Letter: Reject Farrakhan

By The Daily Illini

As proud alumni of the University and dedicated readers of the DI, we read with great distaste the favorable coverage afforded to Louis Farrakhan’s recent visit to campus (Farrakhan rouses Foellinger crowd, Monday). Louis Farrakhan is one of the most dedicated, hate-mongering men alive today, spreading his anti-Semitic, homophobic, male chauvinistic rhetoric by using na‹ve, surprisingly viable, media organizations.

As recent as a few months ago, Farrakhan said of Jews in a National Press Club speech on May 3, 2004, “The synagogue of Satan is a gathering of persons of like mind and spirit who are in opposition to the will of God.” On March 18 in Boston, Farrakhan accused Jews of profiting from slavery. “If we dig, we run into the Jewish pot of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.” On the Caucasian race, Farrakhan is fond of saying, “White people are potential humans…they haven’t evolved yet.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, 3/18/00).

The DI has a responsibility to cover events on campus, but it also has the journalistic duty to provide its readers with a balanced view of the topic covered. To say Farrakhan is “controversial” would be a massive understatement, yet the article didn’t even go that far.

When we were on campus, we were dedicated to bringing multiculturalism to the U of I through innovative programming such as the Anti-Hate Anti-Violence Campaign and Illinois Student Government outreach to multicultural organizations, among many others. The DI was hesitant then to cover such meaningful programming; it is unfortunate that your paper now seems complicit in continuing the hate and bigotry that persists on campus and elsewhere.

We remain hopeful that members of the sponsoring fraternity, Alpha Phi Alpha, and in general the University population find many of Farrakhan’s positions abhorrent, and we urge all to reject him and his “teachings” outright.

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Jeffrey Shapiro

University alumnus

Student Body President 1999-2000

Jason Abel

University alumnus

founder, Anti-Hate Anti-Violence Campaign