Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Africans don't celebrate slavery, the Japanese don't celebrate the days when the bombs were dropped on Hirsoshima and Nagasaki, the Jews don't celebrate the holocaust, Palestinians don't celebrate the Nakba, so why should I (or we) celebrate "Thanksgiving'" ? Because the colonizers of America do?
If those who dropped the bomb, manned the gas ovens, and usurped the holy land have their own public relations spin on their deeds, or celebrate doing so, then should those on whom the bomb was dropped, or who were marched into the ovens, or whose bones are buried beneath the cities of this land accept the spin and celebrate as well?
The popular foods of "Thanksgiving" are Native American and African foods. If you want to eat -eat. We can never spend enough time with our families, so if you want to do that, then do it. But DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE and don't propagate it - whether you have Original American ancestry or not.
For the Muslim, every day is Thanksgiving day, several times a day
peace, !" Imam Al-Hajj Talib 'Abdur-Rashid
Herman Cain , who has made anti-Muslim statements before , continued to show us what black (meaning African American, as opposed to other ethnicities like Arabs, Southern Asians, etc. all of whom can be found in pluralistic America) Uncle Toms look like in the 21st century.
In a GQ interview earlier this year Cain said "I have had one very well known Muslim voice say to me directly that a majority of Muslims share the extremist views." He never identified who the owner of that voice is.
Also, Cain, joking I guess, expressed relief to a public audience that one of his doctors during a surgical procedure was not a Muslim. See http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/11/herman-cain-muslim-doctor.html
When asked by a reporter just a few months ago, if he would “… be comfortable appointing a Muslim, either in your cabinet or as a federal judge? “ Cain replied “No, I will not” . See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aDXCwd65R5o&noredirect=1
I guess that Cain never heard of the United States Constituition which states unequivocally “… no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States”
Visiting afterwards the Adams Center in Washington, D.C. ( http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/07/herman_cain_apologize_muslim.html ), under the able leadership of Imam Mohammed Magied, Cain said ““While I stand by my opposition to the interference of sharia law into the American legal system, I remain humble and contrite for any statements I have made that might have caused offense to Muslim Americans and their friends” . He said further “I am truly sorry for any comments that may have betrayed my commitment to the U.S. Constitution, and the freedom of religion guaranteed by it.” Hm-m-m. With friends like that, who needs enemies?
Last night however, Cain reverted back to type, stating that he favored “targeted identification” for Muslims. "If you take a look at the people who have tried to kill us it would be easy to identify what that profile looks like" , he said. Had I been there I would have asked, “Targeted identification” based upon what Mr. Cain? ethnic features? complexion? name? national origin?“ Cain rejected moderator Wolf Blitzer’s suggestion that focusing on one sort of person would be like singling out Christians or Jews, as "simplifying." No, Herman Cain, you are the simple one it appears, in such matters.
In last night’s debate Rep. Ron Paul once again demonstrated some common sense. After Santorum noted that Muslims would be "your best candidates" for extra screening, Paul, the Texas congressman said, "What if they look like Timothy McVeigh?" referring of course to the white Christian ex-soldier , convicted and subsequently executed for 1995's Oklahoma City bombing.
This reveals that in an America of the 21st century, that people like Santorum and Cain are running for the highest elected office in the land , even though they are ignorant to the fact that Muslims, constituting 1/5th of humanity, come in all shapes, sizes, and complexions. One cannot tell who is a Muslim by looking at them. We look like everyone because we are everyone ESPECIALLY our young males of the Hip-hop/Facebook generation.
Over the past months we have seen continued evidence of divine affliction of politically and socially deaf, dumb, and blind elected officials and would be officials. They are , in a flash moment, rendered tongue-tied, brain frozen, and amnesiac by The God of Truth. Others say things that are just plain ignorant, or are shown, time and again to be two-faced. May their humiliation continue.
