NEW YORK (AP) - Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan yesterday lambasted the United Nations, the United States, and the “coalition of demons’’ that he said makes up NATO, accusing them of trying to assassinate Moammar Khadafy and promote regime change in Libya.
Farrakhan said the United Nations and its 15-member Security Council, which he referred to as “the terror council,’’ have no legitimate right to exist for passing the resolution that has allowed NATO to take military action in Libya.
The Chicago-based Muslim clergyman, addressing a news conference a block from the United Nations building, defended his “brother leader Khadafy’’ and praised his leadership of the North African country for more than four decades.
Farrakhan also encouraged Khadafy to resist pressure that he step aside.
“What has Moammar Khadafy done to deserve what this united coalition of demons is putting on him?’’ Farrakhan said to murmurs of approval from his supporters. “They say he has lost the moral right [to rule] because he has killed his own people. But you have never proved that charge. Check the record.’’
A Libyan diplomat who was among more than a dozen based at the United Nations who disavowed Khadafy’s government earlier this year took issue with Farrakhan’s characterization of the leader as blameless. He said Libyan forces had indeed killed unarmed protesters.
“He didn’t talk about how Khadafy’s forces were shooting at the people,’’ said Dia A. Alhutmany, a second secretary who still works at the Libyan mission, but now on the rebels’ side. “He made Khadafy out to be an angel,’’ added Alhutmany, who attended the news conference.
The Security Council on March 17 voted, 10-0 with five abstentions, to approve the creation of a no-fly zone over Libya and authorize “all necessary measures,’’ a phrase commonly associated with force, “to protect civilians and civil-populated areas under threat of attack.’’
Swept up by political changes across the Arab world, Libya’s protesters took up arms when their chants for change were answered by government gunfire.