Malcolm X on Front Page Challenge, 1965: CBC Archives:
tonight frontpage challenge welcomes the outspoken negro leader Malcolm X.
Interviewer: Sir what was what’s the real reason why you two men split is it merely ideological, or is it personality, what else?
Malcolm X: Probably personality. It was not the statement that originally was given by the movement when I when we split. More personality than anything else.
I.: you’ve called people like Martin Luther King an Uncle Tom is this correct?
M: first well I’d rather say that in the States there’s a law that has recently been passed, or decision handed down by the court wherein if you call someone an Uncle Tom they can sue you for libel. Well I never refer to them as Uncle Toms, I would say that uncle Martin is my friend.
I: uncle Martin is your friend, yet you would disagree with his approach to what he wants to accomplish?
M. definitely if his approach would bring about what the black man in America needs to completely eliminate the problem that we have I would say, well and good, but I very much doubt that anyone who adopts the approach that Martin Luther King has been teaching to our people in that country can point to any meaningful gains that has actually served to solve the problem.
I: black Muslims have sometimes whether you have or not and I think probably you have have sometimes it seemed to me been preaching hate to meet hate.
M: I don’t advocate any kind of hate…
I: a lot of talk that sounds very much like it…
M: no, I think that the guilt complex of the American white man is so profound, until when you begin to analyze the real condition of the black man in America, instead of the American white man eliminating the causes that create that condition he tries to cover it up by accusing his accusers of teaching hate. But actually they’re just exposing him for being responsible for what exists.
I: well that’s that’s something of an, argument but I’ve heard speeches made by some of the people of your group I think I’ve heard you make speeches, it seemed to me that you were advocating, well I would have to describe I think as violence to meet the serious injuries that have been done your people with which I totally agree…
M: I don’t call that violence. I don’t in any way encourage black people to go out and initiate acts of aggression indiscriminately against whites. But I do believe that the black man in the United States and any human being anywhere is well within his right to do whatever is necessary, by any means necessary to protect his life and property especially in US, in a country where the federal government itself has proven that it is either unable or unwilling to protect the lives and property of those human beings.
I: just before Pierre takes it you’ve got a pretty good fighter in the world’s heavyweight champion lined up with you to help out yes
second interviewer: Mr. X, if I guess i call you that, is that the proper appelation? Mr. X I’m wondering if you still believe and I think you certainly did in the time you were allied to the Black Muslim movement, in a segregated black nation North America?
M: I don’t believe in any form of segregation or any form of racism. I’m against any form of segregation and against racism.
I: Am I right in saying that the Black Muslim movement which you have left did believe in this?
M: well Elijah Muhammad taught his followers that the only solution was a separate state for black people and as long as I thought he genuinely believed that himself I believed in him and believed in his solution, but when I began to doubt that he himself believed that that was feasible and I saw no kind of action designed to bring it into existence or bring it about then I turned in a different direction.
I: are you still a Muslim?
M: yes I’m a Muslim I believe in the religion of Islam which believes in Brotherhood, complete brotherhood of all people but at the same time that I believe in this Brotherhood I don’t believe in forcing my desire for Brotherhood upon those who aren’t willing to accept it.
I: the Christians would say that they also believed in Brotherhood, what would you say to that?
M: I’d say they believe in it but don’t practice it
I: a pretty good answer sir. When the muezzin goes up in the minaret twice a day he cries to the world, “there is but one god and he is Allah”. Do you deny that there is a Christian God?
M: The muezzin does this five times a day
I: five times and I only heard him twice
M: well you were fortunate to hear him twice. But he does this five times a day and the same God that he expresses the existence of is the God that the Christians profess to believe in themselves and that God that the Jews believe in, one God the creator of the universe. The Muslims believe in the God that created the universe and I think the Christians do and the Jews do. Now as long as all of them are talking about the Creator- the Jews may call him Jehovah and Christians may have another name, for those who are Arabic speaking refer to him as Allah, well we believe in the same God.
I: now as the Muslim religion advances in the United States are you modernizing it or sticking with the old faiths, for example the complete segregation of the sexes?
M: I think that everything today on this earth is being modernized, religious principles and practices as well as political and other and other things.
I: Now when you went to Mecca, this is a very sacred in Forbidden City, I tried to get to Mecca myself and certainly didn’t make it, not being a Muslim. But how would they accept you as one? You’re an American, there are a few American Muslims.
M: this is true and by being an American and not having any, not being able to speak the Arabic language, I did strike a snag, a very serious snag, but I was fortunate to have been pretty well known by the officials in Arabia and they knew too that I had accepted Orthodox Islam, it had been highly publicized in the paper and I became a guest of the state. I was a guest of Prince Faisal, the present King Faisal and they made it possible for me to go before the Hajj committee or Hajj court who examines you and and asks you questions about your belief and if you pass it then you were okay to go to Mecca.
I: but you would have to have a translator there?
M: oh I had one
M: then we realizing that our problem in America that we are black Americans and we have a problem that goes beyond religion we formed the group known as the organization of Afro-American unity and the objective of this organization is non-religious number one, any Negro can belong to it, and the objective of that organization is to bring about a condition that will guarantee respect and recognition of the 22 million black Americans as human beings. We feel that the problem number one of the black man in America is beyond America’s ability to solve, it’s a human problem not an American problem or a Negro problem and as a human problem or world problem we feel that it should be taken out of the jurisdiction of the United States government in the United States courts and taken into the United Nations in the same manner that the problems of the black man in South Africa, Angola and other parts of the world and even the way they’re trying to bring the problems of the Jews in Russia into the United Nations. They caused a violation of Human Rights we believe that our problem is one not a violation of civil rights but a violation of human rights not only we are we denied the right to be a citizen in the United States we’re denied the right to be a human being
I: Mr. X may I thank you very much for coming on our program and perhaps clearing away some of the cobwebs of misconception that some of us might have had about your beliefs and I think you’re a very sincere man and it takes a lot of courage to to admit a former belief is wrong and we congratulate you for that and the service you performed tonight in giving us your. Thank you.