Farrakhan and Gadhafi: Conflict of Interest?

Farrakhan and Gadhafi: Conflict of Interest?

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has admonished President Obama for being a puppet and further revealed that Libya has lent the Nation of Islam $8 million dollars over the years. Are Farrakhan's statements genuine or the result of money changing hands?

Published April 1, 2011

With a prophecy of a looming natural disaster in the U.S., Louis Farrakhan has once again made public comments defending Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, calling him a friend and a brother.

In a two-hour speech, the Nation of Islam leader admonished President Obama for being a puppet and further revealed that Libya has lent the Nation of Islam $8 million dollars over the years. Are Farrakhan's statements genuine or the result of money changing hands?

Gadhafi and Farrakhan have been allies for quite some time. The correspondence first began in 1996 when Farrakhan made a journey to Tripoli to visit Gadhafi. In 2007, the Libyan leader addressed Farrakhan’s congregation via satellite praising him for his efforts during the Million Man March calling Farrakhan a ‘freedom figher.” 

While both parties seem to hold a mutual respect for each other, the relationship comes into question when the money aspect comes into play. During his speech at the National of Islam’s headquarters, Farrakhan acknowledged that the opulent building was funded with a $3 million dollar loan from Gadhafi. $5 million went to pay back taxes and costs incurred by Elijah Muhammad, founder of the Nation of Islam according to Newsvine.com. In 1996, the Clinton administration rejected an application filed by Farrakhan to accept a $1 billion donation from Libya.

Farrakhan accuses the U.S. of seeking to remove Gadhafi from power in order to gain access to Libya’s oil industry unhindered. However, with the amount of money that has changed hands over the years, it’s not a far stretch of the imagination to assume that Gadhafi has done what political lobbyists have been doing for decade -- purchased a talking head with which to push their agenda. Farrakhan has called attention to perceived American missteps while praising Gadhafi’s triumphs, even condoning the Libyan leaders killing of his own people, calling it “killing traitors.”

While it is easy for African-Americans to feel conflicted about the implications of a Black president staging an assault on an African nation, it’s important to get the facts on both sides of the equation. We should be asking the tough questions. Who are the rebels? Why does the West seem so eager to remove Gadhafi now? What is there to gain from a Gadhafi-free Libya? How many people have died at the hands of Gadhafi? When we receive the answers, however, we should try to make sure that they aren’t coming from someone who’s organization is a direct beneficiary of the person in question’s kindness.

What do you think? Is Minister Farrakhan wrong to defend Moammar Gadhafi? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Written by Sherri L. Smith

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