By Emily Drooby
Following being banned from Facebook over hate speech, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan was invited to speak at Saint Sabina Church in Chicago by the the parish’s senior pastor, Father Michael Pfleger.
The speech served as a response to the Facebook ban, which removed Farrakhan from the social media service for promoting violence.
This ban comes on the heels of Farrakhan’s years-long reputation as an extremist figure, one who often speaks out against the Jewish community, women, and people of other races.
“It’s this that they fear. I don’t have no army. I just know the truth, and I’m here to separate the good Jews from the satanic Jews,” said Farrakhan in his speech to Saint Sabina parishioners.
These shocking words were uttered to the crowd by Minister Farrakhan while, at the same time, he was also denying hating people of the Jewish faith.
At a pre-speech press conference, representatives from the local Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center had condemned the event and Farrakhan.
“I know words hurt. I have lived through it and as a Holocaust survivor I know what was done to me, and to us, in the concentration camps because of words,” said Fritzie Fritzshall, Auschwitz survivor and museum President.
During his speech at Saint Sabina, Farrakhan also attacked Pope Francis.
“There’s not another human being on this earth that speaks like Farrakhan, that challenges just like Farrakhan, that has the wisdom of Farrakhan. Even to the Pope of Rome, and all those that you think are wise,” he said of himself.
The Archdiocese of Chicago has distanced itself from the event, saying they did not sponsor it and that their Cardinal, Blase Cupich, was not consulted.
The Archdiocese clarified that they were not involved in the organization and planning of the event in a statement.
“At a time when hate crimes are on the rise, when religious believers are murdered in their places of worship, we cannot countenance any speech that dehumanizes persons on the basis of ethnicity, religious belief, economic status or country of origin,” the statement said.
Father Pfleger, who did plan the event, confirmed with Currents News that he did not seek the Archbishop’s permission before booking Farrakhan, and also defended his decision to host the controversial Islamic leader.
“I don’t expect everyone to agree with me,” he said in a phone interview.
“I just want everybody to listen and to make a decision out of having heard for themselves, but 99 percent of the congregation was extremely supportive, and stood with us, and were here.”
Father Pfleger further defended both Farrakhan’s comments on Pope Francis and the Jewish community.
“In many of our religions there are good and there are evil people. He uses the word ‘satanic,’ I use the word ‘evil.’ There’s good and evil people who call themselves Christians,” he said.