March 26, 1993
Imam W. Deen Mohammed's response to Questions on Malcolm by Students at the University of Illinois at Chicago on Feb. 24,1993
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Q: What Muslim leader today would be most like Malcolm politically?
IWDM: When I think of what Malcolm represented and what thoughts or ideas were moving him to become political, it is hard to find a Muslim leader today who I could identify with him other than myself. Malcolm, after he left the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, tried to establish an organization that had two entities. One was The Mosque, Inc. and the other one was a political entity. Malcolm was addressing different circumstances. If Malcolm were alive today he would not be addressing the same circumstances that he addressed at that time, because they don't exist now as they existed then. If you got to know me, you would see that I am very much interested in moving our people into real strength.
Q: How do you feel about the exclusion of you from Spike Lee's movie on Malcolm?
IWDM: I think I am pleased that there was no mentioning or inclusion of me in the film. The explanation I got was that Spike Lee thought if he included me, he would have to do justice to his treatment of me. And this would cause the attention to be taken off Malcolm. And I respect that. Still, I think it would not have hurt to show Malcolm and me sitting side-by-side at one of the major occasions for the Nation of Islam. We shared the rostrum on some most important occasions.
Q: Who did the house belong to and who was responsible for Malcolm's death?
IWDM: The house was not the property of Malcolm. The house was Nation of Islam property. Ministers were not expected to keep their homes even if they were transferred to another location. We can't answer all questions by just dealing with the facts.
If it were me, I would have let Malcolm keep that house and he needed the house. He had no other employment and he had given his time and energies to the Nation of Islam. He had made great contributions to the Nation of Islam. And even if he had differed with my ideas, I would have treated him differently. But that is behind us and we can't change that history. Malcolm had a wife and children, so he should have been given that home.
The question was who was responsible for Malcolm's assassination or murder? First of all, we have to look at the events as they developed. Malcolm's credits were being attacked long before it became obvious to the public that there was a problem. There was jealousy in the Nation of Islam's national staff. There was jealousy among the ministers. A lot of petty jealousies were responsible for Malcolm being treated the way he was treated.
He was lied on to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad; the Honorable Elijah Muhammad was constantly being bombarded with negative reports from different ones in the national staff who were trying to tear him down. And lastly, they came to present a logic to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. They said the attention that Malcolm was getting was bigger than the attention that the leader was getting and bigger than the attention that even the Nation of Islam was getting. That Malcolm as a figure was being allowed to tower over the whole Nation of Islam. I am putting it in my words, but this is what was brought to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad.
They began a campaign. It was decided that Malcolm would no longer be accepted back in the Nation of Islam, and Malcolm knew and came to accept that himself. It was obvious to everyone that he wasn't coming back. Then Malcolm began to be defensive. And the leaders who were already undermining him long before the statement was made of "the chickens had come home to roost" began to fire things up. Certain ministers became so critical of Malcolm with their tongues. If you will check the Muhammad Speaks newspaper in the cartoon section, you will see that the cartoon section presented Malcolm as a horned beast and called him Judas. It had his head severed from his body and rolling down a hill. So knowing the Fruit of Islam and how much we loved the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, you know what that would suggest to some of us. It suggested that he (Malcolm) should be killed.
The actual climate was created for Malcolm's murder. We, the Nation of Islam members and staff people are responsible for it. The actual shooting of the person, I can't be too sure. Maybe the Intelligence Department had something to do with it.
(To be continued)