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December 30, 1994 - Image 44

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1994-12-30

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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Farrakhan's Paper
Is Lauded

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS

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NEXT YEAR_IN JERUSALEM

There is a program at The Hebrew University that is just right for you. Whether you're
an undergrad or a doctoral student, whether your ideal stay in Israel is three weeks or
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he Final Call, the official
organ of Louis Farrakhan's
Nation of Islam, often has
been condemned as an
anti-Semitic rag that perpetu-
ates some myths about Jews:
They masterminded slavery,
committed genocide against
Palestinians and control the
banks, commerce and enter-
tainment of the United States.
But praise now comes for The
Final Call from the Utne Read-
er, the Reader's Digest for what's
left of the counterculture and "al-
ternative media." In the Min-
neapolis-based magazine,
free-lancer Salim Muwakkil calls
The Final Call a "sprightly bi-
monthly" that is "poised ideolog-
ically between the socialist left
and the NOI's peculiar national-
ism. This, incidentally, is the
same political position staked out
by Muhammad Speaks, the pub-
lication's illustrious predecessor."
Mr. Muwakkil also calls The
Final Call "an excellent source of
the kind of `Afro-diasporic' news
(that is, news about Africa and
its diaspora) rarely found in the
mainstream media."
Mr. Muwakkil further stated
that Minister Farrakhan's "pop-
ularity [among blacks] is based
largely on the NOI's 50-year
record of rehabilitative success
among forsaken people whom
others have ignored. Most black
urbanites can tell tales of so-
ciopaths transformed into sober
workaholics through conversion
to the NOI's austere doctrine. The
group's network of private schools
has a long reputation for ex-
tracting excellence from black
students who fail so disappoint-
ingly elsewhere. The Nation of Is-
lam also is known for producing
communities largely free of drug
commerce and violent crime."
The only mention Mr.
Muwakkil makes of the black-
white/black-Jewish tensions ig-
nited earlier this year, courtesy
of the Nation of Islam, is fairly
oblique. He stated that although
"the rancid rhetoric of I.U-ialid Ab-
dul Muhammad [whose defama-
tory speech at New Jersey's Kean
College earned a mild rebuke
from Minister Farrakhan]
pushed things off track for a
while, Farrakhan's quest for
mainstream respectability is
making progress."
Say what you will about Mr.
Muwakkil's assessment of The
Final Call, but it's worth noting
that recent issues of the NOI pa-
per, in contrast to those during,
say, the first half of this year,
have included few articles about
Jews, Israel or the Middle East.

T

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Louis Farrakhan speaks out.

The Dec. 14 issue, for example,
has only one article about the
Middle East. This is by columnist
All Baghdadi, who is pleased that
the American and Israeli gov-
ernments seem to acknowledge
that Yassir Arafat is their logical
bulwark against the extremism
of Hamas, the Islamic terrorist
group. This is a distant cry from
Mr. Baghdadi's Jew- and Israel-
bashing of just a few months ago.
James Muhammad, editor of
The Final Call, told the Baltimore
Jewish Times that any diminu-
tion of articles about Jews or Is-
rael, which he said he hadn't
noticed, is "probably a response
to how Minister Farrakhan is
portrayed in the mainstream me-
dia. If you look at the media,
there's been very little about the
minister recently. The minister
responded when he was attacked
by Jewish groups. We're about di-
alogue, not about rhetoric."
Mr. Muhammad rejected the
suggestion that diminished cov-
erage of Jews in his paper reflects
a change of policy by Nation of Is-
lam leaders regarding the Jew-
ish community.

Second Coming
May Be Soon

One would think that the year
2000, which is only five years
away, would have theological
meaning only for some Chris-
tians, who see Jesus' 2,000th
birthday as the possible "second
coming" of their messiah.
Indeed, the meaning that
.Christians endow in the begin-
•ning of the next millennium —
and their expectations for it — is
the central focus of the Dec. 19

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