[Congressional Record Volume 140, Number 16 (Wednesday, February 23, 1994)]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[Congressional Record: February 23, 1994]
From the Congressional Record Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
EXPRESSING THE SENSE OF CONGRESS ON THE SENIOR REPRESENTATIVE OF THE
NATION OF ISLAM
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, pursuant to the order of the House of
Tuesday, February 22, 1994, I call up the resolution (H. Res. 343) to
express the sense of the House of Representatives condemning the
racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic speech given by a senior
representative of the Nation of Islam and all manifestations and
expressions of hatred based on race, religion, and ethnicity, and ask
for its immediate consideration.
The Clerk read the title of the resolution.
The text of the resolution is as follows:
Whereas the United States House of Representatives strongly
oppose racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and all forms
of ethnic or religious intolerance;
Whereas the racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic speech
given by Kahlid Abdul Muhammad of the Nation of Islam at Kean
College on November 29, 1993, incites divisiveness and
violence on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity; and
Whereas Mr. Muhummad specifically justifies the slaughter
of Jews during the Holocaust a fully deserved; disparages the
Pope in the most revolting personal terms; and calls for the
assassination of every white infant, child, man, and woman in
South Africa: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the House of Representatives
(1) condemns the speech given by Kahlid Abdul Muhammad as
outrageous hatemongering of the most vicious and vile kind;
(2) condemns all manifestations and expressions of racism,
anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and ethnic or religious
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos] is recognized for 1 hour.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, for purposes of debate only, I yield 30
minutes to the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], and I ask unanimous
consent that he be permitted to control the time on behalf of our
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
The purpose of this resolution is to express the sense of the House
of Representatives condemning the racist, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic,
homophobic speech given by a senior representative of the
Nation of Islam and to condemn all manisfestations and expressions of
hatred and divisiveness in our country.
Mr. Speaker, free speech is one of the greatest values of our free
society, and all of us in this House are passionately committed to its
preservation. The right to free speech, however, does not confer upon
anyone the privilege of being immune from the free speech of others.
When freedom of speech is abused in a vile and vicious way to promote
hatred and to incite murder on a gigantic scale, it is the duty of
responsible legislative bodies to condemn such speech in clear and
That is exactly, Mr. Speaker, what our colleagues in the other body
did, when the Senate acted unanimously, every single Republican and
every single Democrat, to repudiate and condemn the evil hate-mongering
of the then-national spokesman for the Nation of Islam on a college
The Senate resolution, which is parallel to my resolution, reads as
It is the sense of the Senate that the speech made by Mr.
Khalid Abdul Mohammad at Kean College on November 29, 1993,
was false, anti-Semitic, racist, divisive, repugnant and a
disservice to all Americans and is therefore condemned.
This is the moment, Mr. Speaker, for Members of the House of
Representatives to stand up and be counted on what must be one of the
most criminally vicious public incitements to hatred and mass murder
ever offered on an American college campus. To say that this rambling
and hate-filled diatribe is racist, sexist, anti-Catholic, anti-
Semitic, and homophobic is true, of course, but it does not begin to
convey the murderous venom which drips from every utterance. Just to
use one set of examples from a speech, the transcript of which takes 62
pages, let me quote relevant portions relating to racism. I will omit
the abusive language for obvious reasons.
At a time when responsible black and white leaders in South Africa
are engaged in the difficult task of building a democratic multiracial
society, Khalid Abdul Mohammad issues a bloodthirsty call for mass
We kill the women. We kill the children. We kill the
babies. We kill the blind. We kill the crippled. We kill them
all. We kill the faggot. We kill the lesbian. We kill them
Why kill the women? Because they lay on their back, they
are the military or the army's manufacturing center. They lay
on their back and reinforcements roll out from between their
legs. So we kill the women, too.
You'll kill the elders, too? Kill the old ones, too.
Goddamit, if they are in a wheelchair, push them off a cliff
in Capetown or Johannesburg. I said kill the blind, kill the
crippled, kill the crazy. Goddamit. And when you get through
killing them all, go to the goddamn graveyard and dig up the
grave and kill them goddamn again, because they didn't die
hard enough. They didn't die hard enough. And if you have
killed them all and you don't have the strength to dig them
up, then take your gun and shoot in the goddamn grave.
Kill them again. Kill them again, because they didn't die
Mr. Speaker, 62 pages of this dialog is not free speech. It is the
opposite of free speech. It is an attempt to incite hatred and division
in this complex, multiethnic, multireligious society, which has a
difficult time, without these incitements to hate and murder, to
function in a civil way.
But we are not just dealing with events in this country. We are
dealing with a daily diet of the evening news, mass rapes and ethnic
cleansing in the former Yugoslavia, where 200,000 innocent civilians
have been killed in the last 22 months because of words of hate and
bigotry spoken in a similar vein.
A few weeks ago, Mr. Speaker, six little children frolicking in the
snow in Sarajevo were killed because of words of this kind. And 2 weeks
ago, 68 innocent civilians, men, women and children, were killed in the
open market of the city of Sarajevo.
Now, there are colleagues in this House who might claim that these
are mere words. Let me remind them that the Holocaust did not begin
with the gas chambers. It began with words, words of hate and bigotry,
calling for mass murder. And mass murder they did.
Mr. Speaker, I ask that excerpts of the speech of Khalid Abdul
Mohammad be placed in the Record, and I urge my colleagues to see the
kind of vicious, hate-filled statements it contains.
Minister Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam Claim They Are Moving
Toward Moderation and Increased Tolerance--You Decide
Brothers and sisters--the so-called Jew, and I must say so-
called Jew, because you're not the true Jew. You are Johnny-
come-lately-Jew, who just crawled out of the caves and hills
of Europe just a little over 4,000 years ago. You're not from
the original people. You are a European strain of people who
crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe
eating Juniper roots and eating each other.
Who are the slumlords in the black community? The so-called
Jew who is sucking our blood in the black community. A white
imposter Arab and a white imposter Jew, right in the black
community, sucking our blood on a daily and consistent basis.
They sell us pork and they don't even eat it themselves. A
meat case full of rotten pork meat, and the imposter Arab and
the imposter white Jew, neither of them eat it themselves. A
wall full of liquor keeping our people drunk and out of their
head, and filled with the swill of the swine, affecting their
minds. They're the blood suckers of the black nation and the
black community. Professor Griff was right when he spoke
here--and when he spoke in the general vicinity of Jersey and
New York, and when he spoke at Columbia Jew-niversity (sic)
over in Jew (sic) York City. He was right.
The DeBeers mines, Oppenheimer, our people, our brothers
and sisters in South Africa, hundreds of them lose their
lives. Sometimes thousands in those mines. Miles underground
mining diamonds for white Jews. That's why you call yourself
Mr. Reubenstein, Mr. Goldstein, Mr. Silverstein. Because you
been stealing rubies and gold and silver all over the earth.
That's why we can't even wear a ring or a bracelet or a
necklace without calling it Jew-erly We say it real quick and
call it jewelry, but it's not jewelry it's Jew-elry cause
you're the rogue that's stealing all over the face of the
You see everybody always talk about Hitler exterminating 6
million Jews. That's right. But don't nobody ever ask what
did they do to Hitler. What did they do to them folks? They
went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they
go, and they supplanted, they usurped, they turned around and
a German, in his own country, would almost have to go to a
Jew to get money. They had undermined the very fabric of the
society. Now he was an arrogant no-good devil bastard.
Hitler, no question about it. He was wickedly great. Yes, he
was. He used his greatness for evil and wickedness. But they
are wickedly great too, brother. Everywhere they go, and they
always do it and hide their head.
We don't owe the white man nothin' in South Africa. He's
killed millions of our women, our children, our babies, our
elders. We don't owe him nothing in South Africa. If we want
to be merciful at all, when we gain enough power from God
Almighty to take our freedom and independence from him, we
give him 24 hours to get out of town, by sundown. That's all.
If he won't get out of town by sundown, we kill everything
white that ain't right (inaudible) in South Africa. We kill
the women, we kill the children, we kill the babies. We kill
the blind, we kill the crippled, (inaudible), we kill 'em
all. We kill the faggot, we kill the lesbian, we kill them
all. You say why kill the babies in South Africa? Because
they gonna grow up one day to oppress our babies, so we kill
the babies. Why kill the women? They, they . . . because they
lay on their back, they are the military or the army's
manufacturing center. They lay on their back and
reinforcements roll out from between their legs. So we kill
the women too. You'll kill the elders too? Kill the old ones
too. Goddamit, if they in a wheelchair, push 'em off a cliff
in Cape Town. Push 'em off a cliff in Cape Town, or
Johannesburg, or (inaudible), or Port Sheppston or Darbin,
how the hell you think they got old. They old oppressing
black people. I said kill the blind, kill the crippled, kill
the crazy. Goddamit, and when you get through killing 'em
all, go to the goddam graveyard and dig up the grave and kill
'em, goddam, again. `Cause they didn't die hard enough. They
didn't die hard enough. And if you've killed 'em all and you
don't have the strength to dig 'em up, then take your gun and
shoot in the goddam grave. Kill 'em again. Kill 'em again,
'cause they didn't die hard enough.
We found out that the Federal Reserve ain't really owned by
the Federal Government . . . But it ain't owned by the
Federal Government. The Federal Reserve is owned by, you just
touched on it a little while ago. (Jews.) It's owned by the
Brother. I don't care who sits in the seat at the White
House. You can believe that the Jews control that seat that
they sit in from behind the scenes. They control the finance,
and not only that, they influence the policy-making.
No white Jews ever in bondage in Egypt for 400 years.
You're not the chosen people of God. Stop telling that lie.
Let's go a little further with this. Many of you put out the
textbooks. Many of you control the libraries, Lie-braries.
NBC, ABC, CBS, you don't see nothin', or makes sure we don't
see, Warner Brothers, Paramount, huh? Hollywood, period.
But [they] also are most influential in newspaper,
magazine, print media and electronic media.
These people have had a secret relationship with us. They
have our entertainers in their hip pocket. In the palm of
their hand, I should say. They have our athletes in the palm
of their hand.
Many of our politicians are in the palm of the white man's
hand, but in particular, in the palm of the Jewish white
The Jews have told us, the so-called Jews have told us, ve
(sic) ve, ve suffer like you. Ve, ve, ve, ve marched with Dr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Ve, ve, ve were in Selma, Alabama.
Ve, ve were in Montgomery, Alabama. Ve, ve were in
Montgomery, Alabama. Ve, ve, were on the front line of the
civil rights marches. Ve have always supported you. But let's
take a look at it. The Jews, the so-called Jews, what they
have actually done, brothers and sisters, is used us as
Go to the Vatican in Rome, when the old, no-good Pope, you
know that cracker. Somebody need to raise that dress up and
see what's really under there.
Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
(Mr. HYDE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, abhorrent as the remarks of the speaker at
Kean College in New Jersey were, I do not think enough attention is
being given to the enthusiastic response that his hateful words
received from his college student audience. The applause of those young
people scares me a lot more than the idiotic statements that were made
by this person, and I think that there is an awful lot of work to be
done to understand why such language has such an appeal to so many
Mr. Speaker, the language of this resolution does not call for any
civilian or criminal penalties. It does, however, flatly express the
sense of Congress that the deliberate abuse of another's deeply held
beliefs and the systematic abuse of another's deeply held beliefs and
the systematic condemnation of persons based on ethnicity, race, or
religion is an offense to democratic civility, and this resolution is
an expression of our right of freedom of speech to condemn what we find
patently contemptible. Free speech should be an instrumentality to
communicating ideas in the quest for truth.
