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Rev.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Awkward for Islamophobes

17 January 2012 11 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Two Extraordinary Men: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Two Extraordinary Men: Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X

Rev.Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Awkward for Islamophobes

The day when we are supposed to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy and struggle for civil rights, justice and freedom is marked today, January 16th, 2012. It goes without saying thateveryone owes MLK Jr. a debt of gratitude. Reflecting on his life the past few days, I have re-read the “Auto-biography of Martin Luther King, Jr.” edited by Clayborne Carson, mostly using material from his collected letters, speeches and writings.

There are innumerable ways in which we can remember his legacy, but there is a specific context and relevance that I want to highlight, one that American Muslims and all despised minorities can relate to and understand.

It begins with first acknowledging that, as Svend White noted, Martin Luther King, Jr. wasn’t exactly the universally loved and admired individual that we honor today. In his time, MLK was reviled, considered by some in their hysterical conspiratorial craze “a Communist,” the FBI followed his every movement, and while he was alive he was considered a national security threat.

…contrary to the comforting revisionism that reigns, King was not universally acclaimed and supported after his advent in American national consciousness, even a decade after his legendary speech.

It’s relatively well-known that elements in the government—especially J. Edgar Hoover, who was convinced that he was a Communist plant—ignored the fact that by the end of his life he was a radical social critic who applied his vision to far more than race relations. As he began to apply his values holistically and across racial lines, he lost support among many erstwhile allies.

King’s bravery and vision did not end at “race relations,” his dream was larger, that is why he condemned the Vietnam war and joined striking sanitation workers in Memphis.

MLK day is an awkward day for Islamophobes. His life stands in sharp contradistinction to their hate-filled polemic and activism. While MLK waged jihad for civil rights and freedom, anti-Muslims lobby to restrict freedoms, while MLK pushed for non-violence and opposed aggressive wars, Islamophobes stand in support of such wars–or at least the by-product of slaughtering “towel-heads.”

Can you imagine what their reaction would be to one of King’s most famous, if less well known statements given during his “Beyond Vietnam” address,

The USA is the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.

If MLK said that today (and it is as true today as it was in his time), rest assured he would be called a leftist, terrorist sympathizer, or perhaps even a “secret Mooslim.”

MLK represented the highest qualities of his Christian faith, but this did not lead him to exclusivist narrow mindedness, instead it opened doors of knowledge and reflection upon unifying principles between the various world religions:

‘I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Muslim-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate — ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John: ‘Let us love one another, for love is God. And every one that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God, for God is love.’ If we love one another, God dwelleth in us and his love is perfected in us.”

For saying the above MLK would be considered a “dhimmi” by the radical anti-Muslim Islamophobes. That is why a commemoration of MLK is awesome, it exposes the futility of hate, the absurdness of it, while also reminding us that there is much work to be done to reach a dream that has not been understood or realized.


  1. Beautifully stated. I grew up hearing the right-wingers (who were, then as now), a small but way too vocal minority spew their racist and toxic slurs about MLK, terrorizing the majority, and peddling their ignorant theories that he was a communist and an uppity N____. Now, they wish to co-opt his vision, pretending that their version of Christianity was somehow his. WWJD? Hopefully, send their racist souls to burn in hell, as promised.

  2. hey islam wants to jihad the whole world

  3. Shouldn’t EVERY DAY be awkward for Islamophobes?

  4. he told u that chiedu ?

  5. Jihad means struggle within ones self

  6. Ellen jihad also means to physical fight your enemies also in the way that conforms to the rules and regulations set by Allah(swt) and rasoolallah (pbuh)

  7. Sorry ment elle

  8. @ Chiedu
    “hey islam wants to jihad the whole world”

    You’re totally corrupting the use of the word! ‘Jihad’ means a ‘struggle’ generally and, when applied to war, it can ONLY mean war of self defence; i.e. it can never be waged except in RESPONSE to an attack by an enemy.

  9. Lol, I love how Chiedu managed to make a proper noun like “Jihad” into a verb.

  10. I really dont know how anyone in America would celebrate MLK day as he was a communist, drug user, user of prostitutes and down right bad person, all this has been proven beyond any doubt.
    Wake up America.

  11. Brian lane
    Proof? At least he tried to stop segregation. At least he tried to bring peace into an ugly violent world.
    Communist? Hes a REVEREND and guess what Communist s dont call for the liberty and unity of anyone. Why is it that racist people call everyone ‘communists’ shut the Hell up, open your eyes, and stop acting superior to the rest of the world.
    Right, but you worded your sentance terribly lol. Phsyical fight? Lol so a non muslim came up to me should i slap them? No, but if they hurt me i have a right to act in self defense, true? Watch how you word your sentances you sound like one of those ignorant muslims that dont know Islam.

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