The Nation of Islam Invites You:



The Ministry of Spiritual Development  
The mission of the N.O.I. as a whole and of each of its parts is the spiritual development of the Lost-Found Nation of Islam in North America and our people throughout the world. The mission of the N.O.I. is the resurrection spiritually of a dead people and the entire focus and meaning of its work is to bring about this resurrection as quickly as possible. This is the purpose that gives meaning to all other activities engaged in and is the criterion by which we expect to be judged by Allah and His Messenger, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. As such, the spiritual dimension must be present in all and excluded from none. (copied from AtonementCommission.com).  
For more information, call Student Minister Sultan Muhammad (616) 334-5511.
e-mail: SMSultanM1@gmail.com      
  

From The Final Call Newspaper

Show me the money: Will college athletes be granted chance to reap financial reward for their play?

By Bryan 18X Crawford -Contributing Writer-

The biggest talk in the world of college athletics isn’t who the number one team or player is in the country, it’s if the NCAA has finally been stripped of its authoritarian power to prevent student athletes from capitalizing off their name and likeness. It’s the very thing the powerful athletic collegiate governing body has done for years—bringing home billions of dollars in the process and penalizing young men and women for accepting things like meals, or anything of value related to their position as high-profile athletes.



Graphic: Bigstock.com


However, while the “Fair Pay to Play Act” is the latest shockwave to hit the world of college sports, the reality is this fight has been ongoing for more than two decades. And, it all started with something as innocuous as an electronic video game.

California Governor Gavin Newsom may have signed the Fair Pay to Play (Calif. Senate Bill 206) act into law on Sept. 30, but it was former UCLA basketball standout Ed O’Bannon who got the ball rolling in 2009 when he filed a lawsuit against the NCAA and the Collegiate Licensing Company, accusing both of violating the Sherman Antitrust Act. That act regulates competition among enterprises and prevents agreements that lead to anticompetitive conduct. Simply stated, the Sherman Antitrust Act essentially ensures the preservation of a competitive marketplace.

What caused Mr. O’Bannon to put his name and reputation on the line to become the lead plaintiff in a case against a multi-billion-dollar entity?

In 2009, EA Sports released “NCAA Basketball ‘09” which featured the 1995 UCLA National Championship team in which Ed O’Bannon was the star player. All of the players’ heights, weights, positions, jersey numbers and even features mirrored their real-life counterparts. The only difference? There were no names associated with the players, but you knew exactly who they were when you played the game.

“I played basketball at UCLA in the 1990s and loved almost every minute of it. I went on to play in the NBA, but my true passion stayed with college basketball. After a decade in pro hoops, I retired in 2005,” Mr. O’Bannon wrote in a recent op-ed for Sports Illustrated. “A few years later, I saw myself featured in a college basketball video game that sold for $60. I hadn’t asked to be in the game. And no one had offered to pay me, or any other current or former players who were ‘in the game’ as the game’s advertisement boasted,” stated Mr. O’Bannon.

“That experience led to me to bring a lawsuit against the NCAA ... . This wasn’t about money. This was about taking someone’s identity and profiting from it. And it was about changing the rules to not let that happen again,” he added.

Julius Hodge was a highly ranked, highly recruited high school basketball player from Harlem. In 2001, he was a McDonald’s All-American and went on to play collegiately at North Carolina State, and professionally in the NBA and overseas. He too remembers seeing and playing with his own likeness in the game and thinking how someone was making money off him while he never saw a dime.

“I was a sophomore in college playing this video game, and I see myself at 6-7, number 24 in a red jersey, playing in the ACC for NC State. I know that’s me, and I’m not able to monetize that, but I know that someone else can and has, it’s not a good feeling,” Mr. Hodge told The Final Call. “I stopped playing basketball video games because of it and I haven’t since then.”

While this issue of monetizing real people’s likenesses and not paying them for it may have started with video games, it’s reach is much broader. Colleges, universities, and the NCAA rake in millions of dollars in annual revenue from the sale of merchandise made popular by athletes as part of apparel deals they sign with sneaker companies like Nike and Adidas, which sponsors athletic programs and provides athletes with branded products.



