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This can’t be a good thing (Updated x2)

Friday, Mar 10, 2006

Governor Rod Blagojevich issued a proclamation last month declaring February 12th to be “Coalition for the Rembrance of Elijah Muhammad Day.” (See update below. It turns out that this is the third such proclamation issued by the governor.)

Elijah Muhammad was the leader of the Nation of Islam before Louis Farrakhan, but the coalition is a separate group. The Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad has a website that includes some very divisive beliefs, including a demand for the separate education of black and white children and the prohibition of “intermarriage or race mixing.”

The governor is already enmeshed in controversy over his appointment of a Nation of Islam member to his hate crimes commission. This latest revelation won’t help.

On February 9th of this year, Governor Rod Blagojevich issued the following proclamation (you can find the entire document by pulling up the Illinois Register for Feb. 24, 2006. Or you can download the relevant page here. (pdf file) :


WHEREAS, the Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad (C.R.O.E.) is celebrating their 19th Anniversary Founders’ Day on February 12, 2006; and

WHEREAS, founded in 1987 by Halif Muhammad, Shahid Muslim and Munir Muhammad, all of whom still serve the organization, C.R.O.E. exists to pay tribute to The Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and ensure that his accomplishments and ideas are not forgotten; and

WHEREAS, the Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad continues to be an invaluable institution and an important voice in both the African-American community and among the general public:

THEREFORE, I, Rod R. Blagojevich, Governor of the State of Illinois, do hereby proclaim February 12, 2006 as COALITION FOR THE REMEMBRANCE OF ELIJAH MUHAMMAD DAY in Illinois, and encourage citizens to recognize the organization’s nineteen years of service to Illinois citizens and their ongoing commitment to ensuring the legacy of this influential African-American leader.

Issued by the Governor on February 9, 2006.

Who is the Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad? Here’s its website. And here is its list of beliefs. Most of it is just standard stuff, but there are a few interesting highlights:

We want equal education – but separate schools up to 16 for boys and 18 for girls on the condition that the girls are sent to women’s colleges and universities. We want all black children educated, taught and trained by their own teachers.

Under such schooling systems we believe we will make a better nation of people. The United States government should provide, free, all necessary text books and equipment, schools, and college buildings. The Muslim teachers shall be left free to teach and train their people in the way of righteousness, decency and self respect.

We believe that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited. We want the religion of Islam taught without hindrance or suppression. […]

WE BELIEVE this is the time in history for the separation of the so-called Negroes and so-called white Americans. We believe the black man should be freed in name as well as in fact. By this we mean that he should be freed from the names imposed upon him by his former slave masters. Name which identified him as being the slave master’s slave. We believe that if we are free indeed, we should go in our own people’s names – the black people of the earth.

Elijah Muhammad was the former leader of the Nation of Islam, in case you were unaware.

(And, I’m aware that this is not the same group as the Nation of Islam. According to its website, “C.R.O.E. is an archival library dedicated to preserving and promoting the legacy of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the history of the Nation of Islam.)

(Updated to make the intro more clear)

UPDATE: This is no isolated incident. The governor issued the same sort of proclamation about the Coalition (although much shorter) in both 2004 and 2005. (large pdf files)

UPDATE 2: Ironically enough, Munir Muhammad, who is listed on the website as the co-founder/business manager of CROE, was appointed to the Illinois Human Rights Commission by Gov. Blagojevich in 2003. I didn’t know the commission was for separation of the races and against intermarriage.



The Illinois Human Rights Commission is dedicated to the eradication of unlawful discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and access to financial credit.

The Commission is non-partisan and non-political. The Commission conducts adjudication and does not issue advisory opinions or take positions on matters of public debate.

All members of the Illinois Human Rights Commission have been appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Illinois Senate.

In keeping with the spirit of the Illinois Human Rights Act the Human Rights Commission does not maintain information on the religious affiliation of its Commissioners or staff. The Commission will not receive press inquiry on such matters.

Individual Commissioners come from a great variety of racial, ethnic, and religious and disability status backgrounds. They come from many professional backgrounds. Commissioners are not appointed as representatives of demographic groups or organizations. Rather, all Commissioners are appointed to implement the mission of the Illinois Human Rights Act.

“Commissioner Munir Muhammad has served on the Commission since June of 2003. He has served with distinction, integrity and humility. All of the Commissioners share my view that he has honored and advanced the purposes of the Illinois Human Rights Act”, said J.B. Pritzker, Chairman.

The Commission respectfully submits that it is a model agency: Where persons of a great variety of perspectives, who share a common goal, work together and learn from one another.

