Barack Obama posed for a photo in 2005 with Louis Farrakhan, the virulently anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam movement, and the photographer said he suppressed his publication at the request of a member of the Black Congress Caucus.
The future president was the US senator UU From Illinois at that time.
The Trice Edney News Wire published the photo for the first time on January 20. He quotes the photographer, Askia Muhammad, saying that after taking the picture at a meeting of the Congressional Black Caucus, an unidentified member of the caucus immediately asked him to execute the photo
Muhammad said he gave the disk containing the photo to Farrakhan's chief of staff.
As in 2005 there was already talk of Obama coming to the presidency, Muhammad said he and others did not want to damage the chances of the Democrats. It is not clear who was employing Muhammad at that time, but he had previously worked for the publication Nation of Islam, The Final Call.
Jewish leaders have repeatedly denounced Farrakhan as an anti-Semite, pointing out his speeches accusing the Jews of conspiring to control the government, the media and Hollywood.
Farrakhan apparently referred to the photo in 2016 towards the end of Obama's second term, saying he had met privately with Obama and had a picture of them together. He did not specify the date of the meeting. The newly published photo shows Obama and Farrakhan with members of the Farrakhan family and the Reverend Willie Wilson, organizer of the Farrakhan Million-Man March in 1995.
Farrakhan expressed support for Obama's candidacy in 2008, and Obama's pastor at the time, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, had praised Farrakhan on multiple occasions. That made Farrakhan a problem during the primary campaign that year, and Obama's rival at the time, Hillary Clinton, called him to repudiate Farrakhan. Obama did it during a debate on the primaries.
Talking Points Memo, who also reported Thursday on the photo, requested comments from Obama. A spokesman directed the liberal news site to an interview that Obama gave in 1995 when he ran for the first time for the Illinois state Senate, and after attending the Million Man March in Farrakhan in Washington, DC.
"What I saw was a powerful demonstration of the momentum and the need for African-American men to come together to recognize each other and affirm our legitimate place in society," Obama told the Chicago Reader, describing his impressions of the march. . "There was a deep sense that African-American men were ready to commit to change in our communities and our lives."
But he continued: "But cursing the whites is not going to do the work, the anti-Semitic and antiaesthetic statements will not raise us, we have to organize and plan some difficult things, we have communities to build."