Calif. Gov. Newsom signing legislation on new bill on LeBron James’ show “The Shop.” Photo: Youtube


Schools routinely sell on campus and online, jerseys, shirts, hats and other items that have been popularized by star athletes. They keep 100 percent of the profits, giving nothing in return to the athlete whose performance, name recognition and popularity is the reason the item even sold in the first place. But it goes even deeper than merchandise, or even the athlete’s on men’s teams. Women are penalized too.

In 2017, twins Dakota and Dylan Gonzalez were forced to forgo their final year of eligibility at UNLV because under NCAA rules, the sisters wouldn’t be allowed to play basketball, while still pursuing interests such as modeling, music and creating a clothing line, all of which capitalized on their social media popularity, and would’ve paid them as student athletes and members of the UNLV Lady Rebels basketball team.

“For me I think the rules and regulations are 100 percent the reason why we didn’t want to continue to play,” Dylan Gonzalez told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in an interview. “We personally felt like if we would have been able to take on the opportunities outside of basketball, then we would have still continued to commit ourselves to playing for the last year that we had,” she pointed out.

“We are bred and conditioned to believe that college is what’s going to get you ready for that start in your life after school,” Dakota Gonzalez added. “So, as a student-athlete when you feel like you’re being held back from that, where are you really getting an advantage? Because even though I’m getting an education, I don’t have a resume.”

While many people associated with sports at all levels support college athletes being able to monetize their own likenesses the same way the NCAA has for decades, there are many detractors who feel the decision made by California, which is also gaining traction in states like Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Ohio and others, will ruin college sports and the NCAA as we know it.

Tim Tebow was an All-American quarterback at the University of Florida who won the Heisman Trophy and led the Gators to two SEC and NCAA football championships. He was completely against the Fair Pay to Play Act.

“When I was at the University of Florida, I think my jersey was one of the top-selling jerseys around the world. It was like Kobe, LeBron and then I was right behind them. And I didn’t make a dollar from it, but nor did I want to because I knew going into college what it was all about,” Mr. Tebow said on ESPN’s morning sports talk show, “First Take.”

Mr. Tebow was soundly criticized for it, largely based on his upbringing which differs from that of a large percentage of college athletes who drive revenue and don’t come from the same situation as he did. Tim Tebow grew up on a 40-acre farm outside Jacksonville. His parents had a swimming pool in the backyard, a basketball court in the driveway, and they built their son a batting cage because some say he was a better baseball player than quarterback. Mr. Tebow, who is White, was given every opportunity to become an elite athlete; opportunities that athletes from less privileged backgrounds—many who are Black—the same ones fighting to not be pimped by the NCAA system, aren’t afforded, critics argue.

So, what is the harm in allowing college athletes to make money off their likenesses? Mark Emmert, president of the NCAA whose base salary is reportedly over $2 million a year says the bill is an existential threat to the college sports model. But that’s exactly what it was designed to be. Making 100 percent of the profits off the hard work and sweat of another is akin to slavery.

The California bill will give all student athletes enrolled in public and private four-year colleges and universities in California the right to their name, image, and likeness, allowing them to earn money from sponsorships, endorsements, and other activities related to their hard work and talent—a right that all other students and California residents have, says the legislation.

It would prohibit colleges from enforcing NCAA rules that prevent student athletes from earning compensation. Receiving income would also not affect a student’s scholarship eligibility.

The bill had bipartisan support, passing the state Assembly on unanimous 73-0 vote and winning final approval from the state Senate on a 39-0 vote before being signed by the governor.

Another argument is Fair Pay to Play kills amateurism. However, many former college athletes think a bill like this would help improve amateurism and make college sports that much more competitive in the long run.

“I have a soft spot for the value of a college scholarship, but over the last couple of years, I’ve taken a different stance to a certain degree because now I see how much money the NCAA has made off collegiate athletes and they’re not able to see any of those funds,” Antoine Walker, another former McDonald’s All-American who won an NCAA championship, NBA championship, and who was the cover athlete of an NBA basketball video game, told The Final Call.


Former NBA player Antoine Walker (c) with Michael Jordan and Grant Hill. Antoine Walker was a former college basketball star and NBA champion. He values college education for athletes but argues they should also be allowed to make money while pursuing their education. Photo: Youtube


“I don’t think allowing college athletes to make money in this way will hurt the NCAA because people love college sports, and this can only make it better. In basketball for example, these schools bring in, sometimes three or four future pros every year and they only compete for one year before they turn pro for financial reasons because they have to take care of their families,” said Mr. Walker.

