Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said this week he welcomes the help of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in stopping the surge of violence in Chicago neighborhoods.
Back in 1997, Ed Rendell — then the mayor of Philadelphia — and local Jewish groups sparred over his taking part in a Farrakhan-led rally that city officials said would help calm racial tensions. This controversy was just two years after Rendell’s community expressed displeasure with the mayor’s support of the "Million Man March" in Washington, a rally that was co-organized by the Nation of Islam:
Among the march’s supporter is Philadelphia Mayor Edward Rendell, who is Jewish.
Although he has not endorsed the march, Rendell said he supports the goals of the event, downplaying Farrakhan’s sponsorship. His position has been sharply criticized by some segments of the Philadelphia Jewish community, who say support for the march and support for Farrakhan are inseparable.
Yet another example that Rahm Emanuel is not the first Jewish mayor to achieve municipal distinction.