Anti-vaccination activists have found a new ally in their quest to end mandatory vaccinations for children: The Nation of Islam.
Jezebel’s Anna Merlan reports that the Nation of Islam has been working closely with anti-vaccination activist Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. to push the view that vaccinations will cripple a generation of black children by afflicting them with autism.
Merlan writes that Kennedy, who has in the past claimed that vaccinations will lead to a “holocaust” of young children, began a push with the Nation of Islam in 2015 to “encourage black families to consider not vaccinating their children, based on a debunked claim that a mercury-based preservative in vaccines causes autism.”
Merlan goes on to document how the Nation of Islam is a natural ally in the anti-vaxx movement, as it has long pushed conspiracy theories that attack the scientific and medical establishments. Among other things, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan claimed just four years ago that he believed children in Zimbabwe were being intentionally poisoned by vaccinations being sent over from the United States and Europe. Additionally, the Nation’s official newspaper has in the past published articles linking vaccinations to autism.
Nation of Islam Minister Tony Muhammad tells Jezebel that it didn’t take much for Kennedy to convince him of the dangers of vaccines — and he likens the push to vaccinate children to the horrific Tuskegee experiment that intentionally withheld treatment for black men infected with syphilis.
“We decided to get involved with warning and educating our community,” Muhammad explained. “This has flown over the black community’s head.”