The emotional consequences of this sort of language are the enemy of
free discourse, because they guarantee a reaction that is the adversary
of reason and orderly debate. Comments such as these are not made to
persuade or to convince, but to insult, to vilify, to wound, or to
hurt. They have an unhealthy effect of fracturing our democratic
Despite the best efforts of so many good and decent people, hatred
and friction between the races continues to be a grave problem. We
should look for ways to diminish that hatred. These remarks have the
effect of worsening, not lessening, the friction between men and women
of different races and religions. Thus, it is appropriate that such
language and other language like it receive our strongest condemnation.
Free speech is not impinged upon by our condemnation. It is only
exercised on our behalf and on behalf of other civilly mutually
Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from North Carolina
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to
Mr. Speaker, the remarks this resolution condemns serve no good
purpose, and such comments must be condemned. To silently ignore such
verbal attacks is not adequate, Mr. Speaker. We must openly and
notoriously oppose it; yes, even condemn it.
The attack upon Jews, Catholics, Caucasians, offends me, but I would
be equally offended as well if the speaker had been Caucasian and his
target had been people whose skin is black. The salient point to be
made, it seems to me, Mr. Speaker, is that we cannot stand idly by and
observe speakers, regardless of the color of the speaker's skin, who
assume their roles at podiums across this land and spew out sulfuric
words, whipping up listening audiences into a mob-like frenzy.
Just as the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] said, little has been
said about that. I believe equally offensive to the speech delivered is
the response that was forthcoming by the listening audience. Today, Mr.
Speaker, this Congress I hope will condemn these remarks, and condemn
the speech that was made, and in so doing, we send a signal from this
Hall that it will not be tolerated.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos] has consumed 7\1/2\ minutes.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 4 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Lewis], the majority whip.
Mr. LEWIS of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague, the
gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos], for yielding time.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to urge my colleagues to support House
Resolution 343. As people of conscience, we have a moral obligation to
speak out against injustice, bigotry, racism, and anti-Semitism.
For more than 35 years, I have been part of a struggle against
bigotry, racism, discrimination, and anti-Semitism. During those years,
I have learned that one must always be on guard in the fight against
bigotry. It knows no limitations or borders.
I know there are some who would say that what we are doing is out of
the ordinary. But these are unusual and extraordinary times. There are
some immutable principles that are nonnegotiable, we must not turn away
I deeply feel that we have a moral obligation and a mandate and a
mission to speak out against the remarks made by Khalid Abdul Muhammad
at Kean College. Mr. Muhammad delivered a poisonous and hateful speech.
In that speech, he said awful and bad things about African-Americans,
about Jews, about Catholics and about members of the gay community.
These remarks represented an obscene and ugly attack on decency. When
any one of us is attacked, all of us are attacked. There is no room in
our society for the expression of bigotry, anti-Semitism, and racism.
Any time, such hateful expression rears its ugly head, it should not go
In another period of our history, just a few years ago, there was a
coalition of conscience that worked together in a struggle to create a
truly interracial democracy in America--to create what I like to call
the Beloved Community. People from all walks of life and from around
the country struggled together during the civil rights movement to make
this Nation a better place, to make our society a more humane society.
I can never forget 30 years ago in 1964, when three young men in
Mississippi were killed in the struggle for civil rights. These three
men, Mickey Schwerner, Andrew Goodman, and James Chaney--two young
Jewish men and an African-American--died in the fight for freedom, not
in Africa, not in Asia, not in Europe, not in Central America, but here
in America, fighting for freedom. They were fighting and struggling for
the right of all to vote.
I speak from experience. This is not something I read in the
newspaper or watched on television. I saw young blacks and young Jews
struggling, fighting and shedding blood together 30 years ago. We stood
together during times of difficulty. We must continue to do so now. As
Americans, we should be about the business of building a truly
interracial democracy, rather than dividing people along racial,
ethnic, and religious lines.
Yes, we all have a responsibility to speak out against bigotry and
intolerance. We can never, never turn a deaf ear or a blind eye to
hate. In a real sense, we are one nation; one community; one people; we
are one house, the American house; we are one family, the American
I urge Members to support House Resolution 343.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New
York [Mr. Levy].
Mr. LEVY. Mr. Speaker, one of the problems with free speech is that
from time to time it is abused. Such was the case when Kahlid Abdul
Muhammad took to the podium in Kean, NJ, in November. I am not going to
reiterate what has been said. He has been quoted here enough. Suffice
it to say his speech was racist. It promoted hate. Many of us would
have preferred that Kahlid Abdul Muhammad would never have opened his
mouth that day, but he did.
What is the remedy for speech that is offensive, as has been coming
too often from the leadership of the nation of Islam? The answer, I
think, is more speech, speech from good, decent, and thinking people
who are revulsed by what has been said; people, I think, like the vast
majority of the people that we all represent.
On their behalf we have to speak out today. We must label the
Muhammad speech for what it is. And what it is, is racist hate
There should be nothing controversial about what we are doing here
today. In fact, in the other body a vote on a similar resolution was 97
in favor and none against.
Censorship has no place in our law, but racism has no place in our
culture. We cannot quiet the racists among us, but we can drown them
Let us help the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos] do that today
by passing his resolution.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from New York [Mr. Rangel].
(Mr. RANGEL asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for bringing up this
resolution and also reminding Members of this House of Representatives
of the pain and the suffering of so many Jewish people in Germany that
occurred because no one spoke out when people said that Hitler was just
There are some Members who have come to me in opposition to this
resolution because of the procedure that was followed or the lack of
procedure. Others have some concerns about freedom of speech. But let
me say this to my friends and colleagues, that nobody in this House
should walk away where there is any doubt in anybody's mind that the
U.S. Congress finds these type of remarks not only repugnant as relates
to what this person in Jersey has said, but repugnant for what this
great republic and democracy stands for.
Had it not been for the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos], I
would not even have known that a procedure existed that would give us
the opportunity in this House of Representatives to pull out from the
slime and the snakepits of this country those who want to split it by
being anti-Semitic, by being racist, and by being against the things
that have made this country so great. I would like to say that there
are many of us who are African-Americans who have reached out to try to
feel the pain that our Jewish brothers and sisters feel because we have
never been in a struggle that we have had to call on them and they were
not there. And that is true whether it took place in the South or
whether it took place in the south Bronx.
In the future I hope that the Jewish and the African-American
community can build such a bond that is not restricted to the idiots
and the bigots that we find in this country, but by building to
represent those true beliefs that both of our people have always
believed in, investment in education, opportunity and the ability to
make this country even greater than it is today. For what you have
contributed by never letting us forget what people have suffered and
the lives that were lost because so many did, including Americans, may
we all never forget what has happened to so many others so that
together we can make not only a better America but a better world.
I thank the gentleman for the generosity that he has extended to me
in this time.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 3 minutes to the
distinguished gentleman from Georgia [Mr. Gingrich] the minority whip.
Mr. GINGRICH. Mr. Speaker, I thank my friend from Illinois for
yielding me the time, and I want to thank the gentleman from California
[Mr. Lantos] for his leadership in pursuing this and ensuring that this
is brought to the attention of the House, and that the House is given
an opportunity to communicate with the country, because I think it is
important to recognize what we are doing here and what we are not
We are not suggesting that it is illegal, we are not suggesting that
the gentleman who said these hateful things should go to jail, we are
not suggesting the repression of thought. We are suggesting the right
of every American to stand up and condemn hateful thought. And we are
suggesting in fact that there is a certain responsibility, whatever our
ethnic background, whatever our religious beliefs, that understand that
America is a remarkable dream held together by our willingness to
tolerate each other, and that our support for each other, whether it is
Jewish, Christian, Moslem, Buddhist, a variety of backgrounds, and I
happen to be a Baptist, and my good friend from Illinois, Mr. Hyde,
happens to be a Catholic, but we recognize within the fraternal concern
for freedom that there have to be some boundaries, and occasionally,
sadly, some people cross those boundaries.
I was asked when David Duke asserted that he was a Republican if I
would go on television. I think I was the first Republican who was
asked to go on television to speak on Night Line, and I went on Night
Line and I had to explain that we together in the Republican Party did
not have room for people who hate, for people who are racists and
bigots. And I think it is the same feeling as I stand here today,
recognizing that it is not about politics in the narrower sense, but it
is about political freedom in the greater sense.
It is sad that there is even a debate over this. And I would appeal
to Mr. Farrakahn, and I would appeal to those of his most active staff
to look into their own hearts and to understand what they are doing to
isolate themselves at a time when I think there has been a sincere
effort to reach out and begin to try to work with them, and begin to
try to find a common ground, and now to have this kind of a speech
coming between us, and to now have these kinds of hateful remarks,
remarks which are racist, remarks which reflect religious bigotry, and
remarks which I think cannot be allowed to stand without condemnation.
So I just say on behalf of many of the Members in both parties that
there is a feeling of reaching out and saying as Americans there has to
be some standard beyond which we say this we cannot tolerate. Not that
it is illegal, not that you do not have the right to free speech, but
as one of the great founders of television news, Fred Friendly has
said, the fact that you have the right to say something does not mean
it is the right thing to say, and the fact that you have the right to
do something does not mean that it is the right thing to do. And I
think in this case it simply went beyond the bounds of decency.
I thank all of my colleagues from both parties who are rising today
to express their commitment to the American dream of all of us living
and working together.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from New York [Mr. Schumer].
Mr. SCHUMER. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman from California and
all of my colleagues for their remarks. I think we have no moral choice
here. To me this is not an issue over free speech. Free speech,
unfortunately, allows people like Mr. Muhammad to say what he wants.
Free speech should impel us to say that it is wrong.
But I would like to explain to many of my colleagues here who wonder,
in all good faith, what is the fuss, why is it that we take someone who
obviously has very poisonous views, views contrary to what every one of
us have, whatever our race, our religion, our creed or color, wherever
we come from, why do we take this time because it does, unfortunately,
bring more attention to these hateful remarks? The answer is, at least
for me and many of the people from my community rooted in history, the
answer is that once in the past we ignored hateful language because it
came from a nut. A man in Germany in 1923 tried a coup to overthrow the
German Government, and basically the rest of the world ignored it. He
was a nut. He has no power. And in 1925 when he wrote Mein Kampf with
words eerily reminiscent of the words uttered by Mr. Muhammad, he was a
nut; he should not be paid attention to. And in 1928 when the power of
his party grew, and in 1932 when Hindenburg, the leader of the German
establishment, handed over the keys to the government to this man, he
as a nut, and he should be ignored.
Let me say right here the group that is burdened the greatest with
this ignoring what happened were the Jewish people in America at that
time. They said he was a nut, and they ignored it. And then the worst
We have vowed that we should never ignore this again. We have a
historical lesson. We have lived through it.
I know that some of my colleagues will say should this body spend all
of its time condemning people. No, it should not. But should other
groups, whether they be African-American, Latino, Catholic, gay,
whatever, on an occasion when they feel threatened have the privilege
of coming to the well of the floor and saying we must as a body condemn
what was done? Yes, by all means.