Sunday, September 18, 2011
During this, the 10th year anniversary of the tragedy of 9-11, we continue to correct the false narrative around Muslims in NYC and how we have responded over the years. For first installments on what will be a gradual building of a web-site on that subject, go to mibnyc.com to see:
1- An interview with a Muslim first responder from MIB
2- A Muslim 9-11 survivor of destruction of the twin towers
3- On-going activism by yours truly
Much more to come between now and next year, insha'Allah
peace and power,
Wednesday, June 15, 2011
WITNESS' INACCURATE, MIS-LEADING TESTIMONY REVEALS THE FLAWED NATURE OF PETER KING'S CONGRESSIONAL HEARING ON PRISON RADICALIZATION OF MUSLIMS
As expected, Peter King's latest convening of a congressional hearing has proved deeply flawed. On Thursday, June 9th the House Committee on Homeland Security announced its intention to hold a second hearing focused upon the “radicalization” of Muslim Americans, which subsequently took place today, Wednesday, June 15, 2011. The stated purpose of Congressional investigative hearings is the collection and analysis of information, particularly in the early stages of legislative policymaking. Last January when he announced his intention to hold the first in a series of such hearings, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) identified his committee’s mandate as an “ examination of the threat of Islamic radicalization”. He dismissed criticism of the focus of his hearings, his methodology for gathering information, and the accuracy of some of his assertions, as the whining of those concerned only with “ political correctness”.
On the 9th, Mr. King stated that the latest hearing convened by him, “…like the one in March, will be a deliberate and thoughtful examination of an issue that is too important for our security to ignore.” The problem is that the March hearings were roundly criticized in government, in the public, and in the media, as being anything but “thoughtful”.
On the contrary, the limited scope of the majority of the subpoenaed witnesses belied the credibility of King’s investigation. Today's hearing was deeply flawed because of the fallacious testimony of a so-called expert witness - so designated by King. Below is the official statement of rebuttal written by me on behalf of The Majlis Ash-Shura of NY, and sent as a letter to members of the congressional committee, with a request that it be entered into the record.
It is addressed to Rep. King, who gave some false testimony himself. He stated plainly that fired Muslim Chaplain Zul-qarnain Abdu Shahid (see below) was "arrested and convicted" on the charges connected with his case centered on the Manhattan House of Detention. In truth, two grand juries refused to indict Abdu Shahid, and the case was thrown out of court. How is it that Congressman King, a well-paid elected official, lacks knowledge of something so important? Isn't he concerned with "deliberate and thoughtful" information? Read this letter and judge for yourself.
Islamic Leadership Council
P.O. Box 170647, Jamaica, NY 11417
Tel: 718-848-8952 Fax: 718-848-8955
June 14, 2011 C.E.
U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security
339 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman King:
I , Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid , have been a Muslim Chaplain in New York prisons since 1977. I am the Vice-President of the Muslim Alliance in North America, President of the Islamic Leadership Council of NY, and the imam of The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, located in New York City. As such, I speak on behalf of their respective constituencies. I am writing with respect to the Committee on Homeland Security’s June 15, 2011 hearing entitled, “The Threat of Muslim-American Radicalization in U.S. Prisons.” In particular, I am addressing the many inaccuracies found in the written submitted testimony of witness Patrick Dunleavy. I do so in the spirit of truth, and in order to correct the public record on his assertions.
Under your leadership, The House Committee on Homeland Security has chosen, as have others bodies before it, to examine the validity of claims of radicalization of Muslims in American prisons. Most expert testimony in similar hearings has identified rare and isolated examples of these phenomena – usually associated with street gangs – as in the classic case of Jam'iyyat Ul-Islam Is-Saheed (the Assembly of Authentic Islam) or JIS, in New Folsom Prison, in California. The same experts have cited no evidence of broad, community-wide patterns of such criminal behavior cloaked in Islamic garb in the prisons, but all have warned of the possibility of it occurring without certain precautions.
The same can be said of the testimony of Patrick Dunleavy, Deputy Inspector General (Ret.) of the New York State Department of Correctional Services. His submitted testimony is typical of individuals in the post- 9-11 world who are or have been brought before the public in various venues, declaring expert knowledge of Islam and Muslims at home and abroad, but whose assertions belie the authenticity of their claimed expertise. Mr. Dunleavy is not an expert on Islam, Muslims, or the much-discussed idea of "radicalization," and yet he has submitted testimony which contains a number of fallacious statements worthy of rigorous critique.
The numerous inaccuracies therein are particularly alarming when one considers that Mr. Dunleavy was once a Deputy Inspector General for the Criminal Intelligence Unit of the NYS Dept. of Correctons. His claim to awareness of “individuals and groups that subscribe to radical, and sometimes violent, ideology that have made sustained efforts over several decades to target inmates for indoctrination” and post‐release radicalization programs, is both self-serving and self aggrandizing. He is the author of a forth-coming book on the subject.
