Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has been among the vocal voices weighing in on calls for justice for Trayvon Martin, an unarmed 17-year-old who was gunned down last month while walking home in Sanford, Florida. On Wednesday, a march was held in New York City in support of the teen's family, as federal and local authorities launch investigations into how the incident unfolded and why the state's "stand your ground" law applied to the shooter in this case. On Twitter yesterday and today, Farrakhan sent some curious tweets regarding peace, justice and retaliation that could be interpreted as a veiled threat.
"Where there is no justice, there will be no peace. Soon the law of retaliation may very well be applied," Farrakhan wrote, including the hashtag #Trayvon to clarify the subject of his angst. "Let us see what kind of justice will come for his bereaved family and our bereaved community," he said in the previous social media message:
The text of his "justice" and "peace" tweet raises eyebrows. While one cannot know whether he is merely commenting generally on social responses to injustice or whether he is calling for the "law of retaliation," the lack of clarity in his messaging raises questions. (Related: Fake Asian Accent and ‘Gibberish’: Farrakhan Gets Standing Ovation for Odd UC Berkeley Speech) In follow-up tweets throughout the day on Wednesday and Thursday, he had more to say regarding the tragedy and injustice more generally:
"The fruit of justice is peace. But justice is a principle of fair dealing," he writes in another tweet. "When we fail to do justice, we literally set up conditions that destroy peace." And in his most recent tweet, Farrakhan writes, "Think. Reflect. Then get up and do something for self or suffer the consequences." These messages follow a tweet that Farrakhan sent referencing text from a 2007 sermon. This same article is referenced on the front page of the Nation of Islam's media outlet, The Final Call, as well. In the article, entitled, "Justifiable Homicide: Black Youth In Peril - Pt. 1," the minister claims that "there has been a great display of anti-Black hatred in the United States of America" of late. Additionally, he laments discriminatory actions against African Americans and claims that Black youths have not been informed of the price that their forefathers payed to give them their current lifestyles. Farrakhan uses the words "the enemy" to describe those educating Black youths and says that African Americans have suffered at the hands of "a wicked oppressor." He writes:
I recently had a conversation with the legendary Harry Belafonte, who many young people probably don’t even know. Brother Harry was lecturing at Howard University, and he said the thing that hurt him was that our young people did not even know the recent struggle in the Civil Rights Movement. And that is why a movie could come out called Barber Shop, and Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. could be made light of, shocking the older people in the audience while the younger people laughed. It is not their fault; the youth have not been informed. The sad thing is that we expect the enemy to inform them when it is our duty and our responsibility to, but we are so busy chasing a dollar. We are so fascinated by the material strength of America that we have failed to sit down with our children and teach them the horror of what Black people have suffered in America and throughout the world at the hands of a wicked oppressor. [...] I do not want you to think that I am trying to teach hatred; that is beneath the dignity of a Muslim, or a Christian or a believer in God. But to teach the truth that might produce hatred, that is not my fault. If the truth of something makes you dislike it, then that is not “teaching hate”—that is teaching truth.
In addition to recapping his historical vision of the horrific atrocities that were waged against African Americans in America and abroad, Farrakhan takes aim at police officers with some startling claims. "I want Black youth to hear this message, because police authorities are the same today as they were during slavery," he alleges. "In fact, this is how policing began. Police were formed to catch runaway slaves, bring them back to their masters and make examples of them to throw fear into other slaves. It’s the same today." You can read the rest of Farrakhan's commentary here.