Malcolm X in 1963. (Malcolm X Network / YouTube)

Muslims were a polarizing subject in the United States long before the 2016 presidential race.

READ: Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton Share Thoughts on Muslims in the Second Debate

In a 1963 interview at the University of California, Berkeley, Malcolm X discussed the nature of Islam and African-American rights with sociology graduate student Herman Blake and professor John Leggett. The civil rights leader explained why he did not believe in racial integration and condoned violence for African-Americans in the name of self-defense.

“The charge of violence against us actually stems from the guilt complex that exists in the conscious and subconscious minds of most white people in this country,” said Malcom X. “They know that they’ve been violent in their brutality against Negroes, and they feel that someday the Negro is going to wake up and try and do unto them as the whites have done unto us.

“We aren’t a violent group. We are taught … to obey the law, to respect everyone who respects us. We’re taught to display courtesy, to be polite, but we’re also taught that anytime anyone in any way inflicts or seeks to inflict violence upon us, we are within our religious rights to retaliate in self-defense to the maximum degree of our ability. We never initiate any violence upon anyone, but if anyone attacks us, we reserve the right to defend ourselves.

“So to accuse us of being violent is like accusing a man who is being lynched, who is being hung on a tree, simply because he struggles vigorously against his lyncher. The victim is accused of violence, but the lyncher is never accused of violence. And I only point this out because the various racist groups that are set up in this country by whites and who have actually practiced violence against blacks for 400 years are never associated or identified or made synonymous with the term violence, but whites speak of Muslims almost synonymously with violence. Whenever Muslims are mentioned by them, violence is brought up, but it’s not connected with any other group. This is a sort of a propaganda tactic, or what I would call psychological warfare, to in some way make the image of the Muslims in this country the violent image rather than a religious image.”

Watch the whole interview below.

—Posted by Eric Ortiz


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