The Birmingham chapter of the Nation of Islam – which is deemed an “extremist,” “deeply racist, antisemitic” “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and led nationally by the infamous Louis Farrakhan – is heading up the boycott effort in Hoover in the aftermath of Emantic “E.J.” Bradford, Jr.’s death in an officer-involved shooting at the Riverchase Galleria on Thanksgiving night.
In a recent Facebook live video posted by Iva Williams, a spokesperson and the vice president for the activist organization led by self-proclaimed Hoover protest leader Carlos Chaverst, Jr., Williams confirmed that Tremon Muhammad, the student minister (pastor) for the Nation of Islam’s Muhammad Mosque No. 69 in Birmingham, is leading the boycott.
He also detailed that the boycott is specifically meant to harm businesses owned by white people, with the activists planning on finding ways to help black-owned businesses in Hoover until their leases are up, at which time the businesses will be expected to move into majority-black areas of Birmingham.
The publication documented a recent meeting of protest leaders and activists held at the Nation of Islam’s Birmingham mosque recently, where that hate group was joined by at least one more – the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense, which has been categorized as such by not only the SPLC, but the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, as well.
The Sun wrote that “speakers at the mosque made it clear this ‘war’ is about much more than Bradford’s death and is about to escalate.”
Cara McClure, a politician and activist who ran unsuccessfully as the Democratic nominee for Public Service Commissioner Place 1 this election cycle, confirmed that they were bringing in people from out of state to bolster the protest efforts.
“It’s time to go to jail. We’re going to do some arrestable actions,” McClure outlined. “It’s our time to fight. … I’m bringing in folks from all across the country to prepare for battle because we’re going to shut down Hoover.”
Muhammad mentioned that this was all part of “a bigger cause” to “build up [their] own people.” For his Nation of Islam, this means “black superiority over whites,” as detailed by the SPLC. This group is so virulently “racist” that they are founded on the belief that white people, as well as Jewish people, are “devils.”
The SPLC added the following about the organization:
The Nation of Islam has a black nationalist agenda: Its program states that blacks should be able to form their own nation. It also holds that blacks should be made exempt from taxation until they have achieved equal justice under the law and that interracial marriage and “race mixing” should be “prohibited.”
Historically, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. deemed this organization as a “hate group,” while Malcolm X, who was a leader in the Nation of Islam, came to denounce it soon before he was assassinated, calling out its “sickness and madness.” 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.
Of course, the longtime leader of the organization, Louis Farrakhan, was at the center of this controversy, as he has been when it comes to some of the most heinous speeches and actions by the Nation of Islam over the last half-century.
As extreme as admitting he believes, “White people deserve to die,” to as bizarre as getting the Nation of Islam involved with the Church of Scientology this decade, Farrakhan is one of the most radical figures in American politics, and his Birmingham representative seems to follow suit.
At the recent meeting, Muhammad explained that his organization is not currently on the front lines of the Hoover protests themselves because “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.”
While Chaverst has not publicly denounced these comments, he did take issue with the Hoover Sun reporting Muhammad’s use of the word “war” to describe the ongoing efforts.
However, it is not just Muhammad and company publicly embracing Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam’s extremist views. Williams, Chaverst’s vice president, has shared Farrakhan propaganda as recently as Sunday on Facebook. Williams also said that “in the black community, we all respect them,” referring to the Nation of Islam.
And it certainly does not help create separation when Chaverst has been referred to as being like Malcolm X when he was a leader of the Nation of Islam, while Le’Darius Hilliard, president of the Jefferson County Millennial Democrats, compares himself to Martin Luther King, Jr.
Additionally, critics will argue, Chaverst would not allow the Nation of Islam to run the boycott efforts if they were not on the same page. The boycott is viewed as a central tenet to the protesters’ plan of making the city go “broke.” Using the slogan “#HooverWrong” (as opposed to “#HooverStrong“) to draw attention to the boycott movement, Chaverst and the other protest leaders have been very open with their intentions of hurting the city’s economy, as well as the small business owners and employees that comprise it.
Of that boycott, Williams advised that their intention is for it to continue “at least a year.”
“We’re going to bring them to their knees,” Williams said.
While businesses in and around the Riverchase Galleria are already hurting, it will remain to be seen if the boycott effort is hampered in the long run by people discovering that the Nation of Islam is simply using the tragic death of Bradford to further its radical goals.
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn