American Extremists: Militias, Supremacists, Klansmen, Communists & Others

By John George; Laird Wilcox | Go to book overview
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22. The Nation of Islam

Only those who wish to be led to hell, or to their doom, will follow Malcolm. The die is set and Malcolm shall not escape, especially after such foolish talk about his benefactor in trying to rob him of the divine glory which Allah has bestowed upon him. Such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death—and would have met with death if it had not been for Muhammad's confidence in Allah for victory over the enemies. 1

In late 1964 these words appeared in Muhammad Speaks, newspaper of the Nation of Islam, a group known widely as the Black Muslims. The author was one Louis X, who was to become infamous under the name Louis Farrakhan.Two months later, on the first day of National Brotherhood Week in 1965, Malcolm X, who had left the Nation of Islam in March 1964 after failing to sway the narrow racist thinking of its leader, Elijah Muhammad, was gunned down by three black men. He was speaking to an audience of over four hundred at the Audubon Ballroom in New York at the time. Two of the three convicted of Malcolm's murder were members of the Nation of Islam. All received life sentences. Whether any of them had participated in the firebombing of Malcolm's home two weeks earlier was never established, but he had accused Nation members in that assault.

Louis Farrakhan's threat had been carried out, although not necessarily by him or at his direction. Nor did death spare Malcolm from attacks by Farrakhan; twenty-five years later he was charging that the renewed attention to the life of Malcolm X was part of "a conspiracy aimed at undermining his [ Farrakhan's] mission." 2 Evidence strongly suggests that Louis Farrakhan long hated and envied both Malcolm the man and his memory. Let us further examine these two dynamic leaders and also the man both once followed, Elijah Muhammad nee Poole.

In the early thirties, a door-to-door salesman of silk and cheap clothing named Wallace D. Fard (also known as W. Farad Muhammad) told blacks in Detroit that he was sent from Mecca on a mission to awaken that "dead nation in the West; to teach them the truth about the white man." 3 But Fard disappeared without a trace in 1934 and his mantle was taken by Elijah Muhammad, who added his own twists to Fard's already distorted version of the religion of Islam. Elijah Muhammad preached that the black man was created by the Supreme Being, the white man by an evil wizard-scientist named Yacub who, though he lived to age 152, never saw the "bleached out devil race" he created; Elijah Muhammad claimed he was a prophet, but orthodox Islam insists that the seventh-century Muhammad was the final prophet; Elijah Muhammad proclaimed blacks to be

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