With regards to his testimonial inaccuracies, Dunleavy began his exposition on the Darul-Islam Movement by referring to “a little known mosque in Brooklyn, New York, called Dawood” as home of the movement. The name of the mosque he is referring to is Yasin Mosque –not Masjid Dawud or the Islamic Mission of America. By the time of the birth of the Dar Ul Islam Movement in 1962, Masjid Dawud was hardly “little known”. It is the oldest mosque in New York City. The origins of the Darul-Islam Movement in Yasin Mosque have been well written about, and Mr. Dunleavy’s error in this most basic fact is flagrant.
Continuing, Mr. Dunleavy mis-identifies Imam Warith Deen Umar as a former “head of Ministerial Services for the NYS Dept. of Corrections”. The Imam was never that. He was a Ministerial Program Coordinator for Muslim Chaplains, answerable to the Commissioner of Ministerial Services. Dunleavy further says that Imam Umar was one of ” …two of the first converts to Dar‐Ul Islam who later became the head of Ministerial Services for the New York State”. This is totally inaccurate and false. Imam Umar’s background is a matter of public record and he has never been a member of the Darul-Islam Movement.
The other Imam whom Dunleavy refers to as one” …of the first converts to Dar‐Ul Islam” is Jamil Al Amin, (the former H. Rap Brown). This too is inaccurate. The Darul-Islam movement and other Sunni Muslim organizations and congregations like The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood, had been doing prison ministry work for years before Al-Amin came to learn about Islam. Undoubtedly, Dunleavy’s mention of Imam Al-Amin as being hailed by El-Qaida is intended to bring shock value to his testimony.
One of the known tactics used by El-Qaida, a bonafide terrorist organization, is to use the name of African American activists and freedom fighters as a means for establishing a spurious solidarity with African American Muslims –who are the largest single group of indigenous Americans who have accepted Islam. A couple of years ago they did the same thing by invoking the name of Malcolm X, and their transparent tactics were roundly criticized and rejected throughout the nation by Muslims themselves.
Mr. Dunleavy conflates Muslim belief according to the Sunni order of Islamic orthodoxy with Salafi interpretations of the same in his use of the term “Sunni/Salafist ideology”, identifying it as “…the dominant force in the prison mosques”. This conflagration misrepresents the nature of Islam as a religion and body of law, as opposed to derived interpretations of Islamic doctrine.As noted by the Pew Research Center, “An overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunnis…”  Thus it is only logical and natural that the majority of Muslim prisoners in America would share belief and practice with the mainstream global body of Muslims.
In her April 5 , 2007 testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing, and Terrorism Risk Assessment, Janice Fedarcyk, the Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, Los Angeles Field Office, stated with regards to “Islamic Radicalization” – “ Ideologies that radicalized inmates appear most often to embrace include the Salafi form of Sunni Islam (including revisionist versions commonly known as ‘prison Islam’) and an extremist view of Shia Islam similar to that of the Government of Iran and Lebanese Hezbollah”.. While her characterizations are in need of elucidation, it is clear that a “form” of a faith is not the mainstream expression of it
Mr. Dunleavy’s description of Muslims of Middle Eastern background arrested for crimes of fraud and violence, and incarcerated in New York prisons as “…inspiring deference from theMuslim inmates and the Muslim chaplains” is presented without evidence. This writer was the Muslim Chaplain at Sing-Sing prison from 1986 -1997 and this certainly was not the case there.
Dunleavy describes these prisoners as having access to the telephones of Muslim Chaplains for whom some of them worked, (hinting that convicted Muslim criminals working for Muslim Chaplains is suspicious, singling out the Muslims when obviously he wouldn’t say that about Christian or Jewish prisoners working for their chaplains) and claims this gave them “…the ability to call anywhere in the world without the call being subject to monitoring by prison security personnel”. Where did Investigator Dunleavy get this false information from?
Prison telephones in most chaplains’ offices are not wired for direct dialing. They go through a switch board where operators monitor all calls, who is making them, and to where, and calls cannot be made out of state, much less out of the country. In those facilities where there is direct dialing, not only calls monitored, but any call made from any chaplain's offices can be traced. The phone calls are all attached to codes. Each chaplain has their own code, thus when calls are made it can easily be determined who made the calls or at least where the calls were made from. Therefore a record exists of all calls. These are effective security measures designed to prevent telephone abuse of any kind, for any reason, in the prison system. One would think that Mr. Dunleavy would know that. Then again he worked in an office in Albany, NY – not in a prison
Mr. Dunleavy does cite his source of information for his claim that “In 1999, two years prior to 9/11, several law enforcement agencies received information regarding radical Islamist activity in the prison system”, as informants –who are not always a reliable source of information, in prison or out.
