Al-Qaida tries to recruit the legacy of Malcolm X 

‘Malcolm X: A Life of Reinvention" is a just-published biography by college professor and author Manning Marable that attempts to objectively fill in gaping holes in the famed "Autobiography of Malcolm X." Like me, Marable, who died recently from complications of pneumonia, had some reservations about the full accuracy of the autobiography, parts of which he kindly described as "fictive."

I found Marable’s material about the al-Qaida interpretation of Malcolm X’s legacy particularly revealing. In the biography chapter called "Reflections on a Revolutionary Vision," Marable wrote:

"The al-Qaida terrorist network is also sufficiently aware of American racial politics to make sharp distinctions between mainstream African-American leaders and black revolutionaries like Malcolm. An al-Qaida video released following the election of Barack Obama in November 2008 described the president-elect as a ‘race traitor’ and ‘hypocrite’ when compared to Malcolm X."

Hypocrite is the most disparaging word one Muslim can use about another. It’s the word Nation of Islam officials used to call Malcolm X in the days before their hit squad gunned him down in the Audubon Ballroom on Feb. 21, 1965.

There’s only one problem with the al-Qaida screed: Obama isn’t a Muslim. The terrorist organization’s minions are as confused about that as some Americans are.

Marable then directly quoted Ayman al-Zawahiri, who he described as an al-Qaida deputy: "And in Barack Obama and Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and your likes, the words of Malcolm X [may Allah have mercy on him], concerning house Negroes are confirmed."

Al-Zawahiri hoped that disgruntled black Americans could be recruited to al-Qaida’s cause. But Marable provided clear evidence that Malcolm X, who advocated that blacks use armed self-defense to protect themselves from racist attacks, wouldn’t have supported al-Qaida terrorism.

Here’s another black American who didn’t take Osama bin Laden’s bait: Al Sharpton, who wrote "Osama bin Laden killed blacks, whites, Latinos, everyone on 9/11."

For one of the few times in my life, I have to give Sharpton a hearty "Amen!"


Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to Sudan.

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Gregory Kane


Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.

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