That is not again an option. That is our moral responsibility, and if
we do it in a sincere way, in a way that is not hateful or divisive but
unifying, as my good colleague from New York said, we can build on that
and start doing the positive things that we ought to be doing together
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Hawaii [Mr. Abercrombie].
Mr. ABERCROMBIE. Mr. Speaker, I yield to no one in this House in my
respect for the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos] and his strong
support for human rights. The record is well known. We are colleagues
in the Human Rights caucus.
I find myself, unfortunately, in a position of rising to disagree on
this issue. This is a question of free speech.
We are acting in an institutional capacity here today, and I urge all
of you who are listening, all of you who are observing today and are
going to vote on this, we are being asked to do this as an institution.
The first amendment says that Congress shall make no law respecting
the establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof
or abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. The universal
declaration of human rights, which I also subscribe to, and we are
members of the United Nations, everyone has the right to freedom of
opinion and expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions
without interference and to seek, receive, and impart information and
ideas through any media regardless of frontiers.
When one stands up and says it is not free speech, it is. Free speech
means driving bad speech out with good speech. It means taking the
responsibility in meeting the obligation of resisting tyranny and
intolerance everywhere we find it, and we do have the right to do that,
the obligation to do that as Members of Congress. But we do not, and
should not, have as an institution this right and this privilege to
condemn others for what they have said or done.
This resolution could easily apply as an unpatriotic, un-American,
subversive speech against the Vietnam war. Pick anything and you could
do the same thing.
I recall very clearly in ``A Man for All Seasons'' by Robert Bolt,
when Thomas More's son-in-law confronts him with the necessity of
getting to the devil, he says, ``I would cut down all the laws of this
land to get to the Devil,'' and More replies to him, ``Yes, and when
you have cut down all of those laws and the Devil turns to get you,
what then will you use for a defense?''
I can tell you what will happen from this, those of us who feel
strongly on this issue will be seen by others to affirm anti-Semitism,
affirm anti-Catholicism, affirm racism if we do not vote; we will be
put into the position again and again of saying,
If you do not condemn it as we require of you
institutionally in this resolution, you will be seen as
having affirmed that which has offended someone, that which
is subversive, if you will, to the intent of the
I say this: As a human being and as an individual Member of Congress,
I condemn bigotry, I condemn hatred. It is my privilege and duty to do
so. But when this House, constitutionally established as an arm of the
Federal Government, contemplates official action in the same vein, we
are confronted with a much different proposition. Governmental sanction
against any speech, objectionable as it may be, is always suspect, is
The Constitution has proven to be our strongest safeguard against the
Muhammads of the world. Let us revere the Constitution of the United
States and vote down this resolution.
Mr. Speaker, I want to make it abundantly clear that I abhor and am
implacably opposed to the antisemitism, anti-Catholic bigotry, racism,
homophobia and defamation of African-American leaders expressed in the
speech by Mr. Kahlid Abdul Muhammad at Kean College on November 29,
1993. Further, I acknowledge and share the concern, pain, and outrage
which motivated those who bring this measure to the floor.
The fact that I am constrained to preface my remarks with that
disclaimer illustrates the nature of my objection to this measure. We
who are Members of this body know that our every utterance or lack
thereof, our every vote, our presence or absence at this or that event
is subject to scrutiny, to analysis * * * and all to often to
misinterpretation. Some occasions, however, hold more potential than
others for misinterpretation, particularly the kind of
misinterpretation motivated by malice. This is one of them.
There are many Members here today who agree with the distinguished
chairman of our Judiciary Subcommittee on Civil and Constitutional
Rights, who in a Dear Colleague letter of February 22, argued against
this resolution. He based his arguments on the Bill of Rights, the
philosophy of Thomas Jefferson, and the role of this House and its
Members in the public life of our Nation. Yet each and every one of us
knows that invoking these ideas in this case will be seen by some, or
made to be seen, as sophistry.
I am not saying that we should avoid controversy or decisions that
are subject to misinterpretation. I assert, rather, that by opening the
door to this pressure in this instance, we are helping Mr. Muhammad
accomplish the goal I suspect he had in mind when he made his speech:
provoking reaction rather than persuading the unconvinced. Is this
House to be stampeded every time some extremist spews forth words of
hate? If we become the pawn of Mr. Muhammad by passing this resolution,
where do we begin the catalog of unacceptable pronouncements which we
must now condemn if we are to hold ourselves to a single standard?
As a human being and as an individual Member of Congress, I have
condemned the bigotry and hatred in Mr. Muhammad's speech. It is my
privilege and duty to do so. But when this House, a constitutionally
established arm of the Federal Government, contemplates official action
in the same vein, we are confronted with a much different proposition.
Governmental sanction against any speech, objectionable as it may be,
is always suspect. The Constitution has proven to be our strongest
safeguard against the political currents Mr. Muhammad is attempting to
generate. I believe we would be well advised to continue to look to the
Constitution rather than official condemnation as the best way to
foster the atmosphere of good will we seek in the civic life of our
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, does the gentleman from Maryland wish me to
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer a friendly amendment to
the amendment in hopes of bringing balance and substance to this debate
and to this issue of repudiation that go directly to the heart of
remarks made by a gentleman of the other body.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). Does the gentleman from
California yield for a unanimous-consent request of the gentleman from
Mr. LANTOS. Under the rules, I do not accept that amendment, Mr.
Speaker, but I will be happy to yield to my friend for debate purposes
The SPEAKER pro tempore. How much time does the gentleman from
California yield to the gentleman from Maryland?
Mr. LANTOS. Two minutes.
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, reserving the right to object----
The SPEAKER pro tempore. He just has 2 minutes to debate. Does the
gentleman object to him----
Mr. RANGEL. I do not know whether I am gong to have to vote against
or for it, so I would just like to reserve the right to object to find
out from the gentleman. He described it as being friendly, but I just
would want to know exactly what is in it.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, for the Record, I would like to yield 1 minute
to the gentleman from Maryland.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. There is nothing to object to at this time,
the Chair states to the gentleman from New York, and the gentleman from
Maryland is recognized for 3 minutes.
Mr. RANGEL. So there is no unanimous-consent request in front of the
House at this time, then, Mr. Speaker?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. That is correct.
Mr. RANGEL. All right.
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to speak out of order
for an additional 2 minutes.
Mr. RANGEL. Reserving the right to object, Mr. Speaker----
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is recognized on his
reservation of the right to object.
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I do not know whether the amendment is going
to be germane or whether it is going to be connected with this
resolution in any way.
There were no papers being passed out, and I just did not want this
to move forward without reserving the right to object, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield the gentleman an additional minute.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from Maryland now has 4
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, am I not using that 4 minutes in responding
to the right to object reserved by the gentleman from New York?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Would the gentleman state that again?
Mr. MFUME. Am I on the time of the gentleman from New York who has
reserved the right to object, or am I on the 4 minutes that have been
The SPEAKER pro tempore. That is correct, on the reservation of the
gentleman from New York.
Mr. MFUME. So the gentleman from New York controls the time?
Mr. RANGEL. I am trying to find out from the author of this amendment
how could it be related to this amendment and whether it is inviting,
whether it has been distributed, what it is that you bring before this
House at this time.
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RANGEL. Reserving the right to object, I yield to the gentleman
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Let the Chair clarify it. There is no
amendment pending. The gentleman from California objected, or would
object, to unanimous-consent request of offering an amendment. He has
that authority under the rules.
Mr. RANGEL. The gentleman requested additional time, and I objected
to the additional time until I could be satisfied that it is going to
be used in a parliamentary way.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman is recognized under his
reservation of the right to object.
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, will the gentleman yield?
Mr. RANGEL. I yield to the gentleman from Maryland.
Mr. MFUME. The amendment that I had hoped to offer was an amendment
that would have brought balance to this debate in which all of us have
a sense of outrage and revulsion at remarks that were made at Kean
College, but many of us also have a sense of outrage and revulsion at
remarks made by a Member of the other body recently in which black
people were referred to as darkies, Hispanics were referred to as
wetbacks, and Africans were referred to as cannibals.
I think that, in order that we have some balance before us, not to
even mention the issue of free speech which is legitimate, that is why
I wanted to offer this amendment, and I regret that the gentleman would
not accept it.
Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I withdraw my reservation of objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair would like to remind the gentleman
in the well that he cannot refer to Members of the other body and
statements made by that Member of the other body.
The gentleman now has 4 minutes of time yielded to him.
Mr. MFUME. Mr. Speaker, I have a question of the Chair. Is the Chair
telling me that I cannot say or make mention of a Member of the other
body as long as I do not use that person's name?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman, under the rules, cannot refer
to statements made by the Members of the other body.
Mr. MFUME. If I could ask further, may I have permission to refer to
statements made from someone from South Carolina?
The SPEAKER pro tempore. If that is a Member from the other body, the
gentleman cannot do that.
Mr. MFUME. With all due respect, there are many people from South
Carolina. I am not necessarily mentioning a Member of the other body
but a resident of the State of South Carolina.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman would proceed in order at the
Mr. MFUME. I thank the Chair very much.
Let me be perfectly clear: By attempting to offer the amendment that
I did, I did not in any way mean to diminish the offensive comments
addressed by the Lantos resolution. As I have said repeatedly, I also
find them racist, sexist, anti-Semitic, anti-Catholic, and homophobic.
As I have further stated, I repeatedly, over and over again, hear
from others that say that these things have to be addressed, and yet we
seem to be selective in that which we seek to address.
The sad matter of the whole thing is that no matter how offensive
those remarks are, there have been other remarks that have been uttered
in public that have been just as offensive, to be sure. Take, for
example, remarks uttered by a person who resides in the State of South
Carolina, the subject of the amendment that I tried to address, where
black people were referred to as darkies, Hispanics were referred to
previously as wetbacks, Africans were referred to in last December as
In spite of how repulsive and offensive those remarks are and the way
we find them to be, we certainly have not seen a resolution in this
body or the other body that seeks to condemn them. Not until this
unfortunate event have we underscored even in the most inadvertent of
ways the extent to which a double standard is at play in this Nation
when it comes to offensive remarks.
Since those remarks were attributed and made, every member of the
black leadership has been called on to repudiate them, elected
officials, teachers, community leaders and preachers. While we all find
them to be offensive, we cry out for balance and cry out for honesty
with one to another. In other words, we have been called upon like no
other group of people have been called upon to respond and to react to
an unfortunate set of remarks. We think there ought to be, at least,
Let me say this, Mr. Speaker, for the record: Black people are
neither lazy, shiftless, or the irresponsible people that people in the
media oftentimes portray us to be, nor the second-class citizens that
the racists in our society try to make us to be.
We have a right to demand respect also and to ask others to hold
themselves to the measurements that they would hold us to.
For example, if we pass this resolution, which does not decry the
speech in question as hateful and harmful toward homosexuals, and it
does not, even though the speech was, are we saying it is OK to
criticize the Pope or someone else but it is not OK to go out and to do
some of the things that Mr. Muhammad does in his speech? In other
words, ``Don't do this about the Pope,'' and ``Don't do this about
Catholics, but you can say what you want to about lesbians and gays.''
Lastly, let me say one thing about the issue of free speech: It is
without a doubt one of the most important liberties that we as
Americans enjoy. The French philosopher Voltaire once said that,
``While I disapprove of what you say, I will defend to my death your
right to say it.''
