Louis Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, an unabashedly anti-Semitic group, has been banned from Twitter — but not for hatred against Jewish people.
The final straw for Twitter came when the Nation of Islam criticized vaccines, The Federalist reported. Prior to that, however, the social media giant had repeatedly declined to ban or punish Farrakhan’s personal account or that of the Nation of Islam despite blatant harassment and anti-Semitism.
“Twitter moved to ban the account last week after being targeted for promoting ‘misinformation.’ In reaction to the ban, a high-ranking member in the group tweeted, ‘Unsurprisingly, Twitter, Inc. has suspended The Nation of Islam’s official account: @OfficialNOI,’” The Federalist reported. “A report cited by the White House this month said that 12 Twitter accounts are responsible for 65 percent of supposed anti-vaccine content. One of the 12 listed was Rizza Islam, a Nation of Islam member. While Twitter took action against the group after perpetual mRNA vaccines criticism, it remained silent on its previous anti-semitism.”
The Twitter ban comes after the account was allowed to operate for a decade spreading anti-Semitic messages. In 2018, for example, Farrakhan said “the powerful Jews are my enemy” during a speech, adding, “white folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through.”
That clip wasn’t shared to Twitter, but that same year, Farrakhan tweeted a clip of another speech where he compared Jews to termites. He captioned that video: “I’m not an anti-Semite. I’m anti-Termite.”
As The Federalist reported, Twitter has a policy against “dehumanizing” tweets but told BuzzFeed News at the time that Farrakhan’s account had posted that tweet before the policy went into place, so it could remain. And even though the Nation of Islam’s account was banned, Farrakhan’s account is still active.
Many attribute Twitter’s blind eye toward Farrakhan’s messages over the years to his Democratic support. Though many Democrats have since distanced themselves from Farrakhan within the last decade, they previously supported him publicly. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC), for example, joined Farrakhan on stage in 2011. In 2013, Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA) said the Nation of Islam’s “voice has been important even for the development of Black theology.”
Warnock made the comments in response to an audience member’s question about the Baptist Church’s “relationship with the Nation of Islam and the Islamic movement.” Warnock, who was then the senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, replied: “Well, the Nation of Islam is significant, but its numbers don’t come anywhere near the membership of our churches. Its voice has been important, and its voice has been important even for the development of black theology. Because it was the Black Muslims who challenged black preachers and said you’re promulgating, you know, they called, ‘the white man’s religion. And that’s a slave religion; you’re telling people to focus on heaven meanwhile they’re catching hell.’”
“And so we’ve needed the witness of the Nation of Islam, in a real sense, to put a fire under us and keep us honest about the meaning of the proclamation coming from our pulpit,” Warnock added.