The Black Caucus in Congress pressured a photographer into not releasing a picture of former President Barack Obama with the controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, the photographer said this week.
The picture has been widely circulated online after being revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25, for the first time.
Taken in 2005, it shows Obama standing and smiling with Farrakhan, who has made racist comments against white people as well as hateful comments against Jews and other groups.
Askia Muhammad said that soon after he took the picture, he was contacted by the Congressional Black Caucus, which had hosted the meeting featuring the then-Chicago senator.
Muhammad told the TriceEdneyWire that he received a call from a member of the caucus, and eventually surrendered the disk including the photo and other photos to Farrakhan’s chief of staff.
“I gave the picture up at the time and basically swore secrecy,” Muhammad said. “But after the nomination was secured and all the way up until the inauguration; then for eight years after he was President, it was kept under cover.”
However, Muhammad kept a copy for himself.
“I gave the original disk to him and in a sense swore myself to secrecy because I had quietly made a copy for myself,” Muhammad told Fox News. “It’s my picture, it’s my art, and it’s my intellectual property. I owned it and I wanted to keep it.”
The photographer thinks that if the picture was made public earlier, it may have affected Obama’s chances of becoming president.
“I insist. It absolutely would have made a difference.”
Others agreed, including Dr. Shayla Nunnally, the president of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists.
“I do believe that it would have had a very, very negative affect [sic] in that given moment as far as the candidacy of candidate Obama at that time,” she told the TriceEdneyWire.
“Minister Farrakhan and his reputation would hurt someone trying to win acceptance in the broad cross-section,” Muhammad added to Fox News.
Obama hasn’t commented on the picture as of yet.