L. Ron Hubbard (The Blaze/AP)
Based on 2006 media coverage of the growing relationship between NOI and Scientology, it’s evident that the latter group has been looking for an inroads to the black community for quite some time. With African American membership in the Church of Scientology purportedly low, the partnership with NOI could prove useful to both parties.
Based on the Times initial reporting, the affiliation between the two faith systems initially focused on Scientology’s controversial drug rehabilitation program, which was first brought to NOI mosques in Los Angeles around that same time (the drug program is known as Narconon).
NOI Minister Tony Muhammad had much to say in 2006 about the growing Scientologist influence in the NOI. He claimed that the connection comes from Farrakhan’s deep interest in any programs or ideas that will advance African Americans and that Scientology is simply one mechanism that will truly enhance the NOI community.
“I found some validity in some of the L. Ron Hubbard work. They have one of the best drug rehabilitation programs in the country,” Muhammad explained. ”We like the drug treatment program and we at least want to collaborate on that.”
According to the Times, these drug treatment programs — which have gained widespread criticism — are known for their harsh methodologies. The program, based on Hubbard’s detoxification methodology, claims to remove harmful toxins through intense exercise, hours in a sauna and the ingestion of minerals, oils and vitamins. On its web site, the church describes the program as follows: “The Narconon program not only addresses the mental and physical debilitation precipitated by drug abuse, but also the reasons why an individual turns to drugs in the first place.”
in 2006, Alfreddie Johnson, a preacher out of California, also touted Scientology’s teachings, while explaining the attraction that NOI and some members of the black community have to the controversial doctrines. Johnson, who founded World Literacy Crusade, a tutoring program that relies upon Hubbard’s teachings, sees no conflict between other faiths using Scientology materials. He also maintains that African Americans are very open to new ideas — more open than white churches and conservatives (a factor that may add to the reasoning behind Farrakhan’s usage of the tools).
“In my opinion, most white churches are run by conservatives who have not been locked out of society,” Johnson told the Times. “When you go in and try to share new ideas with people who are conservative in their thinking, they are not as open as African-Americans, who historically have been locked out of the mainstream of society.”
Flash forward a few years and this openness can be seen in full bloom. In 2010, the Times dug into the elements and teachings that Farrakhan was already infusing into NOI trainings. It was during that same year that the faith leader chose to hold NOI’s annual convention
in Tampa, Florida, an interesting choice considering that Scientology’s home base is in nearby Clearwater.
During the convention, the Times reported that NOI members were invited to attend a “study tech” workshop (student study mechanisms) and they were also encouraged to purchase books from World Literacy Crusade, Johnson‘s program that relies upon Hubbard’s teachings. Farrakhan’s followers were, thus, trained to use Hubbard’s study techniques and drug treatment ideals.
This, of course, is only one example of the connections between the two faith groups. At various times, Farrakhan and his associates have reportedly visited Scientology establishments and the fiery preacher has touted the benefits of Hubbard’s techniques during numerous sermons. The relationship is so tight-knit that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a leftist group that explores the “radical right,” extensively documented it in a blog post back in June 2011.