U.S. Rep. Conyers to Nation of Islam leader: Stop the racism, anti-Semitism & homophobia

Farrakhan in DetroitU.S. Rep. John Conyers took the unusual step today of publicly denouncing Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan for making racist, homophobic remarks while in Detroit over the weekend.

Minister Farrakhan continued his tirade against “Satanic Jews,” saying they’ve plotted to control the world through trickery and evil. Farrakhan also criticized homosexuality and white people.

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U.S. Rep. John Conyers

“During this speech, Minister Farrakhan made unacceptable racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic statements, which I condemn in the strongest possible terms,” Conyers, who attended Farrakhan’s speech Friday at Fellowship Chapel in Detroit, said Thursday.

“It was my expectation that Minister Farrakhan’s speech would focus on the many challenges facing the city of Detroit. In previous days he had discussed efforts to revitalize our city by purchasing property and investing in blighted neighborhoods. Regrettably, he used this opportunity to promote views that have no place in civilized discourse.”

Conyers’ criticism of the minister was bold because Farrakhan is popular among many African Americans in Detroit, where the Nation of Islam got its start.

But Farrakhan’s increasingly divisive rhetoric has diminished some of his appeal. The Nation of Islam is considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and is regularly denounced by the Anti-Defamation League.

“It is deeply disappointing that so many Detroit leaders are apparently so willing to turn a blind eye to Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism,” said Heidi Budaj, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League. “Where are the voices in our community who are willing to stand up and say ‘no’ to racism and anti-Semitism?”

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.