Students learn story of Malcolm X

Amy Kreeger

About 25 people learned about the life of Malcolm X Wednesday night.

The Muslim Student Association hosted “Life of Malcolm X” by Abu Atallah, Loyola University PhD graduate and Muslim convert.

“It’s interesting to see how much has [not] changed,” Atallah said. “Segregation isn’t just about living conditions, it’s also about economics and opportunities people have.”

Malcolm X was born in 1925 and suffered from “racism to the core,” Atallah said. “Malcolm’s father was murdered when he was six and his mother institutionalized when he was 13. The answer given for these things was “the white man.”

After his mother was institutionalized, he went into the foster care system and was in and out of trouble constantly.

“Being a African child growing up in the system, what opportunities do you really have?” Atallah said. “What can you really be when you’re told you can’t be a lawyer because you’re a n****r; better be a carpenter.”

He said that Malcolm X didn’t think the American dream existed; that he was a victim of Americanism, and that racism stemmed from ideologies dating back to the Greeks and Romans and institutions that have developed.

After being paroled from prison he decided to make the trip to Saudi Arabia. While there, he became a member of the Nation of Islam. The trip gave him a whole different view on life, Atallah said.

“He was sleeping in the same beds, drinking the same water, eating from the same plates and praising the same god with people who had the bluest eyes and the blondest hair.” Atallah said. “He formed a strong bond– brotherhood with those people.”

When he came back to America in 1964, Malcolm saw a lot differently, Atallah said. He saw that it wasn’t the “white man,” and that things won’t change unless their ideas change, Atallah said.

“He didn’t have all the pieces to the puzzle,” Atallah said. “But he realized there is nothing genetic about racism; it comes from our environment and what we’re taught as children.”

MSA President Asna Qureshi said they did this to kick off Islam Week that starts in late March.

“There were a lot of students that came up to me with this as an interest,” Quresch said.

Nora Kandil, senior psychology major said that listening to the speech helped her realize how big the problem is.

“He stood up for what he believed in and spoke out against the conflict,” Kandil said. “It really enforces that regardless of our beliefs, we are one and all equal.”