NEW YORK (JTA) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed the help of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan to help stop the violence in Chicago neighborhoods.
Farrakhan has a history of making anti-Semitic statements. In welcoming Farrakhan’s help, Emanuel said Wednesday that he was more concerned with reducing a 40 percent surge in Chicago homicides.
“People of faith have a role to play and community leaders have a role to play in helping to protect our neighborhoods and our citizens," said Emanuel, the first elected Jewish mayor of the city. “You cannot get there on just one piece of an anti-crime strategy.”
For the past two Mondays, Farrakhan has dispatched hundreds of "Fruit of Islam" members on patrols in city neighborhoods in the city. Farrakhan ordered the show of force in response to last month’s murder of 7-year old Heaven Sutton, the Chicago Sun Times reported.
Chicago Alderman Debra Silverstein, an Orthodox Jew, said it’s good that Farrakhan is “helping” in the fight against crime, “but it doesn’t eradicate the comments that he’s made about the Jewish community,” according to the Chicago Sun-Times.