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Op-Ed: Is Minister Farrakhan Being Asked to Do What Chicago Can’t (or Won’t) Do? 

By Phillip Jackson

The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan was criticized last Thursday in a Chicago Sun-Times newspaper column by a Black columnist, Mary Mitchell, because the Minister said that the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.) would protect Beyonce Knowles if the Miami Police won’t do its job to protect her because it is offended by her performance at the Super Bowl that included a song that featured costumes and lyrics from The Black Panther era.

Ms. Mitchell’s major criticism was that Black people are dying in Chicago and if Minister Farrakhan has resources, he should use them to stop “poor Black men and women” from dying on the streets of Chicago, and not use them to protect Beyonce. Her exact words were “Farrakhan’s threat of using the F.O.I. to protect Beyonce is not only a joke, it is a slap in the faces of all the women who are risking their lives everyday trying to save young people.” She also called the strong men of the Nation of Islam “hustlers” of the Final Call newspaper and “sellers” of bean pies, and she spoke of the F.O.I. as a “prop”!

Apparently Ms. Mitchell really doesn’t understand The Nation of Islam and is ignorant about Minister Farrakhan’s history of protecting women, or she has another agenda. So I have a few questions for Ms. Mitchell.

Chicago is getting ready to hire another Police Superintendent at an annual salary of about $300,000. Is she suggesting that Minister Farrakhan get that salary? If so, I am all for that. There are about 12,000 policemen in Chicago (mostly White), that consume about $1.5 billion of the city budget. The level of crime in Chicago suggests the police force is not effective at stopping crime. Is she asking the F.O.I. to recruit 12,000 good men and women to earn this money at about $100,000 each per year to protect our city? If so, again, I am all for that.

Does she know that policing alone won’t stop the violence and killing in any community no matter who is policing? Is she ready to turn over $3.5 billion to the Nation of Islam in Workforce Development and Human Service dollars to support the mission to reduce violence in Chicago? If so, I agree with her.

Poor education feeds crime and violence. The education that most Black children get in Chicago is equivalent to or less than an education received in a Third World country. Is she suggesting that the current Chicago Public School budget of about $6 billion be advanced to the University of Islam to better manage educational outcomes for Chicago students? If so, this is a great idea!

If she does not want the Nation of Islam to receive an approximate $11 billion transfer of city funds to fix problems that others are currently being paid $11 billion dollars to fix, then she is not serious and has another agenda! How can she expect Minister Farrakhan to fix these problems with not even a NICKLE from her nor a DIME from the city?

Minister Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam are currently donating hundreds of millions of dollars in services to cities and towns across America in many ways-both tangible and intangible. In services alone to reclaim felons from prisons across this nation, one could argue that the Nation of Islam should be paid billions of dollars for services previously rendered.

Ms. Mitchell doesn’t really want these problems fixed. She doesn’t really want to help the people on the block. Her column on Minister Farrakhan is actually “the slap in the face” that she talks about to serious people doing the serious work to save Black people’s lives, and her viewpoint lets the people off the hook who are responsible for and being paid billions of dollars while failing to fix these issues.

Attacking Minister Farrakhan won’t fix the problems of violence and killing in Chicago. Working with him will, if she is serious about these issues!

Phillip Jackson is Founder and Executive Director of The Black Star Project.

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