The feminist Farrakhan fans who organized the Women’s March

Among the women who organized the Women’s March a day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, Linda Sarsour has arguably stolen the critical spotlight. Her vicious outburst against prominent women’s rights campaigner Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her persistent refusal to acknowledge the plight of women living under sharia, as well as her pronounced hostility to Israel – reflected in numerous anti-Semitic tweets – are just some of the issues that Sarsour’s critics have highlighted as extremely problematic for someone who is now widely celebrated as an iconic social justice activist. But it turns out (h/t @kweansmom via @ViniKako) that two of Sarsour’s closest fellow activists – Tamika D. Mallory and Carmen Perez – are ardent fans of the notorious Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan. And while Sarsour has apparently not offered gushing praise for Farrakhan, she seems to embrace NOI uncritically as a vital part of Muslim life in the US.

According to the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), “Louis Farrakhan has built a legacy of divisiveness as the leading anti-Semite in America.” As the ADL notes, “Farrakhan has embarked on a wide-ranging anti-Jewish campaign” in recent years, and has given “some of the most hateful speeches” of his career:

“Farrakhan has repeatedly alleged that the Jewish people were responsible for the slave trade and that they conspire to control the government, the media, Hollywood, and various Black individuals and organizations to this day.

He also frequently denies that Jews have a legitimate claim to their religion and to the land of Israel, claiming that Judaism is nothing more than a “deceptive lie” and a “theological error” promoted by Jews to further their control over America’s foreign and domestic policy and economy.”

The most recent tribute to Farrakhan comes from Tamika Mallory, who posted her praise for Farrakhan on May 11 on Twitter and Instagram to congratulate him for his birthday: “Thank God this man is still alive and doing well. He is definitely the GOAT. Happy Birthday @louisfarrakhan!”

Mallory congrats Farrakhan

As the screenshot below shows, Mallory posted her heartfelt praise for Farrakhan just after she enthusiastically promoted a clip of her “sister” Linda Sarsour.

Mallory Farrakhan Sarsour

In 2016, Mallory apparently shared the stage with Farrakhan for the Saviours’ Day event, which is an annual NOI holiday marking the birth of its founder. Since Mallory excitedly announced that she was “super ready” for Farrakhan’s speech and that she needed Farrakhan’s “hardcore truth”, it is noteworthy that the ADL highlighted the anti-Semitism promoted by Farrakhan during the same event in 2015:

“During Part 2 of his 2015 Saviours’ Day keynote address at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Farrakhan used his platform to claim Israel and Jews orchestrated the 9/11 attacks. Farrakhan said, “Israelis had foreknowledge of the attacks” and that Jews were warned ahead of time not to come to work that day. He then went on to speak more broadly of Israeli control of the American government, stating that Israel and Jews “don’t fear America because they control it from within.””

According to the ADL, Farrakhan also promoted anti-Semitism at the 2014 Saviour’s Day event:

“During his keynote address to 18,000 people at the NOI’s 2014 Saviours’ Day convention at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Farrakhan likened himself to auto magnate Henry Ford, who promoted anti-Semitic conspiracies in the 1920s in The International Jew: the World’s Foremost Problem. Farrakhan called Ford “a great man who was called an anti-Semite” and added, “I feel like I’m in good company.” In Part 2 of his Saviours’ Day address at Mosque Maryam in Chicago, Farrakhan received a standing ovation after telling his audience that “the Satanic Jews that control everything and mostly everybody, if they are your enemy, then you must be somebody.””

Mallory’s fellow Women’s March organizer Carmen Perez is apparently also an ardent fan of Farrakhan. On June 13, 2015, she posted a photo on Instagram showing herself and Mallory holding hands with Farrakhan at “an unforgettable special evening in Chicago with The Minister Farrakhan!”

Holding hands with Farrakhan

Some two weeks earlier, both Perez and Mallory had posted about attending a meeting with Farrakhan; according to Mallory’s post, they were planning for “#millionsforjustice convening on Oct. 10 in Washington, DC.,” i.e. the gathering to mark the 20-year anniversary of the 1995 Million Man March. During this preparatory meeting, Perez seemed particularly impressed with Farrakhan, whom she described as “dropping gems.”

According to the ADL, Farrakhan repeatedly “expressed anti-Semitism and bigotry” at subsequent events promoting the anniversary gathering.

Mallory apparently attended one of these events and posted about it on Instagram; as reported mainly by right-leaning media at the time, Farrakhan threatened during this event: “If the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us, stalk them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling.” He justified this call to violence by stating:

“The Qur’an teaches persecution is worse than slaughter, then it says, retaliation is prescribed in matters of the slain. Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breasts of those whose children have been slain.”

