Farrakhan Cancels Talk, Petitions Blacks for Support, Threatens Suit
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Black Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan on Thursday canceled a controversial Aug. 8 speaking engagement here, but said it may be rescheduled if the black community wants it.
At the same time, a top Farrakhan aide, Abdul Wally Muhammed, said lawyers of the Chicago-based Nation of Islam are considering legal action against Mayor Tom Bradley, the City Council and the county Board of Supervisors for possible slander.
Bradley, the council and the supervisors have opposed Farrakhan’s speech. Muhammed said petitions are being circulated in the city’s black community to determine if blacks want to hear Farrakhan speak.
″The politicians have voted. Now we will let the people vote,″ Muhammed said. ″If the black people don’t want him to speak, he won’t. If they do, he will.″
Muhammed didn’t say how many names it would take to determine whether the community wants Farrakhan to speak.
But Muhammed criticized the politicians for opposing the speech.
″They are not the masters who decide what their slaves will hear,″ he said.
In 1985, Farrakhan’s last appearance in Los Angeles created an uproar and cost Bradley the backing of some Jewish leaders because he refused to condemn Farrakhan in advance.
The convention center had been reserved for Aug. 8 by a group called ″Respect for Life,″ an offshoot of Farrakhan’s POWER movement and the name of the Muslim leader’s door-to-door cosmetics sales operation.
Muhammed said Farrakhan’s speech was to deal with two topics: oppression of blacks in America and Respect for Life.