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Nation of Islam reportedly received hundreds of thousands from the US government to train prisoners

The money was used by the radical group to teach its view of religion to prisoners

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

According to a report by the Washington Examiner, the National of Islam has received hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars since 2008, to fund a program in which it taught its radical religious views to prisoners.

What is the Nation of Islam?

The Nation of Islam is a black nationalist group under the direction of Rev. Louis Farrakhan.

Farrakhan has a long history of anti-Semitism. In February he gave a speech that contained racist lines like "the powerful Jews are my enemy" and "the Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood."

During that same speech he also said, "White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God's grace, has pulled the cover off of that Satanic Jew and I'm here to say your time is up, your world is through."

In October, Farrakhan tweeted that he wasn't an anti-Semite, he was "anti-Termite." The comment was met by widespread backlash, but Twitter refused to suspend his account or remove the tweet. Both conservative groups and liberal ones like the Southern Poverty Law Center have condemned the Nation of Islam for its racist and anti-Semitic rhetoric.

What does this report say?

According to the Examiner, since 2008 Farrakhan and other Nation of Islam leaders have received at least $364,500 from both the U.S. Bureau of Prisons and the Department of Justice. The money was designated for religious services, guide services, study services, and "other related programs," all led by the Nation of Islam.

One of these payments was for Nation of Islam leader Verbon Muhammad to "provide Nation of Islam religious services" for inmates. In 2017, Muhammad had said that the group did not "allow white people in our meetings, period."

A spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons told the Examiner that "[c]ontracts are retained six years after final payment, so we are not able to provide details regarding the original contract on which the Nation of Islam began contracting with the Bureau of Prisons."

Ironically, the Examiner noted that Farrakhan has also told Nation of Islam adherents to refuse money from the federal government.

"If they offer you anything, look carefully into it," he said in 2013, "lest the Nation will no longer be tied to the principles that the Hon. Elijah Muhammad desired for us: to make us an independent nation on some of this Earth that we can call our own."

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