DETROIT (AP) – Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan urged Detroit’s pastors and majority black population Friday to join him in an effort to buy neglected properties and take other steps to help revitalize the struggling city where the movement started more than 80 years ago.
The fiery orator offered few specifics in a speech to the Detroit City Council, but made plain his displeasure with Gov. Rick Snyder’s decision to appoint an emergency financial manager. He likened the takeover to buzzards circling over a carcass.
“The city abandoned, crime and violence rampant, and the governor has seen fit to take away the rights of the voting public,” Farrakhan said, referring to putting someone in charge of the city’s finances that wasn’t elected. “I don’t know what democracy really means if you can be given the right to vote and then somebody can take it away.”
He said the city’s downtown is “coming along pretty good” as its buildings are bought and renovated, but many other areas are “like a wasteland.”
“But a wasteland always gives opportunities those who have a vision,” he said.
Detroit’s problems include high crime, joblessness and abandonment; its budget deficit is about $330 million and rising.
“Suppose we in leadership, the pastors of the city, stop arguing,” he said. “Why shouldn’t we come together and own Detroit?”
At the movement’s annual convention in February, Farrakhan called on blacks nationwide to curb economic disparities by cutting back on excessive spending, pooling resources and investing in land. The Nation of Islam has more than 1,500 acres of farmland in Georgia, and leaders have said the group is looking to buy thousands more acres in the Midwest.
Now based in Chicago, the Nation of Islam was founded in 1930 in Detroit by Wallace D. Fard, who the movement says attracted blacks on the margins of society with a message of self-improvement and separation from whites.
The group, which promotes black empowerment and nationalism, was rebuilt by Farrakhan in the late 1970s.
He became notorious for calling Judaism a “gutter religion” and suggesting crack cocaine might have been a CIA plot to enslave blacks. Farrakhan has over the years denied claims of anti-Semitism, arguing his remarks are often taken out of context and that criticism of Jews in any light automatically earns the “anti-Semite” label.
His message on Friday was one of unity among races and religions, but he said he’s focusing on African-Americans because they are city’s majority population.
Farrakhan said it was important to return to Detroit “at a time of intense dark.”
“We got to come home and help this city,” he said.
Farrakhan also is scheduled to deliver an evening public address at Fellowship Chapel on the city’s northwest side.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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