chapter  7
Malcolm X as a Muslim revolutionary
Pages 20

I write this chapter under the bright light of a single shining star – the

memory of Malcolm X and his dazzling flash of memorial insight into our collective predicament – not just as Muslims, or Americans, but for the

historically disenfranchised and the defiantly determined peoples around the

globe, and all of that from a decidedly Muslim perspective. To pave my way

to this point, my principal concern in the previous chapter was for us to see

through the false binaries – such as the Sunni-Shi’i divide – that have suc-

ceeded that of ‘‘Islam and the West’’ and continue to maim and mark the

terms of a new revolutionary dispensation in which Islam (re-imagined) will

have a positive role to play. Today Islam – in its global public perceptions – has been effectively degenerated into a whimsical plaything between Bush

and Bin Laden, Blair and Berlusconi, Hirsi Ali and Azar Nafisi, Irshad

Manji and Ibn Warraq – defining the terms of an ancient civilization and

the pieties that define millions of human beings around the globe. Islam

though at the very same time is also a freed and emancipated signifier (a

moment that we should happily embrace and celebrate) – waiting to be

renamed, reclaimed, resignified, placed squarely at the service of a legit-

imate resistance to an illegitimate imperial disposition that uses and abuses native informers and their white supremacist employers alike. Today, Islam

has been narratively placed outside the world, in the contested rhetorical

domain of the American neoconservatives and their terrorist cohorts –

Bernard Lewis and Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi are the mirror image of each

other, as are Osama bin Laden and Hirsi Ali. Islam though at the very same

time is also the emerging sign of a Muslim participation in a global strug-

gle – from Asia to Africa to Latin America to the very heart of the US and

Europe – that will have to abandon all its absolute and absolutist terms of

self-righteous assertions if it is to reach for a more open-ended and cosmo-

politan conception of itself, of the very foundation of any religion, any

culture, any claim to worldly reason and social justice.