He further mentions the men convicted in the 2009 Riverdale Synagogue Bombing plot – those dubbed “the Newburgh Four”; James Cromitie, Laguerre Payen, David Williams, and Onta Williams. Contrary to Dunleavy’s claim that the men were radicalized in prison, trial testimony cited no evidence of prison radicalization of them as Muslims. The Former New York State Dept. of Corrections employee states correctly that the four men apparently did not know each other while they were incarcerated, and that they met each other after their release. His assertion however that they “…met while attending a local mosque connected to a prison ministry” is false.
As reported extensively in the media, the men met because they all lived in the poor Black section of Newburgh, and had engaged in petty crimes. Imam Salahuddin Muhammad - the Imam of Masjid Al-Ikhlas - the mosque referred to by Mr. Dunleavy, has attested to the fact that while one of the men (Cromite, the alleged recruiter of the others ) had occasionally attended the mosque, that he was not a regular worshipper there and that the others scarcely worship there – if at all. The Imam has a law suit in against Mr. Dunleavy for the careless, sensationalist reporting that he has displayed in his testimony.
Dunleavy mentions controversial statements attributed to Imam Warith Deen Umar, the former Muslim Ministerial Program Coordinator for the New York State Department of Correctional Services. He mentions that the comments were made to a Wall Street Journal reporter, but does not mention that the comments were made after Umar had retired from correctional service, and that in his 25 year career no such inflammatory statements were made by him in the prison setting where he worked and trained others in ministerial work. He retired with recognition for the excellence of his work.
Dunleavy’s claim that “…to date, no Islamic organization has been appointed to fulfill the role of a verifiable ecclesiastical body that would certify Islamic clergy in the prisons of New York prior to hiring”, and that “there been any formal determination as to how a vetting process would take place, or what the standards of vetting would be” are less than truthful.
He mentions The Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of New York as one such certifying body. However he seems to question the judgment of a body that would certify formerly incarcerated persons like Zulqarnain Abdu Shahid, who began working for the city of New York as a Muslim Chaplain in 1997 - a decade after his release from prison and demonstrated productivity in society.
Does Mr. Dunleavy know that Imam Abdu Shahid earned a double Master’s degree after his release from prison, and worked as a counselor for former addicts and homeless men? When convicted men and women dedicate themselves to God and use their faith as an anchor for reformation of their souls and their lives, they often return to prison as volunteers and sometimes Chaplains, to help others. Perhaps Mr. Dunleavy does not believe in redemption. Like the Muslim Alliance in North America, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York does. Unlike Mr. Dunleavy, we are not only interested in Abdu Shahid’s criminal past.
The “expert” selected by you has related in his testimony a sensationalist tabloid account of Abdu Shahid’s 2010 arrest at his place of employment, the Manhattan House of Detention, in New York City, where he was Senior Chaplain and performed his duties in excellent fashion. Abdu Shahid, as Dunleavy relates, was arrested one day for allegedly “…attempting to smuggle dangerous contraband” (which were not box cutters by the way) into the facility.
Dunleavy does not mention that on two separate occasions a subsequently convened New York Grand Jury refused to indict Imam Abdu Shahid, and that the case was eventually thrown out of court. This is why the former Muslim Chaplain applied for reinstatement, and even now is in arbitration. How is it that Mr. Dunleavy, an investigative expert witness, is unaware of these facts?
Mr. Dunleavy’s description of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York as consisting of “…several Islamic clergymen with mosques in the greater New York area” is correct, as is his depiction of some of them as leaders of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA). This writer is one of them. Somehow though he implies that the controversial shooting in Detroit, Michigan of MANA member Imam Luqman Abdullah, and the organization’s continued support of Imam Jamil Al-Amin, render the Muslim Alliance in North America, and by extension The Islamic Leadership Council of New York, unsuitable as a source of ecclesiastic endorsement.
This logic of guilt by association is problematic at best. Various political beliefs and perspectives co-exist in America, and people are entitled to them. Within the context of Correctional systems, what matters is whether or not those beliefs are propagated within prison walls. “ The record of both the Majlis Ash-Shura of NY and MANA is spotless in that regard, and the honorable efforts of the Majlis in New York , and MANA across the country, in providing advocacy for the poor, and working for social upliftment, human reclamation and social justice, are noteworthy for their excellent contributions to American society. This is known by some members of Congress –even as it is unfortunately completely unknown to others.
