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AUDIO: Nation of Islam’s Louis Farrakhan says Rizza Islam is accused of ‘horrible charge’

[Rizza and Farrakhan in happier times]

This week we heard from multiple current and former Nation of Islam members who told us that on Wednesday they were called in for an all-hands ‘Believers’ Meeting’ at their local mosques in order to view a video address from leader Louis Farrakhan.

One person we talked to said it struck them as unusual that people were invited even if they were being disciplined and were not normally invited for events. “Everyone was called to come see the video regardless of what their status is, which is unusual.”

In the video, our witnesses tell us, Farrakhan said that a NOI “sister” had accused Rizza Islam of raping her.

We subsequently obtained an audio recording that was made by someone attending the video address, and you can hear Farrakhan’s words for yourself. Farrakhan says that “Brother Rizza” needs to raise his “moral standard,” and that the allegation by the sister is a “horrible charge.” But he also criticizes the unnamed woman for allowing Rizza into her house (they were reportedly engaged) and allowing him into her bed. But ultimately, Farrakhan says, Rizza must “answer to the law.”

We sent detailed requests for comment to the Nation of Islam’s media division, and to Rizza Islam’s criminal defense attorney, Jeremy McLymont. We’ll let you know if we hear back from either of them.


In 2015, we first reported that Hanan Islam and three of her children, including Ronnie “Rizza” Islam, had been charged with Medi-Cal fraud for sending the state insurance program fake reports of treatment from a jackleg Scientology “Narconon” rehab working out of the notorious World Literacy Crusade, a longtime Scientology front in Compton, California.

After Hanan’s death and two of her daughters pleading guilty, Rizza, 32, is the last Islam family member still facing charges in the Medi-Cal fraud scheme, now scheduled for trial on October 24 in Los Angeles.

In an August radio appearance, Rizza said the charges “didn’t apply” to him and were merely a smear. But he’s facing felony charges in a trial taking place on the ninth floor of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, where serious cases are handled. (And, coincidentally, his trial will be occurring right next door to the courtroom where Scientology celeb Danny Masterson’s criminal rape trial will be starting on October 11.)

While the fraud case slowly made its way through the court system, Rizza heavily promoted himself not only as a Nation of Islam member, but also as an anti-vaccination activist. His persistence resulted in his being named one of the country’s 12 worst promoters of anti-vaccination disinformation last year.

The Nation of Islam itself is the country’s largest black nationalism group, and one soaked in antisemitism and bigotry, according to the Anti-Defamation League, which maintains a lengthy description of the organization and its history at the ADL website. Rizza Islam himself also earns a description on the page:

Ronnie Steven “Rizza” Islam is an NOI and FOI member and a social media influencer. He promotes inflammatory content that regularly includes antisemitic, anti-LGBTQ+, and anti-vaccine rhetoric, in addition to a range of other conspiracy theories. Rizza Islam is also an author, publishing a book in 2019 titled “Message to the Millineals” [sic], which was inspired by former NOI leader Elijah Muhammad’s 1965 “Message to the Blackman in America.”

Since becoming an active NOI member in the mid-2010s, Rizza Islam has quickly gained prominence within the Nation and has become one of Farrakhan’s staunchest defenders. In 2021, Rizza Islam spoke at the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day conference, promoting anti-vaccine conspiracy theories. Farrakhan singled out Rizza Islam for praise at the event, telling the audience: “he’s excellent as a potential great minister of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.” He has also received praise from various celebrities over the years and appeared on the primetime ABC television show “Soul of a Nation” in 2021.

Before Rizza’s rise to prominence in the Nation of Islam, his family was also heavily involved in Scientology, and he’s an interesting figure in the relationship of the two groups. Scientology wooed Farrakhan for years, inviting him, for example, to the Hollywood Celebrity Centre in 2006. In 2010, Farrakhan began putting out a call requiring NOI members to begin classes in Dianetics. Leah Remini revealed to us that when she was still in the church, she was a key facilitator (and funder) of the two groups coming together around that time.

Hanan Islam and three of her children were charged for operating the fraud scheme out of a Scientology rehab from 2010 to 2013, but we found evidence suggesting that the operation went back much earlier. In recent years, Rizza has downplayed his involvement in Scientology, but there’s no doubt that the rehab clinic his mother was running out of the World Literacy Crusade offered Scientology services.


[Rizza using the Scientology E-meter, photo from the World Literacy Crusade’s own website (now defunct)]

Rizza was charged in 2015, and a state investigator testified at a preliminary hearing that Rizza’s involvement was to help wrangle “ghost writers” who created bogus treatment diaries so the state health insurance program could be bilked. Losses to the Medi-Cal program totaled more than $4 million, the investigator testified.

Now, with only a few weeks to go before Rizza is on trial for that elaborate scheme, Farrakhan has chosen an interesting time to accuse Rizza of “immoral” behavior.

An eyewitness who viewed the video told us that Farrakhan’s words were part of a section in a two-hour address when he was dealing with punitive measures. “Brother Rizza” was just one of several people that Farrakhan was admonishing.


The witness told us that each of the people named in that segment were well known figures in the Nation of Islam, and there was no question that the “Brother Rizza” that Farrakhan was disciplining was Rizza Islam.

We asked our witness if he thought the rape accusation would result in a report to law enforcement. But he said the crime was an infraction in the NOI’s own legal system. “We are discouraged to take things to the US legal system,” he said.

We produced a transcript to go along with the audio recording we obtained. Let us know what you think about Farrakhan’s accusation, and what it might mean for Rizza.

[Hear Minister Farrakhan’s words here.]

We asked our witness to the video address what penalty such a “horrible charge” might carry, and he suggested that Rizza might be “denied access to the Mosque.”

Considering the way that Farrakhan couched the allegation — blaming the woman for creating the situation — that might be the extent of it.

But we also found in a recent video that Rizza himself has advocated for a stiffer penalty.



Technology Cocktail

“For the first time you have an exact subject in the field of the ‘humanities.’ These ‘humanities’ for all man’s history have been a mass of superstition, bad logic, propaganda, authority and brutality. An exact humanity is so new that it has a bit of a hard time. All the errors and prejudices start to ‘blow off’ when truth enters in. Just be sure you don’t lose the subject with the confusion. Cope, make do, hold the line and you’ll have a successful Dianetic area. It’s worth working toward, worth achieving. You have only one big stable datum. IF IT ISN’T WORKING IT IS BEING VARIED. To get it working again, find who and what is varying it and get back on the main line.” — L. Ron Hubbard, 1969



Now available: Bonus for our supporters

Episode 12 of the Underground Bunker podcast has been sent out to paid subscribers: You may have read our book about Scientology’s insane attempts to try and destroy journalist Paulette Cooper, but we had a delightful conversation with her about her own memoir. Meanwhile, we’ve made episodes 1 through 11 available to everyone, with such guests as Michelle ‘Emma’ Ryan, Jefferson Hawkins, Patty Moher, Geoff Levin, Pete Griffiths, Sunny Pereira, Bruce Hines, Jeffrey Augustine, and Claire Headley. Go here to get the episodes!


Source Code

“Handling Security Checks in a society of this particular character, then, runs into a little bit of heavy weather. And you very often run into some heavy weather. Somebody’s sitting there and, good God, they’re the fellow who did it, you know, and what are you going to do as the auditor, you know?…What is your responsibility as an auditor? Well, it’s, your responsibility as an auditor is first and foremost as an auditor, is get the person out of it. You’re not the police force. Don’t you see? And then you actually are not honor bound from that point there on to be under a stamp and seal of total secrecy with regard to the fact that the First National Bank was robbed by Joe, you see. But don’t go calling up the police. They’re on the wrong road. Cops never get a society anyplace. Cops are a short-term proposition, strictly. The more cops, the more crime.” — L. Ron Hubbard, September 13, 1961


Avast, Ye Mateys

“We have so far sent back two FEBC graduates. W/O Owen Starkey to AOSHDK and Wayne Marples to NY. They both left in a hurry to save their orgs. Starkey has halted the GDS collapse and has most of them on a healthy climb. They both had a lot of beautiful things to say about Flag and its people.” — The Commodore, September 13, 1970


Overheard in the FreeZone


“I am waiting to attest for an advanced level that has created a space around me free from interference and case phenomena! It feels clean, calm and serene! I’m still getting used to it! Before I would make a postulate and it would rebound back at me or get lost in the confusion of counter intentions. Now I simply decide and my space has nothing counter to throw back at me! New business? Check. New car? Check. New house? Check. These are just the surface manifestations occurring recently. Theta wise I perceive a whole new existence. Picture Neo seeing the Matrix for the first time possibly. I’m getting very acquainted with the theta universe and its subtle yet powerful control of the MEST universe. Big shift! Prior to that it was hit-and-miss with Lady Luck deciding mostly. Not any more. There is more composure and certainty than before, it feels as if I’m ready to handle the bigger stuff, cant wait!!”


