Question: I have been researching the role of religion on the Civil Rights movement and while I am aware that Malcolm X identified as a Muslim it is unclear as to how this belief influenced his (and his supporters') work as an activist. I was simply wondering whether there are any interpretations or recommended texts on the subject.
Answer: Malcolm X's understanding of race was dramatically changed by his completion of the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. Here's a copy of the letter he wrote. He wrote that,
"I have never before witnessed such sincere hospitality and the practice of true brotherhood as I have seen it here in Arabia. In fact all I have seen and experienced on this pilgrimage as forced me to 're-arrange' much of thoughts pattern and to toss aside some of my previous conclusions....I have eaten. From the same plate...with fellow Muslims whose skin was the whitest of white, whose eyes was the bluest of blue, and whose hair was the blondest of blond – I could look into their blue eyes and see that they regarded me as the same (Brothers), because their faith in One God (Allah) had actually removed “white” from their mind,....If white Americans could accept the religion of Islam, if they could accept the Oneness of God (Allah) they too could then sincerely accept the Oneness of Men, and cease to measure others always in terms of their 'difference in color'."
At this point, his attitude changed from a perspective of an innate conflict between black people and white people to a viewpoint in which black people and white people could get along.
|Quote source: Malcolm X - An Islamic Perspective|