Mr. Dunleavy’s claim that “there is certainly no vetting of volunteers who provide religious instruction, and who, although not paid, wield considerable influence in the prison Muslim communities” is again, false. The New York State Department of Corrections not only screens prison correspondence. Its Muslim Chaplains, who are themselves screened and vetted as are all religious workers and volunteers, monitor the inmate ranks for all instances of extremism- religious, political, or otherwise. They also preach against all forms of criminality – not just terrorism, and with good results. Several months ago, when mail of an extremist nature directed towards Muslim inmates slipped into an upstate prison from the outside , the prisoners themselves brought the literature to the Muslim Chaplain, who promptly reported it to officials.
Mr. Dunleavy’s final recommendations for initiatives for the prevention of the radicalization of Muslim inmates are not in and of themselves unusual, and they should be examined within the context of other such recommendations made throughout the years by different groups and authentic experts. The problem is not Mr. Dunleavy’s recommendations, it is the inaccuracy of his facts and analysis, which do not help those sincerely concerned committee members to understand the problem, and make informed decisions about its solutions.
Yes, there are, in various parts of the country, Muslim criminals who have recruited other Muslims in prison and out, for the continuation of criminal careers or activity, by any name. That should come as a surprise to no one because it is what criminals do. Recidivism is a reality within the American prison system, regardless of faith or none. However no religion is to be blamed for those who fail to save their souls through reformation of their character and lives. Muslim prisoners commit crimes in spite of Islam, not because of it.
A thorough congressional investigation should inquire of experienced and knowledgeable prison officials, experienced Muslim Chaplains, and representatives of the thousands of Muslim formerly incarcerated persons who have been truly reformed as the result of their embrace of an authentic world religion. Better still – why not ask their families and neighbors? This would give a more accurate picture of the problem and its solution, than political theatrics.
Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid
The Majlis Ash-Shura (Islamic Leadership Council) of NY
 “ The Darul-Islam Movement (1962-1983) has been described variously as a “distinctly Muslim American Movement” seeking to “define the ‘middle course” for wholesome Islamic practice in America”, “…the main and the largest indigenous Sunni organization in America”, and “…the most influential African American Islamic Philosophy”. See African American Islam by Aminah Beverly McCloud, 1995, Routledge The Muslims of America edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, 1991 ,Oxford University Press, and The Dar Ul Islam Movement: An American Odyssey Revisited by Sh. Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim Al Amreeki, 2010 Jummah Productions
 See “U.S. Muslim Leaders Denounce Al-Qaeda’s Slur Towards Obama”, http://articles.cnn.com/2008-11-21/us/obama.muslim.remark_1_qaeda-zawahiri-house-slaves?_s=PM:US, and “ Imam Johari Abdul-Malik and Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid on Zawahari’s Statements on Obama” http://muslimmatters.org/2008/11/22/imam-johari-malik-imam-talib-abdur-rashid-on-zawaharis-statements-on-obama/
 Mapping the Global Muslim Population, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public life, 2009
 See NAACP Supports Investigation into the Shooting Death of Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah ,official resolution, http://naacp.3cdn.net/7851ace3b51fdeba1b_ram6bnfu6.pdf
Friday, June 3, 2011
By Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid
Comments delivered at the Institute of the Black World 21st Century Forum
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Thanks and honor to the Institute for the Black World, 21st Century, and my friend and respected colleague, Dr. Ron Daniels. The late professor Manning Marable is someone whom I have respected over the years for his scholarship and activism in African American studies, and the labor and anti-war movements, and especially on Malcolm X.
I had been aware over the years of Dr. Marable’s work on Malik Shabazz’ biography, so it was with great interest that I anticipated the release of his book. I believe that accurate and detailed accounts of the character and deeds of great men and women illuminate their greatness, and the greatness of the causes to which they have dedicated their lives.
I have many, many books written about Malcolm X., but even more importantly, forty-four years ago in 1967, The Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood Inc.was incorporated. This was two years after the martyrdom, of El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz. The M.I.B. Is the lineal descendant of The Muslim Mosque Inc. As such, it has its own institutional memory of events written about and not written about in Professor Marable’s book. I am in my 23RD year as the imam of that congregation, having succeeded my late teacher, our founding imam of the M.I.B. - Ash-Shaykhul-‘Allama Al-Hajj K. Ahmad Tawfiq.
