of evil would rise up, and a people like Bilal would be enslaved.

But as Bilal was the Caller to Prayer, God is going to raise a people from among the ex-slaves to call the whole world back to the Pure, True Worship of Almighty God. So as our illustrious imams have said: This is our time!

It’s not our time to be down in spirit because people hate. It’s not our time to lower our heads, and drop our shoulders because people don’t like, because they don’t know—they don’t understand! In the scriptures of the Bible, they said of Jesus—they hated him without a cause. They had no justified reason for hating the Master Teacher, but he was hated because he introduced a New Idea that would upset the Roman authorities, and even the Jewish leaders of that time, bringing in a whole New World.

So, the fear of that, that his idea would catch on; the fear of them, that they would not have a place in that which Jesus was bringing into existence, caused them to persecute him, and to persecute the early Christians.

Think about the early Christians that died in the coliseum in Rome, just confessing his name! But today, look at the billions all over the world who believe in him, who honor him, and respect his name, and try to follow his example. It’s interesting, and as I conclude, that Christianity begins not at the birth of Jesus, not at the ministry of Jesus. Christianity begins at The Cross: A

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan addresses media at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Sept. 2.

place where the world would have thought that was the end of Jesus, but it was the beginning of a great movement among human beings. So it is with Prophet Muhammad: Islam did not begin at his birth. Islam did not begin when he first heard Jabril say, “Read.” Islam did not begin when he began reciting the Qur’an. Islam began on the heels of a death plot; and he fled Mecca to Medina. Then, after the Hegira, Islam begins. So we are walking in good company. We are following a noble path!


So to the American people, my dear American people of good will—and there are many Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus and Agnostics of good will: This book, Qur’an, is the Guiding Light of a Muslim’s life. How could it be so bad if you have Muslim Sons in America called “Shriners,” many of whom were the founding fathers of this country; and they had to learn 33 degrees of a 360-Degree Circle? And when they got to the 33rd Degree, they said: “Ashadu an la ilaha illallah” and “Ashahdu anna Muhammadan Rasulallah.” They came out of the Bible, and they went into the Qur’an! And they say to one another, in secret: “As-Salaam Alaikum.” So this world is not ignorant to the beauty of Islam.

The fear is that Islam will change the religion of the slave that they took it from, and make him a bright light of a Brand New Civilization.

That ground where the World Trade Center was, I like the fact that it is called “hallowed,” because on September the 11th, in the World Trade Center were representatives of the entire world. There were Muslims, there were Christians, there were Jews, there were Hindus, there were Buddhists, there were people from practically every nation on this Earth. And when that building was destroyed, the whole world felt it, and the whole world poured into America sorrow and condolence on such a horrific event.

And among those sending condolences were Muslims from all over the world. So if Muslims died, and Christians died, and Hindus and Buddhists and Jews and Agnostics died on that day, why, then, should a mosque, a cultural center not be constructed a few blocks away? Well, let me see what’s around it.

There was an article in the paper that I read, written by Nicolaus Mills of The Christian Science Monitor; he said: “But the World Trade Center neighborhood is also filled with eyesores. When I walked from Park Place on the north side of the World Trade Center to Rector Street on the south side, what I encountered were a string of bars, betting parlors, [and] fast-food restaurants. And within this cluster of buildings, especially noticeable were two strip clubs, the New York Dolls Gentleman’s Club and the Pussycat Lounge, plus Thunder Lingerie and More, a sex shop with a peep show….”

All of that on “hallowed ground.”

Do you mean a mosque and a cultural center are not wanted on “hallowed ground”?

Did you know that area is hallowed to us as well? Because in 1991, workers in lower Manhattan, a mere 10-minute walk from the World Trade Center’s former location, uncovered 415 graves with as many as 20,000 of the forgotten Black builders of the greatest city in the world! May I say that again? Twenty thousand of the forgotten Black builders of the greatest city in the world, discarded as rubbish in the ashcan of New York history. The decayed bones were stacked five deep; they told of starvation deaths, chronic infections and unspeakable suffering. Muscles had been ripped from bone, necks had been broken, and spines jammed into skulls: All injuries from lives cursed with carrying heavy loads. Many of those Africans were Muslims that were stripped of their religion, their name, their language, their culture, their God. That ground is also hallowed to us.

So we appeal to right-thinking Americans: If the Constitution is that law upon which every public servant has to take an oath to defend that Constitution, then once we start tearing up the fabric of a doctrine so magnificent, that it has stood the test of time, and made America the greatest nation in modern history, where our president can die, and without a heartbeat, someone steps in and the country keeps going: When you want to toy with that document, and defile it because you don’t like Muslims, or, you don’t like Mexicans, or you don’t like Blacks, or, you don’t like people of color!

Well if—if—you include us as your citizens, fellow citizens, and you tax us; and you call us to war. And we fight in all your wars …even when our president lied, and said there were weapons of mass destruction, the young White, Black and Brown soldiers: They didn’t ask whether he lied or told the truth. They went to Afghanistan and Iraq to fight and die. For what?

You’re tearing up your book; and if it continues, you will end this great Republic. Let common sense prevail. Let righteousness prevail.

Muslims are here; we are not “terrorists.” These are Muslim leaders, and I know I can speak on their behalf with this: We will not allow anyone, on our watch, to do some silly act to deprive an innocent human being of their life! And if we see it, we’ll stop it! If we see the person, we will arrest them! Because they’re not only an enemy to Islam, they are an enemy to us, and to all of the American people!

And I close with this: In our reading of the Qur’an for the 30 days of Ramadan, it talks about Allah, and how He can cast terror into the hearts of the people. And there is no terror like the terror that God can cast into our hearts when our evil outweighs our good: “Surely, the Shock of The Hour is a grievous thing. And the day you see it, every woman giving suck will forget her suckling, and every pregnant one will lay her burden down. And you will see men as though they are drunk, but they shall not be drunk, but the chastisement of Allah will be severe. And children will be grey-headed on that day.”—That is The Day that we should fear, and that is The Terror that we should guard against.

And if we do what is right, the Qur’an says: “Those who are Christians, those who are Jews, those who are Sabians, those who believe in Allah and the Last Day, they have their reward from their Lord.”

Thank you for listening, and may Allah bless you.

As-Salaam Alaikum!

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