E Letter To The Black World Today And Mark Rawls Re: It Takes A Nation of Millions…The Nation Of Islam
I found your article "It Takes A Nation of Millions...The Nation Of Islam" to be of interest for a variety of reasons. But of all of those reasons I have to say that I am most intrigued about how it is possible in the year 2001 that those who write in the media still can't seem to get their facts straight when it comes to the Nation Of Islam, after the 70 years of its public existence in this country. That first and foremost has to be one of the leading causes of some of the fallacious arguments and "explanations" surrounding the Nation Of Islam as well as some of the strange, arrogant and even silly interpretations of Minister Farrakhan's motives and actions, in the media - mainstream or Black - some of which are contained in your article.
One of the most interesting aspects of your article that caught our eye is the manner in which you describe what Master Fard Muhammad taught. You speak of his teaching of Black people as the original people of the planet earth in terms of its producing pride in Black people. We have seen that explanation numerous times before, largely from Black intellectuals and social scientists who attempt to get into the mind of Master Fard Muhammad. But shouldn't the basic question be: Is it true or not? Are Black people the original people of the planet earth? Why do you only emphasize part of the effect of what he taught? Don't you want to know more about the cause? It is always interesting to see how little scientific, biological and historical analysis of what Master Fard Muhammad revealed, in this area, is performed. You could start by looking into the root meaning of the word "original."
You then write:
His teachings were a radical departure from orthodox Islam, i.e., and the Sunni sect. The Sunnis Muslims have never officially endorsed the Nation of Islam's religion. In fact, from the beginning Fard mixed aspects of the Jehovah's Witnesses faith and quasi-religious doctrines to gain some converts. He would tell some of his followers to read Witnesses' literature "to teach his followers that the time of "Gentile" (Caucasian) domination had come to an end in 1914; that the resurrection of the [blacks] (brackets mine) had already occurred and he claimed that the oppressed black man would receive the kingdom by 1936." (Wallace Deen Muhammad, Page 19).
Mr. Rawls, you earlier said that Master Fard Muhammad was of Middle-Eastern origin? How did you know that? You know that Master Fard Muhammad was from Mecca Arabia because the Honorable Elijah Muhammad said so. Why don't you then refer to the writings and public teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad on the subject of the origins and composition of the teachings? We think that would clear up much of the confusion you display, or allow, about where the teachings came from. And what do you really know of the relationship between the Nation of Islam and the Jehovah's Witnesses? Did you know that Judge Rutherford, the second president of the Jehovah Witnesses actually met Master Fard Muhammad in the 1930s? He looked up to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's teacher. Anyone who writes about the relationship between the Nation of Islam and Jehovah's Witnesses should know that. Again, no one knows more about what Master Fard Muhammad taught than the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. You should get his view before you refer to others.
Again, you reveal the defective thinking of many, who claim to understand the human mind when you write,
The origins of the tenets of the faith are questionable in the least, but the socio-psychological effects were readily seen. Through his rhetorical skills and the separatist message he espoused, he gained several thousand followers in the Detroit and Chicago areas.
Mr. Rawls, please be careful with your subject, you really are not making any sense. How can you be sure of the "socio-psychological effects" of something if you don't know where it came from? The origination of anything determines that "thing's" nature, which includes its structure, purpose and function. Your thinking violates the law of cause and effect. How can you be clear of the effects of this teaching if you are ignorant of the cause - the origin, nature and delivery of the teaching?
Brother Malcolm did a good work for the Nation Of Islam. You are correct about that. However, you are very incorrect when you say that he "expertly constructed" the message of the Nation Of Islam. On that point we have to inform you and maybe even disappoint you.
Brother Malcolm was like every other minister in the Nation Of Islam in that he was a student. And like the others he would sit at the dinner table of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad for hours and take notes and learn from his teacher. Of all of the years that we have heard this assertion that Malcolm somehow intellectually outgrew the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, not once, when we have challenged such assertions have we been presented with proof that Malcolm was somehow no longer in the role of student and had now become the teacher. Why don't you seek to speak to some of the older Ministers in the Nation Of Islam who were in the Ministry with Malcolm? Ask them was Malcolm not getting the outline and subject of his speeches from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in person or over the phone as late as 1963. Perform the research and you will learn that many who claim that Malcolm had surpassed his teacher intellectually do so out of a desire to use Malcolm to bolster their own particular worldview or to advance their own agenda and causes. They never present any proof of their assertions.
Invariably, you will find those who interpret or attempt to use any point of agreement with their worldview, expressed by Malcolm when he was in the Nation, as evidence that Malcolm had intellectually outgrown his Teacher. This is especially true of many who are socialist, pan-Africanist or Sunni Muslim. Their interest really is not in nailing down the dynamics of the teacher-student relationship between the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Malcolm and whether or not it actually changed, before Malcolm left the Nation of Islam. Their chief concern is using Malcolm to advance their cause(s).
