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VIDEO: Scientology gives its highest award to Nation of Islam minister, who thanks Allah

We have an interesting video for you today, a segment from the International Association of Scientologists celebration in England that took place last month. Each year, the IAS holds a weekend of galas at Saint Hill Manor in East Grinstead, England, and a couple of thousand Scientologists get to listen to church leader David Miscavige speak for three hours or so.

One of the things Miscavige does during the IAS event is hand out Scientology’s highest award, the Freedom Medal, to three or four people. And this time, one of those medals went to the Nation of Islam’s Minister Tony Muhammad, 59.

A week or two after the event happens, video of it is shown in local Scientology orgs around the world. What you’re going to see is a recording made by someone when the IAS video was shown, presumably at Muhammad’s home org in Inglewood, California (a working-class suburb of Los Angeles). Muhammad then posted it to his Facebook account, and we thank @IndieScieNews for alerting us to it.

So you’ll hear and see people in the foreground reacting to the presentation on screen, which starts with an introduction about the work Muhammad does in Los Angeles encouraging gangs to lay down their arms and “unify for peace.”


Muhammad is actually known for that work, even though he belongs to the Nation of Islam, a black separatist group.

In 2002, the Los Angeles Times profiled Muhammad, saying that he was originally from Atlanta and had been an All-American college athlete in football and baseball who was disappointed not to turn pro after his college career ended in 1983. Two years later, he began following Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, and by 1995 he had been sent by Farrakhan to Los Angeles to run Muhammad Mosque No. 27.

“These are the guys who took on 75 LAPD officers in a 1962 shootout that left one Nation member dead and 22 police and Muslims injured. A portrait hangs in the lobby of their Vermont Avenue mosque of Oliver X. Beasley, a member killed by sheriff’s deputies in another shootout in 1990,” the Times wrote.

But the Times gave Muhammad credit for taking a very different approach than the Nation of Islam had been known for, that he had reached out to Latinos and other groups, preaching reconciliation. But as Farrakhan’s emissary, it was often a tough sell.

The Nation of Islam is a very unorthodox version of Islam which doesn’t really resemble the religion that is so dominant in the Middle East.

Here’s a description of the Nation of Islam’s background from the Southern Poverty Law Center, which describes NOI as a hate group:

Founder Wallace D. Fard (alternately, Farad Muhammad) and his “messenger” and successor Elijah Muhammad preached a hybrid creed with its own myths and doctrines. These held that over 6,000 years ago, the black race lived in a paradise on earth that was destroyed by the evil wizard Yacub, who created the white “devil” through a scientific process called “grafting.” Fard and his disciple preached of a coming apocalyptic overthrow of white domination, insisting that the dominion of evil was to end with God’s appearance on earth in the person of Fard. Following this, NOI predicts an epic struggle in which the Nation of Islam will play a key role in preparing and educating the Original People, who ruled the earth in peace and prosperity until Yacub’s “blue-eyed devils” came along to gum things up. The Nation of Islam teaches that intermarriage or race mixing should be prohibited….Following Malcolm X’s 1964 split from his erstwhile mentor, Elijah Muhammad, a rising star in the Nation was appointed to replace him at Temple No. 7. Louis Farrakhan had been working as a cabaret singer until he met Malcolm X and joined NOI in 1955. Ascending rapidly through the ranks, he had proved to be a superb speaker and organizer, managing to win over the congregation left behind by his charismatic predecessor. He faced a firestorm after Malcolm X’s 1965 assassination, for which many blamed NOI….When Elijah Muhammad died in 1975, Farrakhan initially remained faithful to his son, Wallace Deen Muhammad (later Imam Warithuddin Muhammad) who succeeded him. But the younger Muhammad’s dismantling of the Nation’s material empire and his attempts to bring NOI into the fold of mainstream Islam ultimately alienated Farrakhan. In 1977, a rebellious Farrakhan, backed by a powerful enough base to pull it off, rejected the younger Muhammad and declared the creation of a “resurrected” NOI based on the original ideology of Elijah Muhammad.

The connection between the Nation of Islam and the Church of Scientology goes back to a man named the Rev. Alfreddie Johnson Jr., a Los Angeles Baptist minister who turned to Scientology after the 1992 riots. In 1993, Johnson brought Isaac Hayes into the church, and there are reports that by the mid-1990s, Johnson was bringing Scientology’s “study tech” to the Nation of Islam. By 2006, Johnson was bringing Farrakhan himself to Scientology events, as can be seen in this photo of Alfreddie, Farrakhan, and singer Stacy Francis from a gala at the Hollywood Celebrity Centre that year.