“But what if they could’ve made money off their likeness in school? They might have stayed. Fans could’ve gotten a chance to see them play for another year. That brings in more money for the school and the NCAA.”

Ed O’Bannon agrees. “If a college athlete signs an endorsement deal, won’t he or she be more likely to attend class, since if their grades fail, they’ll be kicked off the team and they’ll lose their endorsement deal? Also, won’t college athletes be more inclined to stay in college since they are gaining from endorsements while there,” O’Bannon said in Sports Illustrated.

The Fair Pay to Play Act has nothing to do with athletic scholarships. It wouldn’t take a dime away from schools. It’s all about the relationship between college players and companies that would like to pay for their endorsement or sponsorship, state supporters of the legislation.

Julius Hodge echoed the sentiments of Ed O’Bannon, Antoine Walker and the Gonzalez twins, and expounded on it saying, a move like this actually helps these student athletes become better business people; especially as they navigate and maneuver through the world of high-stakes sports and athletics.

“I think the NCAA should look at it this way: you can have a young student athlete learning the world of business and how to be business savvy at 18-years-old. This would really introduce them to the real world, as opposed to taking a stance that something like this is hurting amateurism of collegiate sports,” said Mr. Hodge. “The NCAA could look at it as we’re helping our student athletes to be their own business owners. That’s something they could learn that will help them for the rest of their lives,” he added.

Gov. Newsom signed the bill on “The Shop,” a television show hosted by NBA superstar LeBron James, who supports the bill. As a basketball phenom in high school, Mr. James states if he would have played college ball, neither he or his single mother would have reaped the financial benefits a university and others would have made from his image.

“Me and my mom, we didn’t have anything,” Mr. James told reporters. “We wouldn’t have been able to benefit at all from it. And the university would’ve been able to capitalize on everything that I would have been there for that year or two or whatever,” he added.

“I understand what those kids are going through. I feel for those kids who’ve been going through it for so long, so that’s why it’s personal for me,” he added.

The Fair Pay to Play Act won’t become effective until 2023. In that time, it’s unclear how many more states will pass similar laws, especially since the NCAA would be barred from banning member schools and their athletes from competing as a result. But two things are certainly clear. The first is the NCAA business model will never be the same. The second is the attitude and mindsets of college athletes have been changed forever because for the first time, they finally know how much they’re worth and they’re ready to cash in.

(Final Cal staff contributed to this report.)


From The Final Call Newspaper

God’s anger is kindled and the day of justice has arrived

By Starla Muhammad -Managing Editor-


Minister Farrakhan addresses City of Grand Rapids, Michigan

The sanctuary of True Light Baptist Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan was filled to capacity Sept. 24 for a message delivered by Minister Farrakhan five years after the mysterious and troubling death of Student Minister Robert Dion Muhammad. Photos:Andrea Muhammad


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan delivered a serious and sobering message of warning to the City of Grand Rapids from the pulpit of True Light Baptist Church to a packed audience. The time is up for the powers that continue perpetuating injustice in the world, he cautioned.

Even before doors of the church opened, lines of people began forming outside anxious to hear and see the Nation of Islam minister. His Sept. 24 visit came five years after the mysterious death of Student Minister Robert Dion Muhammad, who served as the local representative of the Nation of Islam in Grand Rapids. The 40-year-old’s body was pulled from Muskegon River, September of 2014 after an outing with co-workers.

A wrongful death lawsuit filed against seven of his co-workers by his widow Yreva Muhammad was dismissed but there is hope it will be reviewed by the Michigan Supreme Court. Authorities state her husband accidently drowned, but the lawsuit alleges Robert Muhammad’s co-workers assaulted him.



Attorney Sa’ad Alim Muhammad Photo: Haroon Rajaee


In November 2017, Judge J. John Rossi dismissed the case stating there was not enough evidence presented to go to trial, calling the claim “frivolous.” He also ordered that $1 million be paid to the other side as a judgement. But, Atty. Sa’ad Muhammad added, the judge assigned the judgment and attorneys’ fees without reviewing any documentation about the other side’s costs for legal representation. An appeal of the case was subsequently filed with the Michigan Appellate Court, which was denied, explained Atty. Sa’ad Alim Muhammad. A petition for the case to be reviewed by the Michigan Supreme Court is pending.

