On 7th December 1964 the so-called ‘Supreme Captain’ of the Nation of Islam (NOI), Raymond Sharrieff, issued what was, up to that point, the most explicit threat to the life of Malcolm X to have emerged from the leadership of Elijah Muhammad’s organisation when he took to Chicago’s Crusader newspaper to declare:
“We hereby OFFICIALLY warn you that the Nation of Islam shall no longer tolerate your scandalising the name of our leader and teacher the Hon. Elijah Muhammad regardless of where such scandalising has been.”
Such a threat could not have been made without the explicit sanction and approval of Elijah Muhammad – a man whose apologists stubbornly insist was either unaware or disapproving of any efforts by his own followers to take Malcolm’s life.
The significance of the Sharrieff declaration as an official ‘Green Light’ from the NOI’s leadership to its rank-and-file to proceed with any and all efforts to murder Malcolm cannot be rationalised away as a mere statement of the NOI’s intention to pursue a propaganda campaign against its former star minister since such an effort had been underway from the moment of his departure from the organisation in March of that year – and with its most vicious iteration having appeared only four days earlier in the 3rd December edition of the NOI’s own newspaper, the Muhammad Speaks, which carried Boston Mosque #11 Minister Louis X Farrakhan’s infamous “such a man as Malcolm is worthy of death” screed.