What “demagogues" does Malcolm compare Muhammad to?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I believe that this question refers to a passage in Chapter 14 of The Autobiography of Malcolm X.  In that passage, Malcolm talks about his heated conversations with critics of the Nation of Islam.  He recalls a variety of things that the Nation was accused of and refutes many of the accusations.  On p. 278 in my copy of the book, he recounts how he responded when white reporters accused Elijah Muhammad of being a demagogue.

First, Malcolm talks about the original meaning of the word “demagogue.”  He says that it is a Greek word meaning “teacher of the people.”  He then goes on to list a number of people who could be seen as demagogues.  The people that he mentions are Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Galileo, and Martin Luther.  Malcolm says that all of those people were denounced by the people who were in authority in their societies.  The people in authority felt threatened by these people and therefore denounced them.  Malcolm argues that it is the same with white Americans and the Nation of Islam.

So, in answer to your question, Malcolm compares Elijah Muhammad to the following “demagogues:” Socrates, Jesus Christ, Mahatma Gandhi, Galileo, and Martin Luther.

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