It is doubtful that I would be here today in this Congress if many
people in this country who were offended in the 1960's by the remarks
of Martin Luther King had been able to silence him and his words. While
it is our duty as leaders to stand up in our communities and to speak
out against harmful words, harmful deeds, and harmful remarks, it is
also our duty to be guarantors of the Constitution, protecting the
fundamental rights of Americans here and those still yet unborn.
By passing the sense-of-the-Congress resolution before us, we are
getting ready all of us now to step over a line that will set perhaps a
very dangerous precedent. As I had said earlier, I will continue to
speak out against hatred and bigotry and racism and antisemitism, and I
ask all of us to do so as well. But if we are to do so, let us not be
selective about who we rush to defend when others are in need of our
I would prefer that my colleagues look closely beyond this debate and
try to find ways, as the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos], has,
and many others, to end the things in our society that bring about the
need in some to make these kinds of remarks.
I thank the gentleman for his position on this, I thank the gentleman
for his inquiry on this, and I thank the Chair for the time.
Mr. Speaker, I again thank the gentleman on the other side, the
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] also for his kindness.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 5 minutes to the distinguished
chairman of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights of the Committee on the
Judiciary, the gentleman from California [Mr. Edwards].
(Mr. EDWARDS of California asked and was given permission to revise
and extend his remarks.)
Mr. EDWARDS of California. I thank the gentleman for graciously
yielding this time to me.
Mr. Speaker, it occurred to me, listening to this very interesting
debate, that we are making a national and international hero out of
this scoundrel who has uttered these disgraceful, awful things. He will
be the only person in world history, to the best of my knowledge, whose
speech has been officially condemned by the U.S. Congress. I can see
advertisements all over the world, especially in those parts of the
world who do not look kindly on the United States, ``Speech by Mr.
Muhammad tonight. This speech has been condemned by the United States
You know, Sam Donaldson makes $25,000 a speech. Maybe Mr. Muhammad in
certain parts of the world, certain countries, can now make lucrative
speeches because of what we are going to do today and what the other
body, unthinkingly did the other day.
Has it ever happened before where the U.S. Congress officially
condemned a speech?
As the gentleman from Maryland said, has Congress officially
condemned the speech of Martin Luther King or the Ku Klux Klan leader?
You know, Mr. Speaker and my friends, each of us ought to condemn the
terrible, obscene things that Mr. Muhammad said at Kean College. We
ought to carry signs around. We ought to have special orders at night
and get up one after another and condemn the speech. We ought to write
newspaper articles about the speech. It is terrible, really, it is
But, my friends, we have no business officially taking a speech and
My friend, the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], I believe said
this is not making it a crime or anything like that. No, we are not.
But we are certainly chilling free speech. Yes, it is hateful speech,
but it is entitled to be heard. And as one other eloquent person said,
the way to counteract that is through free speech by the rest of us.
So I invite us all to make every speech we want, pen newspaper
articles, or anything, condemning this obscene speech made by Mr.
Muhammad. But let us not go down this path. It is a very dangerous path
to go down to start condemning officially. We are paid by the
Government, this is an official act of the Government.
What is next? A movie? A particular movie that just shocks us? A
newspaper article we do not like?
What is next? What a precedent this will be.
Yes, ironically we may make Mr. Muhammad a rich, famous man, but we
are doing the Constitution real damage.
Mr. Speaker, this vote calls on us to reconcile the necessity for
tolerance in a diverse society with the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill
Despite my strong opposition to Mr. Muhammad's reprehensible remarks,
I will vote against the resolution.
As elected officials and leaders, we have a responsibility to fight
intolerance and to speak out against expressions of bigotry. But our
powers as the institution of Congress are subject to the Bill of
Any Member has an absolute right to make a 1-minute or take out a
special order to condemn the Kean College speech or any other specific
expression of bigotry and racism. ``The remedy to be applied,'' Justice
Brandeis once wrote, ``is more speech, not enforced silence.''
However, we would cross a constitutional line were we to vote
official, congressional disapproval of this specific speech.
The resolution condemning the Kean College speech makes the Congress
into an official ratings board, scanning the landscape for speeches to
label ``Condemned by Congress.'' If we officially condemn this one
speech, how can we not condemn others? Will our silence in the face of
future offensive speeches constitute tacit acquiescence? Will we
condemn books and magazines next? Offensive movies? The racist or
sexist comments of one another?
Government is not powerless in the face of racial, ethnic, or
religious intolerance: hate crimes are subject to severe punishment,
and have been raised to a high priority by both Federal and local
authorities. Nevertheless, the Constitution limits Government's choice
of weapons with which to fight intolerance. Where the intolerance we
fight is expressed in words, the first amendment imposes limits: we
cannot use the power of the Government to condemn speech, however
As Thomas Jefferson once said,
We have nothing to fear from the demoralizing reasonings of
some, if others are left free to demonstrate their errors and
especially when the law stands ready to punish the first
criminal act produced by the false reasonings.
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The gentleman from Illinois
[Mr. Hyde] has 16 minutes remaining, and the gentleman from California
[Mr. Lantos] has 6 minutes left.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that an additional
20 minutes be allotted, evenly divided between the two sides.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Twenty minutes?
Mr. LANTOS. Ten minutes for each side.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. Is there objection to the request of the
gentleman from California?
There was no objection.
The SPEAKER pro tempore. The gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos]
will be recognized for an additional 10 minutes, and the gentleman from
Illinois [Mr. Hyde] will be recognized for an additional 10 minutes.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from New York [Mr. Gilman].
(Mr. GILMAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. GILMAN. I thank the gentleman for yielding this time to me.
Mr. Speaker, I am honored to rise in support of House Resolution 343,
legislation condemning the racist, anti-Catholic, and anti-Semitic
speech of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a senior representative of the nation
of Islam. This resolution denounces all forms of racial, religious, and
ethnic intolerance and I commend the distinguished gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos], for introducing this resolution condemning
bigotry and racism.
As an original cosponsor of House Resolution 343, I am pleased that
my colleagues in the House of Representatives have this opportunity to
discuss this important resolution.
It is highly important that we discuss this issue today. Racial
intolerance within our communities, ethnic violence around the world,
and religious persecution are frightening examples of the devastating
affects of bigotry and fanaticism. It is for this reason that many of
us in this body have found Khalid Abdul Muhammad's remarks so
Mr. Muhammad's rhetoric, made during his speech at Kean College on
November 29, 1993, symbolized the hatred, contradicts the foundation of
our great Nation, and threatens to destroy the very framework of our
By preaching hatred, we incite and condone violence; by moralizing
intolerance, we tolerate racism and bigotry; and by relying upon
hateful rhetoric, we validate racial stereotypes.
Instead of slandering our brothers, we must unite. We must join
against the forces that threaten to destroy our future. As the Rev.
Martin Luther King, Jr., so eloquently said, ``We must all learn to
live together as brothers or we will all perish together as fools. That
is the challenge of the hour.'' Reverend King's comments could not be
truer today, than when he said them decades ago.
Mr. Speaker, this resolution does not abridge the rights of free
speech but does condemn the content and substance of Khalid Abdul
Muhammad's offensive remarks.
Accordingly, I urge my colleagues to support this important measure.
For the passage of House Resolution 343 is a dramatic step in combating
ethnic and religious intolerance that threatens the fabric of our
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the distinguished
gentlewoman from New York [Mrs. Maloney].
Mrs. MALONEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution.
Mr. Speaker, it is troubling that bringing this resolution to the
floor has caused some disagreement among us. Instead, this resolution
should unite us.
You do not have to be Jewish to be outraged by Mr. Muhammad's
justification of the Holocaust.
You do not have to be African-American to condemn his attack against
those African-Americans who do not share his distorted views.
You do not have to be a lesbian or a gay man to reject his vicious
smears against these individuals.
And you do not have to be Catholic to be offended by his obscene
caricature of the Pope.
Mr. Speaker, this is not an issue of free speech.
Mr. Muhammad is free to say what he wishes.
But make no mistake--the American people--through us in this body as
their elected Representatives--are free to condemn this kind of hate
speech and reaffirm the true American values of tolerance and human
dignity. And we must.
Please support the resolution.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as she may consume to the
distinguished gentlewoman from Connecticut [Mrs. Kennelly].
(Mrs. KENNELLY asked as was given permission to revise and extend her
Mrs. KENNELLY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express support for House
Resolution 343, condemning the hateful speech of Khalid Muhammad.
Mr. Speaker, I believe that no right is more basic and no freedom
more greatly protected than the right to free speech. As an individual
and a public official, I remain deeply committed to the idea that we
are entitled to express our thoughts and our opinions, no matter how
unpopular. This is clearly an issue of free speech.
But just as Mr. Muhammad is free to express his deeply wrong ideas,
the rest of us are free to point out, clearly and unequivocally, how
wrong he is. We are free to point out the tragedy that such unanswered
vituperation leads to. And we are free to stand side by side with the
individuals and groups Mr. Muhammad has maligned, and to say that his
remarks will not go unanswered.
Mr. Speaker, sometimes it is not enough to stand against hatred and
bigotry in the abstract. Sometimes one must acknowledge an act for what
it is and condemn it. I believe Mr. Muhammad's speech was such a case,
and I urge my colleagues to join me in supporting House Resolution 343.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from New
Jersey [Mr. Zimmer].
Mr. ZIMMER. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to be a cosponsor of this
resolution and to speak on its behalf, particularly because the vicious
words that gave rise to it were uttered in my State of New Jersey and
because Kahlid Abdul Muhammad is scheduled to speak Monday evening in
my district at Trenton State College.
I have helped organize a vigil of conscience for Monday evening at a
church near the college so that our local religious, civic, and
academic leaders of all races and all faiths can reaffirm the message
voiced here in the House today--that the vicious bigotry peddled by
Muhammad and condoned by Louis Farrakhan has no place in America.
Farrakhan and Muhammad have reminded us that the United States is not
immune from the religious and ethnic hatred that infects so much of the
world. Americans of all religions and all colors must unite to fight
this pestilence whenever and wherever it makes itself known.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from
Massachusetts [Mr. Frank].
Mr. FRANK of Massachusetts. Mr. Speaker, I join in supporting this
resolution. Let me explain why I think it is reasonable to single out
Mr. Muhammad's speech from the welter of vicious nonsense that is out
there. Unfortunately the auspices of that speech, and particularly Mr.
Farrakhan's implicit affirmation of its substance, and I disagreed with
its tone, but he said he could not repudiate its substance, so
unfortunately, Mr. Speaker, that has given it an aura of respectability
in some quarters. We are not talking now just about some raving
lunatic. We are talking about a raving lunatic, but he is,
unfortunately, not just a raving lunatic. He was a high-ranking
representative of Mr. Farrakhan's movement, supported in his substance
by Mr. Farrakhan, and that does, I think, require us to speak out.
I agree with those like the gentleman from Maryland who eloquently
pointed out that we have not criticized others. I wish we would change
the rule that immunizes Members of the U.S. Senate from ever being
discussed by us. We can respond to anybody in the world except the U.S.
Senate. That is a bad rule, but I do not allow that bad rule to say
that we cannot respond to other cases, and the response and reception
that Mr. Muhammad has been receiving on college campuses and the
support he has gotten from Mr. Farrakhan justifies our saying that we
think this is vicious nonsense.