The Shaykh is mentioned in Dr. Marable’s book, as a “…furious MMI member named Talfiq (sic)” who advocated to Brother James 67X (Abdur Razzaq) on behalf of the brothers and sisters of the MMI, during moments of friction with members of the OAAU, He is also mentioned in sister Ilyasah Shabazz’s book “Growing Up X”.
Not only have I inherited aspects of the MMI’s institutional memory from Shaykh Tawfiq, but from MMI members who are mostly not mentioned by name in Dr. Marable’s book, but with whom I developed a relationship over the years. We of the MIB have buried several of them as they have grown elderly, including brother Bilal Abdullah (Brother Gladstone), Sister Catherine Crum, Salahuddin “Bullet” Abdullah, Atallah Muhammad Ayyubi, Taha Muhammad Abdullahi, and others. Former MMI members still worship at the MIB Even now. All of these folk add to my own institutionally inherited memory, which I utilized to cross reference and cross check some of Dr. Marable’s assertions. I also have had my own conversations with Abdullah Abdur-Razzaq (formerly James 67X).
As I read “Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention”, I found myself loving our brother even more as a leader and an inspiration than I already have during my life for more than four decades, as I have grown from a teen-ager to a grandfather.
A couple of weeks ago I was carrying Dr. Marable’s book, while walking across 125TH street, in Harlem. I ran into a young man, an African American Muslim who asked me “ Imam - why are you reading that book? I heard that Marable said this and that about Brother Malcolm. I would never read that trash!” he exclaimed, or something very close to it. I explained to him that I intended to critique the book in detail, and cannot do so if I have not read it. He understood and said that he would be waiting to hear my evaluation.
“ Are there positives about the book?” Without a doubt, there are many. Dr. Marable’s grasp of African American history, and his activist rootedness, serve him well as the biography’s first major contribution to the legacy of El-Hajj Mailk El-Shabazz. This is particularly so I think, for the present and future generations of youth in America.
It does so by establishing in clear and detailed descriptive terms, the social, political, economic and cultural context, into which Shabazz was born, grew up, and lived his life. One cannot really understand him without understanding those critical factors. We who lived through that era unto this one, know and understand that context. Those who have not , will not grasp the full significance of Shabazz . The depth of his significance must be fully grasped by us as individuals and as a people.
Looking at the names on this esteemed panel here today, I’m sure there will be much qualitative exposition on the illumination of the political dimensions of Malcolm X’s mission. Dr. Marable’s detailed account of the last year or so of our extraordinary leader’s life ,makes it clear what really caused him to be considered a threat to national security by the government sponsors of BOSS and COINTELPRO. Anyone moving as he moved then or now , not only Pan-African wise but Pan-Islamic-wise would be targeted for neutralization or elimination by Uncle Sam’s allied forces of oppression and repression. There can be no doubt about this. But the fact is that there has been no one who moved as Shabazz did –before or since.
Until now, the presentation of Brother Malik El-Shabazz/ Malcolm’s conflicts within and without the Nation of Islam has been presented in either social or political terms. The causative factors being identified as:
1- Jealousy within NOI ranks (as noted publicly by the late Imam W.D. Mohammed, who is confirmed in Dr. Marable’s book as having been very close to Minister Malcolm)
2- COINTELPRO and other-wise government instigated subterfuge
3- The actions of Malik Shabazz himself (i.e. His quiet investigation, and later public airing of Elijah Muhammad’s sins, etc.)
But I want to add another dimension of consideration of those causative factors leading to the NOI conflict. I will identify them as being of a religious and spiritual nature, rooted in the difference between a narrow, proto-Islamic understanding, and one increasingly rooted in the Qur’an , and the prophetic tradition of the last, true, and final Messenger of Allah- Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, to whom the Qur’an was revealed (peace be upon him).
The prophetic value of justice was a major motivating force in Malik Shabazz’s life. Once he became incarcerated, the seeds of righteousness and justice rooted in the teachings and legacy of the Honorable Marcus Garvey, and planted not only in Shabazz, but all members of his family, emerged from their dormant state.
His January, 1951 declaration , written while he was still a prison inmate, express a commitment to “love and justice” in thought and deed, rather than “hate and revenge” . This speaks volumes as to the spiritual, prophetic values intrinsic to faith , which were reawakened and re-embraced by him. Shabazz lived out those values until the day that he died.
