CHICAGO, Oct. 30 -- Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings is praising controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, likening him to the visionary astronomer Galileo who was persecuted in his time. Rawlings, now on his first visit to Chicago, appeared Sunday at the DuSable Museum of History and Culture.
He likened Farrakhan, the organizer of the Million Man March in Washington two weeks ago, to the legendary Italian astronomer, noting that Galileo was persecuted for his views of the world. 'If there is anybody I've come across in my life who rivets you to your seat as he talks logic, it is our brother Louis Farrakhan,' Rawlings said. 'He's not condemning the white man...he's probably just stating one or two facts. Some of those facts may be painful.' Farrakhan introduced Rawlings to a cheering audience of more than 500 people, many of them Ghanaian-Americans. There are about 10,000 Ghanaians in the Chicago area. Also on the stage were Cook County Commissioner Danny Davis and National Black United Front chairman Conrad Worrill. Rawlings, who is seeking economic investment in his nation, was scheduled to tour the Chicago Mercantile Exchange Monday, meet Mayor Richard Daley at City Hall and have lunch at the Mid-America Club. He was elected president of the West African nation in 1993 in the first free election in Ghana in decades. In 1979, Rawlings, then a flight lieutenant, seized power in a military coup. He is on a six-city tour after attending the 50th anniversary of the United Nations in New York City last week.