It is not, from my standpoint, a perfect resolution. I wish it had
included in the resolution reference to his antigay and lesbian
remarks. I welcome the comments of many here who have added in their
speeches condemnation of that homophobia, and I hope we will continue
to work for recognition that homophobia has been as vindictive, and as
vicious, and as dangerous in its negative effects on innocent people as
other forms of prejudice, but I will not allow that to restrain me from
also voting for this resolution. I will work for that when we have to
deal with this again, and, if we do, then it will be broader.
Finally, Mr. Speaker, I do not regard this as in any way chilling. I
will say to my colleagues it is hard to argue simultaneously that we
have cured Mr. Muhammad and made him a big shot. I think, in fact,
that, if one says terrible and vicious things, one has no right to
silence them from people who think they were terrible and vicious. All
we do today is to exercise our right of free speech in response to the
free speech of Mr. Muhammad.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from New
Jersey [Mrs. Roukema].
(Mrs. ROUKEMA asked and was given permission to revise and extend her
Mrs. ROUKEMA. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong support of this
I would point out to my colleagues that there can be no excuse made
for the remarks of Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Such blatant bigotry is
abhorrent, and should be condemned by every Member of this House. The
speech delivered at Kean College was hate-filled and racist. It is a
stain on the ethnic, racial, religious, and cultural fabric of my home
State, which enjoys a rich and progressive heritage.
In fact, I do not understand why Kean College, and New Jersey State
education leadership have not more forcefully condemned this hateful
Make no mistake: Muhammad's speech should not only offend those
targeted in Muhammad's tirade--it should offend the sensibilities of
every intelligent man and woman in America. It is incumbent upon us to
speak out against this ignorance and hate.
There is an aphorism, passed on from the legacy of the horrific
genocide of the Holocaust:
They came first for the Communists, and I didn't speak up
because I wasn't a Communist. Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came
for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak up because I
wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they
came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.
My colleagues, today we cannot afford to be silent. We must condemn
the hate, the bigotry, and the violence advocated by Khalid Abdul
Muhammad, today and always.
I am deeply troubled not only by the remarks of Muhammad--one man's
ramblings which we can repudiate--but for the message of hate and
divisiveness that goes to our young people, our children.
Among the most serious long-term problems facing our Nation, and each
of our communities is bigotry, racial, and cultural enmity. The
troubling increases we have seen in bias crimes and incidents of
intolerance demonstrate this: Last year, more than 1,300 bias incidents
were reported to the police in my own State of New Jersey. Countless
more went unreported. In America and around the world, the politics of
hate are seeing a resurgence.
We must take every step to stop this rise of ethnic, religious, and
racial attacks. As we debate the problems of our country, and
solutions--welfare reform, crime control, jobs--we must know that no
solution can work if it does not get to the underlying hate and
ignorance which we see all around us.
Let us move forward today, and begin by condemning the venom of
Khalid Abdul Muhammad. Let us put this man behind us. But as we move
forward, and work against the racial, religious, and ethnic
discriminations of Muhammad's kind, let us never forget the sobering
reminder of these remarks, and how large the job ahead of us is. We
must all join hearts and hands for a brotherhood of Americans in our
schools, in our neighborhoods, and in the workplace.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from New York [Mr. Nadler].
(Mr. NADLER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. NADLER. Mr. Speaker, in his Kean College speech, Mr. Khalid Abdul
Muhammad urged racial genocide in South Africa, which has seen quite
enough of that over the years, and used ugly, contemptuous language
directed at lesbians and gay men and at Pope John Paul II.
But the greatest share of his venom, as is so often the case with
spokesmen for the Nation of Islam, was reserved for that special
favorite target: the Jews. Mr. Muhammad told his audience that Jews
control the Government of the United States; that Jews are ``the
bloodsuckers of the black nation and the black community;'' and,
perhaps more chillingly, that the German Jews had brought Hitler's
Holocaust on themselves. ``They went in there, in Germany,'' Mr. Khalid
explained, ``the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted,
they usurped * * * they had undermined the very fabric of society.''
These remarks surely merit condemnation, and I was heartened to see,
in the weeks since he made them, that they were condemned by a wide
range of political, religious, and civil-rights leaders, including
those of my colleagues who had the courage to speak out despite the
large Nation of Islam following in their own districts.
At the same time, however, I am concerned that some of those
condemnations may miss their true mark: the leader of the Nation of
Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan. We must not lose sight of the truth
that Mr. Muhammad's most horrifying remarks, particularly his anti-
Semitic rantings, come straight from the teachings of Minister
It was Louis Farrakhan who, in 1985, asserted that ``The Jewish lobby
has a strangle-hold on Government * * *.'' It was Louis Farrakhan who
told a college audience at Michigan State in 1990, that Jews were
``sucking the blood of the black community.'' And it was Louis
Farrakhan himself who implied that the Holocaust was a punishment the
Jews had earned--and perhaps deserved again.
In a speech in Hartford, CT, in July 1992, just 19 months ago--I
believe this is the first time this has been reported publicly--Louis
Farrakhan said he told a group of rabbis the following:
Instead of talking about Hitler so much, you should ask:
Why did G-d permit that to happen? Was there a lesson to be
learned, and have you learned it yet? Or maybe the lesson
should be repeated?
Well, the entire world learned a lesson all right, and that lesson
was never again to permit demagogues like Louis Farrakhan or Khalid
Muhammad--or those who believe it is appropriate to imply that the
leaders of African nations practice cannibalism--to go unchallenged.
Because history has taught us--in Germany and Mississippi and Crown
Heights--that when decent men and women ignore expressions of bigotry
and hatred, those expressions have consequences, and words become
actions, and then it is too late.
It is important that all who hear this debate today--especially those
who might want to find a good side to Louis Farrakhan--to understand
that Mr. Muhammad may have been the messenger one night at Kean
College, but it is the message of Louis Farrakhan, and the substantial
following the demagogues of hate have found across our Nation, that
must be the target of our condemnation.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to my
colleague, the gentleman from North Carolina [Mr. Watt].
(Mr. WATT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. WATT. Mr. Speaker, as an individual I condemn the statements
which are the subject of this resolution. There may be no individual in
this body who has spent a greater percentage of his life fighting
racism and sexism in this country. I oppose this resolution not because
I condone the speech; instead, I oppose it because it opens the door to
a resolution of this kind every week, in fact, every day and every
We have too much substantive work to do to deal with these kinds of
issues on a daily and minute-by-minute basis. We have people who are
hungry, illiterate, homeless, and jobless. We have budgets to approve
and world conflicts to deal with. In the face of all this, I cannot
believe that we are spending time to set a precedent, to take up on a
regular basis, resolutions of this kind to condemn every lunatic who
expresses views we disagree with, views we happen to feel are protected
by the Constitution of this United States of America, the Mother of all
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from California [Mr. Tucker].
(Mr. TUCKER asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. TUCKER. Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of this resolution for
many reasons. First and foremost is the fact that I believe we must
speak out against racism.
There are those who have alluded to me that this is a first amendment
matter, and that the gentleman who made these remarks has his first
amendment rights to speak out even if we are not in agreement with
those remarks. But by the same token, I think it is the responsibility
of those of us who are well-thought and conscientious leaders of this
society to exercise our first amendment rights and to speak out and to
denounce such racism.
The prior speaker indicated that this Congress is certainly poised to
deal with very important matters and should not take time out for some
minutiae such as this. But I think that this is an important matter. It
is not minutiae because the coalitions that we need in order to do
things in this country between the black and Jewish communities and
other communities would be jeopardized if we do not address the fact
that we cannot continue to attack one another. We cannot live with one
another and turn to one another until we respect one another, and
certainly even Mr. Farrakhan came out and rebuked and reprimanded and
repudiated his minister for these remarks.
I do not think there is any gainsaying the fact, Mr. Speaker, that
these remarks were repugnant and vile. I just hope that in the future
this Congress, and Senate, and the House, will take likewise the same
kind of response to pernicious remarks made by other people, whether it
is Senator Hollings or anyone else who attacks the African-American
community or other communities. I think that we should have a fair
standard, a standard that is fair no matter who we are talking about.
So, Mr. Speaker, I applaud my colleague, the gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos] for making this effort, and I think this should
not be a disparagement on the Nation of Islam per se but certainly a
repudiation of the remarks of this particular minister.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 1 minute to the
distinguished gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. Franks].
(Mr. FRANKS of New Jersey asked and was given permission to revise
and extend his remarks.)
Mr. FRANKS of New Jersey. Mr. Speaker, I represent the district where
Khalid Abdul Muhammad's speech was delivered. As soon as I learned of
his vicious remarks, I felt that it was incumbent upon me to speak out
about his acrid and violent message of hate and bigotry.
Acts of bigotry and intolerance are on the rise throughout our
country. The United States was founded with the promise that all would
be welcome in our society. Our Nation is comprised of a wonderful mix
of religious, ethnic, and racial groups, all of whom must work together
if our union is to survive and prosper.
Mr. Muhammad's speech, in which he advocated hate, discord, and
violence on the basis of race, religion, and ethnicity, serves only to
foster the prejudice that is tearing at the fabric of our society.
Earlier this year, I circulated a statement, signed by every member of
the New Jersey delegation, condemning incidences of bias that have
occurred within our State.
Mr. Speaker, this legislation is vitally important. We cannot be
silent while national spokespersons preach these messages of hate. I
urge my colleagues to vote ``aye'' on House Resolution 343.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, may I inquire as to how much time there is
left on both sides?
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos] has 9 minutes remaining and the gentleman from
Illinois [Mr. Hyde] has 18 minutes remaining.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2 minutes to my
distinguished colleague, the gentleman from Ohio [Mr. Fingerhut].
Mr. FINGERHUT. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding this
time to me, and I thank him for his leadership on this issue.
I would like to say initially to my friend, the gentleman from
Maryland [Mr. Mfume], that if he wishes to lead an effort to change the
rules such that he can speak directly on the subject of the remarks to
which he addressed himself, he will have this Member's support. I find
it offensive that a rule of the body in which I serve prevents him from
making those statements on this floor.
Many eloquent things have been said today about the subject of the
resolution offered by the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos]. Let
me just add one thought. It is true that this resolution was prompted
by the particular speech at Kean College, NJ, but it is not true that
that is the only occasion on which these statements have been made, and
that, therefore, by this action we call attention to a speech that is
now over and has been remarked on and condemned by many all over this
country. These remarks are happening every day all around this country.
The speech has been given at Kent State University in my northeast
Ohio region just last week. I heard another Member say that the speech
was going to be repeated at Trenton State College. It was going to be
given at Columbus, OH, but that university had the presence of mind to
cancel those remarks. It is happening all over this country.
The message we need to send today is that only is this speech
abhorred but that we are going to follow them everywhere around the
country and we are going to stand up to it everywhere these remarks
Mr. Speaker, I would say to the sponsor of the resolution that during
the recess I met with students from every public and private high
school in my district, and I asked them what was the single thing they
would like the most from their Member of Congress and from the adults
in their community and from their parents, and they said to me,
``Congressman, we want role models. We want people to stand up and say
the difference between right and wrong.''
Mr. Speaker, today we have a chance to be role models to the young
people of this country, to stand up and say, ``This is wrong. We know
the difference between right and wrong, and everywhere wrong is spoken
all over this country, we will stand up and be role models.''