Perez explained in an interview in the summer of 2016 how she, along with Mallory and Sarsour, had become involved with Farrakhan. According to her, “Tamika Mallory, my African-American sister, Linda Sarsour, my Palestinian sister and myself, a Chicana/Mexican-American woman” had attracted national media coverage with their activism and subsequently, Farrakhan invited them to participate in the anniversary rally, allowing them “to use his platform to send a message to our generation.”

Sarsour was proud enough of the strident message she delivered from the platform provided to her by Farrakhan to share a clip posted on the Facebook page of Ummah Wide. The three-minute clip garnered 162K views; it shows Sarsour opening her talk “in the name of god, the most beneficial, the most merciful,” addressing the crowd repeatedly as “sisters and brothers.” Not all that different from Farrakhan’s anti-Semitic efforts to blame Jews for problems and hardships experienced by Blacks in the US, Sarsour asserted: “The same people who justify the massacres of Palestinian people and call it collateral damage are the same people who justify the murder of young Black men and women.” She assured her “sisters and brothers” that the “common enemy … is White supremacy” and insisted that “the liberation of the Palestinian people is bound up with the liberation of Black people in America.”

Sarsour at Farrakhan 2015

Unfortunately for Sarsour, it seems that Farrakhan doesn’t quite see it her way: during a recent interview, he reportedly said that the “original black man of the earth” was the “original owner” of the Holy Land; according to Farrakhan, the “Holy Land don’t belong to a white Arab or a white Jew. You are settlers on our land.” […] “We are the original owners of that part of the earth and you all kicked us out and assumed our position. […] “But now God has come and we are coming to reclaim what belongs to us.”

Unlike Mallory and Perez, Sarsour has apparently not expressed gushing praise for Farrakhan, but she does seem to have an entirely uncritical and positive view of NOI

Despite the fact that there is plenty of evidence for the ADL’s conclusion that the organization has long been promoting an “anti-Jewish propaganda campaign,” Sarsour has asserted that NOI is “an integral part” of “the history of Islam in America,” emphasizing that “Sunni, Shia, Sufi, Nation of Islam – we are #Muslim, we are all part of one ummah, one family. #Islam.” According to Sarsour, it is therefore not possible to “learn or teach about the history of Islam in America without talking about the Nation of Islam (NOI).”

Sarsour on NOIVery well then, let’s talk about NOI: as already noted, the ADL provides plenty of evidence for NOI’s extensive “anti-Jewish propaganda campaign.” According to the ADL, “NOI uses its programs, institutions, publications, and social media to disseminate its message of hate,” which includes promoting “virulently anti-Semitic conspiracy theories on its website and its social media accounts.” One example is a tweet from August 24, 2014, stating: “Israeli airstrike in #Gaza levels 7-story building. Their last airstrike was on Sept 11, 2001.” The attached photo shows the World Trade Center shortly after the terror attack on 9/11.

A major NOI publication on “The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews” claims “that slavery in the New World was initiated by Jewish ship owners and merchants.” A second volume of the book focuses on “How Jews Gained Control of the Black American Economy,” and “expands on the original allegations that Jews played a disproportionate role in the transatlantic slave trade … It further alleges that Jews refrained from participating in the abolition movement out of tolerance for the system of slavery and blames Jews for promoting a myth of black racial inferiority.” There is also an “Instruction Course based on this book to facilitate the book’s teaching in schools,” which “attempts to demonstrate that Jewish teachings, along with Jews’ deeply-rooted racism and greed, negatively shaped the Black experience. For example, the guide asserts that the practice of lynching is rooted in the Talmud and that the Talmud was likely ‘the source of the Sharecropping system that re-enslaved Blacks after Emancipation.’”

But since Sarsour doesn’t think much of the ADL – which she has accused of “engaging in [a] witch hunt against 1st Muslim congressman” [i.e. Keith Ellison], she could have checked what the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) – which has recently come in for sharp criticism, but which has declared #IMarchWithLinda – has to say about NOI. All it takes to get an idea is a click on the relevant page and a quick glance at the bold-print summary that denounces NOI’s “theology of innate black superiority over whites and the deeply racist, anti-Semitic and anti-gay rhetoric of its leaders,” which “have earned the NOI a prominent position in the ranks of organized hate.”

But clearly, none of this bothers leading “progressive” feminists and social justice activists like Tamika Mallory, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.


Note: I have archived all relevant social media posts.

About the Author
Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a politically homeless lapsed leftist who can’t get used to living in a time when the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune” is considered quite acceptable in its 21st century version “The Jewish state is our misfortune.” She therefore writes mostly about antisemitism, anti-Israel activism and BDS, i.e. Bigoted Double Standards. She grew up in Germany and has a Ph.D. in contemporary history.
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