Past is Prologue

1995: A victory this week in the suit against Larry Wollersheim and Bob Penny. A summary of Judge Kane’s ruling from Kim Baker: “In RTC vs. FACTNet, Judge Kane said that RTC did not prove probability of success of their case. Equally, RTC did not show the probability of their claim. FACTNet was entitled to its use of the documents under the fair use provisions under section 107 of the copyright rules. FACTNet’s criticism, comment and debate qualifies it to fair use of the documents. RTC did not show infringement, and did not show that their claim of ‘trade secrets’ was valid. The documents were in the public domain, and were proved to have been on the Internet long before the August raids. It was not proved that the ‘trade secrets’ were the kind that are protected under the law. RTC did not show irreparable injury; any injury they may have does not outweigh the harm done to Lawrence Wollersheim, Bob Penny and FACTNet. The
actions of the defendants would not restrain individuals from joining $cientology – if they are interested in participating in $cientology they would anyway. The question of infringement is answered by the fair use principles. The public interest is more served in the continuation of FACTNet. The balance of the danger of harm is in the favor of the defendants, rather than $cientology. All computers and peripherals, along with seized documents, are to be returned immediately, in precisely the same condition as when seized, and in precisely the same location when seized.”


Random Howdy

“It seems to me that Narconon preys on folks out in the hinterland and down south where detoxes are few and far between and the people are less up on this kind of stuff.”


Full Court Press: What we’re watching at the Underground Bunker

Criminal prosecutions:

Danny Masterson charged for raping three women: Trial scheduled for October 11.
‘Lafayette Ronald Hubbard’ (a/k/a Justin Craig), aggravated assault, plus drug charges: Grand jury indictments include charges from an assault while in custody. Arraigned on August 29.
Jay and Jeff Spina, Medicare fraud: Jay sentenced to 9 years in prison. Jeff’s sentencing to be scheduled.
Rizza Islam, Medi-Cal fraud: Trial scheduled for October 24 in Los Angeles
David Gentile, GPB Capital, fraud: Next pretrial conference set for September 19.
Yanti Mike Greene, Scientology private eye accused of contempt of court: Found guilty of criminal and civil contempt.

Civil litigation:
Baxter, Baxter, and Paris v. Scientology, alleging labor trafficking: Complaint filed April 28 in Tampa federal court, Scientology moving to compel arbitration. Plaintiffs filed amended complaint on August 2.
Valerie Haney v. Scientology: Forced to ‘religious arbitration.’ Selection of arbitrators underway. Next court hearing: February 2, 2023.
Chrissie Bixler et al. v. Scientology and Danny Masterson: Appellate court removes requirement of arbitration on January 19, case remanded back to Superior Court. Stay in place, next status hearing October 25. Scientology petitioning US Supreme Court over appellate ruling.
Brian Statler Sr v. City of Inglewood: Third amended complaint filed, trial set for December 6.
Author Steve Cannane defamation trial: New trial ordered after appeals court overturned prior ruling.
Chiropractors Steve Peyroux and Brent Detelich, stem cell fraud: Lawsuit filed by the FTC and state of Georgia in August, now in discovery phase.



We first broke the news of the LAPD’s investigation of Scientology celebrity Danny Masterson on rape allegations in 2017, and we’ve been covering the story every step of the way since then. At this page we’ve collected our most important links, including our four days in Los Angeles covering the preliminary hearing and its ruling, which has Danny facing trial and the potential sentence of 45 years to life in prison.


After the success of their double-Emmy-winning, three-season A&E series ‘Scientology and the Aftermath,’ Leah Remini and Mike Rinder continue the conversation on their podcast, ‘Scientology: Fair Game.’ We’ve created a landing page where you can hear all of the episodes so far.


An episode-by-episode guide to Leah Remini’s three-season, double-Emmy winning series that changed everything for Scientology watching. Originally aired from 2016 to 2019 on the A&E network, and now on Netflix.


Find your favorite Hubbardite celeb at this index page — or suggest someone to add to the list!

Other links: SCIENTOLOGY BLACK OPS: Tom Cruise and dirty tricks. Scientology’s Ideal Orgs, from one end of the planet to the other. Scientology’s sneaky front groups, spreading the good news about L. Ron Hubbard while pretending to benefit society. Scientology Lit: Books reviewed or excerpted in a weekly series. How many have you read?


