By Any Means (Unnecessary)

A History of the Confrontational Politics That Led to the 'Assault' on Councilman Bill Perkins by the Bully Boys of The Million Youth March

The Black Rage Khallid Abdul Muhammad had so carefully finessed with super-rationality to cover up his extremist agenda degenerated into a kind of obscene entertainment when he suddenly reappeared in New York City recently, vowing that "no devil, racist, cantankerous, constipated cracker like Mayor Giuliani can stop" his controversial Million Youth March.

Within hours of his arrival, the antsy ultranationalist, who heads the Texas-based, shotgun-toting New Black Panther Party and New Black Muslim Movement, began roaming Harlem with a gang of wannabe revolutionaries trying to force-feed a fast-food militancy to residents, allegedly in preparation for all-out war with the "Y2KKK-ready" NYPD. One black leader who got in the way was sidelined by unnecessary roughness, allegedly sanctioned by the former high school starting quarterback.

Giuliani and Police Commissioner Howard Safir, governing by tantrum and vendetta, declared last week that, barring a court order, Khallid had been denied a permit to stage the so-called race rally on September 4. Giuliani and Safir have repeatedly denounced the event, which organizers say is dedicated to black and Latino youth, as a "hate march."

In His Face: Someone Told Perkins, "We Should Kill People Like You."
photo: Jay Muhlin
In His Face: Someone Told Perkins, "We Should Kill People Like You."

Last year's rally ended with 28 injuries when police in riot gear stormed the stage on orders from the mayor, and Khallid exhorted the crowd to beat or shoot officers who attacked them. Since that September day when Khallid was hustled off the stage by his personal bodyguards, Harlemites say he rarely has been seen in the community and has done little to build grassroots support.

Backing for the disgraced former Nation of Islam spokesman dwindled to such a low ebb that black politicians who had been reluctant to criticize him for fear of alienating segments of the African American community began to publicly shout him down. "This march shouldn't take place in Harlem or anywhere but hell, and Khallid can go down there with it," said Harlem councilman Bill Perkins, who has surfaced as Khallid's most outspoken critic. "There is no support for it. Period."

Frustrated and isolated— an alienation some say is closely related to his estrangement from his spiritual father, Minister Louis Farrakhan— Khallid this year unleashed his ramshackle "people's militia," reportedly to push the city toward a showdown. Last week, as Perkins left a forum at which Democratic presidential candidate Bill Bradley had fielded questions from Harlemites, he was menaced by members of the group and derided as an "Uncle Tom" for not supporting the march. Someone told him: "We should kill people like you."

The bitter feud with Perkins stemmed partly from Khallid's disappointment with the councilman's background investigation of him after a war of words erupted between the city and organizers around the issue of public safety for the 1998 Million Youth March. According to Perkins, during a meeting with organizers at the Emmanuel A.M.E Church in Harlem, Khallid told him not to needlessly worry himself about public safety because he had been "head of security" for the historic Million Man March. Perkins contacted Minister Benjamin F. Muhammad, the former Benjamin Chavis, who is Farrakhan's chief representative in New York, about Khallid's alleged boast. (At the time, Khallid's march was competing for attention with the Million Youth Movement in Atlanta, which was staging a march that same weekend, backed by Farrakhan.)

Minister Benjamin asked Perkins to put his queries about Khallid in writing. Farrakhan himself responded to four questions raised by Perkins: No, Khallid had not been security chief for the Million Man March. That task was left to D.C. police, Capitol police, federal marshals, and the Fruit of Islam, the NOI's paramilitary force. Another Perkins question: Is Khallid a member in good standing of the Nation of Islam?

Farrakhan replied that Khallid was still a member although the Minister had distanced himself from his former disciple, saying, "At present . . . he is not under the jurisdiction nor the spiritual direction of the leadership of the Nation of Islam." Farrakhan added that Khallid was "free to do that which he feels is in his best interest and in the best interest of those who follow him."

In an interview last year, Khallid told the Voice that Perkins either had misunderstood him or deliberately was trying to embarrass him. "I told him that I had trained most of the men who worked out the logistics of the security arrangement for the Million Man March," explained the former captain of the FOI. "How could I claim to be head of security for the Million Man March when everybody knew that I was no longer in Minister Farrakhan's inner circle of leadership?"

Perkins's appearance at last week's forum in Harlem, which was organized by Reverend Al Sharpton, became a rallying point for Khallid, but the selective harassment is disturbing to some who say there are many more apt political enemies on whom Khallid might have focused. Since the militia embarked on its campaign to confront opponents of the march, none of the symbols of black oppression— the mayor, the police commissioner— have been accosted.

Bypassed on the militia's list of possible targets was Imam Ezekiel Pasha, leader of Masjid Malcolm Shabazz on 116th Street, who Giuliani appointed to a controversial 15-member commission to change the City Charter. Imam Pasha, a member of the racially mixed American Muslim Mission led by Wallace Mohammed, has criticized Khallid on the explosive issue of anti-Semitism. But the two Muslims have clashed before. In 1992, Khallid berated Wallace for being the first Islamic leader to pray in the "racist United Snakes Senate," which approves "the guns and bombs that blow up . . . people throughout the world."

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