“The Honorable Elijah Muhammad said, ‘when truth fails to bring justice about, truth should always lead us to a just conclusion, but if the forces of evil are so strong that truth falls in the street and is not allowed to bring about justice, then the God of truth and the God of justice must physically remove from power the forces of injustice,’” said Min. Farrakhan. That time has arrived! he stated.

“I don’t come to this city or any city in America like a beggar who doesn’t know power to remove the wicked! No. No. I came here tonight to let you know the end has come,” said the Minister, taking his subject from the Book of Revelations, Chapter 11 verse 18 which states, “The nations are angry, and thy wrath has come. It is the time of the dead that they should be judged and given justice.”

In the U.S. and Middle East and other countries of the earth, anger is brewing due to the injustices perpetrated by those in powerful positions on the backs of Black people, women and the poor, he explained.

Min. Farrakhan touted the bravery and outspokenness of Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old climate change activist from Sweden, who along with other young people mobilized millions of people around the world in a global climate strike. The teen recently rebuked world leaders in a Sept. 23 address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York at the Climate Action Summit.


Robert Muhammad


Those in power are not the author of the climate and cannot do anything to change it, the Minister explained.

“The young girl, Miss Greta Thunberg from Sweden, was addressing the rulers and I have to tell little Greta, they hear you, but they don’t have the power to change the climatic conditions. But you went to the right people because the rulers have created the climate of war and hatred and bloodshed on the earth so the response from heaven is now answering the cry of the children.”

God’s anger has been kindled, He is angry and His wrath is here, as it is described in scripture.

“He’s angry and His anger is strong and vengeful. It’s retributory punishment for many offenses, it is the beginning of a divine chastisement and that’s why I chose to come to this city to tell the Black and the White, the Brown, the Red and the Yellow, the rich and the poor, the powerful and those who have no power, your days of playing with God is finished!”

Jesus, the woman and trials of the Believer


The Bible and Holy Qur’an are both full of examples of the trials and tribulations experienced by people of faith. Those who call themselves Believers regardless of whatever faith traditions they practice are not exempt from trial, Min. Farrakhan explained.

“You cannot think that because you’re a Christian or a Muslim that you shouldn’t be tried. We’ve come under a time of great trial. So, the Qur’an asked the question: ‘Do men think that they will be left alone on saying we believe and will not be tried while others were tried before you? This is so that we may know those of you who are liars from those who speak truth,’ ” he continued.


Yreva Muhammad Photo: Haroon Rajaee


Yreva Muhammad and her family are Believers, said Min. Farrakhan. “Don’t you ever think that because you try to do righteousness that God shouldn’t try you,” he added. “This is how God knows whether you’re his. He’ll bring misfortune into your life and watch to see how you handle it. Some of us can only follow God if he does everything we want him to do.”

God allowed Jesus to be arrested, put on trial, mocked, abandoned by his disciples and those that claimed to love and be with him and he was ultimately crucified. His finest hours were not the hours in Galilee, at the riverside or even when he was casting out demons, said the Minister. “His finest hours were when he was on the cross. Oh, Christians, I want you to listen to your brother since they don’t want you to believe that I know Jesus. That’s why they hate me because I know Jesus, very well.”

Women of the earth have also been abused and misused but are rising up, the Minister pointed out. The world was blessed through the womb of Mary, mother of Jesus, yet women are still relegated to second-class citizenship and mistreatment in most parts of the world, a reality Min. Farrakhan also addressed.

“Women have been catching hell a long time. I’m not going to let nobody that’s with me continue to make women suffer out of the ignorance of the world in which we live. We, the people. When did that take place? Women aren’t part of the people? We, the people and women just got the right to vote less than a hundred years ago, or a little more than a hundred years ago?” the Minister asked rhetorically.

“There has to be a revolution in the world to let the world know that the mistreatment of women has sentenced this world to death. You have the #MeToo Movement. How many women have been abused by men even men that they respected and honored, their own fathers? How many women and girls are being abused while we sit here watching girls being trafficked throughout the earth? Men selling young girls to be put into sex trafficking. That’s real. That’s going on. How do you think they should be handled?” 


