Bill de Blasio’s inauguration was marred by ugly talk about plantations and slave blocks. But it was also marred by an appearance by Imam Askia Muhammad of the Department of Corrections.
Imam Askia Muhammad was chosen as a prison chaplain to deliver a prayer, which he did, beginning by praising Bill De Blasio and urged that “the needs of the people be treated as holy”. It was a boilerplate invocation of Bill de Blasio’s agenda. But less remarked upon was who the Imam was.
The Department of Corrections’ chaplain got his start in the Nation of Islam and eventually joined Wallace Deen Mohammed’s more conventionally Islamic, American Society of Muslims, (aka American Muslim Mission) which had more Mohammed and fewer UFOs and mad scientists than conventional Nation of Islam theology.
While Imam Askia Muhammad is not a member of the Nation of Islam at the time, his testimony in a Department of Corrections lawsuit shows that he does support Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
Another Imam identifies Askia as a former Nation of Islam member and the testimony summary states, “Contrary to plaintiff’s allegation, Imam Askia does not find NOI beliefs to be offensive. Imam Askia is well acquainted with Minister Louis Farrakhan and agrees with many of his teachings.”
It’s not clear which of the teachings of the hate group, Imam Askia Muhammad agrees with. But it is clear that he does not find any of the Nation of Islam’s racist views, including its belief in racial superiority to be offensive and its anti-semitism to be offensive.
The Nation of Islam’s official platform of beliefs include a rejection of integration (an ironic sentiment considering Bill de Blasio’s interracial marriage which the Nation of Islam is opposed to and once called for prohibiting) and claims of white racial inferiority calling white people “potential humans who haven’t evolved yet”.
(An interesting sidenote is that Farrakhan’s Final Call had a senior editor named Askia Muhammed, but he does not appear to be the same person as the Imam though it’s hard to be sure.)
Imam Askia Muhammad doesn’t find Farrakhan’s bigotry offensive. The question is does Bill de Blasio?