Georgia Democratic Senate Candidate Raphael Warnock praised the Nation of Islam as an “important voice for African-Americans” and compared its numbers to “mainline Protestantism” during a 2013 speech, according to Fox News.
Warnock made these comments in response to an audience member’s question asking Warnock if there was any relationship between the Nation of Islam and Christian Churches. The audience member also asked if the “black church” is having similar audience problems to “mainstream white churches and synagogues.”
The Georgia Democratic Senate Candidate, who is running to unseat incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler, said the Nation of Islam is “significant” but its attendance falls behind Christian churches.
According to Warnock, the Nation of Islam’s idealogy has been a key driver in the development of “black ideology.”
“Its voice has been important for the development of Black theology,” said Warnock, referencing an ideology developed by black preachers during the Civil Rights era that was aimed at combating white supremacy within Christanity.
“It was the Black Muslims who challenged Black preachers and said, ‘you’re promulgating … the White man’s religion. That’s a slave religion. You’re telling people to focus on heaven, meanwhile, they’re catching hell,” said Warnock
According to Warnock, the Nation of Islam was necessary to “put a fire” under black preachers and kept them “honest” about their message.
The Nation of Islam is an African American religious group founded in Detriot in 1930. Since then, the Nation of Islam has grown into one of the wealthiest and largest African American groups in the United States. According to the Nation of Islam, its highest peak saw its membership grow to at least 250,000 members.
The Nation of Islam is described as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The Nation of Islam’s messaging is full of racist, antisemitic, and anti-gay rhetoric, which is rejected by mainstream Muslims, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Louis Faharakan, the Nation of Islam’s leader, called Adolf Hitler as a “very great man” and recently referred to Jews as “Satanic”
This is not the first incident of Raphael Warnock’s extreme rhetoric hitting the news. In 1995, he worked at a church that praised Fidel Castro during a visit to the UN, signed a statement comparing Israeli’s control of the West Bank to “previous oppressive regimes,” like the “military occupation of Namibia under apartheid South Africa,” and compared Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu to George Wallace during a speech in which Warnock criticized Netanyahu’s stance against a two-state solution.