According to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad
's Message to the Black Man in America
, one of the key texts of the NoI, black people are descended from the 'Shabazz
', an alien race which arrived on earth sixty-six trillion years ago, and white people are the result of genetic experiments conducted seven thousand years ago by a misguided scientist called 'Yakub
'. Furthermore, gorillas
were created as a result of genetic engineering carried out by white
people in an attempt to make themselves black
again. As one might expect, a Shabazz mothership orbits the Earth at a height of forty miles, and at the time of armageddon, the mothership will obliterate all cities and thus purge the world of the white
plague. (And you thought George Clinton
was just a jolly funk musician.)
To the Nation of Islam, white people are inherently evil and weak, and are referred to as 'devils'; all technology and societal advances stem from black people. Luckily, the rule of the white man ended in 1914, and the current state of the world is merely a protracted death throe. All arguments to the contrary are perceived as racist attacks against black people, as the Nation of Islam believe themselves to be the one true religion representing black people.
None of the above is any more potty than some of the stuff in the Christian Bible; however, whilst relatively few Christians take the Bible literally, Nation of Islam followers are encouraged to believe the above as if it were fact. That 'Elijah Muhammad' may have simply concocted a fancy-sounding set of beliefs that would appeal to his chosen audience and thus make money is not unique to the Nation of Islam; the relatively easy ride the cult receives at the hands of the press is galling, however, as few are willing to criticise the group for fear of being accused of cultural imperialism or worse.
Which seems wrong, because most of the above is equally appealing for racists of all colours - for black racists, they dehumanise white people, and for white racists, they give the impression that black people are extraordinarily stupid, cattle-like drones.
The NoI confuse the heck out of left-wing people, in that whilst the prospect of Christian Biblical creationism being taught in schools is decried for being 'backwards' and retrograde, the prospect of the NoI's theories being taught in schools (and there are at least half a dozen of them, 'Muhammad University of Islam schools') tends to produce deafening silence; it is not 'backwards', it is instead an enlightened, equally-valid expression of a unique cultural heritage, etc.
Any similarity between the Nation of Islam and traditional Islam is purely coincidental; whilst the NoI adopts concepts and names, the two are distinct entities, not least because the bona fide Islam is not currently evangelised by a one-time calypso singer.