On tour, Farrakhan stirs anger, likening Iraqis to Nazi victims

WASHINGTON, D.C.– He told Libya's Moammar Khadafy that God would "destroy" America and likened Iraqi Gulf War victims to Jews in the Holocaust.

On his 1996 world tour, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan has traveled amid a storm of controversy.

Farrakhan met last week with Saddam Hussein in Baghdad, then likened the plight of the Iraqi people to what Jews endured in Nazi death camps.

After visiting a hospital, Farrakhan called U.S. economic sanctions on Iraq a "crime against humanity" leading to the "mass murder of the Iraqi people."

"Visiting the hospital," Farrakhan was quoted as saying, "would be, or could be, compared to visiting one of the [Nazi] death camps."

On what Farrakhan has called a "world friendship" tour with Muslims, he has called the United States a nation of "Satan."

Federal officials are investigating if Farrakhan broke any laws by visiting Iraq, Iran and Libya, where economic sanctions apply.

His meetings with foreign leaders who sponsor international terrorism has been condemned by U.S. officials and Jewish groups.

State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns castigated Farrakhan last week for "cavorting with dictators." The Anti-Defamation League said his tour "shoots a torpedo into the notion that Louis Farrakhan is pursuing a course of moderation."

An Iranian newspaper reported Farrakhan said, "You can quote me: God will destroy America at the hands of Muslims," then adding, "We do not seek the fall of the U.S. government but are looking for ways to moderate the unjust policies of the American government."

He visited Sudan and Libya, where Khadafy pledged $1 billion to finance Farrakhan's U.S. political activities.

A Treasury Department office asked Farrakhan if he spent money in restricted nations or accepted money for political purposes from countries under U.S. economic bans.

The Justice Department told Farrakhan he must register as a Libyan foreign agent if he tries to influence U.S. policies on Libya's behalf.

In Congress, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), has called for congressional hearings into Farrakhan's trip.

"Any American citizen who consorts with the sworn enemies of the United States and seeks their financial backing must be held fully accountable for their actions," King said.

Congress is fearful that calling Farrakhan to testify would lead to potentially racially divisive hearings, say congressional sources.

Yet Farrakhan reportedly told Tehran University students, "I am a free black and do not allow anyone to tell me where to go and where not to go, who to meet or not to meet."