Islam - Nation of Islam
Excerpts from the Encyclopedia Britannica:
Islam was brought to the United States by African Muslim slaves, and it retained a real if minuscule presence in the country throughout the 19th century. It reemerged at the beginning of the 20th century as a result of the efforts of the Aḥmadīyah movement, an unorthodox sect founded in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (c. 1839–1908), and of Shaikh Ahmed Faisal (1891–1980), the Moroccan-born leader of an independent Black Muslim movement. Muslim teachings were tied to black nationalism by Noble Drew Ali, originally Timothy Drew (1886–1929), who founded the Moorish Science Temple of America in Newark, New Jersey, in 1913. He produced a new sacred text, The Holy Koran, that bears little resemblance to its namesake and was based on his limited knowledge of Islam and on spiritualist teachings...
Elijah Muhammad believed that the white race was created by Yakub, a black scientist, and that Allah had allowed this devilish race to hold power for 6,000 years. Their time was up in 1914, and the 20th century was to be the time for black people to assert themselves. This myth supported a program of economic self-sufficiency, the development of black-owned businesses, and a demand for the creation of a separate black nation to be carved out of the states of Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Elijah also encouraged his followers to drop their “slave” names in favour of Muslim names or, in most cases, an “X,” signifying that they had lost their identities in slavery and did not know their true names...
Suppressed during World War II for advocating that its followers refuse military service, the Nation rebounded in the 1950s after a young charismatic leader, Malcolm Little, better known as Malcolm X, took over the New York Temple. Malcolm X brought many into the movement but later became an embarrassment when he asserted that the assassination of President John F. Kennedy was a “case of chickens coming home to roost.” Expelled from the Nation, he accepted orthodox Islam after going on the hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca. Before he could fully articulate his new views, however, several members of the Nation killed him in 1965.
The Lost Tapes of Malcolm X
After his release from prison Malcolm helped to lead the Nation of Islam during the period of its greatest growth and influence. He met Elijah Muhammad in Chicago in 1952 and then began organizing temples for the Nation in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston and in cities in the South. He founded the Nation’s newspaper, Muhammad Speaks , which he printed in the basement of his home, and initiated the practice of requiring every male member of the Nation to sell an assigned number of newspapers on the street as a recruiting and fund-raising technique. He also articulated the Nation’s racial doctrines on the inherent evil of whites and the natural superiority of blacks.
An articulate public speaker, a charismatic personality, and an indefatigableorganizer, Malcolm X expressed the pent-up anger, frustration, and bitterness of African Americans during the major phase of the civil rights movement from 1955 to 1965... Malcolm left the Nation in March 1964 and in the next month founded Muslim Mosque, Inc. During his pilgrimage to Mecca that same year, he experienced a second conversion and embraced Sunni Islam, adopting the Muslim name el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz. Renouncing the separatist beliefs of the Nation, he claimed that the solution to racial problems in the United States lay in orthodox Islam. On the second of two visits to Africa in 1964, he addressed the Organization of African Unity (known as the African Union since 2002), an intergovernmental group established to promote African unity, international cooperation, and economic development. In 1965 he founded the Organization of Afro-American Unity as a secular vehicle to internationalize the plight of black Americans and to make common cause with the people of the developing world—to move from civil rights to human rights.
The growing hostility between Malcolm and the Nation led to death threats and open violence against him. On February 21, 1965, Malcolm was assassinated while delivering a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem; three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of the murder. He was survived by his wife, Betty Shabazz, whom he married in 1958, and six daughters. His martyrdom, ideas, and speeches contributed to the development of black nationalist ideology and the Black Power movement and helped to popularize the values of autonomy and independence among African Americans in the 1960s and ’70s.
Cassius Clay Changes His Name to Muhammad Ali
On February 25, 1964, Clay challenged Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship of the world. Liston was widely regarded as the most intimidating, powerful fighter of his era. Clay was a decided underdog. But in one of the most stunning upsets in sports history, Liston retired to his corner after six rounds, and Clay became the new champion. Two days later Clay shocked the boxing establishment again by announcing that he had accepted the teachings of the Nation of Islam. On March 6, 1964, he took the name Muhammad Ali, which was given to him by his spiritual mentor, Elijah Muhammad.
A Connection with Scientology
Click here to read an article about The Nation of Islam's recent connection with Scientology. Leah Remini's show about Scientology did an episode on the connection. You can watch it here if you can sign in through a TV provider. As you learn about the connection, think about who benefits from this collaboration - and who is negatively affected by this collaboration.
A More Confrontational Side of Brother Ali
Brother Ali calls back to his Nation of Islam roots by embracing both the communal & the confrontational aspects of the Nation.
Uncle Sam hasn't stood silent. In 2007, the Department of Homeland Security temporarily froze financial transaction's for Brother Ali's record label.