11 Thus saith the Lord, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun.
12 For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before ALL Israel, and before the sun…
2 Samuel 12:11-12
Contrary to what the title may suggest, this is not an article about the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) First Lady, Mrs Khadijah Farrakhan, or any of the other purported Muslim ‘wives’ of NOI leader Minister Louis Farrakhan such as ‘Sister Arifah’, ‘Sister Zinab’, ‘Sister Karen’, ‘Sister Tynnetta’ or any others.
Rather, this article concerns itself with those alleged violations of the NOI’s institutional legal code – the so-called Restrictive Law – arising from Mr Farrakhan’s extramarital affairs with female celebrities such as the actress-singer Lola Falana and (it’s been rumoured) the Tony award-winning singer Melba Moore. Concerning Ms Moore, there is a further allegation that Mr Farrakhan may have embezzled $50,000 in NOI funds to pay off debts owed by the soul diva during the 1980’s. The large sum of money involved has led to speculation that the payment may have been ‘hush money’ aimed at dissuading the artist from resolving her financial difficulties by selling a ‘kiss-and-tell’ story about her presumed romance with Mr Farrakhan to the news media. If true, this affair has all of the hallmarks of the NOI’s very own iteration of the 1994 NAACP scandal in which Benjamin Chavis, the group’s former Executive Director, was dismissed from his post over his misappropriation of $300,000 in the civil rights organisation’s funds in order to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit.
Each of the allegations contained herein derive from the writings and broadcasts of NOI dissident Lance Shabazz as well as from individuals associated with Mr Farrakhan’s elite ‘Executive Protection’ personal security detail (commonly known as the ‘E-Team’) and who have shared their revelations in a well-known NOI online forum.
A Principle of Fair Dealing
Over the years a number of troubling allegations have surfaced, both online and offline (culminating in the 2015 Lance Shabazz memoir Blood, Sweat & Tears as well as his July 2011 Moving On farewell YouTube webcast), to the effect that Mr Farrakhan may have carried on a series of extramarital affairs with women, both within and outside of the NOI, in flagrant violation of the 6th tenet of the Restrictive Law of the Nation of Islam (RL-NOI) – as recorded in the NOI publication The Supreme Wisdom – which strictly forbids fornication and adultery. In addition, Mr Farrakhan has long been suspected of participating in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X – and then lying about it – in clear breach of the 20th, 22nd and 25th tenets of the RL-NOI.
This has raised grave concerns about the independence of the NOI’s judicial process, not the least of which is whether or not Mr Farrakhan, as leader of the organisation, is bound by the same laws that govern the conduct of the movement’s rank-and-file – and whether the NOI chief is acting in a just and lawful manner when he punishes his subordinates for the kinds of violations of which he is alleged to be far more guilty. It also raises fundamental questions as to whether or not, in the event that the NOI leader is found culpable for such violations, the movement has adequate procedures in place through which to establish a Special Tribunal and appoint a Special Counsel for the purpose of subjecting Mr Farrakhan to a Nixon-style IMPEACHMENT PROCEEDING aimed at holding him accountable for his suspected high crimes and misdemeanours.
Wives of the Messenger
In a disgraceful propaganda stunt staged during his 1993 Saviours Day convention in Chicago, Mr Farrakhan paraded what he referred to as “the wives of the Messenger” on stage by way of demonstrating the ‘dignity’ of Elijah Muhammad’s private life and in a bid to discredit Malcolm X. Many in the audience were deeply puzzled as to why Mr Farrakhan would place their Messenger’s ‘wives’ on ‘front street’ while continuing to conceal his own mistresses under a ‘bushel basket’ of secrecy (before grudgingly revealing their existence, a full ten years later, at a ‘Believers Only’ meeting in May of 2003).
Even more perplexing was Mr Farrakhan’s decision to parade Evelyn Williams (one of the purported ‘wives’ of Mr Muhammad) on stage when, as Mr Shabazz revealed in his aforementioned memoir, some of Mr Muhammad’s top officials (Captain Yusuf Shah, Secretary Maceo Hazziez and Assistant Minister Henry X of Harlem’s Mosque #7) had vilified both her and another ‘wife’, Lucille Rosary, as prostitutes in an August 1964 written tirade whose invective echoed a similar diatribe against them by Minister Isaiah Karriem of Baltimore’s Mosque #6 that appeared in that year’s September edition of the Muhammad Speaks newspaper – slurs that would have been suicidal without the express approval or assent of Mr Muhammad himself.
During the aforementioned Saviours Day rally, Mr Farrakhan paraded only four of these purported ‘wives’ in what many saw as a transparent bid to dupe his audience into believing that Mr Muhammad had remained within the ‘up to a maximum of four wives’ matrimonial confines prescribed in the Holy Qur’an when, in reality, ‘the Messenger’ had impregnated more than seven of his teenage secretaries in clear violation of both Islamic guidelines as well as the RL-NOI.
To worsen matters, several of Mr Muhammad’s female companions, upon becoming pregnant with his children, had been dragged before an NOI tribunal, charged with acts of adultery and fornication and excommunicated from the NOI by the very same Mr Muhammad who had seduced them and sired their offspring. And while some of the ladies who appeared at Mr Farrakhan’s rally attempted to defend Mr Muhammad and denounce Malcolm X, history recalls that these self-same ladies had filed paternity suits against Mr Muhammad following their expulsion from the NOI and charged him with the dereliction of his parental duties.
As for Mr Farrakhan himself, 1964 saw him pen a series of vicious and defamatory Muhammad Speaks editorials (with titles like ‘Fall of a Minister’ and ‘Boston Minister tells of Malcolm – Muhammad’s Chief Hypocrite’) in which he denounced Malcolm X as a lying and slandering ‘traitor’ – only to appear on the Saviours Day stage, 29 years later, with the very ‘wives of the Messenger’ whose existence he had previously sought to deny.
Since no marriage certificates or comparable legal documents have ever surfaced to authenticate the matrimony of these ‘wives’ (and since Mr Muhammad himself never publicly acknowledged any such relationship with his former secretaries) Mr Farrakhan’s claims regarding these ladies have long been fiercely disputed by die-hard devotees of Mr Muhammad who acknowledge only one woman – the late Clara Muhammad – as the sole authentic spouse of their Messenger. Indeed, much of the long-standing dissent against Mr Farrakhan within the wider NOI movement stems from what hard-line devotees of Mr Muhammad view as Mr Farrakhan’s fabrications, ‘deviations’ and ‘hypocrisy’ as it relates to their Messenger’s life and works.
As far as his own Muslim ‘wives’ are concerned, Mr Farrakhan’s alleged ‘marriage’ to the late Tynnetta Muhammad has long posed something of a theological – and existential – conundrum. Since embarking on the rebuilding of the NOI, Mr Farrakhan has steadfastly maintained that Elijah Muhammad (who officially passed away in 1975) is, in fact, still “physically alive.” And since ‘Mother Tynnetta’ was one of the ladies whom Mr Farrakhan presented to the world as a “wife of the Messenger” (during his 1993 Saviours Day convention) this would suggest that Mr Farrakhan may have engaged in adulterous sexual relations with the spouse of a man who, as Mr Farrakhan would have it, was still ‘living’ – one of the gravest sins imaginable and a stoning offence in the version of Sunni Islam to which Mr Farrakhan adheres.
Blood of Shabazz
Mr Farrakhan and other former officials of Elijah Muhammad’s NOI have long maintained that, following the 1964 expulsion of Malcolm X from the movement, their Messenger explicitly instructed his remaining followers to “leave Malcolm alone” and in no way cause any harm to come to him or his family. And yet, as the evidence clearly shows, these officials boldly disobeyed their Messenger. By so doing, they violated the 22nd and 25th tenets of the RL-NOI which strictly prohibit acts of violence against and/or the killing of a fellow Muslim and exposed their Messenger to decades-long accusations that he personally ordered or otherwise approved of Malcolm’s assassination.
In writing editorials in the Muhammad Speaks newspaper and issuing public denunciations of Malcolm X as a ‘hypocrite’ – in apparent defiance of Mr Muhammad’s clear instructions – Mr Farrakhan has all but confessed to disobeying his Messenger and violating key tenets of the RL-NOI. As such, he must be fully held to account by the NOI itself. Members of the organization who may possess evidence of Mr Farrakhan’s wrongdoing have a solemn duty to share that information with an NOI-appointed Special Tribunal and Special Counsel. Such cooperation would not constitute ‘treason’ or ‘hypocrisy’ since the parties to whom this information would be divulged would be ones appointed not by ‘the white man’ but by the NOI itself.
Furthermore, since Mr Farrakhan has long justified his own decision to report Malcolm X to Mr Muhammad for sharing details of their Messenger’s private life with himself and other NOI officials, Mr Farrakhan could hardly object to the reporting of his own violations of the RL-NOI by whosoever may have evidence of such. To the contrary, Mr Farrakhan should actively encourage it since the 13th tenet of the RL-NOI requires all Believers to “report all slackness, weakness and wrongdoing.” And it would appear from the foregoing accounts that Mr Farrakhan, who penned a manuscript titled The Restrictive Law of Islam is Our Success, may be guilty of repeatedly and flagrantly violating the very laws about which he wrote with such lengthy and self-righteous erudition.
The assassination of Malcolm X, in which Mr Farrakhan has long been suspected of having participated, was the direct result of the NOI’s systematic violation and disregard of its own legal procedures. Malcolm, who had been the target of a vicious whispering campaign accusing him of slandering the Messenger, was denied due process and a fair hearing before his accusers by a guilt-ridden leader who abused his authority – and Malcolm’s brutal 1965 assassination was the direct result. That tragic history cannot be permitted to repeat itself. For that reason, the NOI must demonstrate to the world that it has matured into an institution whose leader is bound by the same laws that he enforces on his subordinates and whose judiciary is fully independent of his whim. And the only way in which this can be convincingly demonstrated is by putting Mr Farrakhan on trial and punishing him for his own reported violations of NOI law.
If the reported accounts are true, Mr Farrakhan has repeatedly and flagrantly violated the RL-NOI and has done so in the presence of members of his elite personal security detail, the aforementioned ‘E-Team’. These individuals should be subpoenaed to testify before the NOI’s own Special Tribunal. And in the event of a guilty finding, Mr Farrakhan should be impeached and removed from the office he holds as leader of the NOI. The NOI’s Special Tribunal and Special Counsel must both be fully independent of Mr Farrakhan and his Council of Labourers since some of its members may be implicated in the wrongdoing of which Mr Farrakhan himself stands accused. Most importantly, the NOI’s Special Counsel must be a truly independent individual – ideally a former and well-respected member of the NOI who is untainted by any ties of loyalty or patronage to Mr Farrakhan or his associates. Any failure to provide these assurances would send the unmistakable message that Mr Farrakhan and those whom he favours are above the very same laws which they enforce upon others.
[Case Scenario: Agurs Linward X Cathcart (aka Abdul Karriem Muhammad), a close associate of Mr Farrakhan and an individual whom many suspect of having played a critical role in the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, has been repeatedly ‘brought up on charges’ and ‘sat down’ over the years by Mr Farrakhan himself for his various violations of the RL-NOI. Were Mr Cathcart to agree to cooperate with the NOI’s Special Tribunal and testify against Mr Farrakhan in its investigation of the role played by the NOI leader in the murder of Malcolm X, then Mr Cathcart should be offered the prospect of a full pardon by the Special Tribunal in return for his full cooperation. And since Mr Cathcart would be assisting the NOI’s own judiciary (and not ‘the white man’s courts’) he would be immune to accusations of ‘treason’ and ‘hypocrisy’ by those who might level such charges. To the contrary, his assistance in bringing to justice those in its leadership who may have violated the RL-NOI (and thus exposed the organisation to discredit, disrespect and disrepute before the entire world) would distinguish him as one of the greatest patriots in the movement’s history.]
