Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan addressing the organization’s national convention in 2017. Photo: Reuters / Rebecca Cook.
Ask average US taxpayers if they would give money to an organization that is openly racist and antisemitic, and you would get a resounding “no” in response.
And yet that is exactly what has happened for more than 20 years, with the Nation of Islam (NOI) receiving federal funds to operate within the US prison system. A recent report by The Washington Examiner‘s Alana Goodman revealed that the NOI received $364,500 dollars from the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) since 2008 to provide inmates with religious services.
The Nation’s news outlet, The Final Call, called the Examiner story “a vicious flourish of lies,” and said that the prison ministry “is a great benefit and blessing to the American Penal System.”
The Nation’s work with the Bureau of Prisons dates back far earlier than 2008. NOI and its officials have been paid to work in prisons since the 1980s. A 1986 Christian Science Monitor article described critics who worried that “Farrakhan’s teachings — more about politics than theology — threaten to radicalize prisoners. They blame him for militant indoctrination of black youth who feel abandoned by American society. Farrakhan’s is a racist, separatist movement, they say, whose message has particular appeal for a group that feels disenfranchised.”