A journalist who took a picture of then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama of Illinois and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has admitted that he kept the existence of the photo quiet for 13 years.
Askia Muhammad is publishing a book later this month in which the long-suppressed photo of Obama and Minister Farrakhan will finally appear. Muhammad snapped the 2005 photo of Obama and Farrakhan during a Congressional Black Caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
A CBC staffer contacted Muhammad the next day “sort of in a panic” and demanded a return of the picture, the journalist recalled. Muhammad subsequently gave the original disc to Farrakhan’s son-in-law and chief of staff, who is one of the men in the group photo (see below). Muhammad did make a copy for himself since it was his own intellectual property, but under the circumstances, felt honor bound to keep it under wraps.
Muhammad told the Talking Points Memo that the existence of the photo, if known to the public, “would absolutely have made a difference” in the 2008 presidential campaign.
Given Obama’s apparent aspirations for higher office, Askia Muhammad similarly told Tucker Carlson in an interview on the Fox News Channel that “As people considered the ambitions, the thought was Minister Farrakhan and his reputation would hurt someone trying to win acceptance in the broad cross section…”
— Talking Points Memo (@TPM) January 25, 2018
“Muhammad and some political observers still believe that if that photo had been released, it could have drawn enough fire – even from some of Obama’s supporters looking for excuses – to dent his chances of becoming president,” the Trice Edney News Wire explained.
Many in the Nation of Islam were offended or angry when presidential candidate Obama finally distanced himself from Minister Farrakhan in 2008 under pressure from then-rival Hillary Clinton, Muhammad added.
Muhammad also claimed that members of the Nation of Islam participated in Obama’s U.S. Senate campaign and worked on his Senate staff. Obama announced a run for the presidency just two years into his six-year term as a U.S. Senator.
The Washington Free Beacon also weighed in on the photo’s potential implications.
“Obama’s past friendly relationships with radical figures like Jeremiah Wright and Bill Ayers dogged him during the 2008 campaign. Farrakhan has made anti-Semitic, anti-white and anti-gay statements during his career, and a published photo of the two smiling together likely would have stirred more controversy around his candidacy.”
Influential retired Harvard Law Professor and prominent Democrat Alan Dershowitz told Fox & Friends this morning that he never would have campaigned for Barack Obama if he was aware that he posed for a photo op with Louis Farrakhan.
Watch the interview with Obama-Farrakhan photographer Askia Muhammad from Tucker Carlson’s show in the clip below.