DETROIT, Feb. 25 -- Denouncing President Bush for the war in Iraq and calling on Muslims and Christians to stop killing one another, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan led thousands of followers on a spirited tour of his views of God and the world Sunday in an address described by aides as his last major appearance.
Farrakhan, 73, who has been battling prostate cancer for nearly a decade, spoke sharp words about international conflict and personal responsibility. He gave no hint that he was ailing, or that he intends to go quietly when his time is up.
To young people who would join the military and fight in Iraq, he urged them to stay away: "This is going down, and if you're going, you go down with it. God is angry."
To Democrats unwilling to impeach Bush, he suggested censure: "Stop pussyfooting around."
To spouses frustrated by lethargic partners, he told them to act on their own: "To hell with a husband who doesn't want to do right. To hell with a wife who doesn't want to do right."
To people of faith who are at one another's throats, he called for unity: "How come we, the people of God, cannot embrace each other?"
Farrakhan, who has delivered a message of black pride for decades, did not repeat previous incendiary remarks about "white devils" or Jews, whom he has called "bloodsuckers" who prey on African Americans.
He said he is not anti-white, anti-gay, anti-Semitic or anti-American. He said those labels were produced by critics "in hopes that somebody would rise up to kill me."
Eyes twinkling, Farrakhan engaged in rhetorical jousts -- sometimes quietly, other times in a shout -- with his audience and the sizable media contingent, very much the man who said after organizing Washington's Million Man March in 1995: "To some I'm a nightmare. But to others I'm a dream come true."
Detroit is where the Nation of Islam got its start, in 1930. Members of a crowd that flowed to the Detroit Lions' indoor stadium on an icy afternoon to celebrate the group's Saviours' Day said they came in the expectation that this would be Farrakhan's final big speech.
Facing serious abdominal surgery, he recently handed control of the group to an executive committee, fueling questions about his future and speculation about the organization's prospects without a leader as contentious or charismatic.
City employee Terrell Williams paid $57 for his seat. By way of explanation, he said, "Look who's speaking, though."
Morris Hartman, a retired factory worker, said: "He's done more to bridge the gap and bring people together than any so-called leaders. I think he has had more influence on our race than anyone in America. He has allowed people to examine themselves, to see where they're at."
The Farrakhan faithful, who had waited through 90 minutes of various speakers and an insistent fundraising pitch, responded with loud cheers and camera flashes to the leader's arrival. He stepped across the stage wearing a tailored suit and a warm smile, and spoke for nearly two hours in a voice that rose and fell with a preacher's cadence but never flagged.
"Don't fall asleep on me," he chided. "Don't run out on me. I want you to think. Think!"
The world, he said, is in terrible shape, "and it's getting worse by the day."
Farrakhan criticized Muslims in Iraq for the deadly sectarian violence between Sunnis and Shiites. He blamed the Bush administration for igniting the bloodshed but said it is time for followers of the prophet Muhammad to live as he had and for Christians to live more as Jesus did.
"Our lives are full of praise, but our hearts are far removed from the prophets that we all claim," Farrakhan said. "That is why the world is in the shape that it's in. If we would live the life that Jesus taught, live the life that Muhammad taught, we would be in tremendous condition."
Farrakhan returned repeatedly to Bush, demanding to know why the president should not be impeached. He called him "warlike" and said the decision to invade Iraq was dreadful. He said the administration manipulated intelligence to fool Congress and the American public.
Iraq was so weak after a dozen years of international sanctions, he said, "it was like Muhammad Ali fighting a quadriplegic."
Farrakhan, who quoted liberally from the Bible and the Koran, drew a rumble of approval that built into cheers when he said: "Be not deceived, for God is not mocked. Whatsoever a man soweth, the same shall he also reap."