Hoover boycott leader defends Louis Farrakhan, talks about ‘the enemy’
Student minister Tremon Muhammad, who leads the Nation of Islam’s Birmingham mosque, took to Facebook Monday evening to defend Louis Farrakhan and attack the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and “all of those that are aligned with them.”
Muhammad, who posted his thoughts in an approximately 45-minute Facebook Live video, was reacting to Yellowhammer News’ article from earlier that day that revealed he was leading the Hoover boycott efforts in the wake of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s death in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
“[W]hat’s happening in Birmingham is just a sign of what’s going to be happening all across America,” Muhammad said.
He called Yellowhammer News “the enemy” and reaffirmed that the Nation of Islam’s involvement leading the Hoover boycott was part of a bigger plan.
Locally, this is an opportunity for them to immediately advance their agenda.
“Boycott Hoover and build up black Birmingham,” Muhammad summarized.
Again using the term “the enemy,” he affirmed that the Nation of Islam’s efforts were to be a “war” against the City of Hoover and its citizens, however Muhammad emphasized they were not advocating violence.
“So, the word ‘war’ was used a few times [last week at the protesters’ organizational meeting], but of course we know that language – the English language – is not our language,” Muhammad asserted, gesturing to himself. “You taught it to us, I’m just trying to do the best I can with it.”
He then said that he has been using “war” in strictly figurative terms when it comes to unrest in Hoover, before asserting that, “You have never heard the Nation of Islam call for a race war.”
It should be noted, in context, that Muhammad said at the meeting he referenced last week that “the Nation of Islam does not subscribe to the theory of nonviolence.”
“If we go out there, we ain’t going out there to play. If we go out there, and we get engaged in combat, … If they touch one of our sisters or hit one of our young people or hit one of the brothers, we’re not out there just to fight,” Muhammad emphasized. “Everybody and everything got to die on sight.”
In the video, Muhammad then read a definition of “war” and then explained that he would continue using the word to describe the Nation of Islam’s efforts in Hoover and the Birmingham metro area.
“The creation of the City of Hoover was an act of war against Birmingham,” Muhammad reflected.
About a minute later, while talking about “white flight,” Muhammad seemed to take his definition of “the enemy” to mean white people in general. Later on, he also criticized “oreos,” which he defined as “black on the outside and white on the inside,” as well as “graham crackers,” which he referred to as “brown on the outside.”
Muhammad transitioned into a line-by-line analysis of Yellowhammer News’ article, starting with the opening line that references the SPLC calling the organization an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group.”
“By black people – no. By the masses of white people – no. By the Southern Poverty Law Center. Stop right there,” Muhammad retorted.
The minister then launched into a tirade against the SPLC, referring to their “wicked pen” and saying if they could not prove their claims about the Nation of Islam, they should “shut [their] mouth.”
Muhammad then referenced a recent speech made by the Nation of Islam’s leader Louis Farrakhan, outlining that Farrakhan had “challenged the Southern Poverty Law Center, the ADL and all of those that are aligned with them.”
The ADL is focused on opposing anti-semitism, while working for civil rights for all. The SPLC describes itself as being “dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Muhammad, in the video, continued to defend Farrakhan, saying he was not an “extremist,” “deeply racist” or “anti-semitic.”
“I’ve got a question for you. Did Farrakhan bring you into slavery?” Muhammad asked his followers.
After asking more similar rhetorical questions, Muhammad said, “Farrakhan didn’t do none of that, Farrakhan redeemed fallen humanity.”
It should be noted that members of the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan included, hold a core belief that the white race was created by a black scientist named Yakub (it is their characterization of the biblical Jacob) thousands of years ago. The Nation of Islam refers to the race he created – white people – as “devils” while black people are the “Original People.”
The organization’s doctrine, which is shunned by mainstream Islam, also holds that black people’s destiny is to wrestle control of the world back away from these “devils” and put them in their supposed rightful place.
Indeed, Farrakhan has not been shy about this belief. When asked by Tim Russert in a 1997 appearance on “Meet the Press,” Farrakhan acknowledged his belief that “whites are blue-eyed devils,” adding the following:
In the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, it talks about the fall of Babylon. It says Babylon is fallen because she has become the habitation of devils. We believe that that ancient Babylon is a symbol of a modern Babylon which is America.
In the video, Muhammad continued, “The only thing [Farrakhan] did was raise his people up to a certain level [from what] they put us in. So, you charge a man that’s trying to pick us up from the condition that you put us in and you’re gunna charge him with hate.”
He went on to criticize Yellowhammer News’ article as trying to separate him from mainstream members of “the movement” and thanked the publication for saying he was following in Farrakhan’s footsteps, calling that a “compliment.”
“Trying to force brother Carlos [Chaverst] to say he’s not with [us], trying to force me to say I’m not with him, but we are family. … Even if we disagree, we’re not going to disagree in front of you, Yellowhammer,” Muhammad said.
He then continued to selectively go line-by-line attempting to rebut Yellowhammer News’ article, skipping over parts that quoted both he and Farrakhan in their own words, as well as a key line noting, “This group is so virulently ‘racist’ that they are founded on the belief that white people, as well as Jewish people, are ‘devils.’”
While his method of rebuttal throughout most of the video was to lash out at the SPLC, the ADL, Yellowhammer News, etc., simply saying they were lying and challenging them to “prove it” throughout, the clearest example of his struggle with the truth came during his version of Malcolm X’s assassination, which was quite unequivocally false.
Regarding Malcolm X’s death, Yellowhammer News originally wrote the following:
Many have blamed the organization for his assassination, with three of its members being convicted in his killing. The so-called ringleader of the three, who confessed to firing upon Malcolm X, was promoted to become the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque after his release from prison.
In the video, Muhammad responded directly to this passage, concluding, “That did not happen.”
“You are a damn liar,” Muhammad said. “I want to say something else but I’m trying to be a good representative of the ‘honorable minister’ Louis Farrakhan. But I really want to tell you what kind of liar you are. And really I can say that you’re a God-damned liar. Because God damns all liars.”
He continued to say that there was “only one man that confessed to actually shooting Malcolm X” and “that man didn’t even get out of prison.”
“Prove it!” the Muhammad emphasized, ending his claims about the assassination.
The facts do not support Muhammad. Three Nation of Islam members were convicted of the murder. Talmadge Hayer (Thomas Hagan), Norman 3X Butler and Thomas 15X Johnson were all convicted. Hayer maintained the other two charged were innocent but a decade after his conviction admitted four other Nation of Islam members participated in the killing. Malcolm was shot 21 times.
All three of the convicted men were eventually released from prison, despite life sentences. Butler, today known as Muhammad Abdul Aziz, was paroled in 1985 and became the head of the Nation of Islam’s Harlem mosque in 1998. In prison Johnson, who changed his name to Khalil Islam, rejected the Nation of Islam’s teachings and converted to Sunni Islam. He was released in 1987. Hayer, who also rejected the Nation’s teachings while in prison and converted to Sunni Islam, is known today as Mujahid Halim. He was paroled in 2010.
Nevertheless, Muhammad decried that his followers were being misled – and not by him.
“[W]hen you throw these lies out here and then our people read it, and some are young and don’t necessarily know the history, or you may be a little ignorant, I’m not being disrespectful, ignorant of the ways or the history of the Nation of Islam and you may believe what they say, that’s why I gotta come out here and knock out the brains of falsehood,” Muhammad claimed.
He added, “I know the steps of the white man, because Farrakhan trained me well.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn