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Malcolm X: And the Psychology behind Personality-Based Islamic and Pseudo-Islamic Movements

April 13, 2016

 

“I know its characteristics. I know its potential. I know its behavior patterns. I know what it can do and what it cannot do.” – Malcolm X

 

At about 2:46 am on February 14, 1965 the home where Malcolm X and his family were living was firebombed while they were sleeping inside.

 

At the time, some people accused Malcolm X himself of firebombing his own house, others accused the Nation of Islam, and others accused various branches of the United States government. Years later some members of the Nation of Islam admitted to carrying out this shameless act. The creator of “Brother Minister” – the documentary which looks into the assassination of Malcolm X – ended his movie by saying that Captain Joseph (later named Yusuf Shah) of the Nation of Islam’s New York branch of the Fruit of Islam (F.O.I.), admitted to orchestrating the firebombing. Another biographer interviewed an NOI member named Thomas 15X Johnson who said a man name Edward X and “two other brothers” did it.

 

Even after this near brush with death, al-Hajj Malik Shabazz – Malcolm X – was on a plane headed for Detroit which landed at 9:30am that same morning. He gave an interview at 4pm and a lecture at the Ford Auditorium afterwards.

 

The next day, February 15th, he was back in New York City where he delivered a speech called “There’s a Worldwide Revolution Going On” at The Audubon Ballroom – the same place where he would blessed with Shahaadah (martyrdom) 6 days later.

 

He began this oft-forgotten speech with the following words:

 

*******

 

“As many of you probably know, tonight we were going to unfold a program which we felt would be beneficial to the struggle of our people in this country. But because of events which are beyond our control we feel that it is best to postpone unfolding the program that we had in mind until a later date. Sunday morning about three o’clock, somebody threw some bombs inside my house.

 

Normally I wouldn’t get excited over a few bombs, but the ones who threw these not only aimed them in rooms where there—where there was no one, but even in rooms where three of my daughters sleep. One daughter six, one daughter four, and one daughter two. And since I am, am quite certain that those who threw the bombs knew my house well enough to know where everyone was sleeping, I can’t quite bring my heart to the point where it can in any way be merciful, or from now on compromising, toward anyone who can be that low. Especially when I heard on the news today that Joseph, a brother that I found in the garbage can in Detroit in 1952—that’s where I found him—made the statement that I had bombed my own house.

 

Now you see, this doesn’t surprise me, because I know that since many of us left the Muslim movement, its intelligence and its morals have gone bankrupt. Both its intelligence and its morals have gone bankrupt.

 

And now they are using the same tactics that’s used by the Ku Klux Klan. When the Klan bombs your church, they say you did it. When they bomb the synagogue, they say the Jews bombed their own synagogue. This is a Klan tactic. And to me, I’ll tell you why the Black Muslim movement is now adopting the same tactic against Black people as has been up to now the exclusive method of the Ku Klux Klan.

 

I want to point out, too, that I’m not talking about Muslims just to make white people happy. Because I don’t believe in letting anyone use me against somebody else. I’m telling you these things because I have reached a point where I feel that Black people in this country need to know what’s going on. And I’m talking about an organization which I had a hand in building, which I had a hand in organizing. I know its characteristics. I know its potential. I know its behavior patterns. I know what it can do and what it cannot do. One of the things it can do is bomb your house and try to kill your baby.”

 

*******

 

This lecture was followed by questions from the press and a panel discussion. I have only been able to find various clips of this lecture, even though I believe complete video and audio of this lecture exists. However, complete transcripts of this lecture and discussion can be found many places on the internet such as our websites and social media pages – www.nuruzzamaaninstitute.org and www.masjidalmumin.org. Bruce Perry, one of Malcolm’s biographers, has also published this speech with Pathfinder Press in 1989 under the title “Malcolm X: The Last Speeches”.

 

It is not our intention here to make comments on this entire lecture. We only want to focus on a few statements made by our Imam when he was taking questions from the press.

 

Question: Are you inferring that because of this conspiracy the attempt was made upon your life?

Malcolm X: Not necessarily that conspiracy. The attempt was made upon my life because I speak my mind and I know too much and they know that I will speak it.

 

The so-called law enforcement apparatus of the disbelievers always seem to turn a “blind-eye” to the criminal activities of these cults when they attack the torchbearers of truth.

 

Question: Are you directing your followers to take any action?

Malcolm X: Am I directing my followers to take action against the Muslims? No. No.

 

Many NOI apologists blame Malcolm X for his own martyrdom. He was the victim of NOI violence, yet they blame him and the government; absolving the NOI of any responsibility. Blaming Malcolm for the violent acts perpetuated against him is like blaming a rape victim for being raped!

 

Many of them seem to conveniently forget that Malcolm never wanted to be kicked out of the NOI. He made several attempts to gain reentry into the group. And even when it became clear to him that he would never be let back in, he officially announced his break with the group and moved on to create two of his own organizations – the Muslim Mosque Incorporated (MMI) and the Organization of African-American Unity (OOAU). During this time period, he never attacked the Nation of Islam (NOI), yet they attacked him. We only point this out to remind the reader that the NOI’s initial attacks against Malcolm were unprovoked. When Malcolm X began to publicly expose the illegitimacy of the NOI’s Islam and Elijah Muhammad’s illicit relationship with nine of his teenage secretaries they were already harassing and attacking him.

 

The Nation of Islam was and is a pseudo-Islamic movement based primarily on the personality of Elijah Muhammad – who claimed to be “the Messenger of Allah”. At one point during the earlier years, Malcolm was part of its inner circle. He, almost single-handedly, built “the Nation”. Many NOI apologists would vociferously argue this point but you would be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of Nation of Islam Temples that he didn’t have a direct hand in opening. At one point his widow, the now deceased Dr. Betty Shabazz (may Allah have Mercy on her), gave a lecture where she castigated them for trying to erase Malcolm’s role in building ‘the Nation’.

 

The only point we wish to make here is that as long as Malcolm X remained alive, in the public view, practicing and promoting authentic Islam – these things alone would tarnish the image and character of Elijah Muhammad. A religious movement based upon his personality could not and would not tolerate any challenge to this personality sitting down! When Malcolm began to expose Elijah Muhammad’s secret he was literally pouring gas on a fire that had ALREADY been started.

 

Question: Do you think there will be any further attempts?

Malcolm X: Sir, yes I do believe there will be further attempts on my life. I know them. They are foaming at the mouth. The rank-and-file Muslim means well. It’s those at the hierarchy, who are living off the fatted calf, who don’t mean well. And this coming Sunday at two o’clock, as I say, our program will be unfolded. Elijah Muhammad knows—he has done some good things and he has done some bad things. He knows that if he had wanted to, he could have united our people with the Muslim world just by teaching the right religion of Islam. He could have done so. The entire Muslim world would have accepted him; as it is now, the Muslim world has rejected him. He can never go into the Muslim world and say that he is a prophet or that Allah came over here in the flesh—they would cut his head off if he said that. I mean he knows this. None of his followers can go over there without denouncing him. It is impossible for them to go to Mecca or any other place unless they subscribe to Islam, as it is subscribed to over there. So he was in a position to unite us with the Muslim world, those of us who were Muslim. He was also in a position to unite us with Africa. But you cannot read anything that Elijah Muhammad has ever written that’s pro-African. I defy you to find one word in his direct writings that’s pro-African. You can’t find it.

 

Here, Malcolm X is giving us first-hand insight into the psychology of personality based Islamic and Pseudo-Islamic Movements. There is a lot to be extracted from his remarks here. We will try to keep our comments as short as possible.

 

He said, “I know them. They are foaming at the mouth.” In other words, they are seething with hasad or envy and jealousy! When a person has been indoctrinated in a personality-based cult they are trained to believe that anyone who goes against (or is made to appear to go against) that personality will inevitably suffer from divinely humiliating punishments. When this divinely humiliating punishment doesn’t manifest itself the sincere followers become extremely hostile and even violent. This is because the absence of divine humiliation puts their belief in jeopardy! They are forced to examine the reality of their religion and its leading personality. And most people are not willing to do that!

 

Most members of groups like this have sacrificed a lot and do not want to face the fact that they may have given up everything for nothing; or face the reality that they have been hustled! For most people, it’s just easier to lash out at whatever or whoever threatens their belief in their “holy” religious personality.

 

He continued, “The rank-and-file Muslim means well. It’s those at the hierarchy, who are living off the fatted calf, who don’t mean well.” Malcolm made a clear distinction between the leadership of the cult and common followers. This is something which many of us, wrongly, fail to do when criticizing certain groups.

 

Malcolm said, “Elijah Muhammad knows—he has done some good things and he has done some bad things.” In spite of all of the hostility between the two of them Malcolm was still able to see the good as well as the bad in Elijah Muhammad and his program. Most of us can only see or acknowledge all good or all bad. If we are against the person, we only see what is bad – no good! If we are in support of the person, we see only what is good – no bad!

