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CHICAGO—Livid. Outraged. Undeterred and determined. These are just a few words describing what Black folks, supporters and allies of Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, proponents of free speech, freedom of expression and truth felt and expressed.
They were responding to social media giant Facebook’s decision to shut down and remove social media accounts of the world-renowned Muslim leader.
The decision to ban the Minister’s worldwide social media presence and growing appeal was met with swift rebuke and condemnation not only from members of the Nation of Islam and Black people, but from people of various ethnicities, religions, political ideologies and backgrounds.
On May 2 Facebook announced a ban on the accounts of Min. Farrakhan; Alex Jones of InfoWars who has been called America’s leading conspiracy theorist; right-wing pundits Milo Yiannopoulos and Laura Loomer, Joseph Watson, of InfoWars; Paul Nehlen, described as a White supremacist who ran twice unsuccessfully for Congress; and InfoWars. The ban also includes their accounts on Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
“We’ve always banned individuals or organizations that promote or engage in violence and hate, regardless of ideology,” Facebook said in a statement. “The process for evaluating potential violators is extensive and it is what led us to our decision to remove these accounts today,” the statement continued.
With no record of violence perpetrated or inflicted by Min. Farrakhan or by the thousands of men, women and children under his leadership over the past four decades against Whites, Jews, LBGTQ community or people of different religious ideologies—the move to ban him and equate the 85-year-old leader with White nationalists and White supremacists with a history of violence was baffling, a false equivalence and outright wrong, noted observers.
Celebrities and well-known Black movers and shakers joined the chorus of critics, voicing their displeasure, anger, frustration and support of the Minister on social media including rapper Snoop Dogg, activist and media personality Jeff Johnson, rapper 2Chainz, singer Stephanie Mills, social media and internet personality King Keraun, comedian and radio host D.L. Hugley, civil rights attorney Ben Crump and others. Don Enoch Muhammad, an aide to Min. Farrakhan facilitated several interviews with entertainers to share with The Final Call, their thoughts on the controversial social media ban.
Hip hop star T.I. told The Final Call via email that he thinks the decision by Facebook is unfair and unconstitutional. “It’s baffling to me how you make a decision that seems to be imposed at your discretion and not applied equally; and then cite your policies against dangerous individuals and organizations. It’s perplexing because there is no voice more dangerous in the world right now than that of the sitting president. So, to remove some and not allow others to remain is unacceptable,” responded T.I.