by WorldTribune Staff, January 26, 2018
A 2005 photograph of then-Sen. Barack Obama and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan could have been disastrous for Obama’s political career if it had been released at the time, the journalist who took the photo said.
“I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” journalist Askia Muhammad said in an exclusive interview with the Trice Edney News Wire this week. “But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was president, it was kept under cover.”
Muhammad said he took the photo after Obama had engaged “in a warm conversation with constituent and fellow Chicagoan Minister Louis Farrakhan.” Muhammad quickly realized the photo possibly could derail Obama’s presidential aspirations, which were already being widely discussed in 2005.
Muhammad said the photo definitely would have impacted Obama’s presidential hopes: “I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”
Muhammad told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson that the Congressional Black Caucus contacted him the day after he took the photo in 2005.
“A staff member from the Black Caucus called me and said ‘we have to have the picture back,’ and I was kind of taken aback. And we talked a couple of times on the phone after that, and I said ‘Okay, I will give the picture back to Minister Farrakhan’s chief of staff,’ ” Muhammad said on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”.
He added that after he gave the original copy to Farrakhan’s staff, he kept his own copy but remained quiet.
“I gave the original disk to him and in a sense swore myself to secrecy because I had quietly made a copy for myself,” Muhammad said. “It’s my picture, it’s my art, and it’s my intellectual property. I owned it and I wanted to keep it.”
Muhammad said he believed that the Congressional Black Caucus contacted him because “they sensed the future.”
“Minister Farrakhan and his reputation would hurt someone trying to win acceptance in the broad cross-section,” he said
Farrakhan, who has led the Nation of Islam since 1981, has espoused anti-gay views, has spoken highly of Adolf Hitler’s abilities as a leader, and referred to Judaism as a “gutter religion.”
Late NBC journalist Tim Russert asked Obama at a 2008 debate in Cleveland whether he accepted Farrakhan’s public support.
Obama said: “You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Minister Farrakhan’s anti-semitic comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can’t censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan. … I live in Chicago. He lives in Chicago. I’ve been very clear, in terms of me believing that what he has said is reprehensible and inappropriate. And I have consistently distanced myself from him.”