CHICAGO (Christian Examiner) – Threats of death are again being voiced by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, but this time they appear to be aimed at other people in the black community who oppose Farrakhan's emphasis on enacting an economic boycott of the Christmas shopping season.
In a four-minute video clip posted to his Facebook page, Farrakhan – who has said he is encouraging his followers to focus more on Jesus and less on a white Santa who brings gifts – addresses his call to his followers to "redistribute the pain" of black oppression on the traditional Black Friday opening to season. The black Muslim leader has said that he believes the decline in sales will demonstrate the unified power of the black community.
Farrakhan hinted that outside forces – described only as "the enemy" – are attempting to dissuade black people from joining his cause. They will come, he said, once the world sees that his boycott of Black Friday is a success.
"When the enemy sees that this boycott is being successful, he's coming to leaders. And if we the Muslims are leading and our people are with us, [he'll say] 'What can I offer you?'"
Farrakhan mimicked "the enemy" when he suggested it would appeal to his supporter's financial needs.
"I know, we've checked you out, brother. I know you owe your car note and your house is about to be taken and you out there boycotting Christmas. Now if you tamp that down and get others to do that, this is what we'll do for you," Farrakhan said, whispering as if he was conducting a backroom deal. "I have to tell you, see. Some of our brothers, they like a little action."
But the bombastic leader also warned that taking a bribe to help destroy his movement would be an incalculable error.
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"See, that would be a terrible mistake, that you gonna destroy a movement for some money. That's your burial insurance. That's when you deserve to die," Farrakhan said.
"See, betrayal of us in a time like this is very dangerous. And when people have to pay a price for betrayal, others will get the message. See, you fear white people, but you don't fear an awakened black man who will take care of business," Farrakhan said.
Farrakhan said some might object to such language, but he said that he has always known "there was gonna come a time like that. The minister is not a choir boy, though I used to sing in the choir. We gonna be successful."
Farrakhan criticized "negroes" who, in the past, betrayed other attempts of blacks to mobilize the black community. He also said he was personally in danger.
"See, the negroes that broke ranks with Denmark Vessey and had him killed, the negroes that broke ranks with Marcus Garvey, the negroes that broke ranks and had our leaders killed – oh, see, some of them are around here now. They will take a bribe to end my life," Farrakhan said.
"You playing with a hot fire, baby. And you won't kill me, but you'll sentence yourself and all that you love."
Vessey, who Farrakhan holds up as a hero, was a founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C., hanged for planning a slave revolt in 1822. A slave informed a plantation owner of the plot, which led to Vessey's arrest.
Motivated by Vessey, Nat Turner succeeded in leading such a revolt in 1831, killing 51 whites. He and his followers were also hanged, as were many innocent slaves.
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Marcus Garvey was a Jamaican-born black nationalist who advocated blacks return to Africa in the early 20th century. Some have alleged Garvey was targeted for prosecution by J. Edgar Hoover, but it was only after allegations by members of his own movement of financial irregularities that he was tried for mail fraud in 1923. He was sentenced to five years in prison and, after his release, moved to London. He died there in 1940.
Threats of death are not new for Farrakhan. In June, he called for "10,000 fearless men" to retaliate against "those who kill us."
"Retaliation is a prescription from God to calm the breasts of those whose children have been slain. So if the federal government will not intercede in our affairs, then we must rise up and kill those who kill us. Stalk them and kill them and let them feel the pain of death that we are feeling," Farrakhan said.
"Death is sweeter than watching us slaughter each other to the joy of a 400 year old enemy. Death is sweet. The Quran teaches persecution is worse than slaughter."
Two weeks after his comments were reported, Farrakhan said the 10,000 "fearless" were not meant to kill whites, and that the media was lying about what he said. A week later, he finally said the 10,000 were being asked to go into the black community and stand between rival gangs to prevent black on black crime.