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to yield 2 minutes to the
distinguished gentleman from New York [Mr. Fish].
(Mr. FISH asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. FISH. Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for yielding this time to
Mr. Speaker, it has been properly said this afternoon that there is
no excuse for hatemongering. Neither is there any excuse, Mr. Speaker,
for the U.S. Congress to stand silent and not condemn expressions of
racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism and ethnic and religious
intolerance. That is what we are called upon to do by this resolution.
Is there a place on our society for racism, for anti-Catholic and
anti-Semitic remarks? I have to say there is. It is a price we pay for
constitutionally protected rights. But, Mr. Speaker, because Mr.
Muhammad can speak, it is all the more important that we, the Congress
of the United States, stand up and condemn those remarks.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentlewoman from
New York [Mrs. Lowey].
(Mrs. LOWEY asked and was given permission to revise and extend her
Mrs. LOWEY. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to support the Lantos
resolution, and to discuss a subject as painful as it is important.
Last November, Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a spokesman for the Nation of
Islam gave a speech at Kean College in New Jersey. It is a speech we
have heard before.
Mr. Muhammad described a nightmare; a world of enemies and
conspiracies; a world of division and violence; a world divided by
prejudice and bigotry.
He described the same world seen by the Klan; the same world defined
by Nazi ideology. It is the sameness and familiarity that is so
striking. Only the details change.
If Mr. Muhammad's particular fascination with Jews is even more
disturbing, it is because blacks and Jews have always stood together in
support of civil rights, equal opportunity, and concern for the
underprivileged. We have always worked side by side, challenging our
country to live up to its ideals. I know that my good friends in the
Congressional Black Caucus, some of whom joined me last year on a trip
to Israel, are every bit as outraged and pained by these statements as
But our partnership will continue and grow stronger because the bonds
and values that tie us together are stronger than the forces that would
push us apart. Perhaps because blacks and Jews still contend with
discrimination today, and with memories of even greater injustice in
years gone by, we know the lesson of history: hatred, like its victims,
knows no color or creed--it is a universal temptation that must be
rejected, wholly and completely, at every opportunity, whatever the
And so, I have no doubt that, in the end, Mr. Muhammad's words will
join all the others like it: the Nuremberg Laws, the Apartheid Codes,
the Jim Crow Statutes. Lies can never sustain themselves, only our
silence gives them substance and life.
That is why it is so important that we join together, black and
white, Jew and Gentile, Protestant, Catholic and Moslem. That we join
together in support of the truth.
When Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed our Nation from the steps of
the Lincoln Memorial, he urged that we ``not seek to satisfy our thirst
for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness or hatred.''
We should not have to learn this lesson anew every generation.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to yield 2 minutes to the
distinguished gentleman from New Jersey [Mr. Klein].
(Mr. KLEIN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. KLEIN. I would like to thank my friend from California for
bringing such an important issue to the floor of the House and for
setting such a powerful example on the fight to protect civil rights
for all people.
I find it particularly disturbing and offensive that anti-Semitism
and bigotry should be on the rise again in a century that witnessed the
Holocaust, the most horrific period of genocidal anti-Semitism the
world has ever seen.
Yet, bias incidents and hate crimes have increased, and Congress must
take a stand.
We should condemn hateful and bigoted statements, whether directed
against blacks, Jews, Catholics, or any group. I am particularly
disturbed that this speech occurred in my own State of New Jersey, but
more so that as a result of that, there was an increase of one-third in
just 1 year in bias incidents.
Now, I do not believe that the Kean College remarks represent the
views of the majority of Americans. I truly believe that those who
speak in the bigoted and hateful manner represent a small, albeit
vocal, minority. The vast majority of Americans of all races, African-
Americans, Anglo-Americans, Americans of all ethnicity, are good,
caring people who believe they can work and live together in harmony.
But that does not mean that we should not be eternally vigilant,
because even one incident of bigotry or anti-Semitism or racism
anywhere, is a cause for condemnation and vigilance.
It is past time to erase the swastikas from our walls and smother the
burning crosses on our lawns. My friends, join me in a simple
condemnation of racism, anti-Catholicism, anti-Semitism, and ethnic or
religious intolerance, wherever it may occur. Support H.R. 343.
Mr. HYDE. I am very pleased to yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Connecticut [Mr. Franks].
Mr. FRANKS of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for
yielding. Mr. Speaker, when I was 9 years old, some white racists
burned a cross on my front lawn. The Ku Klux Klan killed a dog on our
lawn and placed a dead possum in our mailbox, simply because we dared
to live in a certain section of Waterbury.
It was members of the Jewish community that helped our family during
those very trying days against the racist Ku Klux Klan.
A Catholic priest at Sacred Heart High School helped me to be able to
get a good high school education and helped me to be able to go on to
Yale University. The remarks made by Mr. Muhammad and supported to a
degree by Mr. Farrakhan were anti-white, anti-Catholic, and anti-
Jewish. Yes, the Ku Klux Klan would hate blacks, Catholics, and Jews,
while it seems like the Nation of Islam would hate whites, Catholics,
Hatred and bigotry would be wrong regardless of the direction of the
offense or the color of its victim. We as blacks cannot constantly
point to others to explain why certain problems exist in our society.
We must also look at ourselves.
I implore the Congressional Black Caucus not to utilize any of its
taxpayer-supported resources aiding the efforts of the Nation of Islam.
I heard from others that we have to appreciate the good done by the
Nation of Islam. However, we must remember that there are thousands of
people in jail today who have also done some good.
Hatred and bigotry cannot be tolerated, Mr. Speaker. Creating
friction among the races is wrong. It is destructive, and it must not
be condoned in any way.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Washington [Mr. Inslee].
(Mr. INSLEE asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. INSLEE. Mr. Speaker, every single one of us in this Chamber I
believe detests and decries the speech that we here consider. The
suffering undergone by the people who are targets of this evil is
incalculable. I condemn it. But there is a world of difference between
myself condemning it and the U.S. Congress condemning it. There is only
one thing that can make Mr. Muhammad's racist, hate-filled, bigoted
speech worse; that is if the Congress now highlights, spotlights, and
headlights his worthless prattle, and, in the process, drives us to
take one small step backward from our commitment to the first amendment
to the U.S. Constitution.
If this institution gets into the business of condemning citizens'
speech, we will be condemning constantly anybody whittling away at the
There are many eloquent champions of the first amendment, and maybe
one of my favorite is Justice William O. Douglas, born and raised in my
hometown. He said something about how you lose free speech that has
always stuck with me. He says when the end of free speech comes in this
country, it will not come as a curtain coming down instantaneously and
dramatically. It will come incrementally, as the day ends to the night,
in the twilight, bit by bit, inch by inch. What we see here is one
little inch moving backward.
To those who would say this resolution does not infringe on free
speech because it does nothing, I ask then, why do it at all? The
reason it is proposed is because the official declaration of this
national institution carries weight. It carries pressure. It carries
If free speech is not constitutionally protected, we shouldn't fiddle
around with this resolution. We should make it a criminal offense and
put the speaker in jail, a malicious harassment speech statute, like I
proposed and helped adopt in the State of Washington. We should take
warning from this resolution.
The warning is that we should be prepared to see no end to these
condemnations. Voices will be heard. Why do we condemn the Caucasian
citizen who spouts racist rhetoric and not the other? Let us not put
this institution in the position of tacitly approving everything we do
not condemn. This is a bad policy, it is a bad idea. It is bad
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Vermont [Mr. Sanders].
Mr. SANDERS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to
Mr. Speaker, this is a very difficult resolution for me. As it
happens, virtually my father's entire family was murdered by Hitler
when they were living in Poland. I have very strong feelings about
anti-Catholicism or gay bashing or bigotry in general.
My concern lies, among other things, that when we have people like
David Duke, a former Nazi, when we have all kinds of people in the
United States ranting and raving about sending blacks back to Africa or
all kinds of absurd bigotry, I do not see resolutions coming down on
the floor of the House. They are ignored.
My concern also is that while virtually every Member of this body
condemns the horrendous and stupid remarks that we are discussing
today, I fear very much that the people who follow Mr. Muhammad or Mr.
Farrakhan are not going to stay up too many nights worrying that the
U.S. Congress has condemned them. In fact, I suspect that if we want to
see that movement grow, probably we have given them a shot in the arm
To be condemned by the U.S. Congress in many communities of America
is a step forward.
I think the most important point that I would make, however, is that
if we are concerned, as we must be, as to why that type of movement is
gaining a foothold in the United States, we should ask some questions
as to why people respond to that type of garbage and what we might do
If we want to defeat the Nation of Islam and bigotry and racism and
anti-semitism, then most important, let us make the U.S. Congress begin
to address the real problems facing the people in those communities.
My point is that in so many communities of America today, there is
such hopelessness. There is such despair that people are responding to
the worst kind of nonsense. If we want to defeat that anti-Semitism and
that racism, then let us give hope to people in America today who have
lost hope. Let us provide jobs for the jobless, housing for the
homeless, food for the hungry.
Let us tell those people in those communities that the U.S. Congress
can do more than just condemn certain statements, but we understand
their needs. We are going to respond to their needs, and we are going
to do the best that we can to improve their lives.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the
gentleman from Pennsylvania [Mr. Santorum].
(Mr. SANTORUM asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. SANTORUM. Mr. Speaker, one of the greatest needs I have
encountered while discussing the issue of welfare reform with people in
Pennsylvania is the need to go beyond public policy rhetoric--to
address the reality of systemic and individual racism which still
lingers and obstructs opportunity for reconciliation and advancement.
Unfortunately, at a time when our words should be healing and
reconciling to complement and enhance the proposed public policy
objectives, there are still people in prominent public roles whose
words tear down and destroy.
When Khalid Muhammad refers to Jews as bloodsuckers, the Pope as a
cracker and accuses the white establishment of inventing the AIDS virus
to commit genocide on African-Americans, his words cause greater
destruction than can be easily rebuilt. What concerns me even more,
however, is the unwillingness of Louis Farrakhan to reject these
statements and try to rebuild community and goodwill with his words.
The only way we are going to address the almost insurmountable
problems facing our inner city communities--drugs abuse, teen
pregnancy, welfare dependency, and violence--is by rebuilding
community--from both inside and out. Many members of the Nation of
Islam are actively trying to address these critical problems--but a
community is built by both word and deed.
I support this resolution because its words, when affirmed by this
body together, will be a small step toward rebuilding some of the
damage caused by the statements made, and not disclaimed, by Khalid
Abdul Muhammad. It is a rare opportunity to model reconciliation and
community in a place known for discord and division.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield such time as he may consume to the
gentleman from California [Mr. Dornan].
(Mr. DORNAN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
[Mr. DORNAN addressed the House. His remarks will appear hereafter in
the Extensions of Remarks.]
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the gentleman from Kansas
Mr. ROBERTS. Mr. Speaker, this is one of these ``I was not intending
to make a speech until I heard the remarks of my colleagues' speech.''
Mr. Mohammad, a top ranking official to Mr. Farrakhan, is a private
citizen. He is not an elected official and in any way connected to
Government. His remarks are abhorrent, but I think that his right to
express them is guaranteed by the first amendment.