Malcolm X’s mission within the NOI and without, was rooted in those spiritual, prophetic values. He was a deeply religious man who while a member of the NOI viewed himself as being on a divinely decreed mission of upliftment , under the guidance of a divinely selected leader . His personal and public life was consumed by that belief.
However once Shabazz came to realize that for the muslim there is no substitute for Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) insofar as the “excellent exemplar” of righteousness is concerned, he shifted his allegiance from an exclusively particular one, to one that was both universal and particular. Thus he became even more consumed by a faith centered on love and justice.
Malcolm X’s urgency to confront injustice rather than wait for divine intervention in the Last Days, is a value deeply rooted in the Qur’an ,and prophetic tradition of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, said “When you see an evil, change it with your hand. If you can’t do that , then speak out against it ”. He called the speaking of truth in the face of a tyrant “the greatest jihad”. “If you can’t speak out” he said, “then hate it in your heart. But that is the weakest of faith”.
The same applies to Malcolm X’s willingness to tell the truth no matter whom or what, even against himself. His quiet investigation of an allegation of grave religious and spiritual impact at the highest level of NOI leadership, his abstention for so long from broadcasting the sins of others - but rather covering their faults until they became a source of injustice that had to be aired - all of these are deep values in Islam. I could go on at length, but time is limited. I will say that these Islamic values, and the young warrior- leader’s dedication to them , are on full display in Dr. Marable’s book.
“ Are there issues of concern about the book ? Certainly. I was and am outraged , that the same attention to detail and certainty that dominates the primary text of the book , is abandoned by Marable in his quest to present the great leader as a flawed human being rather than as an icon.
Marable’s curious mathematics, wherein 1 + 1= 5 , is disgraceful. His accusations of an immoral nature against both Malcolm and Betty Shabazz , two moral young people, while offering almost no concrete proof of anything; his repeating of gossip , innuendo, back-biting, and slander – calling these things circumstantial evidence in one paragraph, yet referring to them in the next as if they were facts , is irresponsible, and slanderous. It detracts from the brilliance of the book. It is the biography’s most serious flaw.
This sickness, wherein African American writers broadcast the sins or moral short-comings, or in this case the unproven allegations of sins or moral shortcomings of our people’s great leaders , after their deaths when they can’t defend themselves, is so-called “yellow journalism” or sensationalism at its worse. It is something that other people don’t do, especially when their leader’s sins of alleged sins have no bearing on the leader’s mission, and do not create an injustice to others.
Novelist John Williams seems to have opened this Pandora ’s Box in1970, when he wrote the book, “The King God Didn’t Save”. The book has been described as containing “…sordid depictions” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “sexual indulgencies”. Once trusted King aide Ralph Abernathy reopened the box in 1989 , with his own book. Three years later in 1992 , Bruce Perry ventured into the same territory with his book “Malcolm, The Man Who Changed Black America” , described as a “psychological portrait”. Many of Perry’s musings were speculative and unpopular among the people, as Marable admits.
Lastly (because of time), unknown to most readers is Professor Marable’s use of a Muslim blogger, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, as a source of verification of various allegations or theories. Last year, Muhammad uncovered a current living-a-low-key- life-in-Newark, N.J. William Bradley - an unprosecuted authentic assassin of Malik Shabazz. Muhammad broadcast his discovery on the internet, via his blog.
However notwithstanding his discovery, Abdur-Rahman Muhammad is otherwise widely known in the muslim community as an inter-net gossiper and cyber-slanderer, who for years has broadcast innuendos as facts ,after failing to carefully check the authenticity of his allegations.
The blogger is known as a basher of Muslim leaders and organizations. Last year in 2010, he became a low-level media-darling, openly admired by people like Sean Hannity, Glen Beck, and the N.Y.C. . –based, anti-muslim bigot , Pamela Geller. Yet, Marable uses this guy as an authenticator of facts in his biography of Malik El-Shabazz. I say again, that to do so was irresponsible and disgraceful. Marable’s flaw in this area marks him as guilty of character assassination of the honest and up-right muslim leader.
“ What is your assessment of the overall value of the book?” Contrary to Karl Evazz’s brilliant put-down of Marable’s book, I believe it to be worthy of reading by a wide audience, and even more worthy of vigorous critique – praise what is good, and denounce its flaws. I’m only sorry that the professor is no longer here, so that we could challenge him in person.