By Mike McDaniel - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Whether he's being praised or criticized for it, Minister Louis Farrakhan is known for his fiery speeches and comments. Now, he comes to the Magnolia State as the keynote speaker during Friday night's 6th Annual Conference for the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement.
Supporters of Farrakhan say his presence is an opportunity.
"You cannot take away his popularity, his sincerity and he represents someone who is a defender for black people," said supporter Akbar Muhammad. "They seem him as a champion of the struggles of the oppressed masses in America."
On the national scene, Farrakhan is no stranger to controversy. As the current leader of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam, Farrakhan was widely criticized for remarks he made about Hurricane Katrina, where he implied a levee break in New Orleans was a deliberate attempt to wipe out a large section of the city's black population.
Comments about religion, politics and race have even pitted national agencies against Farrakhan calling his views anti-Semitic, racist and homophobic.
"Minister Farrakhan is here to bridge a gap," said Muhammad.
While supporters say bridge a gap, others say create one. Church, business and educational leaders across the Magnolia State are banning together, calling Farrakhan's selection as speaker "offensive."
Letters to the editor are even popping up. Supports say it's an attack on a good man with a good message.
"We know about all of the distracters, all the people that have bad things to say, but great men shine regardless of the attempts to dim their view," said Jackson city councilman Chokwe Lumumba.
A view these supports say is to important not to let shine.
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