Memo To: The Fourth Estate
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Farrakhan’s Appeal
The prospect that the Karachi Muslims who kidnapped Daniel Pearl of The Wall Street Journal would actually kill him did not occur me to until last Thursday, when I called Peter Kann, the president of Dow Jones & Co., on another matter. He listened to me for just a moment and realized that it was not about Dan Pearl and told me he had to transfer me to someone else, as he was totally occupied trying to prevent the execution of Pearl the next morning. That shook me up so much that I spent the rest of the day in a trance, trying to figure out how I could help with a desperate situation on the other side of the world. Late in the afternoon it suddenly hit me that none of the appeals from our politicians would make a difference, none of the threats from our military. But they might respond to an appeal from an American Muslim who they would know, at least by reputation, and so I contacted the Nation of Islam to urge Min. Louis Farrakhan to make such an appeal. A man who could ask for a million black Americans to come to Washington, D.C. to stand together and pledge to be better men on October 16, 1995 in the Million Man March might be able to move the Muslim kidnappers of Dan Pearl.
It seemed logical, as logical as the idea I had in 1994, when I suggested to Senate Minority Leader Bob Dole that Colin Powell might be able to resolve the crisis in Haiti without having bombs dropping on Port au Prince. The government was in the hands of the Haitian military and General Powell would know how to connect with them in ways a diplomat or a politician might not. Dole urged President Clinton to send Powell to Haiti, with former President Jimmy Carter and Georgia Sen. Sam Nunn, and sure enough, minutes before the bombs were to fall, the Haitian military dictator, Gen. Raoul Cedras, heard the arguments of General Powell and decided to give up without a fight. In the case of Dan Pearl, a military man was not right. It would have to be an American cleric and a Muslim. Min. Farrakhan might be exactly right, as he had traveled to Pakistan many times and was well known to whomever had kidnapped Pearl.
At first, Thursday evening, the word I got was that Min. Farrakhan had already been asked to make an appeal, but that he did not think it would be reported, or that it would get to the kidnappers, or that it would make a difference. I responded later in the evening that if there were an appeal, I would get it to Bob Novak, who could get it on CNN which I knew was available in Karachi. It was a slim, slim chance, but on Friday morning I talked to Nation of Islam Chief of Staff Leonard Muhammad, who told me Min. Farrakhan was writing a statement and would soon release it. It soon went on CNN and I was pleased to see that it was run word for word and that CNN ran it as a streamer all night long and into the next morning. What really shocked me was that even though Associated Press ran it as a news story, the other major media ignored it. There was no mention of it at The New York Times or The Washington Post or, as far as I can tell, at Dow Jones. I expected the NYPost would ignore the appeal, but was pleased that the NY Daily News at least mentioned it in a paragraph at the bottom of its Pearl story. I really do not understand American journalists these days. There are Israeli soldiers refusing to participate in the bombing of the West Bank, but in the U.S., the editors are blacking out an appeal to help save a newspaperman.
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February 1, 2002
Press Release by: Minister Louis Farrakhan
Leader of The Nation of Islam
The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan today called for the release of Mr. Daniel Pearl, believed to be held in Pakistan.
"I wish to offer my sincere prayers and best wishes to my Muslim brothers and their families. May Allah grant you mercy and right guidance in this hour of great trial. I urge the immediate release and safe return of Mr. Daniel Pearl. His release may serve the greater good and promote meaningful dialogue with the American people and government. Muslims are known for their compassion and mercy for the human family. Allah (God) revealed the Quran to the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) to serve as a guide in every aspect of human endeavor. Allah teaches and instructs us in the handling of prisoners of war. Allah instructs and teaches us in the handling and treatment of non-combatants. Mr. Pearl is a journalist, is not a combatant, and should be released. Our religion, Islam, is under trial. The world is watching. To execute and murder this man will increase hatred for Islam and damage the reputation of Muslims throughout the world. I must also urge the American government to grant P.O.W. (Prisoners of War) status to those captured during a declared war. Once again, I employ America to re-examine her foreign policy toward Africa, the Middle East, and other vulnerable nations. The United States is the only remaining super power by Allah's (God's) permission. America must do more to reassure the family of nations of her determination to promote justice and fair play. The nations of the earth will follow America's leadership in establishing a century of security, prosperity and peace for all."