Split among US blacks averted

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A SPLIT in America's black leadership appears to have been averted, at least for now. Louis Farrakhan, who heads the black Muslim group, Nation of Islam, has publicly censured and demoted his chief spokesman for a hate-filled, anti-white and anti-Semitic rant that threatened a new cohesiveness between him, Congressional black leaders, civil rights leaders and the Reverend Jesse Jackson.

At the same time, Mr Farrakhan defended the 'truths' he said the aide had expressed about Jews owning 75 per cent of the slaves in the ante-bellum South, thus infuriating Jewish organisations even more than he has done already.

The aide, Khalid Abdul Mohamed, who made the speech in November, called American Jews the 'bloodsuckers of the black nation' and accused them of controlling, to the detriment of black people, anything of consequence in American life, from the Federal Reserve Board to the film industry.

Immediately, Mr Farrakhan was called on to condemn the speech by Mr Jackson and a host of other prominent black leaders. But Mr Farrakhan waited until Thursday.

In a rare news conference, Mr Farrakhan said, 'While I stand by the truths that he spoke I must condemn in the strongest terms the manner in which those truths were represented.' Mr Farrakhan himself attacked Jews, Catholics, whites, and the US government.