Malik Zulu Shabazz has worked with several groups and individuals who appreciate his organizing acumen and inflammatory rhetoric.
As National Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which he has led since the death of its former leader, Khallid Abdul Muhammad, in 2001, Shabazz has maintained his predecessor’s legacy of bigotry as well as the NBPP’s status as the largest anti-Semitic and racist black militant group in the U.S.
By presenting the NBPP as a militant response to issues faced by the African-American community, Shabazz has attracted a cadre of like-minded followers who support his world view. The leadership of the NBPP under Shabazz includes National Chief of Staff Hashim Nzinga, who has alleged that Jews had foreknowledge of the September 11 terrorist attacks; National Spokesman Yusuf Shabazz, who has claimed that “Jews are no longer a Semitic people;” and National Youth Minister Divine Allah, who sees “separation as the best way to deal with our problems.”
Shabazz has also developed a close relationship with the Nation of Islam (NOI) and its leader, Louis Farrakhan. Shabazz’s affiliation with the NOI can be traced back to his years as a law student, when he founded Unity Nation, a Howard University student group of NOI supporters. At that time, Shabazz invited Khallid Muhammad to speak at a Unity Nation gathering and introduced Muhammad with praise, saying, “We want to show love for a man who has been vilified and attacked by the media, Jewish community, Congress and the Congressional Black Caucus.”
Shabazz’s relationship with the NOI became strained after Farrakhan stripped Muhammad of his title as NOI National Spokesperson for a particularly vitriolic speech he gave at Kean College in November 1993. Over the next few years, Shabazz opted to work very closely with the NBPP and Muhammad.
When Muhammad died in 2001, Shabazz became the new head of the NBPP and his relationship with the NOI began to improve. Within days of Muhammad’s death, there were signs of rapprochement between the NBPP and the NOI. “There is no division in the Black nation. The Nation of Islam and the New Black Panther Party for Self Defense are one,” Shabazz said.
This relationship solidified in February 2005, when Farrakhan announced that Shabazz would co-convene the NOI’s Millions More Movement (MMM) march commemorating the 10th Anniversary of the Million Man March. In addition to helping organize the October 15 march by heavily promoting it for months beforehand (Shabazz was featured at numerous outreach events across the country, where he engaged with prominent mainstream African-American organizations, local leaders and elected officials), Shabazz organized a kickoff event on the eve of the march that featured several racist and anti-Semitic speakers.
Shabazz continues to be a frequent guest at NOI and MMM events, including the NOI’s annual Saviours’ Day conventions in Detroit in 2007 and Chicago in 2006. In the year between the two conventions, Shabazz joined Farrakhan on a delegation to Cuba that was initiated by Farrakhan in response to Hurricane Katrina, ostensibly to study the Cuban government’s “disaster preparedness and relief” models. The NOI also heavily promotes The Synagogue of Satan, an anti-Semitic book written by the NOI’s Ashahed Muhammad, for which Shabazz wrote the foreword. In it, Shabazz alleged that Israel promotes a satanic political and colonial agenda, and suggested that there is a conspiracy to silence Black leaders who challenge “White Jewish involvement” in slavery and in “athletics, entertainment, political relationships…”
Shabazz has also sought to forge alliances with the others in the Muslim community, finding common cause with Muhammad al-Asi and Imam Abdul Alim Musa, both of whom have a similar history of anti-Semitism. Al-Asi, Musa and Shabazz appeared together at a three-hour meeting at the National Press Club in October 2001, during which Shabazz blamed Zionism for the World Trade Center attacks and called the U.S. and Israel, “The number one and two terrorists right now on the planet.” Al-Asi echoed that statement, claiming that “The twin evils in this world are the decision makers in Washington and the decision makers in Tel Aviv.” Musa likened Israel to a cancer and assailed the “Zionists in Hollywood, the Zionists in New York, and the Zionists in DC” who “all collaborate” to oppress Blacks and Muslims.
Taking on what Shabazz describes as the “causes of the Muslim world” led him to the steps of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on July 18, 2002, following the pre-trial hearing of Zacarias Moussaoui, a French Moroccan later sentenced to life in prison for conspiring in the September 11 terrorist attacks. Shabazz convened a press conference to announce his interest in aiding Moussaoui’s defense. A message on the NBPP Web site at the time further illustrated Shabazz’s entirely race-driven concept of social justice:
The New Black Panther Party has determined that Zacarias Moussaoui is a Black Man, an African. Thereby drawing the interest of the New Black Panther Party who’s [sic] Ten Point Platform insists on a fair trial for Black defendants.
The New Black Panther Party will certainly conduct trial advocacy and monitoring to ensure that Zacarias is not being railroaded [sic] for the failings of others to prevent the catastrophic events of September 11th.
Shabazz also offered his legal support to Dwight “Malachi” York, founder of the United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors, a predominantly African-American, pseudo-religious group with a history of promoting racist and anti-government beliefs. In the years following York’s 2004 conviction on child molestation and racketeering charges, Shabazz advocated for a retrial, maintaining that York was a political prisoner wronged by the U.S. government and even attempting unsuccessfully to provide legal counsel to York at the maximum-security facility in Florence, Colorado, where York is serving his 135-year sentence. During an interview with The Final Call in February 2005, Shabazz implored people to overlook York’s objectionable record on behalf of the Nuwaubian Nation: “I would ask those who read this interview to support the case of Dr. Malachi York, even if we may disagree with some things that Dr. Malachi York has written. He has a following around the world and he deserves our support.”
Developing relationship with gang members has also been a priority for Shabazz. He has claimed that the NBPP’s membership includes Bloods and Crips and that it has “alliances with various street organizations.” In an open letter he wrote to the Bloods in June 2006, Shabazz said it is time “to unite and build a Black Army for the liberation and salvation of Black People.” That same month, more than 600 people, including many gang members, attended an event he organized in New York entitled “Stop the War on Black Youth and to Free All Political Prisoners.”
Despite his long record of racism and anti-Semitism, Shabazz has, at times, garnered support from elected officials and activists in the African-American community, which has provided him with increased exposure. Shabazz has developed relationships with New York City Councilman Charles Barron , former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney (D-GA), and Al Sharpton. Each endorsed the 2003 Million Youth March in Brooklyn, and appeared alongside Shabazz at other NBPP or BLJ events.