Family members of Student Min. Robert Muhammad. Front row from left: daughter Nikah 13; daughter Ilyasa 7; niece Zamina 8; daughter Shahada 11; daughter Mizan 5, mother Karla and wife Yreva. Second row from left: sister April; nephew Akil 10; son Najm 15; son Toussaint 17 and son Nioveh 21 with other supporters at True Light Baptist Church. Photo: Andrea Muhammad

A warning to the wicked and the manifestation of losses

As extreme weather events continue hammering the United States and abroad, none of the rulers or their scientists and meteorologists can accurately predict the weather, said Min. Farrakhan. “Something is going on,” he warned. “Six hurricanes lining up one behind the other in the Caribbean. What are you doing, Father? ‘I’m destroying your playground.’ ‘Please don’t touch Mar-a-Lago.’ He’ll let you worry about what you think you got but I’m here to tell you, the day of judgement has arrived,” the Minister cautioned.

Hurricane Dorian which struck the Bahamas in late August, was the most powerful storm cyclone on record to strike the islands and is regarded as the worst natural disaster in the country’s history. “When that hurricane lifted, nothing was left. People lost everything. Surely man is in loss. This is the day of the manifestation of losses,” said Min. Farrakhan.

“When I looked at the Bahamas and saw all my Black brothers and sisters, I wept and I begged God to show mercy—and He waited for me to calm down as if to say to me ‘have not you seen the abundance of mercy that I have sent to all of you?’ Do you think you’re alive because God has not shown mercy? And you continue to go your way and do evil as though you never have to pay for that. He wants to forgive you but some of us will not allow him to because we won’t repent.”

A man of truth and his resonating message


Student Minister Sultan Muhammad of Grand Rapids, Mich. delivers remarks. Photo: Andrea Muhammad


Min. Farrakhan’s visit to the second largest city in Michigan was highly anticipated but it was not without controversy. Baseless claims made by those who continue to misrepresent and misinterpret Min. Farrakhan’s uncompromising stance on truth rooted in scripture once again became an issue. The 86-year-old Muslim leader was previously scheduled to speak at a different church, but that church cancelled the invitation stating the Muslim leader’s “views regarding Jews and others” were “contrary” to their own. Local NBC affiliate Channel 8 posted a press release attributed to the church that stated it valued free speech but was “equally committed to defending the equality and dignity of all people, including women and those in the LGBTQ community.”

These are contrary to some of Min. Farrakhan’s professed values, the statement continued. Yet the Minister previously spoke in Grand Rapids at that church. No one went away with the feeling that “this is a hater,” said Min. Farrakhan referring to his previous visit. He thanked Rev. Dr. Carl Pace, pastor of True Life Baptist Church, and its board and congregation for opening up the doors and welcoming him to speak and thanked Sultan Muhammad, the NOI student minister in Grand Rapids.

“What was the reason for my rejection? ‘He has views that we don’t agree with.’ If I could ask, reverend, what views do I have that you as a Christian disagree with?” asked Min. Farrakhan.


Audience listens to sobering message of guidance from Min. Farrakhan. Photo: Andrea Muhammad


“Do you mean to say if Jesus visited Grand Rapids, you would tell Jesus the way you talk, Jesus, about homosexuality or lesbianism, you can’t come to this church that bears your name? This didn’t mean that Christ did not love the homosexual community. That’s not true. He said he came to save his people from their sins. He didn’t come to judge us for falling away from the glory of God. He said, even though your sins be like scarlet, yet, he would wash them white as snow in His blood,” said Min. Farrakhan.

Jesus did not come to judge and punish people for their sins but save them from their sins, he explained. “So, the Jesus that I know, the Jesus that I am familiar with, he wouldn’t turn a homosexual away from him.”

Contrary to how Min. Farrakhan continues to be misrepresented and slandered those that filled the pews at True Light Baptist Church were touched by the key themes of his message.

Brittany Roland is a medical assistant and homeschooling mother from Grand Rapids. She found the Minister’s teaching on the weather riveting. “In Michigan the tornados and the different things that we’ve had here that we don’t usually have and the multiple hurricanes right behind each other. Everything he touched on was amazing. I’m looking forward to the winter here, to see what happens,” she said.


