An Illinois Democrat has doubled down on his praise of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, claiming he doesn't "spend all my time focused on" criticisms of the controversial commentator, Forward reports. "That's just one segment of what goes on in our world," Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) told The Daily Caller on Sunday. "The world is so much bigger than Farrakhan and the Jewish question and his position on that and so forth."
Farrakhan is described by the Anti-Defamation League as "an avowed anti-Semite who leads a group that traffics in hate not just towards Jews but also the LGBTQ community." Farrakhan "blames Jews for the slave trade, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping, and general black oppression," the Southern Poverty Law Center writes. He has described Adolf Hitler as "a very great man" multiple times.
Davis praised Farrakhan as an "outstanding human being" in an interview with The Daily Caller last month, although the ADL said he had been misquoted. Davis seemed to dismiss that Sunday: "I think that was what they wanted to write," Davis said. "Nah, I don't have no problems with Farrakhan, I don't spend a whole lot of my time dealing with those kind of things."
In a new statement, the ADL said: "It is unfortunate that the congressman apparently can't muster up the courage to denounce Farrakhan's blatant anti-Semitism and instead chose to praise him instead. Hate should not be difficult to denounce. Once again we're calling on the congressman to denounce anti-Semitism and all forms of hate."
Other leaders have made efforts to separate themselves from Farrakhan, CNN notes, with a spokesperson for Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) insisting in 2016 that "the right wing has been pushing these stories for years to drive a wedge between Congressman Ellison and the Jewish community."