Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan defended himself Thursday after Facebook banned him earlier in the week, saying he’s doesn’t hate Jewish people, women or the LGBT community.
The hate group leader was speaking at a Roman Catholic church on Chicago’s South Side after the Rev. Michael Pfleger invited him following his ban by the social media giant, which had labeled his ideas “dangerous.”
Farrakhan said people shouldn’t get angry with him because, “I stand on God’s word,” and that those who criticize and hate him have never had a conversation with him. Otherwise, he said, they might change their minds.
He agreed with Facebook that he’s dangerous, but said it was because he speaks on issues that can be researched by his listeners.
“Social media, you met me tonight. I plead with the rulers, let the truth be taught,” he said.
“Social media, you met me tonight. I plead with the rulers, let the truth be taught.”
Farrakhan has long been criticized for his anti-Semitic and racist comments. Last year, he lost his verified status on Twitter after posting a hateful video in which he asked, “Will you recognize Satan? I wonder, will you see the Satanic Jew and the Synagogue of Satan, which has many races in it because Satan has deceived the whole world?”
He doubled-down on his anti-Semitic rhetoric, posting another video in recent months where he says that he wasn’t prejudiced against Jewish people but was simply “anti-Termite.”
In November, Farrakhan and his groupies went on a solidarity trip to Iran and led “Death to America” chants.
During the trip, Farrakhan told Iranian students that “America has never been a democracy,” and also led a “Death to Israel” chant at the end of his talk, Iranian news agencies reported.
In the past, he also expressed Holocaust denial and admiration for Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, prompting the media to dub him “Black Hitler.”
Farrakhan’s Chicago appearance didn’t go without controversy. The Archdiocese of Chicago said the decision to invite him was made solely by Pfleger, who didn’t consult with other church officials about it.
“There is no place in American life for discriminatory rhetoric of any kind,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, when religious believers are murdered in their places of worship, we cannot countenance any speech that dehumanizes persons on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, economic status or country of origin.”
The Illinois Holocaust Museum also spoke out against Pfleger for “giving hatred a platform.”
Museum president and Holocaust survivor Fritzie Fritzshall said that when community leaders like Pfleger give a platform to hate and anti-Semitism, “it increases the threat against all of humanity.”