The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Farrakhan Using Libya Conflict to Recruit New Nation of Islam Members

By aaroncynic in News on Apr 13, 2011 2:00PM

Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan is using the current conflict in Libya to renew interest in the Nation of Islam. The Chicago News Cooperative reports that Farrakhan’s defense of his “brother,” Libyan dictator Colonel Moammar Qaddafi has given him a chance to bring the Nation back into the public eye. Membership in the organization has dropped to almost half the 100,000 members the Nation was estimated to have in the mid 90’s.

At a rally on March 31st, Farrakhan told followers at Mosque Maryam, the Nation’s headquarters, “What kind of brother would I be if a man has been that way to me, and to us, and when he’s in trouble I refuse to raise my voice in his defense?” This isn’t the first time Farrakhan has defended the Libyan dictator, who has lent the Nation millions of dollars.

Even though the Nation’s membership has waned over the years, the charisma of the organization and its leader has still kept it going. Though the idea of a 76 trillion year old Earth or the defense of a Middle Eastern despot will probably keep the Nation out of the mainstream, it still has relevance for some. Edward E. Curtis IV, professor of religious studies at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis told the CNC “Even if parts of its unique theology are abandoned,” he said, “its emphasis on self-help, black pride, economic independence and political self-determination are likely to be incorporated in whatever denominational forms emerge from the Nation of Islam movement.”