CHICAGO — Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, boasting his divine stature, on Sunday predicted trouble ahead for President Barack Obama and urged him to do more to improve the lives of blacks and the downtrodden.
The 76-year-old leader said the “white right” was conspiring to make Obama a one-term president, and pointed to his stalled efforts to introduce health care legislation as proof. He said those opponents and lobbyists were trapping him into a future war with Iran that could lead to mass destruction.
“The word ‘prophet’ is too cheap a word. I am a light in the midst of darkness,” Farrakhan said at the annual convention of the movement that embraces black nationalism. “It ain’t ego, it’s my love for you.”
An estimated 20,000 people attended the heavily guarded Saviours’ Day event at the United Center in Chicago. Followers — men dressed in navy uniforms and women in white skirt suits with matching hijabs — cheered on Farrakhan with shouts of “Allahu Akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”
Farrakhan spent most of the fiery nearly four-hour speech recounting a 1985 vision he had in Mexico. Farrakhan has often described how he believes he was invited aboard an unidentified flying object he calls “the wheel” where he said he heard the late Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad speak to him.
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He said that experience led him to inklings about future events, including the United States’ 1986 bombing of Libya.
Farrakhan recounted how his divine knowledge has allowed him to recognize countless warning signs over the decades — such as natural disasters such as the earthquake in Chile — and said they indicate impending trouble, including for Obama.
Dressed in ornate creme robes, he addressed the president directly:
“Your people are suffering. You can’t ease their plight, but you can use your bully pulpit. Speak for the poor. Speak for the weak.”
He said helping the Nation of Islam, which has worked to reform black inmates for decades, would also be an answer.
“Put some money on back of us,” he said. “We can reform our people.”
Farrakhan has vigorously supported Obama for years and used his presidency as a call to action for blacks. That was even as Obama distanced himself from the group for Farrakhan’s past comments that many considered anti-Semitic.
Supporters say Farrakhan’s words are often taken out of context.
Farrakhan continued his praise of Obama Sunday, and said the nation’s first black president was manipulated into disavowing Farrakhan.
He would not say if he and Obama had ever met on the issue.
“They all want to know did I ever meet with him and what did I say or what he say,” Farrakhan said in the speech. “I ain’t going there.”