Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan issued a warning to President Obama on how to handle the growing conflict in Libya.
“I want to warn you in the name of Allah that this is more complex than what you think,” Farrakhan said on WVON-AM in Chicago March 18. “Go into Libya if you want to. The Libyans do not want foreign occupation on their land. When you make that kind of move, if you’re not careful you’ll unite the Libyan people against you.”
Obama authorized the creation of a no-fly zone over portions of Libya in mid-March in conjunction with forces of other allied nations. The action came in support of a popular uprising against Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who had been on the brink of defeat. Though Obama said he would not commit U.S. ground troops to the conflict, the move has drawn criticism domestically.
Farrakhan went on to criticize the U.S. government’s position on Gaddafi, claiming the U.S. treatment of the Libyan leader is hypocritical and that the government has engaged in many of the same acts at home it is denouncing abroad, noting violent confrontations in the U.S. between local and federal law enforcement agents and splinter groups including MOVE in Philadelphia in 1978 and the Branch Dividian cult in Waco, Texas in 1993.
“What did you do in Waco? What did you do when your people rose up? Did you talk them out of it?” he asked, referring to the Clinton administration’s attack in 1993 on a cult in Texas headed by David Koresh, a White leader of a religious sect. “No. They had weapons and you bombed them.”
He warned Obama to focus on White hate groups who voice dissatisfaction with federal domestic policies.
On March 25, White House officials said they were taking a back seat in the military operations in Libya as NATO forces will pick up the full military responsibilities over that weekend.
“They are going to pick up the civilian protection,” Ben Rhodes, deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, told ABC News. “They just haven’t finalized the plan as to exactly how that mission will be carried out and what the command structure will be.”
Rhodes said that while the Obama administration would prefer that Gaddafi leaves, the U.S. military will not be used to force his removal.
Despite that, Farrakhan said Obama needs to be very careful of how he treats Muslims and protect his reputation in Africa.
“I warn my brother, don’t you let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world,” he said. “I would advise you to be careful and move with wisdom and skill”