Cover image for Between cross and crescent : Christian and Muslim perspectives on Malcolm and Martin
Between cross and crescent : Christian and Muslim perspectives on Malcolm and Martin
Baldwin, Lewis V., 1949-
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Publication Information:
Gainesville : University Press of Florida, [2002]

Physical Description:
xii, 475 pages ; 25 cm.
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BP222 .B35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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There is no more detailed resource about the relationship between Martin King and Malcolm X. The depth of scholarship in this volume extends even to the extraordinary amount of information relegated to footnotes, themselves a gold mine of documentation for all readers interested in the interface between faith claims, politics, and social and cultural transformation.

Author Notes

Lewis V. Baldwin is professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University.

Reviews 4

Booklist Review

Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr. rank among the most politically influential and also, arguably, among the most misunderstood twentieth-century religious leaders. This collection of essays by a Muslim and a Christian counters the images of King as passive preacher and Malcolm as radical extremist, and the perception that they were ideologically irreconcilable. They guide readers to a deeper understanding of the revolutionary significance of King's thought and the philosophical seriousness of Malcolm's, and to the convergence of their thinking in a radical critique of American culture and its racism, classism, and sexism. Al-Hadid is particularly concerned to locate Malcolm in orthodox Islam (Sunni) and show how that tradition informed the radical critique he was articulating after his separation from the Nation of Islam. Baldwin and Al-Hadid depict Malcolm and King as figures whose political engagement informed their maturing religious insights and convictions. A model of interreligious dialogue that provides good introductions to its subjects' thought, to Islam, and to the potentially creative interplay of religion and politics in Islam and Christianity. Steven Schroeder.

Publisher's Weekly Review

Professors Baldwin and Al-Hadid, at Vanderbilt and Tennessee State Universities respectively, persuasively argue that El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (better known as Malcolm X) and Martin Luther King Jr. shared the same views about the American and worldwide race struggle at their deaths. They offer refreshing biographical insights based on exhaustive research. With the exception of one chapter, which eloquently describes Malcolm X's evolution from Nation of Islam doctrine into Sunni Islam, each chapter presents both men's views on specific topics. The historical material is laced with an overview of contemporary events such as the Million Man March, the United Nations World Conference on Racism and the attacks on America on September 11. The most satisfying portraits emerge out of the chapters on El-Shabazz's and King's relationships with their wives and children. Stronger editing would have eliminated repetition, unnecessary length and a lack of focus. A clear description of how NOI doctrine differs from Islam is missing, leaving the uninformed reader to assume that Sunni Muslims share the NOI's views on race and gender. Baldwin and Al-Hadid show a bias toward King, glossing over his extramarital affairs and plagiarism while extensively quoting El-Shabazz's more incendiary remarks. The authors illustrate how El-Shabazz and King, though not reluctant leaders, unwillingly became prisoners of circumstance El-Shabazz by NOI doctrine and King by white liberals. That these leaders' message still resonates is proof of how profound and gifted they both were, and how much has been left undone since their deaths. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Historically, Christians and Muslims have had a troubled relationship, and these two books nobly aim to generate a dialog between the two faiths. Between the Cross and Crescent successfully contrasts the lives of Malcolm X Shabazz and Martin Luther King Jr. and mostly resolves the creative tension between those leaders' philosophies. Baldwin (religious studies, Vanderbilt Univ.) has deep roots in the African-American Christian tradition, and Al-Hadid (Africana studies, Tennessee State Univ.) is a Sunni Muslim. They have written a contrapuntal biography to stress the importance of interfaith dialog and a Pan-African perspective, and to celebrate community as the highest ideal. Freedom, family, gender roles, democracy, and globalization are the major themes in this publication, the second in the publisher's "History of African American Religions" series. The Prophet & the Messiah is an equally remarkable book. Whereas the Martin/Malcolm title was written primarily from a sociocultural perspective, this one employs a religious viewpoint, intermingling East/West and sophic/mantic perspectives. Moucarry (Islamic studies, All Nations Christian Coll., England) was born in Syria, has lived in both Muslim and Christian communities, and received a Ph.D. from the Sorbonne. Although he is respectful of and sensitive to both religions, he clearly makes the case for the truth of Christianity, at the same time assuring the reader that absolute impartiality does not exist anyway. His 20 chapters include discussions of the Scriptures, key doctrines (e.g., Godhead, sin and salvation), Jesus Christ, Muhammad, and contemporary issues. Helpful appendixes list Muslim theologians and mystics and show a historical time line of Christian-Muslim relations. Although Moucarry's book was written for evangelical Christian readers and Baldwin/Al-Hadid's for college students, they both carry the message to any believer that there is one God, one humanity, one world. Both titles are highly recommended for general and student readerships in public and academic libraries. Gary P. Gillum, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

There is much that is intriguing in this work. The collaboration of coauthors Baldwin (Vanderbilt Univ.) and Al-Hadid (Tennessee State Univ.) mirrors "what might have been," had a meeting, scheduled to take place only days after the assassination of Malcolm X, actually occurred between the former Nation of Islam civil rights leader and the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Although it is clear from the discussion and documentation that the two men were moving towards each other philosophically and ideologically, some readers will find certain assertions not entirely persuasive. For example, inferences such as "Malcolm and Martin would undoubtedly agree," while generally thought-provoking, are not always supported either by objective evidence or by argument. More useful are those passages that project the impact of the two men upon a later generation. In addition, the international dimension of the two leaders is given attention in the latter portions of the book, which focus on the implications of the work of Malcolm X and King for people of color everywhere. Indeed, the presentations grow in strength as the book progresses, though individual chapters can be read profitably on their own. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through professionals. S. P. Blackburn Hartford Seminary

Table of Contents

Stephen W. Angell and Anthony PinnLewis V. Baldwin and Amiri YaSin Al-HadidLewis V. BaldwinAmiri YaSin Al-HadidLewis V. BaldwinAmiri YaSin Al-HadidLewis V. BaldwinLewis V. BaldwinAmiri YaSin Al-HadidLewis V. BaldwinLewis V. Baldwin and Amiri YaSin Al-Hadid
Forewordp. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introductionp. 1
1. Out of the Dark Past: Malcolm, Martin, and Black Cultural Realityp. 9
2. Al-Qur'an and Sunnah: From Malcolm X to El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazzp. 49
3. Of Their Spiritual Strivings: Malcolm and Martin on Religion and Freedomp. 83
4. In the Matter of Faith: Malcolm and Martin on Family and Manhoodp. 128
5. The Character of Womanhood: The Views of Malcolm and Martinp. 160
6. A New Spirit of Resistance: Malcolm and Martin on Children and Youthp. 200
7. The Great Debate: Multiethnic Democracy or National Liberationp. 241
8. Reluctant Admiration: What Malcolm and Martin Thought about Each Otherp. 280
9. Toward a Broader Humanism: Malcolm, Martin, and the Search for Global Communityp. 315
Notesp. 359
Bibliographyp. 433
Indexp. 469