Between Cross and Crescent:
Christian and Muslim Perspectives on Malcolm and Martin

Lewis V. Baldwin and Amiri YaSin Al-Hadid

Foreword by Stephen W. Angell and Anthony Pinn, Series Editors
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"Unique in its conception, intriguing in its insights, and remarkable in its execution, Between Cross and Crescent is sure to become a classic work on the ideas of Malcolm and Martin. Engaging and well-written . . . the authors have shown tremendous judgment and objectivity in their analyses."--Molefi Kete Asante, Temple University

"Baldwin and Al-Hadid have taken a gigantic step in lifting the veil of confusion regarding the religious and cultural heritages of King and El-Shabazz. These scholars have given new dimension and profound dignity to the barrier of the Cross and the Crescent in the persons of King and El-Shabazz."--Imam Heshaam Jaaber, author of The Final Chapter . . . I Buried Malcolm

"A holistic appreciation of the dialectical tension between Martin's and Malcolm's . . . ideas regarding integration and nationalism, Christianity and Islam, the black church and the Black Muslims, African and American, urban North and rural South. . . . A compelling and riveting read [that] certainly makes interfaith dialogue more accessible."--Ira G. Zepp, Jr., professor emeritus, Western Maryland College

A collaborative effort of Christian scholar Lewis Baldwin and Muslim scholar Amiri Al-Hadid, Between Cross and Crescent details the interconnections between Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr.: their faith claims, their perspectives on culture, and their visions of the ideal society and world.

The authors reject two common tendencies: to reduce Malcolm and Martin to "misguided, angry Muslim imam" and "gentle, harmless Christian preacher" and to treat the two men as polar opposites. The result is the most comprehensive and detailed work in print about the two leaders and the first to bring together a Muslim and a Christian scholar in dialogue about their relationship to such significant issues. Particularly original are the insights into how Martin and Malcolm viewed each other, family and children, and women (an entire chapter is devoted to the "character of womanhood").

"Al-Qur'an and Sunnah" offers a new and creative interpretation of Malik El-Shabazz as a Sunni Muslim and statesman. Of special importance is the skillful delineation of the historical and cultural forces underpinning the two leaders' religious and cultural perspectives--not the least being their common roots in traditions based in the American South. The authors also turn a careful scholar's eye to their perspectives on religion, interfaith dialogue, and the relationship between the African-American struggle and global liberation movements.

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.

Lewis V. Baldwin is professor of religious studies at Vanderbilt University
Amiri YaSin Al-Hadid is professor and chair of Africana studies at Tennessee State University.

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"contributes a great deal to our appreciation and understanding of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr., and, even more clearly, of part of the agenda that continues to confront Christians and Muslims in American and global contexts." - Studies in Contemporary Islam Studies in Contemporary Islam

"[Baldwin and Al-Hadid] offer refreshing biographical insights based on exhaustive research."- Publisher's Weekly Publishers Weekly

"A model of interreligious dialogue that provides good introduction to its subjects' thought, to Islam, and to the potentially creative interplay of religion and politics in Islam and Christianity." - BookList Booklist

" Nobly aims to generate a dialog between two faiths. It successfully contrasts the lives of Malcolm X Shabazz and Martin Luther King Jr. Highly recommended." - Library Journal Library Journal

"There is much that is intriguing in this work … the presentations grow in strength as the book progresses, though individual chapters can be read profitably on their own." - Choice Choice

"It is long overdue that these two giants, black American heroes and saints, should be assessed together in one large comparative study" "Makes gratifying reading and should make many Afro-Americans proud, regardless of their denomination." Muslim World Book Review

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