Fiery Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan renewed a call Sunday for his followers to pool “pennies, nickels and dimes” and amass wealth within their ranks — and he said he’d turn to “gang-bangers” to protect their property.
“You are the natural warriors to defend,” Farrakhan said at the University of Illinois Chicago Pavilion. “And the science of war must be taught to us, so that we will protect whatever God allows us to buy or to build.”
“We have to protect what is ours from any thief or robber,” the controversial leader said.
He touched on the national gun debate, putting a spotlight on Chicago’s gang violence when he added, “That’s where the Second Amendment comes in for us.”
The constitutional right to bear arms holds no relevance in the black community, he said, because of the prevalence of illegal weapons. But Farrakhan said he respects the Second Amendment’s value in warding off government tyranny.
“What they don’t want is an organized black community,” Farrakhan said in his Saviours’ Day address, “and they do not want leaders that organized young black men.”
Saviours’ Day commemorates the Chicago-based Nation of Islam’s founding. Black nationalism and self-reliance have been among the group’s core beliefs ever since the 1930s. Farrakhan’s hours-long speech capped off a convention that draws followers nationwide.
The central theme of his address was a renewed call for the black community to pool fractions of its income — 35 cents from each wage-earner every week — into a national treasury where the money could be used to buy farms and other land.
“America is for sale,” Farrakhan said. “But we are not owning it. We helped build this. Our sweat and blood was used to protect it. Shouldn’t we be co-owners of it? You’ve got to think like that now. I don’t want to walk streets that we don’t own.”
He also took black Americans to task for their own spending habits — including what he said was $3.3 billion a year on tobacco, $3 billion on whiskey, wine and beer, $2.8 billion on non-alcoholic beverages and $19 billion a year on telephone services.
“No wonder the FBI knows everything about you,” Farrakhan said.
And he used the human body as a metaphor for an economy where every organ — or every person — gets exactly what it needs and nothing more. He wondered out loud for the crowd whether he was advocating for socialism.
“I’m advocating what God has set up,” Farrakhan said, “that makes every cell comfortable.”
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