Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and former President Barack Obama have had a curious relationship. There have been words thrown back and forth. Yet in 2018, an old photo of them surfaced from 2005 that showed they appeared friendly.
“The photo of Obama and Farrakhan was taken at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting in 2005, but it never reached the public eye after the caucus asked the photographer, Askia Muhammad, to hand it over in fear that it would stain Obama’s political future,” The Washington Examiner reported.
“I sort of understood what was going on,” Muhammad told Talking Points Memo. “I promised and made arrangements to give the picture to Leonard Farrakhan,” the leader’s chief-of-staff and son-in-law.
“Realizing that I had given it up, I mean, it was sort of like a promise to keep the photograph secret,” the photographer said.
What’s not a secret is that Farrakhan has had a love-hate relationship with Obama. He has praised Obama, as well as been highly critical of the former president.
Here are 20 quotes from Minister Farrakhan on Obama.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Farrakhan urged his followers not to abandon Obama over the then-senator’s denunciation of him during a Democratic debate, CBS reported.
“Those who have been supporting Sen. Barack Obama should not allow what was said during the Feb. 26 presidential debate to lessen their support for his campaign. This is simply mischief intended to hurt Mr. Obama politically,” Farrakhan said at the time.
Speaking at the American Clergy Leadership Conference in 2011, Farrakhan lambasted Obama over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as the U.S. military intervention in Libya. Farrakhan called Obama an “assassin” and a “murderer,” The Huffington Post reported.
“We voted for our brother Barack, a beautiful human being with a sweet heart,” Farrakhan said. “Now he’s an assassin.”
America “puts her trust in her weapons of war,” he continued. “She threatens the nations of the earth and has my brother calling for the assassination of brother Muammar Gaddafi. What has he done? I can defend that man. You don’t know that man.”
Farrakhan once compared Obama to the Nation of Islam’s founder, Fard Muhammad, who also had a white mother and Black father.
“A Black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” Farrakhan said of Obama during a 2008 speech. “A Black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.”
It was a total praise fest during a 2008 speech Farrakhan gave. He said of Obama, “This young man is the hope of the entire world that America will change and be made better. This young man is capturing audiences of black and brown and red and yellow. If you look at Barack Obama’s audiences and look at the effect of his words, those people are being transformed,” CBS reported.
When asked about the-presidential candidate Barack Obama on ABC’s “Nightline,” Farrakhan had only nice things to say. He said, “I like him very much. I like him, he has a fresh approach. And I’m fearful, because there’s a structure in our government that no matter who sits in the seat of power, there are forces that one has to contend with if one is able to attract the masses of their votes. Barack Obama is doing quite well.”
When Obama was the presidential candidate, Farrakhan referred to him as the “messiah.”
At a 2008 Saviours’ Day event, Farrakhan told the crowd that when Obama talks, “the Messiah is absolutely speaking,” the blog Women of Grace reported.
He added, “You are the instruments that God is going to use to bring about universal change, and that is why Barack has captured the youth. And he has involved young people in a political process that they didn’t care anything about. That’s a sign. When the Messiah speaks, the youth will hear, and the Messiah is absolutely speaking.”
During a “Nightline” interview, Farrakhan spoke of the pluses of Obama attending an Indonesian School as a child where he learned about Islam.
“As for the controversy over Obama’s early Muslim education, Farrakhan said that, if anything, it should help him rather than hurt him.
“There’s not a paper that you pick up today that doesn’t have some reference to a Muslim or Islam, whether it’s radical or secular or this or that,” Farrakhan said. “So when a man gets into the presidency who has some appreciation for the culture of Islam as well as the culture of Christianity and is respectful of the Jewish culture, that man has a heck of a chance to heal wounds and to bring people together.”
“I love that brother, and I want to see that brother successful. I don’t want to say anything that would hurt that brother and I don’t want them to use me or the Nation of Islam,” Farrakhan said during a 2008 Saviours’ Day speech.
In 2009, Farrakhan seemed hyped about the prospect of an Obama administration, even though Obama has distanced himself from the Nation of Islam, NBC News Washington reported.
During a three-hour speech before an estimated 14,000 followers, Farrakhan said of Obama: “There’s an energy among our people that has never been seen before, never produced by any man or organization before. But we must not allow our people to live in a false world of euphoria. We must accept our responsibility to build our communities.”
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“Even with this remarkable event, the country remains divided and polarized,” Farrakhan said during a speech titled “America’s New Beginning: President-Elect Barack Obama,” The Chicago Tribune reported.
During his 2008 “America’s New Beginning: President-Elect Barack Obama” speech, Farrakhan urged the audience to protect Obama.
“Don’t do this young man harm,” Farrakhan said. “This man not only needs our protection and divine protection, he needs all of us…to ask, ‘What can I do to make him a successful president?'”
When speaking about Obama’s legacy, Farrakhan said he felt the first Black president has shown “more support for Israel and for gay rights than for African-American people,” The Grio reported.
At a service at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. in 2016, he said, “There’s your legacy, Mr. President…it’s in the streets with your suffering people…And if you can’t go and see them, then don’t worry about your legacy…’cause the white people that you serve so well… they’ll preserve your legacy — the hell they will — but you didn’t earn your legacy with us!”
He continued, “You didn’t earn your legacy with Black people. You fought for the rights of gay people… You fight for Israel… Your people are suffering and dying in the streets! That’s where your legacy is. Now you failed to do what should have been done.”
In 2010 Farrakhan spoke of the trouble he thought Obama would face getting things done. He spoke of the white right “conspiring to make Obama a one-term president and pointed to his stalled efforts to introduce health care legislation as proof,” CBS News reported.
“President Obama should acknowledge the poor and come back home to his base — even if it means being a one-term president,” Farrakhan said in 2012, according to Praise Philly.
In 2016, Farrakhan accused Obama of forgetting the streets of Chicago, EUR reported.
“I just want to tell you, Mr. President, you’re from Chicago, and so am I,” Farrakhan said during a service at Union Temple Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.
“I go out in the streets with the people. I visited the worst neighborhoods. I talked to the gangs. And while I was out there talking to them, they said ‘You know, Farrakhan, the president ain’t never come. Could you get him to come and look after us?’”
Farrakhan urged Obama to work for the community as he once did. “Come on back to the hood. Start organizing like you did,” he advised Obama in 2016.
“The government of America and its leadership is taking America and the world on a very dangerous course, and I would not be a good student of my teacher the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as a Warner from Allah, and not raise my voice in harmony with his, to warn President Obama and this administration as well as the Congress of the United States, of the danger of the course that America is embarking on,” said Minister Farrakhan in 2013.
During a speech in Montgomery, Alabama, in 2013, Farrakhan urged Obama to step away from his advisers. “May I respectfully say Mr. President, your advisers don’t seem to be your friends,” Farrakhan said, according to the L.A. Sentinel. “Mr. President, they’re destroying you little by little so that you’ll become involved in the spiderweb of their lies and treachery.”
Farrakhan severely criticized President Obama for having the U.S. participate in the airstrikes against Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, BET reported.
Farrakhan expressed outrage that Obama took part in the attack during an interview WVON-AM. “Why don’t you organize a group of respected Americans and ask for a meeting with Gaddafi. You can’t order him to step down and get out. Who the hell do you think you are?” he said, according to Gantdaily.com.