UPDATE 4:From the governor’s office:

“At a time when right wing organizations like the Illinois Family Institute are calling for the removal of Rick Garcia, one of the state’s leading gay activists, and others are attacking Munir Muhammed, a leader in the African American community, it is clearer than ever that our responsibility is to bring people together and not push them apart. That is why Governor Blagojevich is bringing together leaders from the Jewish, African American and gay communities to build understanding and promote tolerance.”

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - grand old partisan - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 10:54 am:

    I think most people here know how I feel about this issue by now, so I’ll just say thanks for posting this, Rich.

  2. - Walking Wounded - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:00 am:

    This is just one more illustration on how Blago is soooo clueless on what’s going on in the real world. Doesn’t he have anyone on his staff to research issues before handing out proclamations? Since GRod approved it, how is he going to “ensure” Elijah’s ideas and accomplishments not be forgotten?
    Guess I’ll have to start looking for that Burka…

  3. - ISU REP - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:04 am:

    I can see it now…”Well I sign hundreds of these things, I really didn’t know what it said.” All I have to say is AWKWARD!

  4. - Bill Baar - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:14 am:

    Is CROE part of Farrakan’s group, or the NOI he split from.

    There’s a difference.

  5. - Bill - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:24 am:

    Bill Baar,
    You are correct it is not the same group at all, but here at capitol fax we never let the truth stand in the way of a good Rod bashing.

  6. - anon - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:47 am:

    Wait, I know the next issue next week it will be released that John Wyma was hired to represent the Nation of Islam.
    Maybe Rod should hire a staffer or two that knows what’s up in Chicago, Wow.
    How many more classic Freshman legislator mistakes will this State take from this guy?

  7. - grand old partisan - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:49 am:

    Sorry, Rich, for jumping back in, but: what’s your point, Bill? Where are the lies?

    Is Elijah Muhammad NOT the founder of the Nation of Islam?

    Are the beliefs of the CROE that Rich excerpted NOT identical to those listed on the NOI’s website? (check it our for yourself: - oh, look, there’s a picture of Elijah Muhammad right there on the page too!)

    There may be a difference, but I don’t think it’s relevant at the moment. Blago’s defenders can spin and split hairs all you want, but at the end of the day, you can’t get around these facts:

    1) Blago has issued a proclamation honoring the work of a group dedicated to preserving the principles listed above.

    2) Blago – apparently without even knowing it - appointed a high ranking official from a Church that still preaches the same divisive and bigoted principles to a commission dedicated to promoting tolerance and fighting discrimination.

    Pointing our those facts isn’t “Rod-bashing.” He needs to explain himself. He needs to address these facts.

  8. - Nice Suit - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:57 am:

    If Rod would have kept ANY of the staff that actually worked for him in the Congressional or State Rep office, then he might have avoided some of these mistakes.

    Oh, I’m sorry. He did keep Mary, his personal assistant.

    The rest got pushed to agencies or out of government.

  9. - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:59 am:

    This is Rod’s way of sewing up the Black vote.Yes it’s a stupid way to do it but we have been dealing with stupidity since he was elected.I wonder what the average Black voter feels about this and how many approve of these views.

  10. - Anon - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:09 pm:

    It kind of reminds me of when the mayor of Des Moines signed a resolution condeming the consumption of meat… It didn’t go over well in one of the top livestock producing states. His excuse — I didn’t know what I was signing. Pretty lame. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

  11. - Nearly Normal - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:15 pm:

    Sheesh, is this man so out of touch? This is what happens when one is isolated and depending on a very weak staff. This has got to be the crowning moment in this whole mess.

    If Blago’s folks think this will give him the Black vote, they are very mistaken. There are a lot of Blacks who don’t agree with this group and their tenets. They may not say much in public but they can “say” a lot with their ballot.

  12. - Mongo - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:29 pm:

    Wow, even I am amazed at how 60ish this is. Opposing intermarriage? I know that’s a hot issue in the African-American community and I understand why. But that leads to sooo many bad endings.

    Hey Rod, how about a resolution honoring any group that has pledged to destroy Israel…like the PLO? That would make almost as much sense as this.

  13. - ONE M.C.M.A.D - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:41 pm:

    - DOWNSTATE - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:59 am:

    I wonder what the average Black voter feels about this and how many approve of these views?

    ANSWER: Most African Americans do not agree with any of the above statements. These statements were not made on behalf of the African American culture, but on behalf of the two identified organizations. I believe in unity, equality for all regardless of race, creed nor religion.

    Please keep in mind that these leader donot represent the African American race.

    In response to the posting, Rich you don’t play games do you. Who else would have found this?

