Contemporary mainstream America and American Muslim groups and leaders alike all claim Malcolm X for themselves and believe him to be a part of their history. The reality is that, historically, the mainstream saw Malcolm X as a fringe figure, an anomaly, a rabble-rouser, and the American government itself considered him a dangerous “trouble-maker” to be “neutralized.” Given how unfortunately some major American Muslim groups today try their best to align with mainstream America, even when that alignment requires compromising core principles, it is not hard to imagine that they would have kept their distance from Malcolm X, if not outright denouncing him. Why?
As you can see from the clip, specifically the “chickens coming home to roost” controversy, Malcolm X paid no deference to the symbols and hallowed tenets of the religion that is American nationalism when some of those symbols and those tenets stand and have stood for so much injustice and oppression.
Can you imagine Muslim groups today making such a statement about JFK’s assassination or a comparable event? And maybe that’s not the place of these institutions. Fine. There is always a place for diplomacy and there is a wisdom to that. But you can’t simultaneously pretend like you’re cut from the same fabric as this man.