Farrakhan was given a seat of honor on the pulpit at the funeral, flanked by the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former President Bill Clinton, and MSNBC commentator and activist Al Sharpton. Farrakhan did not speak at the event.
The Franklin/Farrakhan relationship dates back several decades, according to a statement Farrakhan made after her death.
‘In 1972, when I was minister in New York City, Temple No 7, the police attacked our mosque. Within a few hours, Aretha Franklin came to the mosque, to my office, and said that she saw the news and came as quickly as she could to stand with us and offer us her support,’ Farrakhan wrote.
‘She asked me if Rev Jesse Jackson had been there to show support. I said, not yet. She said, he’ll be here within 48 hours. Rev Jackson came and stood with the Muslims.
‘We marveled at her show of courage, fearlessness which was rooted in her profound love for her people and her desire for justice for us.
‘Her activism, her selflessness caused her to stand with Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement as she joined the struggle of our people for liberty, equity and justice.
Farrakhan tweeted the statement calling Franklin: ‘Our Queen And Our Giant In The Black Struggle.’ The Nation of Islam also handed out free copies of its newspaper, The Final Call, which featured a Franklin tribute on the cover.
His presence at the funeral was a hot topic online.