Erdogan Represents Malcolm X’s Legacy?

Does Erdogan Represent Malcolm X’s Legacy? Some American Muslims Say Yes.
Supporters of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stand near the new Ditib mosque prior to the arrival of Erdogan on September 29, 2018 in Cologne, Germany. (Photo: Carsten Koall / Getty Images)

Bizarrely, American Muslims Ilyasah and Qubilah Shabazz claimed that Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan represented Malcolm X’s legacy. The Shabazz sisters are daughters of the late Muslim civil rights leader Malcolm X.

Malcolm X challenged oppression and injustice, while also notably transforming into a pivotal civil rights leader because of his access to information and education during his imprisonment.

In contrast, Turkish president Erdogan is a privileged dictator who in 2016 attempted a false flag operation to dispose of opposition and critics. The attempted coup also destroyed Turkey’s intellectual circles through:

  • A crackdown on free speech
  • Arrests of dissidents and journalists
  • Termination of scholars and academics
  • Intimidation and prosecution of media outlets

Turkey still lives in a climate of fear. This is hardly the legacy of Malcolm X, whose powerful autobiography stands against dehumanizing systems.

Malcolm X’s daughters — along with other American Muslims — eye Erdogan as a humanitarian for receiving roughly 3.5 million refugees. This seems to be a key reasons for the shockingly widespread Muslim support of the Turkish dictator. When we look at treatment of refugees elsewhere, we see how some would eye Turkey’s “humanitarian” act of allowing more of the downtrodden into the slaughterhouse that is Turkey as an gesture of good-will.  

Saudi Arabia and other Muslim nations continue to fall short of recognizing the human dignity in all people, especially those less fortunate.

Sympathy for the plight of those driven from their homeland due to waves of war, drought and economic hardship is driving more American Muslims to cast Erdogan in a favorable light.

The elephant in the room is how American Muslims can embrace an Islamist dictator far removed from the legacy of both Malcom X and Turkey’s own Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, both of whom ushered reforms that modernized a nation on either side of the globe.

Erdogan is a dangerous dictator with a track record of oppressive behavior. Just last month, Erdogan threatened operations against opponents in the U.S. on U.S. soil.

Further, considering that Malcolm X’s defining moments included when he broke away from the Nation of Islam, it is even more puzzling how anyone, especially his daughters, could believe that Erdogan represents Malcolm X’s legacy. 

 

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SQ
Shireen Qudosi
Shireen Qudosi is Clarion Project's National Correspondent.

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