Minister Louis Farrakhan, the 85-year-old Nation of Islam leader, is often part of political controversies. Farrakhan is now the center of further controversy, as he is among a list of individuals who were kicked off of Facebook and Instagram.
Per CNN, Farrakhan was removed from the platforms on Thursday, along with the likes of Alex Jones, Laura Loomer, Milo Yiannopoulos, and Paul Joseph Watson. Facebook, which owns Instagram, told the network in a statement that it was kicking off “individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology.”
Speaking of ideology, The Washington Post sent a tweet out on Thursday, one reading, “Facebook bans far-right leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos due to being ‘dangerous.'” The newspaper, however, later deleted the tweet, “because it incorrectly included Louis Farrakhan, who has espoused anti-Semitic views, in a list of far-right leaders.”
This set off yet another war of words over how to ideologically classify Farrakhan. Because Farrakhan has often been outspoken in his strong opposition to anti-black racism, Farrakhan is often associated with the political left. He has, at times, been close with Democratic politicians. And, in a huge controversy last year, multiple organizers of the Women’s March had frequent praise for Farrakhan, and refused to denounced him.
When Farrakhan is ripped by politicians, they’re usually — but not always — Republicans. Opponents spent much of Barack Obama’s presidency attempting to tie him to Farrakhan, although the two men, despite living in the same city for years, are not known to have ever had a close relationship. They were only photographed together on one occasion, per The New Yorker.
We have deleted this tweet because it incorrectly included Louis Farrakhan, who has espoused anti-Semitic views, in a list of far-right leaders. Facebook banned extremist figures including Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being "dangerous" https://t.co/iCI8pzK6aR pic.twitter.com/m87t1fglrZ
— The Washington Post (@washingtonpost) May 2, 2019
However, Farrakhan’s views aren’t easily categorized. For one thing, the minister praised Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential election. Farrakhan’s praise was tinged with anti-Semitism. Per Politico, Farrakhan said — in a March of 2016 sermon — that Trump is “the only member who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said ‘I don’t want your money.'” Farrakhan did not, however, formally endorse Trump.
Per a New York magazine analysis published on Friday, “Farrakhan’s sociopolitical outlook is decidedly right wing.” New York magazine writer Zak Cheney-Rice continued this train of thought, “To the extent that such labels apply to the collectives into which black Americans have organized themselves to fight white oppression, Farrakhan is a reactionary black nationalist who has strategized often with reactionary white supremacists who share his priorities, namely racial separatism.”