If found guilty of these offences, Mr Farrakhan should be stripped of all of the privileges and prerogatives he enjoys as NOI leader, expelled from the NOI for a minimum of five years, banned from all media appearances or any other acts of publicity, subjected to a severe financial penalty, required to vacate the NOI’s 4855 South Woodlawn Avenue ‘National House’ in Chicago (as well as its 2118 East Violet Drive hacienda in Phoenix, Arizona) and, upon his return to the fold, he should do so as an entry-level Fruit of Islam (FOI) soldier selling copies of the Final Call newspaper on Chicago’s streets.
In addition to his long-rumoured romance with singer-actress Lola Falana, one of the graver allegations levelled against Mr Farrakhan by Mr Shabazz in his Moving On webcast relates to the possible embezzlement of $50,000 in NOI funds to pay off debts owed by the Tony award-winning singer Melba Moore. Since this payment was made around the time Mr Farrakhan was issuing public appeals for funds with which to purchase Mosque Maryam and other former NOI properties this transaction raises grave concerns about financial irregularities and possible fraud carried out by Mr Farrakhan.
One question that some have raised is whether or not any of the Melba Moore funds were misappropriated from the $5-million loan which the NOI had received in 1985 from the Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and which Mr Farrakhan had publicly proclaimed was earmarked for ‘economic development’ under the People Organized and Working for Economic Rebirth (POWER) program. If true, such an alleged diversion of funds may amount to a theft from the NOI treasury and a defrauding of the Libyan people by Mr Farrakhan. Furthermore, in view of reports that Mr Gaddafi may have been seeking the full repayment of the POWER loan, it would appear that the Libyan leader’s 2011 overthrow and gruesome execution were developments which Mr Farrakhan – for all the public fury he vented and sorrow he feigned – privately welcomed since the Obama administration had inadvertently helped to eliminate Mr Farrakhan’s single biggest creditor.
In view of these activities one is left to conclude that Mr Farrakhan bears significant responsibility for the NOI’s culture of corruption which saw a number of his top lieutenants, most notably his international representative Akbar Muhammad, criminally indicted on various fraud charges between 1980 and 2009. After all, there must have been something of a permissive environment within the NOI which tempted these senior officials to even contemplate such chicanery without fear of the consequences and the only individual who could have fostered such a climate is Mr Farrakhan himself. Put another way, these NOI officials, in the financial misdeeds in which they engaged, would appear to have been following Mr Farrakhan’s lead.
The Lockhart Affair
In his Moving On webcast, Mr Shabazz has also alluded to wild celebrity parties that were held by the late actor Calvin Lockhart and that were attended by Mr Farrakhan and during which the NOI leader engaged in activities which, in the words of Mr Shabazz, “would shock you.” Whether or not any of these alleged activities involved misconduct that contravened the RL-NOI remains to be determined but Mr Shabazz’s imputations are especially disquieting since he makes them as someone in a position to know or who otherwise has access to individuals who possess first-hand knowledge of the implied indiscretions.
If President William Jefferson Clinton of the United States of America could face impeachment proceedings in 1999 arising from the improprieties in which he engaged with a single mistress, the intern Monica Lewinsky – and then lying about it to the American people – few would dispute that Mr Farrakhan, whose own violations of the RL-NOI resulting from the far graver misconduct in which he has reportedly engaged with multiple mistresses, is any less deserving of the same judicial censure.
When one considers that even a figure as seemingly all-powerful as the Supreme Leader of Iran is yet accountable to a deliberative body of theologians known as the ‘Assembly of Experts’ – and who are charged with electing and removing the Ayatollah and supervising his activities – one is left to wonder as to why a similar entity has never been established within the NOI and to which its own leader is just as answerable. The time is long past due for the NOI to fully enforce its own laws and to bring Mr Farrakhan to justice for his reported violations of those laws. And if Mr Farrakhan is found guilty he should be punished with the same severity as that which he reserved for those of his subordinates found to have engaged in similar transgressions. Especially since he would appear to be amongst his own movement’s very worst offenders.