Rev. Dr. Carl Pace, pastor of True Life Baptist Church Photo: Haroon Rajaee


Ms. Roland attended the program with her husband Cam, a truck driver. “I resonate with his (Min. Farrakhan’s) whole spirit. Everything that comes out of his mouth, everything that he says, I resonate with. I’ve been listening to him for years. I brought my family along and they’ve seen the change in myself when I first heard the Minister. I was introduced by a brother of mine about four or five years ago and it just changed my life,” said Mr. Roland.

Pastor Idella Williams stated she along with another local pastor approached True Life about hosting Min. Farrakhan. “He’s Church of God in Christ and I’m Spiritual and now we’re coming in with the Muslims. God said he’s going to bring all of his people together. The war is now. It’s time for us. If we want justice, it starts with us and we have to make that change,” said Pastor Williams. She is Christian and appreciates the Minister’s exegesis on Jesus. “Jesus said he is that I am and so when he talks about Jesus it more assures me we’re on the right track.”

For Myron Guyton, a teacher and basketball coach, what stood out was the Minister’s views on climate change and the treatment of women.

“There’s a lot of bad things happening to women for years. They say we are the people, but a lot of women are unprotected. It’s good that he spoke on that. We come from women. They’re the heart and soul of our lives.”

Queen Roshae, a natural hair stylist traveled five hours from Columbus, Ohio. She too was moved by Min. Farrakhan’s view on women and appreciated what she called the “diverse simplicity” of his message. 


Attorney Sadiyah Evangelista Karriem and Attorney Abdul Arif Muhammad were on the legal team for Yreva Muhammad. Photo: Andrea Muhammad



True Light Baptist Church was filled to capacity for the Minister’s message. Photo: Andrea Muhammad

“Being a sister and being a sister in the business of women and hearing many of my sisters’ cries of mistreatment, misjustice and then the suffering of women in general, I really appreciate when that is recognized and its imperative to our overcoming—the woman being in her rightful stature,” she said.

“I have six children of my own and I’ve had to remove myself, separate myself just to raise mine up in peace. Go off to the country, come out of the city, change friends, guard myself and I appreciate the brother standing and recognizing, because I’m tired of doing it alone,” she added, her voice quivering slightly and tears brimming her eyes.

The Minister’s revelation that Jesus’s finest hour was suffering on the cross, resonated with Student Minister Dr. Wesley Muhammad, “tenfold,” he said. “He (Jesus) came to make us into him so we have a cross and we run from it but that gives a perspective that our finest hour is on the cross,” he said.

“That just blew me away when he said that because all Black people suffer. Black people are in pain, but Jesus gives us an understanding of what Black people go through. What the family of Minister Robert Muhammad is going through, they are suffering but it’s their finest hour in the depths of their pain. That resonated so deeply with me,” said the author, researcher and member of the NOI Executive Council. (Read transcript of Min. Farrakhan’s message beginning on page 20.)


From The Final Call Newspaper

Could failed U.S. policy lead to war with Iran?

By Brian E. Muhammad -Contributing Writer-



Marines assigned to Weapons Company, Battalion Landing Team 3/5, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) observe an Iranian fast attack craft from the amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), during a strait transit, Aug. 12. The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and 11th MEU are deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting theMediterranean and the Pacific through the Western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points.

United States antagonism against the Islamic Republic of Iran escalated to dangerous heights in the aftermath of drone and missile attacks on oil refineries in the Abqaiq and Khurais areas of Saudi Arabia. The two facilities are the core of the Saudi oil industry.

The mid-September attacks severely impacted crude oil and natural gas production and intensified geopolitical friction in the Middle East. Houthi rebels fighting a U.S.-supported and Saudi-led coalition in neighboring Yemen claimed responsibility. The U.S. rejected the claim and charged Iran, a mutual U.S.-Saudi foe, was responsible for the attack. Defense Dept. officials said additional U.S. military personnel and weapons were headed to Saudi Arabia to protect the Kingdom and bolster its security.


