By Matthew Weaver on November 5, 2008 at 3:10 AM in Barack Obama, Current Affairs, Jesse Jackson, Michelle Obama, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam, Rev. James Meeks, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr., Rev. Michael Pfleger
There has been a virtual wall of silence around Barack Obama’s long-time ties with Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam. One is tempted to dismissively say that the Minister is ‘just a guy in the neighborhood’, much like William Ayers.
Turns out that Ayers was not just a guy in the neighborhood. Nor is Minister Louis Farrakhan. Obama has direct and indirect ties to Minister Farrakhan that date back over the past 20 years.
It is no surprise that Minister Farrakhan has spoken so highly of his friend Barack Obama:
First, the circle of friends and associates that Obama joined in Chicago since the early 1980s includes Minister Farrakhan. The staff on their organizations often overlap, their goals are often the same, and their techniques are as well. And, yes, they are neighbors.
Obama spent three weeks in Pakistan in the early 1980s around the same time that Minister Farrakhan and Reverend Wright were making their own trek to visit Moammar Gadhafi in Libya.
Obama likely first met Minister Farrakhan in the mid-1980s after to Chicago. It’d be hard to imagine that he didn’t, considering their shared community interests, Obama’s past with communist and black nationalist Frank Marshall Davis, and his new friend Reverend Wright. Obama doesn’t say much except that he worked with all the local religious leaders because that was the focus of his community organizing. Reverend Jesse Jackson, PUSH, and Rainbow Coalition also fit into the picture. Reverend Jackson and Minister Farrakhan, themselves, made a trip to Syria together in 1986.
Barack Obama would go on to call Reverend Wright his spiritual advisor, mentor, and friend. He married Barack and Michelle Obama in late 1992 then baptized their children. Obama sat in the pews of Reverend Wright’s church, Trinity United Church of Christ, for nearly 20 years.
In scattered comments throughout the current presidential campaign and in past years, it is clear that Barack Obama also sought out Father Michael Pfleger and Reverend James Meeks as spiritual advisors, mentors, and colleagues on numerous projects. While little is mentioned of Minister Farrakhan, former Farrakhan deputy, Dr. Vibert White, Jr., once known as Brother Vibert L.X., and later as Minister V.L. Muhammad, says they “run deep, and that for many years the two men have had ‘an open line between them’ to discuss policy and strategy, either directly or through intermediaries.” (Obama-Farrakhan Ties Are Close, Ex-Farrakhan Aide Says).
“Remember that for years, if you were a politician in Chicago, you had to have some type of relationship with Louis Farrakhan. You had to. If you didn’t, you would be ostracized out of black Chicago,” said Dr. Vibert White Jr., who spent most of his adult life as a member and ultimately top officer of the Nation of Islam.
In 1995, Reverend Wright and Barack Obama helped their mutual friend, Minister Farrakhan, organize the Nation of Islam’s Million Man March that they all then attended together. In later talking about his black nationalism, Barack explained in a Chicago Reader interview:
“These are mean, cruel times, exemplified by a ‘lock ’em up, take no prisoners’ mentality that dominates the Republican-led Congress. Historically, African-Americans have turned inward and towards black nationalism whenever they have a sense, as we do now, that the mainstream has rebuffed us, and that white Americans couldn’t care less about the profound problems African-Americans are facing.”
Kenneth Timmerman writes, as have others, that Obama’s involvement with the black nationalism of Minister Farrakhan and Reverend Wright, among others, is a connection to Khalid al-Mansour, who helped pay for Barack’s tuition at Harvard Law School:
“Black nationalism” is a current of thought and political action in the African-American community that has been championed by the likes of Farrakhan, Wright, Malcolm X, the Black Panthers and Khalid al-Mansour. Obama discussed his attraction to black nationalism at length in his 1995 memoir “Dreams of My Father.”
In interviews, Khalid al-Mansour, lawyer and friend of the Saudi ruling family, has refused to discuss his relationship with Obama and Obama’s law school funding. As he explains to Kenneth Timmerman:
“In respect to Mr. Obama, I have told him, because so many people are running after him, and when stories get printed they usually get distorted and then he has to spend a lot of time trying to unravel them – and then after the experience of Rev. (Jeremiah) Wright whom I’ve never met, but I’ve followed the media coverage – I was determined that I was never going to be in that situation. I never discuss Barack Obama,” al-Mansour said.
The media frenzy surrounding Barack Obama is quite justified in many respects and in others is a bit intrusive.
Dr. Vibert White, Jr., observes and explains in a recent interview that Barack has learned well from Minister Farrakhan:
“If you listen to the rhetoric and you take away Obama’s political jargon, you hear a religious tenor to it that is very much Nation of Islam-like. I don’t know if anyone has ever touched on it, but Obama’s speaking style is very Malcolm-like, very Farrakhan-like.”
“I don’t know who was training Obama. But that style is not a ministerial style like in the Christian church. It’s a Nation of Islam style.”
“If the Nation of Islam can’t do anything else, it can train people how to speak. And nobody can outspeak a Muslim minister,” he said.
Even Michelle Obama plays a role in this, and very likely an even bigger one than is currently publicly known. Back in June, Larry Johnson at NoQuarterUSA, noted the “role that Louis Farrakhan and his wife, Mother Khadijah Farrakhan, have played in the POLITICAL RISE of Barack and Michelle Obama.”
One happy family: Minister Louis Farrakhan, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Father Michael Pleger, Reverend James Meeks, and, yes, Barack Obama.
Long version of Minister Farrakhan:
Cross-posted at my blog, The Independent View.
Matthew Weaver is president/CEO of Project Weavers, which offers project management training and PMP exam prep courses.