 

He continued, “He knows that if he had wanted to, he could have united our people with the Muslim world just by teaching the right religion of Islam. He could have done so. The entire Muslim world would have accepted him; as it is now, the Muslim world has rejected him. He can never go into the Muslim world and say that he is a prophet or that Allah came over here in the flesh—they would cut his head off if he said that. I mean he knows this. None of his followers can go over there without denouncing him. It is impossible for them to go to Mecca or any other place unless they subscribe to Islam, as it is subscribed to over there. So he was in a position to unite us with the Muslim world, those of us who were Muslim.

 

This quote shouldn’t need too much commentary – at least for the reader who is already Muslim! What we will say is that it is hard to believe at this late date that there are some Muslims [1] who bear witness that there is “No god except Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger”, [2] adhere to the Sunnah (or tradition) of the Prophet (which includes many hadith about lying, deceiving false prophets who would come after him), [3] who express love and respect for Elijah Muhammad and [4] love and respect for Malcolm X – all at the same time!

 

After a few more questions he said, “The police know the criminal operation of the Black Muslim movement because they have thoroughly infiltrated it. There is no conversation that takes place in the Black Muslim movement that the city police don’t know about, because they have policemen in there. They don’t let Black people form anything without some policemen in there. And while I was in the Black Muslim movement, over the Black Muslim movement, many of the police who were sent to infiltrate us—they’re Black—would tell me, "Look, I’m a cop, but I have to come." They would tell me. I knew the Muslim movement was full of police. So don’t you think anything is going down that they don’t know about. The only thing that goes down is what they want to go down, and what they don’t want to go down they don’t let it go down.

 

This proves what we have mentioned earlier – that law enforcement ignores and supports their criminal activities when they are attacking the torchbearers of truth!

 

[Question unintelligible]

Malcolm X: Am I going to try to infiltrate their organization and win over some of their supporters? No, I have never tried to win supporters from Elijah Muhammad. Since I have left the Black Muslim movement, I’ve spoken at these rallies. Those who come, come; those who don’t, don’t. But I’ve never gone out of my way to win over any of his followers. And he himself is fearful, because he knows that you don’t have to exercise too much energy to win his followers as soon as they know the truth and compare the two—by the way, this is the brother—this is Leon Ameer, who was Cassius Clay’s secretary, whom they beat unmercifully up in Boston. And the courts freed the men who beat him. They fined them $100—was it?—fined them $100 and he was on the inside of the Black Muslim specialty squad. And it was he who heard Elijah Muhammad, Jr., come to New York when Elijah Muhammad was at the armory in June of last year. Junior stood up and told the Fruit—many of whom are here now also—that I should have been killed. That my tongue should have been put in an envelope and sent back to Chicago by now. And because Fat Joseph had not done it, they demoted him. He remained captain, but Clarence up in Boston was put over Joseph and Joseph’s authority was curtailed. And then Clarence, the captain from Boston, and John, the captain from Springfield, came to New York to assassinate me. And came to him to get a silencer and couldn’t get it. So the police know this. It’s not something that’s new. They’re just waiting until the job is done and then they step in.

Question: Do you know that Elijah Muhammad was behind this?

Malcolm X: Yes.

Question: Or is this your belief?

Malcolm X: Elijah Muhammad invited—called all of his officials, national officials, to Chicago in October and ordered them to kill or maim any of his followers who leave him to follow me.

 

Malcolm is teaching us that the leadership of personality-based religious movements promote and demote among themselves based upon whoever displays the most enthusiasm against their enemies, especially former members who have somehow escaped “divine humiliation”.

He is also teaching us that the leader is always behind the aggression. However, his underlings are always put in position to grant the cult leader what politicians call “plausible deniability”. In other words, outsiders usually can’t prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the leader gave “the order”. Those who are familiar with such groups understand that the leader doesn’t have to literally “give the order”. He merely has to put out the “vibe” or “energy” that he would be pleased if such violent or retaliatory operations take place against his enemies. In other words, his approval only needs to be of a tacit or subtle nature, not blatant.

 

We should be benefitting from al-Hajj Malik Shabazz – our Imam’s – experiences with the NOI. The only personality a Muslim should be hung up on is that of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)! It is about him that Allah (the Most High) has said “And you are surely on an excellent standard of character.” – (Qur’an: Surah al-Qalam (68), verse #4) and “There is indeed a good model for you in the Messenger of Allah - for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely.” – (Qur’an: Surah al-Ahzab (33), verse # 21). We should be aware of and very circumspect regarding any so-called Muslim group which seems to put extra emphasis on any personality other than that of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and grant him peace)!

 

May Allah have Mercy on ash-Shaheed (the martyr) al-Hajj Malik Shabazz!

 

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April 13, 2016

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