“One day, I remember, a dirty glass of water was on a counter and

Mr. Muhammad put a clean glass of water beside it. ‘You want to know how to spread my teachings?’ he said, and he pointed to the glass of water. ‘Don’t condemn if you see a person has a dirty glass of water,’ he said, ‘Just show them the clean glass of water that you have. When they inspect it, you won’t have to say that yours is better.’”

–Taken from The Autobiography of Malcolm X ,1965.

Malcolm X was a prominent African American nationalist leader who served as a spokesman for the Nation of Islam during the 1950s and 60s. Due largely to his efforts, it grew from a mere 400 members at the time he was released from prison in 1952 to 40,000 members by 1960. Articulate, passionate and a naturally gifted and inspirational orator, Malcolm X exhorted African Americans to cast off the shackles of racism.

The fiery civil rights leader broke with the group shortly before his assassination, February 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where he had been preparing to deliver a speech.

Why Malcolm X is important for us today, is the same reason he was back then- having a collective approach towards resisting oppression. In Pakistan, we seem to have forgotten how to tackle the dogma regarding religious extremism- by fighting the ideology in itself. Malcolm fought racism by collectively making sure to fight the essence of it. We need to do the same regarding Islamic extremism in our own country.