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First Quarter 2000

Remembering
Malcolm X

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And finally, where before he was at odds with Black leaders of other faiths, in 1964, he called for Black unity under the more secular-sounding banner of the OAAU, thus stressing the significance of his momentous meeting and handshake with Martin Luther King the same year.

In one of his speaking engagements before Muslim and non-Muslim Blacks in Harlem, Malcolm said: "True Islam taught me that it takes all of the religious, political, economic, psychological and racial ingredients, or characteristics, to make the human family and the human society." For his earlier confrontational tirades, he was misunderstood by many of his fellow Blacks.

The fact is there is nothing mysterious nor puzzling about Malcolm X. His message was clear and comprehensible to the open mind: an end to oppression and discrimination. It began with the American Blacks and expanded into an international cause for all oppressed people. Long before the American government broached the defense of human rights, Malcolm X had advocated the elevation of the Black American civil rights struggle to the level of a quest for universal human rights.

The positive effect of Islam on Malcolm’s life is not plainly stressed in Spike Lee’s film Malcolm X, although Islam was undeniably the most crucial turning point in Malcolm’s life. After Malcolm’s expulsion from the fiery Nation of Islam, he decided to travel to the Middle East and discover for himself the roots of Islam.

He went to Makkah to perform the pilgrimage, or Haj, and there, for the first time, encountered Muslims of all races who welcomed him in a spirit of brotherhood and equality. According to a magazine published in tribute to Malcolm X, "the visit to Makkah provided an opportunity for Malcolm to experience that personal growth which widened his vision to accept truths heretofore unrevealed to him, and the incident lifted him to a new state of consciousness, one of which was his realization of the potential for brotherhood among people of all races."

Thereafter, Malcolm began to espouse "the cause of brotherhood and human rights for everyone, making an impact worldwide as he grew in stature in the eyes of politicians in the international arena."

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