    It is a classic example of, “I didn’t know”! It is apparent that there is a lot that Rod doesn’t know and a lot that his staff does and do not inform him. Basically, “IT IS A FREE FOR ALL IN THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR”.

    Of special note, with all of the mishaps from the Governor’s office appearing in newspapers over the past few weeks, the response is “I did not know until I read it in the newspapers”.

    Rod it sounds to me that someone or some people in your office are intentionally trying to sabotage you. The Office of the Governor is apparently misguided, fails to communicate with the Governor and is in serious need of new leadership or like any other organization; IT’LL COLLLLLLLLLLLLAPSE!

  14. - Ill ind - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:41 pm:

    I guess since I’m interracially married, C.R.O.E. won’t be putting out the welcome matt for me any time soon.
    Oh well, all the more reason I’m voting for Eisendrath.

  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 12:58 pm:

    Is that the same Munir Muhammad on Chicago Access?

  16. - Half White Half South Asian - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:00 pm:

    Wow, I voted early for Eisendrath last week and as the son of an interracial marriage, I’m liking my decision more and more.

  17. - donchicago48 - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:01 pm:

    It is only fitting that Governor Blagojevich seek to redefine Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday. After all, Lincoln was a Republican.

  18. - Mr T - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:06 pm:

    The Gov’s Cheryl Jackson have been a guest on the TV program Munir & Friends seen in Chicago on channels 19,21 and 25. From what I understand and from part of one show that I have seen myself the host Munir Muhammad gave a real fluff interview to Ms. Jackson and really praises and pumps up the Blagojevich Adminstration. Munir who is the honcho of CROE has gotten contracts from Cook County States Attorney Dick Devine, The Chicago Police Department and Mayor Daley, they brag about the political connections they have. I would hope that some reporter would check out the old tapes from the cable shows and the CROE tapes they sell. Also what contracts and jobs has the Governor given CROE. This group is different from Nation of Islam, they support NOI but Munir sees himself as heir apparent of Minister Farrakhan.
    BTW I saw the noon news on channel 9 and they interviewed the Governor live and did not even ask about this current issue.

  19. - grand old partisan - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:15 pm:

    Rich, in regards to the most recent Update #2…..what do you mean you didn’t know that? We’ve been discussing all week the fact that the Minister of Protocol for a church that shares an identical set of “wants” and “beliefs” as the CROE is on the Commission. This is just a further example, not a new revelation.

  20. - Mike's Used Sport's Section - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:18 pm:

    Rich - I like ribbing the Governor almost as much as you, but seriously this is a non issue. Who cares.

  21. - Common Sense in Illinois - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:21 pm:

    Let’s remember our history, too. Elijah Muhammad was the individual heavily rumored to have ordered the hit on Malcom X in New York City in the early 1960’s. Another smooth move by the Governor and his crack staff…

  22. - Central IL Stater - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 1:27 pm:

    “DOWNSTATE - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 11:59 am:
    This is Rod’s way of sewing up the Black vote.Yes it’s a stupid way to do it but we have been dealing with stupidity since he was elected.I wonder what the average Black voter feels about this and how many approve of these views.”

    Exactly Down. It makes me VERY ANGRY to think that not only this governor but other politicians take votes for granted. It ticks me off that Dems take blacks for granted and Reps take christians for granted.

    Like another poster said, not every black is following lock-step after CRE or NOI or Jessie Jackson or whatever political leader one chooses. Why don’t dems realize that black people have BRAINS and they KNOW A POLITICAL STUNT WHEN THEY SEE ONE.

    I have to give Rod some credit though, however misplaced. He is sticking by his decision to keep sistergirl on the commission admist him loosing major votes as well as swing votes. Yup pure genius there.

    EE I wish I can $10 mil to get your commercials on 24 hours a day. If nothing else, I would get a good laugh and learn how to suggle a chainsaw.

  23. - Norseman - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 2:36 pm:

    Blago’s staff are too busy in meetings checking on agency propaganda efforts they don’t have time to take care of state business.

  24. - Anonymous - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 3:50 pm:

    From what I’ve heard, Munir Muhammad is a good guy, but then again I know nothing about CROE. What I don’t understand is why hasn’t the staffer who was responsible for appointing Sister Marie Muhammad (who is probably also responsible for this declaration) been fired. Has this person been outed yet? Does the Gov (or Tusk) finally realize that they’ve royally screwed up? Anyone know? Rich?

  25. - Walking Wounded - Friday, Mar 10, 06 @ 6:05 pm:

    Re Update #4….sounds like GRod’s office is trying to spin this issue faster than a Hoover Dam turbine.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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