Britain, France and Germany joined the United States Sept. 23 in blaming Iran for attacks on key oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, according to the Associated Press. Their remarks came as world leaders were gathering for the United Nations General Assembly in New York. “The leaders of the U.K., France and Germany—who remain parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal—said in a statement that ‘there is no other plausible explanation’ than that ‘Iran bears responsibility for this attack,’ ” said the Associated Press.

“British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the U.K. would consider taking part in a U.S.-led military effort to bolster Saudi Arabia’s defenses,” according to the wire service. “French President Emmanuel Macron said at a news conference at the U.N. that he planned to meet separately with both Trump and Rouhani over the next day and would work to foster ‘the conditions for discussion’ and not escalation. Macron called the Sept. 14 strikes ‘a game-changer, clearly’ but reiterated France’s willingness to mediate.”


U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo


“This was an Iranian attack,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters on a Sept. 18 flight to Jeddah. “It’s not the case that you can subcontract out the devastation of five percent of the world’s global energy supply and think that you can absolve yourself of responsibilities,” he said. He waved off Houthis taking responsibility as a “fraudulent claim.” Even if true, Mr. Pompeo argued, “it doesn’t change the fingerprints of the ayatollah” in putting at risk the global energy supply. He was referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

As U.S. officials pushed the “blame Iran” narrative and increased fears of an all-out war, Iran denied involvement in the attacks. Iran also warned Washington and Riyadh that any acts of military aggression would be met with military force.

President Trump pulled back from early language that seemed to suggest a military response and announced additional sanctions, including targeting Iranian banking. Russia said it would ignore the banking sanctions. When the attack happened, China and Russia said U.S. accusations against Iran should not be hastily believed. Pentagon officials also announced Sept. 20 America is deploying more troops to the Middle East in response to the crisis. Specific numbers were not given, and the deployment was requested by the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff General Joseph Dunford remarked that hundreds of troops, “not thousands,” would be deployed. There are currently 70,000 U.S. service members stationed in the region.

“The president has approved the deployment of U.S. forces, which will be defensive in nature and primarily focused on air and missile defense,” said Secretary of Defense Mark Esper.

***image6***Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told CNN it’s “all-out war” if the U.S. and Saudi Arabia opt for a military solution. He questioned why the Americans and Saudis want to “make this up” and blame Iran after the Houthi claim of responsibility. The charges against Iran are based on “lies” and “deception,” charged Mr. Zarif. He called the accusations agitation for war and reiterated Iran’s resolve to defend itself.

Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan has repeatedly warned against U.S. military action against Iran, saying it would have devastating consequences for America and could usher in a wider global war described in scripture as the war of Armageddon. He has repeatedly urged the Iranians and the Saudis to find a way to resolve their differences to avoid war and more destruction in the Middle East.

During a major address from the Nation of Islam’s flagship Mosque Maryam in July, Min. Farrakhan explained America is ready to go to war with Iran and wants to use Black bodies “to achieve their wicked aims.”

Mr. Trump has walked away from an agreement former President Barack Obama made with Iran, an agreement upheld by powerful permanent members on the UN Security Council. Mr. Trump also didn’t like that the agreement called for the return of some of Iran’s billions of dollars in U.S. banks, the Minister said.

Going to war would put America into much more debt than it’s currently in and Congress would have to go to the Federal Reserve Bank to print more money, he noted.

“America is provoking Iran, but the world is not afraid of America,” the Minister warned, “but our president wants the world to fear him.”

Mr. Trump has warned that if Iran enriches its uranium to a level that could produce a nuclear bomb, then Israel will attack and the U.S. will support Israel, Min. Farrakhan continued. “When you are guilty of evil and you see that (Iran) has the technology to get a bomb, your fear of them having it makes you do things. Mr. President, it would not be a wise move for you,” the Minister warned.

“The first thing to realize is that the reason that we are here is largely because of failed U.S. policy on Iran,” said Mana Mostatabi, communications director for the National Iranian American Council in a telephone interview with The Final Call.

“This is not happening in a vacuum. This did not start in the last couple of weeks,” Ms. Mostatabi continued. “As soon as the U.S. decided to ditch their nuclear deal … imposing their maximum pressure campaign, this is when everything was catalyzed.”

