Tax-funded mural in NY celebrates ‘antisemite’ Louis Farrakhan, stirs controversy

Municipal-funded mural in New York criticized for featuring ‘prominent antisemite’ Louis Farrakhan, spent over $100,000.

By Shiryn Ghermezian, The Algemeiner

A mural in Westchester, New York, that celebrates Black history and the Black Lives Matter movement has stirred controversy for featuring antisemite and Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

The 2,500-square-foot mural, located on the Manhattan Avenue underpass of the I-287 highway in the town of Greenburgh, depicts dozens of influential Black leaders including Bob Marley, Mohammed Ali as well as Farrakhan, who is illustrated speaking with an accusatory raised finger.

Farrakhan has a long history of making antisemitic remarks, which include calling Jewish people “satan” and “termites”; chanting “Death to Israel”; sharing anti-Israel conspiracy theories; calling Adolf Hitler “a very great man”; blaming Jews for slavery in the U.S.; and publicly denying the Holocaust.

Community activist Clifton Abrams, who spearheaded the project, told ABC 7 NY that Farrakhan is an “icon” whose comments have been taken out of context. The news outlet added that the Greenburgh Town Board spent over $100,000 of taxpayer funds for the mural, which is on state property.

The board said in a statement on Aug. 25 that the image of Farrakhan in the mural was not in the approved sketches submitted by the designer, Kindo Art, and that the “unauthorized imagery” will be removed.

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“While the artist’s interpretation of artistic expression was welcomed, the addition of Louis Farrakhan and several other people was never approved by the Town,” the board’s statement said.

“The Black Lives Matter Manhattan Avenue Mural Subcommittee therefore voted to remove the unauthorized imagery. The artist has agreed that Louis Farrakhan will be taken off of the mural and the image will be removed this week.”

However, ABC 7 noted that Abrams is meeting with black political leaders and looking into possibly raising money to reimburse the town and leave Farrakhan in the mural.

“I haven’t made a decision to do anything,” the artist behind the project told local media outlets Monday.

A state inspector visited the mural on Monday to take pictures and a spokesperson said, “The State Department of Transportation has been in contact with the town over this matter as this mural does not match what was submitted in its original permit request. We are awaiting a formal response from the town.”

Local Jewish organizations slammed the mural.

“The inclusion of Louis Farrakhan was wrong, hurtful and inappropriate,” The Westchester Jewish Council said in a statement. “Farrakhan is one of the country’s most prominent antisemites, and his long and public history of anti-Jewish and other bigoted comments makes his inclusion in this project completely improper.”