Louis Farrakhan speaks at St. Sabina church at invitation of Father Michael Pfleger

Friday, May 10, 2019
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Louis Farrakhan spoke at St. Sabina Church Thursday night at the invitation of Father Michael Pfleger.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Louis Farrakhan is speaking at St. Sabina Church in the city's Auburn Gresham neighborhood Thursday night at the invitation of Father Michael Pfleger, and will defend the comments that got him banned from Facebook.

Farrakhan spoke for about an hour to a standing room only audience. Many in the church streamed his remarks live on Facebook.

The minister and leader of the Nation of Islam was defiant on the pulpit.

"You've never had a conversation with me! But somebody made you hate me!" he declared.

His remarks came a week after he was permanently banned from Facebook and Instagram for messages the platform deemed hateful and even dangerous.

Farrakhan, who has been accused of antisemitism, did not address his ban directly.

"Envy is a disease of the heart that will not allow you to see properly," he said.

"For them to say that he's dangerous, who is he dangerous to? Because he's not dangerous to me. He's not dangerous to you," said Khaliday Muhammad, who attended the event.

"I have been and always will be a defender of free speech as I believe we must all continue to defend," said Father Pfleger after the event.

But some area Jewish leaders said Pfleger shouldn't have given Farrakhan the platform.

"I know words hurt, I have lived through it, and as a Holocaust survivor I know what was done to us and to me in the concentration camps because of words," said Fritzie Fritzshall said.

Fritzshall is a Holocaust survivor and the president of the Illinois Holocaust Museum in Skokie.

In a statement, the Archdiocese of Chicago said it's not sponsoring the event and that Cardinal Blase Cupich was not consulted. The statement goes on to support free speech but also says "There is no place ... for discriminatory rhetoric of any kind."

Phil Andrew, director of violence prevention at the Archdiocese of Chicago, spoke out against hate speech at the Holocaust Museum Thursday.

"This wasn't something that was coordinated with the archdiocese, this is not an archdiocese sponsored event, the cardinal has made his clear his full support of the first amendment but that that comes with great responsibilities," Andrew said.

The Nation of Islam said, "Beyond insulting to Min. Farrakhan, a man with a lifetime of working for peace, spiritual values and social reform, this unjust sanction deprives the American public and others of the basic right to know."

Farrakhan thanked Pfleger for the invitation Wednesday on Twitter, calling him a longtime friend and brother in face. Fritzshall just hopes Farrakhan uses his time at St. Sabina to spread love.

"I am just hoping words are spoken in the right direction this evening," she said.