“The fact that Minister Farrakhan has engaged in important charitable work aimed at expanding economic opportunities for underserved communities does not excuse these statements,” Conyers said. “I sincerely offer my apologies to my constituents and others who also may have been offended by the minister’s words.”
Farrakhan’s visit to Detroit came as the city was preparing for major changes under state-appointed emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr.
In a speech before the Detroit City Council earlier Friday, Farrakhan urged religious leaders and the majority black population to join him in an effort to buy neglected properties and take other steps to help revitalize the struggling city. And at an earlier church appearance, he directly addressed his views on Jews.
“Why do they say that Farrakhan is anti-Semitic? I’m 80 years old,” he said Thursday. “I’ve never been arrested, not even for spitting on a sidewalk. … Is there a Jewish synagogue I’ve defaced?”