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Date: Tue, 17 Feb 1998 18:12:00 -0500 Sender: The African Global Experience <AGE-L@UGA.CC.UGA.EDU>
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From: Marpessa Kupendua <nattyreb@IX.NETCOM.COM>
Subject: *!Aboriginal misery is shame of Australia
Date: Mon, 16 Feb 1998 20:11:24 EST
From: BCushy@aol.com

Aboriginal misery is shame of Australia, says Farrakhan

By Nadia Jamal,
in the Sydney Morning Herald
16 February 1998

Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan ended his two-day Australian tour with an attack on the Federal Government as "hypocrites" for warning him about racial laws while Aborigines lived in conditions that were "the shame of Australia".

Speaking at his last engagement at Lakemba Mosque yesterday afternoon, Mr Farrakhan, the 64-year-old leader of the Nation of Islam, told hundreds of Muslims he had seen "misery" earlier in the day at Redfern.

"In Redfern today I saw misery," Mr Farrakhan said. "I came from a great country, America. But the shame of America is the native Americans who live on reservations ... and the Aborigines are the shame of Australia."

On being briefed about Australian racial vilification laws by Federal officials in Seoul last week before being granted a limited visa, Mr Farrakhan said: "How nice of you. You told me this was a multicultural, multiracial society and no violent words can be spoken to castigate any group. But a whole group of people are castigated not just by words but by the actions of a Government.

"You hypocrites."

Earlier, Mr Farrakhan, accompanied by a 15-man bodyguard, led his entourage and Imam Tag Al-Hilali, Mufti of Australia, on a midday walk through The Block at Redfern.

He greeted residents in Louis Street and bestowed his blessing on them at their doorsteps. He visited the home of an Aboriginal artist, known by residents as Jimbo Simons.

A small group of Aborigines, many calling him "brother", clapping and offering him words of encouragement, gathered to hear Mr Farrakhan's message at the Tony Mundine gym.

Mr Farrakhan, upset at being dubbed the "Minister of Hate" by his critics, accused the Government of allowing drugs and alcohol to "crush" Aborigines so they could not reclaim their country.

"Here I see the mentality of a Government that would allow the owners of this land, the Aboriginal people of the Earth, to be in this condition when everything you have you took from them," he said.

"The shame of it is that instead of helping Aborigines to realise their full potential as human beings, alcohol and drugs are sent in among a people that are already down, to crush them from ever being able to rise to take their proper place."

Mr Uthman Danish, an Aboriginal Muslim, was part of a group at Lakemba mosque on Saturday who invited Mr Farrakhan to Redfern.

"His visit will heighten awareness of Aboriginal issues in this country," Mr Danish said.

The Islamic minister's wife, Khadijah, trailed her husband. She was accompanied by Tynnetta Muhammad, wife of the founder of the Nation of Islam.

Mrs Muhammad said the group would not be visiting Alice Springs as planned. It left for New Zealand yesterday afternoon.