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The Min. Louis Farrakhan went to Detroit as one of many civil rights leaders who is pushing to help the city reclaim its former glory. The minister told the residents of black Detroit that it’s critical that they stick together, especially when fighting against the forces that are seeking to steal their resources. Farrakhan turned 80 years old this month, but has as much fire and energy as anyone, and is pushing black people to love themselves enough to fight for justice.
Speaking to about 250 religious and community leaders here Thursday, minister Louis Farrakhan urged unity among African Americans and called on them to buy up property in Detroit.
“We don’t have a lot of money,” Farrakhan said of African Americans. “But we have about 500,000 to 600,000 blacks” still in Detroit.
“If we would unite, we could choose what part of downtown we want,” he said. “Don’t let them drive you out of those homes.”
Farrakhan, a Muslim who heads the Nation of Islam, preached a conservative message of self-reliance and family values coupled with black empowerment as he defended himself against charges he’s hateful and anti-Semitic.
Speaking at New Destiny Christian Fellowship Church in Detroit, Farrakhan urged Christian pastors to stay true to the teachings of the Bible and not compromise on such issues as gay marriage. He quoted frequently from the Bible and the teachings of Jesus as he told the crowd that Detroit can rebuild itself only if its people are grounded in good morals.
“We have to be a better example for the people. … As pastors, we got to come back to Christ,” Farrakhan said. “We got to get in line with him.”
“If Christ was your Lord,” you could “rise this city up,” he declared, drawing loud cheers from the crowd.
Farrakhan is in Detroit this week for the first time since 2007, when he addressed 50,000 at Ford Field. Since the Nation of Islam was started in Detroit, Farrakhan said he feels an obligation to help the city. He is to speak Friday before the Detroit City Council and at Fellowship Chapel, the Detroit church led by the head of the Detroit Branch of the NAACP.
While most of his talk was about religion, Farrakhan outlined an economic plan of having about 150 pastors “pool our resources” to purchase land and buildings. “You could buy all those rundown buildings.”
And then, “let’s go sell it and take some of that money and give it to the young people.”
He told the largely Christian crowd they shouldn’t be afraid to stand firm on moral issues and challenge power.
“Jesus wasn’t loved,” Farrakhan said. “He challenged Roman authority. … He was dealing with hypocrisy.”
And he told the pastors to focus on turning around lives and bringing people into the church.
Using the metaphor of fishing used in the Bible, Farrakhan said: “You’re not following Christ if you’re not fishing. … That’s the mission of the ministers of Christ.”
Farrakhan said there shouldn’t be division between Islam and Christianity.
“You can’t be a Muslim if you don’t believe in Jesus,” he said.
Farrakhan also urged black pride, telling the African-American crowd: “You’re the people of God. … You’re the builders of civilization.”
One problem facing African Americans is that they’re often divided, he said.
“The envy is so heavy … backbiting, slander, gossip,” Farrakhan said.
Regarding claims that he is hateful, Farrakhan said: “Why do they say that Farrakhan is anti-Semitic? I’m 80 years old. I’ve never been arrested, not even for spitting on a sidewalk. … Is there a Jewish synagogue I’ve defaced?”
Religious leaders who attended praised Farrakhan’s message.
“We love Louis Farrakhan,” said David Hollyfield, a minister from Plymouth, in his benediction after Farrakhan’s talk.
The Rev. Horace Sheffield of New Destiny said in his introduction of Farrakhan: “They want to silence people who tell the truth.”