The leader of the nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan, was sitting on the stage at the Aretha Franklin memorial with Bill Clinton, Rev Jesse Jackson and Rev Al Sharpton.
Pictures and live videos show the controversial religious figure and the front and black national center in the star-studded service in honor of Franklin, who died at 76 years of pancreatic cancer on August 6.
At moments during the five-hour service, Rev Sharpton seemed to lean away from Farrakhan and whisper to Rev Jackson on his left, who is sitting next to former President Clinton.
The leader of the nation of Islam, Louis Farrakhan (left), sat next to Reverend Al Sharpton, Reverend Jesse Jackson and President Bill Clinton at Aretha Franklin's funeral in Detroit on Friday.
Farrakan, fellow religious leaders Sharpton and Jackson and former President Bill Clinton hooked up the coveted spots on stage at the Greater Grace Temple during the starry service
At points during the five-hour service, Rev Sharpton seemed to lean away from Farrakhan and whisper to Rev Jackson on his left
Farrakhan detailed his long relationship with Franklin in a statement issued after his death earlier this month.
"In 1972, when I was ministering in New York City, Temple No. 7, the police attacked our mosque." In a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and told me that she had seen the news and had come as quickly as possible to support us and offer their support, "Farrakhan wrote.
"She asked me if Rev Jesse Jackson had been there to show her support, I said, not yet, she said, he will be here in 48 hours, Rev. Jackson came and stood with the Muslims.
"We marveled at his demonstration of courage, courage that was rooted in his deep love for his people and his desire for justice for us.
"Her activism, her altruism led her to be with Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement by joining the struggle of our people for freedom, fairness and justice.
Farrakhan tweeted the statement by calling Franklin: "Our queen and our giant in the black struggle."
Farrakhan detailed his long relationship with Franklin in a statement issued after his death earlier this month. A tweet that links to the statement is shown above.
Farrakhan was all smiles during the Aretha Franklin benifit concert in Detroit on Wednesday
Farrakhan arrives at the funeral service wearing a striped suit and a red bow tie (left) before taking his seat in front and center inside the Temple of Great Grace (right)
The presence of the Islamic leader at Franklin's funeral has provoked outrage on social media from people who say that Farrakhan should not have been invited given his history of anti-Semitic comments.
CNN reporter Kate Bennett tweeted: "I was enjoying the funeral coverage of aretha franklin until I saw louis farrakhan siting prominently and now that's enough."
Turning Point USA founder Charlie Kirk also wrote: "It is a disgrace for the beautiful Aretha Franklin to have the scammers Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton sitting in the front row at her funeral with the anti-Semite Louis Farrakhan next to the accused President Bill Clinton.
& # 39; Aretha was a wonderful talent and his legacy is better than this & # 39;
Jewish filmmaker Jeremy Newberger also tweeted: "I love Aretha Franklin and this great tribute is wonderful to see, but Louis Farrakhan … His views on Jews, homosexuals and immigrants show a total and total lack of RESPECT. the F out there.
Farrakhan's presence at Franklin's funeral has provoked outrage on social media from people who say that Farrakhan should not have been invited given his history of anti-Semitic comments.
In June, Farrakhan had his Twitter verification revoked after he tweeted a link to a video of his May 28 sermon on Harvey Weinstein, with the headline: "Unmasking completely and completely the satanic Jew and Satan's synagogue."
In the sermon video at a mosque in Chicago, Farrakhan tackled everything from President Trump, anti-Semitism, the #MeToo movement, to Weinstein.
"The sofa where you have to sit is called the casting couch," Farrakhan said in a three-hour sermon.
& # 39; See? That is the Jewish power, "he continued.
"It is difficult to tell a Jew that he is wrong when the Talmud he believes in has taught him that Gentile women – and black women in particular – can do whatever they want because they are partly animals."
Farrakhan has been head of the Nation of Islam, an American religious group, since the 1970s, a position that made him a very influential figure in the political landscape, especially in the 1980s.
He met for a long time the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who was sitting just one seat away from him at the memorial, after having supported Jackson's presidential candidacy in 1984 and later threatened the Washington Post journalist who reported the notorious story about Jesse Jackson using Anti-Semitic language in private.
What is the nation of Islam?
The Nation of Islam is a religious and political movement that began in the early 1930s by W D Fard Muhammad. Muhammad's goal was, according to the Nation of Islam website, "to teach oppressed and defenseless blacks a deep knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to independence with a superior culture and a superior civilization. to yours". I had previously experienced & # 39;
According to reports, Muhammad disappeared in 1934, and his disciple Elijah Muhammad took charge. The organization rose to fame when Malcolm Little, later Malcolm X, joined in, and its number increased to tens of thousands in the 1970s. Muhammad Ali was one of its most famous members.
Despite an ongoing battle with prostate cancer, Farrakhan has remained active in American political life for the past three decades.
He is perhaps best known for a photo of him with Barack Obama at a 2005 Black Congress Caucus meeting that many say would have ruined the then-Senator's chance to become president if he left.
Throughout Obama's presidential campaign, conservatives promoted multiple conspiracy theories about Obama's religion and alleged links to Islam.
In a 2008 presidential debate in Cleveland, Obama said he had "been very clear" in his "denunciation" of Farrakhan's comments in the past.
In January of this year, the journalist Askia Muhammad finally published the photo that she was forced to bury at the time of the Obama campaign.
Muhammad said he gave the image at that time and basically swore to keep the secret & # 39; for concern that I could have made a difference & # 39; and damaged the political future of Obama.
Muhammad recalled on Thursday that a "staff member" of the CBC contacted him "in panic" after taking the photo.
"I understood in some way what was happening," Muhammad told Talking Points Memo.
A 2005 photo of Barack Obama and Farrakhan, both photographed in 2008, was buried amid fears that it could ruin the opportunity of the then Senator in the Oval Office.
Farrakhan, who has been an influential voice in American politics for decades, is represented (center) with the black nationalist leader Malcolm X (left) in 1963.