NEW YORK -- Muslim leader Louis Farrakhan has threatened not only a Washington Post reporter who printed Jesse Jackson's 'Hymietown' remark but has 'a long history' of threatening reporters, NBC News reports.
After reporter Milton Coleman revealed Democratic presidential candidate Jackson's reference to New York City as 'Hymietown' in the Washington Post, Farrakhan reportedly said: 'We are going to make an example of Milton Coleman. We are going to punish the traitor.'
Later in the statement, he said: 'One day soon we will punish you with death.'
Farrakhan, head of the Muslim sect Nation of Islam and Jackson supporter, later denied he meant harm to Coleman, but the reporter received several telephone death threats and more than a hundred letters, many from local black Muslims, NBC reported Tuesday.
'Louis Farrakhan has a long history of making threatening remarks,' the report said. 'And those who have been the target of those remarks take them seriously and consider him dangerous.'
Farrakhan declined to be interviewed for NBC's story. His supporters say his words are just religious rhetoric and have been misunderstood.
In 1973, Paul Delaney of The New York Times wrote articles on crime and financial problems within the Nation of Islam.
'Louis Farrakhan was minister in New York at the time, and he was quoted several times in Muhammad Speaks and of course in his sermons and radio broadcasts castigating me,' Delaney told the network. 'I took them as threats, yes absolutely.'
In the 1960s, reporter Ben Holman investigated the Nation of Islam for the Chicago Daily News and later covered a national convention of Black Muslims.
'In the middle of the meeting, the speaker who later turned out to be Louis Farrakhan, known as Louis X in those days, started to harrangue the crowd, whip them into a fervor of hatred, and goading the crowd on to kill me, lynch me on the spot,' Holman told NBC. 'The auditorium was filled with thousands of people and they did start screaming in unison, 'kill him, kill him, now, now.''
Farrakhan's remarks also convinced a witness not to testify at a murder trial in Washington, the network said.
In 1974, National of Islam member James Price and six other members were charged in the killings of seven members of a rival sect in Washington, D.C.
Price, who became a government witness, listened to Farrakhan's weekly broadcast on a car radio as he was being driven to the courthouse.
'Let this be a warning to those of you who would be used as an instrument of a wicked government. ... Today there are younger men and women rising up who have no forgiveness in them for traitors and stool pigeons. And they will execute you as soon as your identity is known,' Farrakhan was quoted in the broadcast.
Price refused to testify and was killed by two of his co-defendants and a third black Muslim seven months later at Philadelphia's Holmsburg Prison. No link between them and Farrakhan has been discovered.