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January 25, 1990 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1990-01-25

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Thursday, January 25, 1990

Page 5

The Michigan Doily

Malcolm was a Muslim

by the Muslim
Students Association
The name "Malcolm X" will be
heard during Black History Month,
* but very few people will be speaking
sympathetically about him.
Undeniably, brother Malcolm was
a powerful figure in the struggle for
Black liberation. His ability to
expose this society's empty rhetoric
about race and class relations, his
clear grasp and presentation of the
problems faced by African-Ameri-
cans, his sense of justice and social
responsibility which kept him in the
forefront of the civil rights
movement: all of these things will
undoubtedly be mentioned about
Malcolm X.
However, this is the essence of the
disservive done to Malcolm X,
because beyond the few things just
mentioned, little more is said. By
focusing on only a part of what
Malcolm stood for, people conve-
niently forget 'Malcom's other
"baggage," namely his ideology and
methodology for struggle: Islam.

and was buried in accordance with
orthodox Muslim law.
The word "Islam" means sub-
mission. It is a way of life that is
based solely upon submission to the
will of Allah (God). The central
doctrine of Islam is tawheed - the
oneness of God, and not surpris-
ingly, it is closely related to the
definition of Islam. Tawheed defines
the scope of a person's submission:
all obedience belongs only to Allah,
all authority belongs only to Allah,
and all power belongs solely to
The Nation violates Islam
Primarily for this reason, the
Nation of Islam cannot be considered
as Islamic because it violates
Tawheed by giving Elijah Muham-

the 'peace' of which so much talk
could be heard... but towards which
so little action was seen." In this
context, one might understand
Malcolm's ideological commitment
to fighting racism and other forms of
oppression. One can also see how
this can preclude a Muslim from tak-
ing up non-violence as anything
other than a mere tactic to be used if
the situation warrants it.
The inability of many people to
address the fact that Malcolm was a
Muslim stems partly from the
Western phenomenon of secularism.
This self-serving philosophy is
useful in avoiding moral constraints


'We created you from a single pair of a male
and a female, and made you into nations and
tribes, that you may know each other, not that
you may despise each other.'
-Qur'an 4:13

mad divinity. Not even prophets
received the status Elijah accorded
Tawheed has implications over
every aspect of one's life. In the
struggle against racial oppression, it
is equally relevant. A person who
subscribes to the belief that one race
or ethnicity is superior to another is
challenging the Oneness of Allah,
for Allah says in the Qur'an:
"We created you from a single
(pair) of a mato and a female, and
made you into nations and tribes,
that you may know each other, (not
that you may despise each other)."
(Qur'an 4:13)
Such a person, whether through
overt racism or through economic
and social policies, is creating a
value system derived from a source
other than Allah, thus challenging
Tawheed - the Oneness of Allah.
The oppression caused by these
alternate sources of value must be
fought by every Muslim. Allah ad-
monishes in the Qur'an, "What has
happened to you? Why do you not
fight in the way of God in support
of men, women, and children, whom
finding helpless, the (oppressors)
have repressed; and who pray, 'Oh
God, liberate us from this habitation
which is ruled by tyrants."' (Qur'an
4:75) Therefore, acceptance of
Tawheed must be accompanied with
Malik El-Shabbazi (Malcolm X)
was fully aware of this, writing in
the final year of his life, "(O)nly
when mankind would submit to the
One God who created all - only
then would mankind ever approach

when refusing to provide housing
and health services to the underclass
when refusing to grant equal
opportunities to under-priveleged;
when allowing a few people to
accumulate the wealth; when aiding
savage regimes in El Salvador, Israel
and South Africa.
Based on this, it is understandableI
that many people with this Westerna
worldview do not see the sig-
nificance of Malcolm's "religion"
upon his ideology. Islam, though, is
not a "religion" in the Western sense
of the word, which is used to de-
scribe, for example, Christianity.
Islam is the process of submitting
only to the will of Allah. Extensive
social, economic, political and
spiritual doctrines are a manifes-
tation of this will. Islam, then, is
inseparable from (1) the personality
and worldview of any Muslim - in
this case Malcolm X, and (2) any
legitimate institution of govern-
Malcolm X is popularly
conceptualized as an angry Black
man. But while it is necessary to
recognize Malcolm as Black and as
all the other labels he has been
given, these alone are not sufficient.
One cannot do justice to Malik :l-
Shabbazz if one fails to seriou>Iy
account for his Islamicity, and if one
does not fully understand what it
means to be a Muslim.
The Muslim Students Association
can he reached at 662-2562.

