[Editor’s note: The following excerpt is taken from a message delivered June 20, 2004 by the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan at Muhammad’s Mosque No. 11 in Boston, Massachusetts.]

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

The United States of America is in terrible shape right now. The country is teetering on the brink of an economic collapse, but the government makes you think that you really have a lot of money. But the money is not supported by anything of value. The gross national product of the country supports the dollar bills that you have in your pocket. But one day, in the twinkling of an eye, the economy will just collapse. The wise of the country know that this is coming and they’re trying to hedge against it. But the poor Blacks and Hispanics, and even poor Whites, they don’t really know what is going on with their country.


Photo: Kenneth Muhammad
You don�t have any future in that, brother�they don�t have a future. Our young women are facing the same now, because they are recruiting you to the armed forces. What are you going 9,000 miles away to fight for? Who are you fighting? What have those people done to you?

The President of the United States, in his misadventure in Iraq, is raping the treasury of a government that already has a half a trillion dollar deficit. Then, he spends $100 billion to send troops into a country that could, in no way, threaten the United States of America.


I visited Iraq, along with my wife and members of my staff, on at least two or three occasions. The last time I was there was July 2002 (on a peace mission), about eight months before the war. When I got off the plane in Iraq, they received me like the Boston police received me here during this visit. They blocked the highways and brought me to my hotel. A female reporter asked me, “Why are you here?” I said, “I’m here to try to stop a war.” I knew that America was going to attack Iraq, and I was going to try to impress upon Saddam Hussein that he should let the inspectors into his country, because he did not have anything to hide. He should not give America a stick, because they really were looking for a pretext for war.

Years ago, when I was growing up in Roxbury, we never had guns in the streets. We would buy a switchblade or something like that, but we never had guns. Now, most of you young men think that a gun represents power. So, they bring guns into the community and you think the gun is there to protect you from your brother. But the gun is giving the enemy the pretext for the annihilation of a people.

In Gaza on the West Bank in Palestine, or Israel, we see on television, young men throwing stones at tanks—but some of them have AK-47s, like some of you. But the Israelis are not thinking about coming on the ground, fighting AK-47 to AK-47. No, they come in with tanks and helicopter gunships, shooting rockets down on unarmed people. You may say this is terrible. Of course it is, but that’s what you see happening over there. You never would think that you are going to see that happening in Roxbury, would you? Or in Harlem or on the South side and West side of Chicago or in Watts in Los Angeles? But you will, in just a few days from now.

Next year, the military is going to impose the draft. You beautiful, young men, you don’t have a job and you barely graduated from high school, if you did. So, they are going to give you an offer next year that you can’t refuse. In fact, when you turn 18 now, they are at the high schools telling you what a future you would have by joining the armed forces of the United States of America.

You don’t have any future in that, brother—they don’t have a future. Our young women are facing the same now, because they are recruiting you to the armed forces. What are you going 9,000 miles away to fight for? Who are you fighting? What have those people done to you? They call them insurgents, but the military is in that man’s house as an occupier. What are you doing there? If they rise up to kill you for being there, what are you going to say? Are you going to say, “That’s the enemy,” when you are in their house? That’s like a robber breaking into your house, taking over your house, and holding your wife and your children under arms. You are on the top floor, you hear it going on downstairs, get a pistol, run down and shoot the people that have your wife and your children—and the media calls you an insurgent who rose against a legitimate occupier of your house. Does that make sense? It’s so insane that one must wonder who could be the architect of such a policy.

So next year, you will have to decide: Am I going to go into the military because they called me or should I stand my ground? If you never thought of standing your ground against the president of the United States and an invitation to join the military, you might as well start entertaining that thought. Look at how strong you young men are, how powerful you are in beating each other up, but what we want to do is give you some legs that allow you to stand, so when the president writes in a draft letter, “Greetings. You can report to such and such place for induction into the military,” you will say, “Not me.”

You may say, “I’m an American citizen.” Who said so? When did you become a citizen? You say, “The Emancipation Proclamation freed me and I’m a citizen.” Really? Well, if you are a citizen, why don’t you have the rights and the privileges of a U.S. citizen? How can a foreigner named Schwarzenegger, a man who came here 20 years ago, become the governor of the state of California, but you have been here 400 years and he has rights that you don’t have, and you built the country.

I know that you want to be a citizen. Bless your heart. You are just like the Bible’s Prodigal Son who left his father’s house and went into a strange country to try to join himself on to be a citizen in that strange country. That’s us. He squandered everything that he had and we have lost everything here that we had when we were Africans. We don’t have our own mind anymore. We are very sick people who need a doctor to cure us from the madness imposed on us by our former slave masters and their children. You are a made people.

What do I mean “made”? You are the creation of Allah (God), but you are the make of the White man.

Allah (God) makes man; the White man makes ni—s, boys and Colored people. So, you and I are the reflection of his own sickness. He hates Black, so he taught you to do what? He’s a liar and a thief, that’s what the Bible says. So, what did he make us? He made us the worst of himself and when he looks at us, he’s looking at a mirror image. When you are ugly and you look at a mirror, you want to break it. So, he sees the mirror image of his own madness in you. So, the police come and they don’t have any love for you. It’s sad that you and I are in this condition after so many great ones have come among us to teach us.

Next year, when the draft comes, Brother Minister Don, your young sons and mine, and grandsons and daughters, they’ll be asking them to join. Muhammad Ali was the heavyweight champion of the world and a Muslim. In the ’50s, Ali said, “Them Viet Cong never called me no ni—r.” Think about that. “Why should I go over there and fight some poor rice farmers? They haven’t done anything to me. Why are you sending me there?” Ali said, “No, I’m not going.” They stripped him of his championship, yet the brother stood up. He would not fight for America in an unjust war, but he later became the people’s champ. People loved him all over the world because he made a righteous stand. Eventually, the Supreme Court upheld his right to be a conscientious objector. So, if Muhammad Ali, as a follower of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was legitimately a conscientious objector, then every Black man and woman who follows the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, according to the Supreme Court’s decision, were conscientious objectors. So, we are not going to answer the call of the draft. Now, I would advise you to join the Nation of Islam.

When it gets hot in the military, come on home, brother. Say, “No, I’m not going to fight for you.” But, before you do that, you have to stop fighting and killing one another, because if you can kill one another, and that’s your own brother and sister that suffered right along with you, then what right do you have to tell the President that you won’t go to fight Iraqis or Syrians, when you are in the ’hood killing your own brother because he does not wear the right color or did not give the right hand signal?

So, you’ve got to clean that behavior up now, in order to justify saying “I’m a conscientious objector.” How are you going to have an AK-47 in your house, saying “any ni—r come up in here, he’s going to get it.” No, you have to show the world that you are a people of peace.

The Honorable Elijah Muhammad was such a wise and masterful teacher. He took away from us all weapons. He forbade us to carry weapons, or even have them in our homes. We didn’t need any weapons to protect us. Usually, when you’ve got a weapon in your house, and you get angry with your wife or your husband, one of you will end up dead, or both of you. That’s who’s in prison today, victims of domestic violence.

But you do not need weapons if you have The God. We, in the Nation of Islam, have never relied on weapons. When we were attacked by those who had weapons, Allah (God) delivered their weapons into our hands. You don’t need them. You have to show the world that you are a people of peace, and you can’t wait until next year to do it. You need to start doing that right now. Clean up your act.