According to the Nation of Islam’s own publication, The Final Call, Farrakhan began to encourage his followers to take courses in Dianetics on May 8, 2010. Two weeks later, actress Leah Remini was presented with a commendation from the Church of Scientology for helping to finance that coming together of the two groups — she was actually financing the Scientology courses taken by Tony Muhammad.

Since then, we’ve seen a lot of evidence of Nation of Islam members doing “Book One” Dianetics auditing, and some members have also been going up Scientology’s more expensive courses on the “Bridge to Total Freedom.”

But none of them seem quite as involved as Tony Muhammad, who has become a featured speaker at some Scientology events.

Besides his work in gang summits, Muhammad is also known for his anti-vaccine advocacy, hosting Robert F. Kennedy Jr. at a Scientology org for one event, for example.

And Muhammad has faithfully repeated Farrakhan’s public statements, including this endorsement for an antisemitic volume put out by the Nation of Islam…


Mike Rinder has pointed out at his blog that the relationship between the two groups appears to be a “one-way flow” — Tony Muhammad is speaking at Scientology events, but he couldn’t imagine David Miscavige or other Scientology execs speaking at NOI events. (And neither can we.)

And now, Miscavige has given Tony Muhammad Scientology’s highest award, the Freedom Medal. In his acceptance speech, Muhammad thanks Allah, Fard Muhammad, Elijah Muhammad, and Louis Farrakhan all before thanking L. Ron Hubbard or David Miscavige.

If you’re aware of how Scientology feels about “other practices,” you know that this is a bit of a shock. But we also know that nothing happens in these events that isn’t carefully scripted by Miscavige himself, so that tells you something about how Miscavige is willing to bend the rules for some people.

Please give the video a look and then give us your thoughts.



Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley has not seen his daughter Stephanie in 4,941 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 87 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 1,150 days.
Carol Nyburg has not seen her daughter Nancy in 1,924 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 2,698 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 2,044 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 2,538 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 1,578 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 1,290 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 816 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 4,905 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 2,045 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 2,365 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 2,340 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 696 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 4,998 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 1,104 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 1,507 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 1,380 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 961 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 1,466 days.
Mary Jane Sterne has not seen her daughter Samantha in 1,710 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 12,819 days.


3D-UnbreakablePosted by Tony Ortega on November 22, 2017 at 07:00

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Our book, The Unbreakable Miss Lovely: How the Church of Scientology tried to destroy Paulette Cooper, is on sale at Amazon in paperback, Kindle, and audiobook versions. We’ve posted photographs of Paulette and scenes from her life at a separate location. Reader Sookie put together a complete index. More information can also be found at the book’s dedicated page.

The Best of the Underground Bunker, 1995-2016 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Undergound Bunker (2012-2016), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Learn about Scientology with our numerous series with experts…

BLOGGING DIANETICS: We read Scientology’s founding text cover to cover with the help of L.A. attorney and former church member Vance Woodward
UP THE BRIDGE: Claire Headley and Bruce Hines train us as Scientologists
GETTING OUR ETHICS IN: Jefferson Hawkins explains Scientology’s system of justice
SCIENTOLOGY MYTHBUSTING: Historian Jon Atack discusses key Scientology concepts

Other links: Shelly Miscavige, ten years gone | The Lisa McPherson story told in real time | The Cathriona White stories | The Leah Remini ‘Knowledge Reports’ | Hear audio of a Scientology excommunication | Scientology’s little day care of horrors | Whatever happened to Steve Fishman? | Felony charges for Scientology’s drug rehab scam | Why Scientology digs bomb-proof vaults in the desert | PZ Myers reads L. Ron Hubbard’s “A History of Man” | Scientology’s Master Spies | Scientology’s Private Dancer | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | Scientology boasts about assistance from Google | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Our Guide to Alex Gibney’s film ‘Going Clear,’ and our pages about its principal figures…
Jason Beghe | Tom DeVocht | Sara Goldberg | Paul Haggis | Mark “Marty” Rathbun | Mike Rinder | Spanky Taylor | Hana Whitfield


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