ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Leaders in the Jewish community are speaking out a day after concerns came to light about the newly appointed city council member for St. Pete’s District 7, Brother John Muhammad.
On Thursday, some city council members raised concerns, specifically, his support of Louis Farrakhan, an alleged anti-Semite who leads the Nation of Islam.
What You Need To Know
- Brother John, whose legal name is John C. Malone, is a longtime community activist and president of the Child's Park Neighborhood Association
- In less than a week, Brother John is set to be sworn in at city hall
- Accusations of anti-semitism were raised
In less than a week, Brother John will be sworn in at city hall.
Since these concerns were raised, he now has an open invitation to the Florida Holocaust Museum. “I see all of this as an opportunity,” said Florida Holocaust Museum Board Chair Michael Igel.
“I want to make that very, very clear that we would be happy to have him here, and we have no record of him having contacted us for communication.”
Brother John, whose legal name is John C. Malone, is a longtime community activist and president of the Child’s Park Neighborhood Association. He is a Muslim and has denounced hateful rhetoric that one council member cited as an example of the anti-Semitic statements made by leaders linked to the Nation of Islam.
He also used this as an opportunity to reaffirm where he stands on inclusivity. “I have shown a consistent commitment to being a bridge builder that a lot of us talk about,” he said. “But it seems like that inclusivity that we champion as a city only applies if we agree on certain things. And when we disagree, we can’t be inclusive.”
In a statement, Brother John said, “I’m really excited about the opportunity to serve and I’m looking forward to introducing myself to residents and stakeholders of District 7 and beyond. Unity does not require uniformity, and I am encouraged by the support that I have received. I think it shows the emphasis we have placed on inclusion also applies to me, as a member of the Nation of Islam.”
Igel, with the Florida Holocaust Museum, said bridge building is at the forefront of what they represent. “I always say there’s three things – education, education, education. Once those lessons are taught, it just changes people. Again, I’ve seen it so many times with so many people,” he said. “So, the next step absolutely is just more education, and I’m confident we can accomplish that. That’s what we do and what we do well.”
So far, they have set no date for that visit with Jewish leaders, but Brother John expressed excitement about the potential for the meeting.