CHICAGO (CBS) — Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan on Thursday condemned U.S. involvement in the conflict between rebels in Libya and dictator Muammar Qaddafi, whom he called his “brother.”
Farrakhan, 78, held a two-hour, wide-ranging news conference Thursday afternoon during which he defended Qaddafi and blasted U.S. military involvement in the ongoing rebellion in Libya.
He called Qaddafi a friend who’s lent the Nation of Islam $8 million over the years, adding that money borrowed from Qaddafi helped the group pay for its headquarters years ago. Libyan money also helped the Nation of Islam pay back taxes on the home of its founder.
“It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that,” Farrakhan said. “Even though the current tide is moving against him … how can I refuse to raise my voice in his defense? Why would I back down from those who have given so much?”
It was the second time in a week that Farrakhan has criticized American military intervention in Libya.
Last week, Farrakhan said the U.S. lacks the moral authority to intervene in the Libyan conflict, giving several reasons, including the deaths of black people at the hands of law enforcement during the Rodney King protests in 1991 and the unhealthy food that the federal government allows into the marketplace.
During the rare two-hour news conference in Chicago on Thursday, Farrakhan talked about everyone from Qaddafi to Donald trump; and everything from an alleged government cover-up of UFOs, to why the earthquake in Japan prompted him to call the news conference.
He said he called the news conference “to warn America that a major earthquake is on the way to you and me and us. … Death and destruction is at the door of all of us and we are worse prepared than the Japanese.”
Farrakhan said the quake in Japan convinced him to have the news conference, during which he also warned about American involvement in bringing down Qaddafi, implying that Jews are using President Barack Obama as a pawn.
“They always wanted to find a black man that they could use to destroy me,” he said.
Farrakhan claimed that some of the Libyan rebels are in fact members of al Qaeda. And he insisted Qaddafi has done a lot of good for the Libyan people.
He also revisited some familiar topics, lashing out at what he calls the Jewish control of the media and citing reasons why white people can’t be trusted.
Speaking on a potential presidential bid by Donald Trump in 2012, Farrakhan said, “Do you want to go to hell in a rocket ship? This man talks like a gangster.”