Endarra is no
To the Daily:
Not so curiously, one of the ma-
jor causes of post-invasion grum-
'ding in Panama is the fact that
-President" Endarra was sworn in by
the Americans. A little hard to take
if you figure that your republic is a
'sovereign' state. So much for that
notion. "Pan de dulce," or
"creampuff," as Endarra is not so af-
fectionately referred to by the Pana-
manians, probably did win an elec-
tion back in May. But as most
Panamanians will tell you, a vote
for the nation's wealthiest banker
wasn't necessarily a vote for Endarra.
It was a vote against Tony "The
Before he was ousted out of
power, Noriega enjoyed telling a
story about Noriega. The portly op-
position candidate had gone on a
hunger strike following they May
elections. And while the nation
feared that with his wider-than-aver-
age girth, Endarra's ordeal could pos-
sibly have gone on for years, some-
thing happened to get him off the
hook. Noriega swears he had photos
of Endarra rushing off to a nearby
McDonalds during the heat of the
October aborted coup, stuffing his
face with a Big Mac, happily con-
vinced that the dictator had been
overthrown. Sadly, but no longer
famished "creampuff" returned to his
vigil. Ilis pals Guillermo Ford and
Arias Calderon consoled him with
encouraging words. Not to worry,
today is the first day of the rest of a
hunger strike.
The group in power in Panama
could just as well run their govern-
ment from the Rotary Club
(literally). We have installed a gov-
ernment of the rich, by the rich, and
for the rich. Small wonder that dur-
ing the years of the Noriega reign of
terror the common people of Panama
never risked their lives. They had as
much in common with Noriega as
they did with the upper class leaders
f the famed 'Crusada Civilista.'
And now that Noriega is gone, they
have little to hope for with a group
that never helped them before Nor-
iega rose to power, never cared a bit
about them. So there will be contin-
ued problems in Panama. Nothing
has changed. Lower class kids will

continue to see the military as the
one chance to get ahead, that one
chance to rise out of the slums of
Colon and Chorrillo. There are many
"Tony" Noriegas still there in the
making. They share a common feel-
ing: They were, they are, and they
will be left out by the "creampuffs"
and the American State Department
that props him up with cash. Re-
member Roberto Duran, that mag-
nificent boxer (in his day)? He came
from where Noriega came from. He
had the same anger in his eye. And
like Noriega, before he got rich, he
mowed down legions.
In 1968, there was a democracy
in Panama. It was led by a great
statesman whose name was Arnulfo
Arias. Slightly leftist, slightly anti-
imperialist, he had been in and out
of poweras a freely elected president
several times until the U.S. engi-
neered his final defeat by installing
Omar Torrijos and the Panamanian
military in the catbird seat. Consider
Arias, a man who gave the Black
English-speaking population of
Panama Panamanian nationality (in
1951) after their parents and grand-
parents had been abandoned by the
Americans when the canal was fin-
ished. These nationless people had
been brought in from the Antilles at
slave wages to complete Roosevelt's
"a man, a plan, a canal: Panama."
He made foreign robber-barons pay
taxes to the Panamanian government'
and he made them become citizens of
Panama if they wished to exploit the
land and its resources. And he passed
strict laws to protect illegitimate
children from the feudal Spanish cus-
toms that barred them form the right
to decency. There was democracy.
The folks who opposed him were the
same families who are now back in
the saddle after selling out their
rights to the likes of Noriega. They
sold their soul to get rid of Arnulfo
Arias, and America thought the time
was right for more "solid" gover-
ment on the isthmus.
Back in 1973 a group of State
Department analysts suggested to
Richard Nixon that Noriega be
"neutralized." Nixon, caught by sur-
prise, nixed the idea as absurd.
So they put him on the payroll.
The State Department and the CIA
created Noriega. They installed the
military and they nurtured this fiend
who tortured people to death from

the time he was a very young man
to now. So why aren't we demand-
ing that files be opened and every-
one, including Directors of the CIA
who knew, everyone who had any-
thing to do with this crime against
humanity be put on trial right
alongside Noriega himself? You
don't have to be an outstanding lib-
eral to understand the injustice of
what has happened. American boys
have died alongside the Panamani-
ans. Blushing pink, middle-of-the-
road, right-winger, it makes no dif-
ference, the issue is decency, and we
pride ourselves on being a decent na--
tion of decent people. Some very
scary, out-of-control people in our
government have perpetrated a
heinous crime, and they should be._
held responsible for their acts.
Arnulfo Arias died of old age
about a year and a half ago. Let's
hope a Panamanian son or daughter
rises to replace him. Let's not inter-
fere this time. The blood on the bat-
tered Guillermo Ford's guayabera'
(shirt) was mostly that of his body-
guard. The bullets that killed the
poor man were fired a long, long
time ago. - Michael Milne
January 23
Activists Wanted. Come to NORMLs
(National Organization for the Reform
of Marijuana Laws) meeting on Thurs-
day, Jan. 25, 8 pm at 812 Monroe St.
(across UM's Law Quad). For more info
Icall 453-8840 or 663-9048.

Molding Malcolm X
People of many political
persuasions have tried to show how
Malcolm X"rcalty".be'longed to
their own faction socialists,
Marxists, liberals, Black nation-
'alists, even the Democrat-Republi-
cans. The task of molding Malcolm
to fit one's political and social sensi-
bilities is made particularly easy by
the fact that Malcolm's ideology was
evolving throughout his life up until
his assassination.
This article is a very brief
exposition of Malcolm's ideology in
an Islamic context. In Malcolm's
case, a Muslim context is especially
justified because he specifically
identified himself as a mainstream
Muslim for the last year of his life,



" "I



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