I think this resolution, while I understand the intent and agree with
the intent, puts the Congress in the awkward position of being a
screening board. And I think it would set a precedent for Congress to
review all speeches, all remarks that contain any racial, sexist, or
inflammatory sentiments for any kind of condemnation. I wonder if this
is going to spill over into newspapers, I come to the floor as a former
editor of a weekly newspaper and coming from three generations of
editors of newspapers, or books or magazines. There is already in arena
an place for this type of condemning action that the resolution does
propose, and I credit the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos] for
As elected officials, Members of Congress have the responsibility to
speak out against intolerance and expressions of bigotry. We have done
this. This has been the appropriate forum.
With grave concern, I think we are setting a precedent that we should
not set. I will vote no.
Mr. Speaker, I really see this as a free speech issue. Mr. Muhammad,
a top-ranking official to Louis Farrakahn, is a private citizen. He is
not an elected official or in any way connected to the Government. As
abhorrent as his remarks were, his right to express these views in a
public forum are guaranteed by the first amendment.
This resolution to condemn the speech puts the Congress in the
awkward position of being a type of screening board. This would set a
precedent for Congress to review all speeches or remarks containing
inflammatory, racial, sexist, et cetera, sentiments for condemnation.
Will this then spill over into books, magazines, newspapers?
There is an arena already in place for this type of condemning action
that the resolution proposes. As elected officials, Members of Congress
have the responsibility to speak out against intolerance and
expressions of bigotry. The appropriate forum for this type of action
in Congress, in my view, is 1 minutes and special orders and individual
remarks. I strongly believe Members should make their opposition to
these types of intolerant remarks be known--loud and clear. But, for
Congress to officially condemn the speech across constitutional lines
and would set a dangerous precedent.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 1 minute to the gentleman from
California [Mr. Horn].
(Mr. HORN asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. HORN. Mr. Speaker, this is a very close call, if looked at
strictly in terms of the role of this House--the people's House. Should
Congress be the grandnanny of America?
I think most of us would say ``no.'' On the other hand, if good
people do not stand up, bad people will poison the well of our
As one who was part of the Senate drafting team for the Civil Rights
Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, I remember who was often
in the room besides the congressional staff and the floor leaders:
Andrew Biemiller of the AFL-CIO; Clarence Mitchell of the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Joseph Rauh for the
Leadership Conference on Civil Rights; David Brody of the Anti-
Defamation League; James Hamilton of the National Council of Churches.
Those were the people who for years had walked the Halls of the House
and the Senate to secure the rights of all Americans. Black and white,
Christians and Jews they worked inside to establish justice and to
achieve what Martin Luther King sought so eloquently outside. They
worked together in a grand coalition because what we were doing was
By passing this resolution will we make false heroes out of some of
these sick bigots. Perhaps. Do we need to speak out once this
resolution is before us?
I shall support the resolution.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield 2 minutes to the distinguished
gentleman from Colorado [Mr. Skaggs].
Mr. SKAGGS. Mr. Speaker, I thank the gentleman for yielding time to
Mr. Speaker, I am deeply troubled that we are considering this
resolution to condemn the speech given by Khalid Abdul Muhammad at Kean
College last November. I am troubled not because the speech does not
deserve condemnation, but because that condemnation ought not to issue
through an official action of the Congress of the United States.
The first amendment to the Constitution states that ``Congress shall
make no law * * * abridging the freedom of speech or of the press; or
the right of the people peaceably to assemble * * *.''
This resolution does not make law, so the first amendment
proscription is not literally violated. However, because I believe that
it violates the spirit and intent of what the Framers of the
Constitution intended when they drafted the first amendment, I will
The Constitution is clear that it's not the Government's place to
tell citizens what they should and should not say. While what we
consider today is a resolution that does not have the force of law, I
believe that this body should not undertake to censure any individual
American for saying what he believes--however mistakenly--to be true.
The weight of what we as a body say, whether as law or the sense of
the House of Representatives, is too great to selectively choose which
individual's speech we want to condemn, and which we choose to ignore.
There are far too many statements made every day that reach the same
level of stupidity and perfidy to which Mr. Muhammad has aspired. Are
we to spend all of our time as thought police monitoring what all
Americans say and considering resolutions to condemn the speech of
those we don't agree with or find offensive?
Mr. Muhammad's speech was a racist, anti-Semitic diatribe that I
would hope all of us as individuals would condemn. But this institution
has no place condemning the speech of Mr. Muhammad, or the speech of
anyone else for that matter.
As Mr. Muhammad had the right to say what he did, so I urge all of my
colleagues, as American citizens, to exercise their rights under the
Constitution as individuals to condemn the hatred he has espoused.
However, I also urge all of my colleagues, as Members of the House of
Representatives, to refrain from putting the House on record in
determining what speech is appropriate, and what is not, by voting no
on this resolution.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, since I believe the gentleman from California
[Mr. Lantos] only has one more speaker, if I may, I am pleased to yield
1 minute to the distinguished gentlewoman from North Carolina [Mrs.
Mrs. CLAYTON. Mr. Speaker, I want to rise to say that I am offended
and think that I should speak out against the hatred and the bigotry
and the substance of which we condemn today, but I also want to say
that I think we will do ourselves a disservice, those that have spoken
out against the bigotry, which we may be the victims of, to use this
House as a way to correct that.
I think the Constitution is too precious, too precious to even speak
our views, to speak out against those who would be offended. I think as
an offended citizen who feels that this indeed has been an offense to
any civilized person, we must bear in mind that the first amendment is
a very precious right, and that right should be protected.
Mr. Speaker, I urge Members, when we vote, to consider the right that
America is very well known for; that is a right even for our enemy to
condemn us in the most hateful way. This is America. I urge Members to
support the first amendment.
Mr. HYDE. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself 1 minute.
Mr. Speaker, let me just say in summary that one of the great remarks
made when our country was founded about this body is, ``Here, sir, the
people govern.'' We represent the people. We are a representative
democracy. I do believe people of America, the good, decent people we
represent, are affronted and offended by the venomous attacks made on
people's religion, on their ethnicity, on their race, on their color,
and I think we have every right to speak out institutionally,
collectively, not to forbear the legal right to say what you say, but
the moral right to say what they said. Nobody has the right to insult
people, the moral right. They may have the legal right. They have the
We said, ``Go ahead and burn the American flag.'' I resisted that,
but if that is symbolic speech, certainly actual speech ought to be
protected, and it is protected. However, we do not have to turn the
other cheek and become accessories by silence, by inaction, ratify
through inaction. Scripture tells us, ``For every idle word, man must
render an account.'' It is well said that for every idle silence, man
should render an account. We should not remain silent even in the face
of this egregious, poisonous, venomous attack on all that is decent in
Speaking for the people, I am pleased not to forbid this language
being uttered, it should be uttered if somebody is crazy enough to want
to do that, but to condemn the lack of decency in its uttering.
Mr. Speaker, I yield whatever time I have remaining to the gentleman
from California [Mr. Lantos].
The SPEAKER pro tempore (Mr. Montgomery). The gentleman yields his
remaining time to the gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos].
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend and colleague, the
gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde], for his statement and for his
To close on our side, Mr. Speaker, I yield 3 minutes to the
distinguished gentleman from New Hampshire [Mr. Swett].
(Mr. SWETT asked and was given permission to revise and extend his
Mr. SWETT. Mr. Speaker, I first want to commend my colleague, the
gentleman from California [Mr. Lantos] for bringing this resolution to
the floor. We have heard, I think, one of the most interesting debates
this House has encountered since I have been here in the 103d Congress.
We have talked about symbols: On one hand, the symbol of hatred, of
division, derision, violence, and disrespect; on the other hand, we are
listening and thinking about the symbol that hopefully will condemn
such actions, that will bring this community together.
As my colleague, the gentleman from Illinois [Mr. Hyde] said just
before me, these symbols are important and we ought to consider their
moral content. I think as important for this office, for this Congress,
it is important to take upon itself the responsibility of bringing
clearly to the public's attention when we are definitely in abuse of
the respect and the dignity of human beings and fellow citizens in this
We have not passed laws to perpetrate any kind of action against the
Nation of Islam and its members. We have not done anything but bring
attention to the Nation that these symbols of hatred, division, and
derision cannot be tolerated.
In 1838, Abraham Lincoln spoke these words:
All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with
all the treasure of the earth in their military chest; with a
Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force take a drink
from the Ohio or make a track on the Blue Ridge in a trial of
a thousand years * * * If destruction be our lot we must
ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen
we must live through all time, or die by suicide.
Mr. Speaker, if we do not stand up to these kinds of statements, if
we do not make a symbol of this speech and say, ``We cannot tolerate
this kind of action in this country,'' we surely die of suicide.
I support this resolution. I commend my colleague, the gentleman from
California [Mr. Lantos], for bringing it forward, and I ask my
colleagues to support it as well.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, just to conclude, let me say no one in this House is
more committed to the first amendment than I am. As the only Member of
Congress who lived under both a Fascist and a Communist police state, I
treasure free speech beyond all. No one here attempts to deny the right
of anyone to speak freely, but no one should deny the right of this
body to condemn a speech of hatred and incitement to mass murder. That
is what this body will do. That is what the other body did unanimously.
We shall do no less.
Mr. FAZIO. Madam Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the remarks
made by Khalid Muhammad, aide to Nation of Islam Minister Louis
Farrakhan, at Kean College in New Jersey last November. I found Mr.
Muhammad's speech completely offensive. His remarks were obviously
racist, anti-Semitic, bigoted and homophobic--truly malicious.
In spite of my agreement with the spirit and intent of House
Resolution 343, I am forced to acknowledge that it is not the job of
Congress to evaluate and vote on personal expressions of bigotry and
racism, no matter how offensive. Unfortunately, prejudice and
intolerance always manage to rear their ugly heads. Congress could
therefore devote entire days reacting to, rating and responding to the
words of individuals like Mr. Muhammad.
We now have a President who values the diversity that is America, and
who is totally committed to our ideals of equality, justice, and
acceptance of and respect for all people, regardless of race, religion,
gender, sexual preference or ethnicity. I would therefore like to think
that, instead of re-visiting these same issues over and over again,
each generation, we can focus on moving forward with our efforts to
wipe out petty prejudices and intolerance.
Under this leadership, as Members of Congress, we can live up to our
responsibility to stand up, to speak, and to be counted--not for the
purpose of recognizing or validating or drawing even further attention
to the rantings of the Muhammads of this world--but instead for
reaffirming our beliefs in what we know to be fair, right, and good. It
is this way that we can silence the voice of bigotry and intolerance--
that we can work towards healing old wounds and becoming the America we
can and should be.
Condemning and striking out are not enough. We have to have the
foresight and commitment to follow through--to take the positive steps
necessary to unite in our broad-based intolerance for all prejudice,
hatred, and bigotry, regardless of to whom it is directed.
I in no way wish to associate myself with any approval whatsoever of
Mr. Muhammad's remarks. And I do not believe that they are worthy of
legislative action. Therefore, I find myself in the position of having
to abstain from voting on what is a most unfortunate issue to come
before the House.
Remarks like Mr. Muhammads are offensive and detrimental to all
Americans. They serve only to promote hatred and intolerance--to
inflame and divide. He has more than benefitted from the notoriety and
visibility that we have already lavished on him. Neither his statement
nor its author merit further time or attention from this body. We
therefore need to move quickly and decisively, get him out of the
spotlight, and put this issue behind us so that we can get on with the
more important, relevant business of working together to run the
Mr. FILNER. Mr. Speaker, when I came to Congress, I decided I was
always going to vote my conscience.