Tragedy at Mosque Maryam
Back in April of 1993, Mr Farrakhan delivered one of his most talked-about sermons of that period and one that sparked significant controversy over its supposedly ‘homophobic’ themes. Entitled ‘The Problem of Suicide and the Causes of Homosexuality’ the speech was noteworthy not so much for its content as for the listeners at whom it was aimed. Its primary constituency was (ostensibly) the African-American community at large but it had a second, and far more important, audience that was much closer to home. Part-sermon and part-eulogy, Mr Farrakhan spoke about the recent suicide of a member of the Mosque Maryam FOI who had taken his own life for reasons which, at the time, were known to only a very few within the NOI.
For during the previous eighteen months, Mr Farrakhan had been wrestling with one of the most shocking scandals to have ever hit the NOI and one that may even stand apart as unique in all Islamic history. In the movement’s own replay of the Nazi-era ‘Ernst Röhm Affair’ it had emerged that a group of FOI soldiers (known as the ‘Task Force’), and who were affiliated with Mr Farrakhan’s flagship mosque in Chicago, had been engaged in homosexual activities right under Mr Farrakhan’s nose and that one of them had taken his own life after a jilted lover had threatened to reveal their gay relationship to the former’s (female) fiancé. And while the identities of the persons involved will remain confidential this scandal would appear to represent perhaps the only known instance in the history of Islam where a cabal of homosexuals was actively operating within a mosque. The Gestapo-like efficiency with which this sordid affair was later covered-up by Mr Farrakhan and his minions is both a testament to the Kafkaesque paranoia which permeates his organisation and the moral rot that is slowly devouring it from within.
The Supreme Wisdom
During a 1991 Chicago sermon entitled ‘The Black Man Must Do for Self or Suffer the Consequences’ Mr Farrakhan declared that if he ever “sold out the mission of the rise of black people” he granted the FOI permission to execute him. When one considers that Mr Farrakhan, who has been the leader of the NOI for a staggering thirty-eight years and during which time he appears to have expended more energy on mastering the three movements of Mendelssohn’s violin concerto than he has on delivering on the NOI’s long sought-after goal of independent statehood (as called for in his organisation’s manifesto known as ‘The Muslim Program’), few would dispute that the NOI leader now fully warrants the penalty which he prescribed for himself as a result of his treasonable dereliction of duty and criminal abdication of his leadership responsibilities.
Mr Farrakhan, who showed little mercy in humiliating and expelling Khalid Abdul Muhammad from the NOI following the latter’s infamous 1993 Kean College address, now stands accused of far graver violations than anything of which his former National Spokesman was ever suspected. And having publicly called for the murder of Malcolm X on the grounds that Malcolm was a ‘traitor’, the time has come to evaluate Mr Farrakhan’s own record as NOI leader according to his own unforgiving criteria and to determine what punishment should be forthcoming should he be found wanting.
Having previously called for the criminal prosecution of former US President George W Bush and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for the roles they each played in the unlawful 2003 invasion of Iraq – arguing that their respective positions as heads of state should afford neither man immunity from accountability – the same principle should now apply to Mr Farrakhan himself where his own reported violations of the RL-NOI are concerned. Mr Farrakhan should be called to account for his wrongdoing and the NOI, whose institutional credibility is now at stake, has a solemn obligation to demonstrate to the world that its system of justice is truly blind and is one that makes no distinction between the leadership and the rank-and-file where the enforcement of the Restrictive Law is concerned.
Mr Farrakhan’s reported violations are all matters which the NOI’s proposed Special Tribunal and Special Counsel must fully investigate and its accused leader has a moral duty to foot the bill of any inquest out of the financial resources of his own personal estate. The time has come for the NOI to fully enforce its own Restrictive Law as it relates to the reported violations of that law by Mr Farrakhan himself. The movement must move swiftly to deal with Mr Farrakhan in the way in which a nation deals with such a delinquent and if found guilty of the most serious violation – murder – then such a man as Mr Farrakhan will have shown himself to be ‘worthy’ of the same penalty of which he once deemed Malcolm X.
By taking these actions, the NOI will have demonstrated to the world that it has attained a level of institutional maturity wherein it can be trusted to investigate, put on trial and punish the wrongdoing of not only the ‘little believers’ amongst the organisation’s rank-and-file but those impeachable high crimes and misdemeanours perpetrated by the self-anointed ‘Big Believer’ himself: Minister Louis Farrakhan.