The Muslims who have accepted the religion of Islam have never bombed any churches, have never murdered any little girls as was done in Birmingham, have never lynched anybody, have never at any time been guilty of initiating any aggressive acts of violence during the entire 33 years or more that the honorable Elijah Muhammad has been teaching. 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. They know that they’ve been violent in their brutality against Negroes and they feel that someday the Negro’s 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 respect us, we’re taught to display courtesy to be polite, but we’re also taught that anytime anyone in anyway inflicts or seeks to inflict violence upon us, we are within our religious rights to retaliate in self-defence 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 the 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.