She described Iran and America as locked in an unending “tit for tat.” She pointed out America’s swiftness to conclude—without definitive proof—Iran bombed Saudi oil facilities. The Saudis and other Gulf nations were slightly more cautious. While saying the weapons, described as cruise missiles and drones, were Iranian, the Saudis had not directly stated they were launched from Iran.

“When it comes to figuring out what parties are to blame … we need to really take what the U.S. is saying with a grain of salt,” said Ms. Mostatabi. “This administration, in particular, has a history of distorting and manipulating intelligence on Iran,” she said.

Mr. Trump initially tweeted America was “locked and loaded,” awaiting final verification Iran attacked the Saudi oil facilities. Mr. Trump is also on record saying he doesn’t want war. Hawks in his administration have sent contradictory messages observers say reflect internal divisions and the president’s own ambivalence.

“The Trump administration and the U.S. government in general are suffering from an extreme paradox,” said Brian Becker, national coordinator of the anti-war A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition. “They want to overthrow the independent government in Iran, and they are threatening military action ... hoping that the military threats and the intense economic sanctions would create a division within Iran such that they would have an opportunity to carry out regime change.”

“This administration’s lack of a strategy has led to escalation and confusion in the Middle East,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in a statement.

“While we don’t know who is responsible for the attacks ... without a clear strategy to deescalate tensions with Iran, the situation will only get worse,” he warned.

The Pentagon and United Nations have experts in Saudi Arabia to determine the location from which the attacks were launched.

Houthi rebels said they bombed the oil refineries in retaliation for Saudi atrocities committed in the war against Yemen.

While some argue Iran bears guilt because of their support for the Houthis, Ms. Mostatabi dismissed such reasoning as a “false equivalency.” “There’s a lot of going back and forth about Iranians giving arms to the Houthis,” she said. “We seem to forget that the U.S. is also providing the Saudis arms in the same conflict.”

And, she said, regardless of anti-Iran chest bumping, “any strikes without congressional authorization would be illegal.”

Saudi Arabia and America are not “treaty allies”’ with obligations to engage in war for one another, she noted.

To deescalate hostilities a “real third party” independent investigation is required, argued Ms. Mostatabi. “Neither the U.S. nor the Saudis have the credibility needed to conduct a conclusive investigation,” she said.

In a Sept. 18 report before journalists, Colonel Turki al-Malka, spokesman for the Saudi Defense Ministry, dismissed claims the attacks originated from Yemen, saying it was a false narrative designed to cover Iranian complicity.

Although the Saudi defense spokesman admitted investigations were ongoing to determine the launch point for the attacks, he insisted the strikes were “unquestionably sponsored by Iran.”

Relying on photos, graphics and physical debris from the 25 drones and cruise missiles collected from the targeted sites, the Saudi Defense Ministry presented what they said was evidence of Iranian culpability. Mr. Al-Malka said 18 drones hit the Abqaiq facility, four penetrated the Khurais facility and three fell short.

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo stuck to an anti-Iranian hardline during meetings with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and other government officials in Jeddah. Mr. Pompeo labeled the attacks an “act of war” by Iran. “This is an attack of a scale we’ve just not seen before,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters on his flight to Jeddah. “The Saudis were the nation that were attacked. It was on their soil,” he said. “It was an act of war against them directly.”

Mr. Pompeo said flight patterns suggested the attacks didn’t come from the south, in the direction of Yemen, and said American intelligence doubts the Houthis possessed the weapons used.

Mr. Pompeo also admitted the U.S. hasn’t seen evidence of the attack being launched from Iraq or possibly over Kuwait as some speculated.

Concerned about future attacks, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates signed on to a military alliance dubbed the International Maritime Security Construct led by the U.S. It reportedly includes Israel and is designed to increase security in gulf waters.

The state-run WAM news agency announced the UAE’s decision. Salem Mohammed Al Zaabi, director of the International Security Cooperation Department, said UAE interest is in protecting maritime navigation, global trade, and the “flow of energy supplies” to global markets. The alliance would protect member ships passing through the Strait of Hormuz, Bab Al Mandab, the Sea of Oman and the Arabian Gulf, major oil transportation routes.

Australia, Bahrain and the United Kingdom are also part of the alliance but Iraq declined to join, warning U.S. formation of a military force to allegedly protect strategic waters would only escalate regional tensions.