Interestingly, these same individuals/groups ignore the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's public statements and writings that expressed even deeper points of agreement between the Nation Of Islam, socialists, pan-Africanists and the Sunni perspective of Islam. They attempt to elevate Malcolm and denigrate, ignore or lower the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. Many continue that tradition with Minister Farrakhan today. Their bias and interest prevents them from investigating the actual history of the Nation Of Islam and how it relates, compliments or even amplifies their particular field of interest/worldview.
And although you only lightly touch upon it, I think you should know that Malcolm had gone to Saudi Arabia in 1959. 1963 was not the first time that Malcolm had been to that part of the world, although historians and special interest groups like to act as if it was- again to serve their own purpose. Malcolm knew that there were White Muslims in Mecca. He had been taught that by his teacher well before, and saw them with his own eyes - in 1959. In December of 1959, after he returned from his trip, he gave a talk in the New York Temple about his trip where he spoke about the White Muslims in that part of the world. You should research that as well, Mr. Rawls. There are some alive today who were present to hear Malcolm's lecture about his 1959 visit to that part of the world.
In particular, many socialists, Sunni Muslims, and pan-Africanists ignore points of agreement with the Nation Of Islam, the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan in order to avoid actually working with the NOI. The justifications, stereotypes, prejudices used by many in the Black community to avoid uniting with the Nation Of Islam are fascinating and evidence of the legacy of slavery that many are still not free from. In many cases, it also reveals the extent to which those who claim to be the most progressive and radical in the Black community are actually under the influence of the non-Black forces who have integrated and influenced their movements.
Mr. Rawls, please present the date, time and location of your allegation that Minister Farrakhan called Judaism a "gutter religion". The fact that you don't provide such or an actual quote from Minister Farrakhan is a strong indication that you could not find such. He simply did not say what you said he did. It is unfortunate that you and so many others accept that lie from the mainstream media and others, without ever hearing a tape, viewing a video, or reading an actual transcript with a date, time, and location of the alleged quote. It does not exist! He never said it.
Did you know that last year The New York Times was forced to quietly retract a statement they falsely attributed to Minister Farrakhan? If you aren't aware of it you should be. Check out Jude Wanniski's account of the story for yourself.
Mr. Rawls, why do you find it necessary to write the following?
I am not an adherent to their racist rhetoric or some of the controversial views of their present leader, Louis Farrakhan
First of all, it is obvious that you are not a follower of Minister Farrakhan, from your writing alone. But being that you place this sentence after having relayed a somewhat positive opinion of the Nation Of Islam, in the previous paragraph, and before you offered a measure of respect for the influence of the Nation of Islam in the subsequent paragraph, we wonder were you concerned that someone would misinterpret your comments and associate you too closely with the group.
Have you found that being objective about Minister Farrakhan in certain respects causes people to think that you are a follower of Minister Farrakhan? If so, isn't that an indication of how thick the misinformation and slander about this man is, that fairness and balance is mistaken as an apology, defense or endorsement?
You seem to feel the need to qualify any balanced opinion of Minister Farrakhan, or the Nation. Why?
Since you seem so interested in the subject why don't you look into the "socio-psychological effects" of that.
But we do have to ask you - what is the racist rhetoric that you are referring to? Just simply making a statement like that no matter how often it has been repeated, doesn't make it true.
And lastly you write of Minister Farrakhan after the Million Man March:
If he would have immediately capitalized on his newfound media presence, he could have possibly reached the mythological status of a Malcolm X or a Marcus Garvey. More than a million men would have desired to find out.
And what would that have accomplished for the lives of Blacks? What have Blacks been able to do with what you call the "mythological status" of Malcolm X and Marcus Garvey?
Mr. Rawls, be honest. Malcolm's mythological status is largely the result of Hollywood and the mainstream media. You should remember that Spike Lee said that he decided to make the movie Malcolm X only after he had heard that a White person was planning on doing the film. And it was a series of articles in White magazines and publications in the 1980s that brought Brother Malcolm back into the minds of many. There were a lot of White hands involved in the effort to clean up the image of Malcolm, the man that the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) referred to in the 1960s as America's #1 Black anti-Semite. Did you notice that while the Malcolm X movie was running, the ADL was attacking Minister Farrakhan but not protesting the movie? Evidently the ADL did not mind the movie. Why? You should research that subject. How does a man go from being viewed as a White racist, Black America's leading anti-Semite and opposed by the FBI and CIA to now having his picture on a stamp put out by the U.S. Postal service?
In our opinion your article was really put together rather sloppily, without the care and respect for the subject and reader that was deserved. You really need to get up to date on the Nation of Islam and Minister Farrakhan.
And it is painfully obvious that you need better sources of information regarding this subject. Your article suffers because of the poor research process you have performed.
As a suggestion, we recommend that you visit the Final Call online as well as order two new eBooks - A Written Testimony and This Is The One by Minister Jabril Muhammad. He accepted membership in the Nation Of Islam in 1955 and knows the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and Minister Farrakhan extremely well, personally and spiritually, and has written about both men, publicly, for 34 years. He also knew Malcolm and some of his family members quite well. In addition, his writings contain information given to him directly from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad about Master Fard Muhammad. You should get familiar with his writings as soon as possible.
We look forward to your next article on the Nation Of Islam.
Sunday, July 1, 2001