[ONE year ago] Scientology sends out creepy letters to lure you back in, and other gems from our mailbag
[TWO years ago] What Scientologists are telling each other on social media right this very minute
[THREE years ago] No, RadarOnline did not discover a new underground bunker at Scientology’s Gold Base
[FOUR years ago] How a Scientology-run business preyed on Silicon Valley icons in the name of ‘wellness’
[FIVE years ago] Ford Greene responds to Marty Rathbun, and brings up a previous Scientology secret deal
[SIX years ago] Co-writer Dan Koon answers accusations about the accuracy of Ron Miscavige’s ‘Ruthless’
[SEVEN years ago] Paul Haggis, Lawrence Wright react to Alex Gibney’s Emmys sweep for ‘Going Clear’
[EIGHT years ago] Ryan Hamilton files 20th lawsuit against Scientology’s drug rehab network
[NINE years ago] MONIQUE RATHBUN VS SCIENTOLOGY, DAY 2: Texas Showdown Shifts Gears
[ELEVEN years ago] Marty Rathbun, Ex-Scientology Exec, Back from Germany: ‘The U.S. Media Has No Balls’


Scientology disconnection, a reminder

Bernie Headley (1952-2019) did not see his daughter Stephanie in his final 5,667 days.
Valerie Haney has not seen her mother Lynne in 2,786 days.
Katrina Reyes has not seen her mother Yelena in 3,291 days
Sylvia Wagner DeWall has not seen her brother Randy in 2,841 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his grandson Leo in 1,831 days.
Geoff Levin has not seen his son Collin and daughter Savannah in 1,722 days.
Christie Collbran has not seen her mother Liz King in 5,027 days.
Clarissa Adams has not seen her parents Walter and Irmin Huber in 2,897 days.
Doug Kramer has not seen his parents Linda and Norm in 2,002 days.
Jamie Sorrentini Lugli has not seen her father Irving in 4,475 days.
Quailynn McDaniel has not seen her brother Sean in 3,791 days.
Dylan Gill has not seen his father Russell in 12,357 days.
Melissa Paris has not seen her father Jean-Francois in 8,276 days.
Valeska Paris has not seen her brother Raphael in 4,444 days.
Mirriam Francis has not seen her brother Ben in 4,024 days.
Claudio and Renata Lugli have not seen their son Flavio in 4,286 days.
Sara Goldberg has not seen her daughter Ashley in 3,322 days.
Lori Hodgson has not seen her son Jeremy and daughter Jessica in 3,037 days.
Marie Bilheimer has not seen her mother June in 2,602 days.
Julian Wain has not seen his brother Joseph or mother Susan in 917 days.
Charley Updegrove has not seen his son Toby in 2,092 days.
Joe Reaiche has not seen his daughter Alanna Masterson in 6,643 days
Derek Bloch has not seen his father Darren in 3,774 days.
Cindy Plahuta has not seen her daughter Kara in 4,112 days.
Roger Weller has not seen his daughter Alyssa in 8,967 days.
Claire Headley has not seen her mother Gen in 4,086 days.
Ramana Dienes-Browning has not seen her mother Jancis in 2,442 days.
Mike Rinder has not seen his son Benjamin and daughter Taryn in 6,745 days.
Brian Sheen has not seen his daughter Spring in 2,851 days.
Skip Young has not seen his daughters Megan and Alexis in 3,249 days.
Mary Kahn has not seen her son Sammy in 3,125 days.
Lois Reisdorf has not seen her son Craig in 2,708 days.
Phil and Willie Jones have not seen their son Mike and daughter Emily in 3,203 days.
Mary Jane Barry has not seen her daughter Samantha in 3,457 days.
Kate Bornstein has not seen her daughter Jessica in 14,566 days.


Posted by Tony Ortega on September 13, 2022 at 07:00

E-mail tips to tonyo94 AT gmail DOT com or follow us on Twitter. We also post updates at our Facebook author page. After every new story we send out an alert to our e-mail list and our FB page.

Our new book with Paulette Cooper, Battlefield Scientology: Exposing L. Ron Hubbard’s dangerous ‘religion’ is now on sale at Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. Our book about Paulette, 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, 1995-2021 Just starting out here? We’ve picked out the most important stories we’ve covered here at the Underground Bunker (2012-2021), The Village Voice (2008-2012), New Times Los Angeles (1999-2002) and the Phoenix New Times (1995-1999)

Other links: BLOGGING DIANETICS: Reading Scientology’s founding text cover to cover | 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 | Shelly Miscavige, 15 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 | The mystery of the richest Scientologist and his wayward sons | Scientology’s shocking mistreatment of the mentally ill | The Underground Bunker’s Official Theme Song | The Underground Bunker FAQ

Watch our short videos that explain Scientology’s controversies in three minutes or less…

Check your whale level at our dedicated page for status updates, or join us at the Underground Bunker’s Facebook discussion group for more frivolity.

Our non-Scientology stories: Robert Burnham Jr., the man who inscribed the universe | Notorious alt-right inspiration Kevin MacDonald and his theories about Jewish DNA | The selling of the “Phoenix Lights” | Astronomer Harlow Shapley‘s FBI file | Sex, spies, and local TV news | Battling Babe-Hounds: Ross Jeffries v. R. Don Steele


Tony Ortega at The Daily Beast


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