visit mecca


February 21st 1965: Malcolm X assassinated

On this day in 1965, African-American civil rights leader Malcolm X was assassinated aged 39. Born as Malcolm Little in Nebraska in 1925, his family were forced to relocate when the Ku Klux Klan threatened his father, who was active in the black nationalist movement. Malcolm’s father was ultimately murdered by white supremacists - but the white police insisted it was suicide - and the family disintegrated. The young Malcolm dropped out of school and became involved in crime, eventually going to prison for burglary in 1946. While imprisoned, he was exposed to the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, who argued that the white man is the devil and cannot live peaceably with blacks, who should establish a separate black nation. Malcolm was powerfully affected by this ideology, and changed his last name to reject the ‘slave’ name he had been given. After his release from prison, Malcolm X became a preacher in New York, calling for black self-defence against white aggression. His eloquent advocacy of black nationalism and the neccessity of securing civil rights “by any means necessary”, including violence, made him a respected, but also feared, figure. Malcolm X was feared by white and black Americans, as some civil rights activists worried that his more radical message threatened the strategy of non-violence espoused by Martin Luther King Jr.. While his fame contributed to the Nation of Islam’s growing popularity, Malcolm began to split from the organisation, disillusioned by Elijah Muhammad’s hypocrisy and alleged corruption. He formally left the organisation in 1964, and visited Mecca, an experience which tempered his rhetoric and led him to abandon the argument that whites are devils. At this point, Malcolm changed his name to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, returning to America influenced by socialism and pan-Africanism and more hopeful for a peaceful resolution to America’s race problems. As he was preparing to speak at a rally for his recently-founded Organisation of Afro-American Unity at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City, Malcolm X was shot 15 times by three members of the Nation of Islam. In death, his legacy loomed large over the civil rights movement, and African-American activists increasingly urged black power for black people. Malcolm X remains one of the most famous and respected figures of the civil rights movement, and his seminal autobiography is considered one of the most important books of the twentieth century.

“We declare our right on this earth to be a human being, to be respected as a human being, to be given the rights of a human being in this society, on this earth, in this day, which we intend to bring into existence by any means necessary.”

I look for Him on the Christian cross, but He was not there. I went to Hindu temples and shrines- but nothing. I visited the Ka’aba in Mecca, I did not find Him. I questioned learned scholars, but He outstripped their understanding. Finally, when I peered into my own heart- there, and nowhere else, was His home.
—  Rumi

Visit the Mecca Hills Wilderness – near the city of Indio and less than an hour southeast of Palm Springs, California – for “Something Different” on your #mypubliclandsroadtrip.

The dramatic and colorful Mecca Hills were formed by the convergence of the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate along the San Andreas Fault. The powerful fault system there has pushed up and overturned layers of rock—some over 70  million years old. The uplifted lake bottom provides a walkway through slot canyons from 5 million year old deposits in hues of rose, pink, red, gold, purple and green.

In addition to countless opportunities for cross-country exploration for adventurous hikers, two marked trails offer hikes to particularly scenic spots. Painted Canyon offers a moderate hike of up to five miles round trip through colorful rock formations. The entire canyon is scenic, so shorter hikes are also rewarding. A second six-mile roundtrip hike accesses Hidden Springs, an oasis of California fan palms that surprises visitors as they come upon it in the stark desert canyon.

Photos by Bob Wick, BLM

Sir Richard Francis Burton was a British explorer, geographer, translator, writer, soldier, orientalist, cartographer, ethnologist, spy, linguist, poet, fencer, and diplomat. He knew how to speak about 29 languages and dialects.

He was born in 1821 and died because of a heart attack in 1890. His interest in travels and eastern culture started when he joined the army in India. Some of his adventures include a visit to Mecca, strictly forbidden for non-Muslims at that time and a visit to the capital of Somalia, Harar, where none other white man was left alive.

He wrote more than 30 books, and also translated eastern ones like “The Book of One Thousand and One Nights” and “Kama Sutra”.

He used to have a great popularity among women and I totally understand why. He wasn’t only a pretty face but an interesting and intelligent man.

The question: “Are you Shia”?

As the world faces its toughest times during sectorial division, the controversial question “Are you Shia” has now been introduced to the form in which you need to fill out in order to visit Mecca (Haj)

“As for those who divide their religion and break up into sects, you have no part in them in the least: Their affair is with Allah: He will in the end tell them the truth of that they did.

-Quran 6 : 159

Just a reminder that towards the end of his life, Malcolm Xs beliefs changed from that of nationalism to unity between races. After visiting Mecca and seeing people of all races praying together, he saw Islam as a way of which racial differences could be overcome.

  For this, he was murdered by his former comrades in the Nation of Islam. An unarmed man murdered by armed thugs. This is the response from Louis Farrakhan (a hero in the social justice movement and raging anti semite):

“Was Malcolm your traitor or ours? And if we dealt with him like a nation deals with a traitor, what the hell business is it of yours? A nation has to be able to deal with traitors and cutthroats and turncoats”.