As a Jew and a civil rights activist, I was sickened at the remarks
of Khalid Abdul Muhammad. His litany of hate offends me deeply.
But as a Member of the U.S. Congress--an institution that is bound to
preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution--I cannot in good
conscience vote for an official congressional joint resolution
restricting Mr. Muhammad's freedom of speech, as given to him by the
first amendment. As a body of government, we must uphold the rights of
all individuals, whether or not we agree with their stated beliefs.
I have condemned Mr. Muhammad's viciousness against Catholics,
blacks, gays and lesbians, and Jews--and I do so again today. Our
future as a nation lies in our celebration of diversity and our burying
forever the evils of racism and anti-Semitism.
As a Member of Congress, I am sworn to protect the Constitution--a
Constitution which has preserved our freedom and liberty for 200 years.
Freedom of speech--no matter how abhorrent--is one of the bulwarks of
our constitutional liberties. And Congress ``shall make no law
abridging the freedom of speech!''
Today we can condemn the vile remarks of Mr. Muhammad. But my
question is, who will be next? Does a majority decide at any point what
speech is abhorrent? That is exactly what the first amendment is all
about--to protect us from going down this slippery slope. I vote today
to protect that right!
Together, we can build a nation strong enough to withstand the racism
of Mr. Muhammad. What our Nation cannot survive is the slow erosion of
our basic freedoms.
Mr. DURBIN. Mr. Speaker, I have asked the sponsors of this resolution
if there is any precedent in this Congress for condemning an American
for statements he has made. Neither Mr. Lantos nor Mr. Hyde can recall
such a condemnation ever having been made in the history of this House.
Make no mistake, the statement of this extremist was reprehensible.
His bigotry extended not only to Jewish-Americans but also to Catholic-
Americans such as myself. His words truly represent outrageous hate-
mongering of the most vicious and violent nature.
As an American, I condemn the statement of Khalid Abdul Muhammad.
However, I recognize his right to speak these awful words under the
protection of the Constitution which I have sworn to uphold--even when
the exercise of one's constitutional rights offends me deeply.
If the job of Congress is to condemn irresponsible speeches in
America, then we have taken on a monumental task. We cannot stop with
this speech in New Jersey nor with the rally recently organized by the
Ku Klux Klan in my hometown of Springfield. To be consistent, we must
monitor all speeches for these excesses.
This resolution, which sets a precedent for Government action against
such outrageous speech, is a mistake. Let us spend our time attacking
the causes of all bigotry in America and not attacking words of hatred,
however painful they may be.
Mr. STOKES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in strong support of House
Resolution 343, condemning the remarks by Khalid Abdul Muhammad at Kean
College in late November. I want to commend my colleague, Mr. Lantos,
for bringing this matter to the floor. All of us in this body recognize
his strong record on human rights and defense of the oppressed. As a
survivor of the Holocaust, Representative Lantos knows the depth of
suffering and how critical it is to denounce this type of bigoted
speech anywhere and anytime.
Mr. Speaker, I recently had an occasion to speak on this subject
before the Cleveland Chapter of the American Jewish Congress. In
addressing this matter, I issued the following statement, which I would
like inserted into the Record. I intend to vote in favor of this
resolution and ask that my colleagues join in condemning these evil and
Congressman Stokes Responds to Farrakhan Controversy
Last year Rabbi Kamin and I wrote an op-ed piece which was
published in the Cleveland Plain Dealer. The article was
entitled, ``Blacks and Jews Can Renew Their Old Alliance.''
In the article, we stated. ``The personal and spiritual
cooperation between blacks and Jews was a foundation of the
nonviolent freedom movement of a generation ago, and in
drawing from both communities, this unity symbolized the
finest of American traditions.'' In that same article, we
referred to what we described as ``the rising flag of bigotry
Fitting into this category is the recent speech made by Mr.
Khalid Abdul Muhammad at Kean College in New Jersey. His
remarks on this occasion were, as described by Congressman
Kweisi Mfume, who spoke on behalf of the Congressional Black
Caucus, ``evil and vicious.'' More specifically, he described
his remarks as ``racist, sexist, anti-semitic, anti-Catholic
I agree fully with that statement. I find Mr. Muhammad's
words repugnant and antithetical to everything I believe in.
As one who has dedicated his life to fighting racism and
bigotry in any form in this country or wherever it exists, I
found his speech obscene.
Now there exists some public misperception regarding a so-
called ``covenant'' between the Congressional Black Caucus
and the Nation of Islam. No such covenant exists nor has it
During the Congressional Black Caucus Weekend, Chairman
Kweisi Mfume, in an effort to reach out to the Nation of
Islam to find ways to save youth from crime, drugs and
violence, stated that we were establishing a ``covenant''
with the Nation of Islam. In a press conference this past
week in Washington, DC, he confirmed the fact that there had
never been a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus to
discuss the establishment of such a ``covenant'' and that
represented his own effort to ``reach out.''
Minister Louis Farrakhan described his aide, Khalid Abdul
Muhammad's speech as ``vile and repugnant.'' Farrakhan has
also called for a closed door summit of black leaders. There
has been no discussion of such a meeting by members of the
Congressional Black Caucus. There are many of us who have
reservations about such a meeting and would not meet with him
until he has openly and clearly disavowed his anti-semitic
inferences and statements.
Lastly, we must continue to expose all who espouse hate in
our society, but we must also get past the rhetoric and get
to the real problems.
In an editorial in today's Washington Post (February 7,
1994) entitled, ``The Farrakhan Furor,'' it says, ``Finally,
it is all too easy for white Americans to see and cite
obligations for African-American leaders without
understanding that these are their own obligations as well.
We are speaking here not only of a duty to condemn comparable
hateful talk when it is perpetrated by one of their own, but
also of shared responsibility for creating an environment in
which messages of scapegoating and spite cannot find
resonance. Black and white leaders and citizens alike need to
reject the diverting hatred. But that, in a way, may be the
easier part. They must also pursue the essential purpose of
eliminating the conditions in which such hatred can
Mr. GALLO. Mr. Speaker, my State prides itself on being the Garden
State, but no one should make the mistake of thinking that it provides
fertile ground for the kind of vile hatemongering that Khalid Abdul
Muhammad has attempted to plant in New Jersey.
I commend the House for acting today to add its voice of condemnation
to that of public officials in New Jersey, which include Governor
Whitman and the bipartisan membership of the New Jersey congressional
Those of us from New Jersey, who had this venom spewn forth on our
own soil, know that hate-filled diatribes like this must be met head on
by men and women everywhere who believe in loving thy neighbor.
The only way America can hope to be true to the words of our founding
document, ``that all men are created equal,'' is to forcefully condemn
the words and actions of those who seek to divide us, driven by
bigotry, ignorance, hatred, and intolerance.
Mr. EMERSON. Mr. Speaker, I abhor the statement of Khalid Abdul
Muhammad with every sense of outrage I possess. Let there be no mistake
about that. Mr. Muhammad is a private citizen and is not a prominent
individual. We should individually express our displeasure, horror,
outrage, and shock at the sentiments Mr. Muhammad purveyed, but he is
not an elected official or associated with Government. We cannot, the
Congress cannot, be a screening board for the purpose of approving or
disapproving the sentiments expressed by private citizens. As an
individual Congressman I strongly personally repudiate the sentiments
of Khalid Abdul Muhammad which are the subject of House Resolution 343.
Ms. NORTON. Mr. Speaker, I was not able to participate in the debate
today on House Resolution 343--a resolution to condemn the bigoted
speech given by Khalid Abdul Muhammad at Kean College on November 29,
1993. In a letter I sent to my constituents, I wrote that--
I bring my view that all bigotry is the same from my own
experiences growing up in segregated Washington, my work as a
young person in the civil rights movement, and my
professional life as a civil rights lawyer, former Chair of
the New York City Human Rights Committee and former Chair of
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. I remain a
disciple of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and wish more than
ever for his leadership. The bigotry and insensitivity to
groups other than one's own that we have seen in recent years
are a challenge to me and to others to help revive King's
teachings, and my own lifelong personal commitment as well,
that anti-Semitism and bigotry of all kinds against religious
and ethnic groups must be exposed and expunged.
I would like to place in the Record today remarks I made upon
receiving the 1994 Civil Rights Leadership Award at the Dr. Martin
Luther King Jr. Commemorative Observance at the Embassy of Israel on
January 27, 1994.
I accept with appreciation this civil rights leadership
award at this special moment that cries out for civil rights
The experience of being black in America has taught most of
us how to respond when African Americans, the traditional and
continuing targets of bigotry, are attacked or when there is
even a whisper of insensitivity toward race. But too many
have lost their voices or worse, engaged in apologias, when
the targets were not ourselves.
What is at stake is not the moral authority black people
have historically brought to the great moral and human rights
issues of the time. Too much of that authority has already
been squandered in the failure to adequately communicate the
indivisibility and reciprocity of human and civil rights. The
traditional moral authority of the civil rights movement has
not been entirely preserved. It must now be entirely
It is African Americans who have set such high standards
for judging bigotry and prejudice. No wonder others insist
upon holding us to those standards. We cannot continue to
allow large audiences in arenas and most of all on college
campuses to hear unrebutted, raw bigotry of the kind that
turned our stomachs when analogous stereotypes were spoken of
blacks and galvanized the civil rights movement in the first
There is special, tragic irony in anti-semitism in the
black community in particular. American Jews have always been
first in line for human rights in general and black civil
rights in particular. How perverse it is to single out for
bigoted references those who have always been our foremost
allies in every step toward freedom that we have taken and in
the legislation brought forward every day by the
Congressional Black Caucus. Whether the words are casual
references that remark on Jews or Catholics or others or
whether they are plainly ignorant conspiracy theories, they
need strong but careful rebuttal and thoughtful teaching.
This is moral leadership that must be taken on with care.
It is not sufficient to repudiate antisemitism. We must go
further. We must take a leaf from the teachings of Martin
Luther King, Jr. Without contributing to existing
polarization, he found ways to approach with compassion those
who hated blacks. In the same spirit, Black leadership must
find constructive but candid, unadorned ways to reach those
among us whose words betray their own lofty and principled
In the name of that heritage, in the name of the great
American civil rights movement that has always insisted that
human rights is a universal principle judged by one and only
one standard, I accept today's award as a worthy and urgent
The SPEAKER pro tempore. All time has expired.
Pursuant to the order of the House of Tuesday, February 22, 1994, the
previous question is ordered on the resolution.
The question is on the resolution.
The question was taken; and the Speaker pro tempore announced that
the ayes appeared to have it.
Mr. LANTOS. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
The vote was taken by electronic device, and there were--yeas 361,
nays 34, answered ``present'' 29, not voting 9, as follows:
[Roll No. 29]
de la Garza
Johnson, E. B.
Mr. BEVILL changed his vote from ``nay'' to ``yea.''
Messrs. TRAFICANT, ROSE, SAWYER, and CONDIT, Mrs. SCHROEDER, and
Messrs. HUGHES, STUPAK, and LEWIS of California changed their vote from
``yea'' to ``present.''
Ms. McKINNEY and Mr. BECERRA changed their vote from ``nay'' to
So the resolution was agreed to.
The result of the vote was announced as above recorded.
A motion to reconsider was laid on the table.