by People’s Minister of Information JR Valrey
The 29th birthday of the late El Hajj Malcolm Latif Shabazz, the grandson of the late great El Hajj Malik El Shabazz aka Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, will be commemorated on Oct. 8, 2013. This is the first birthday since he was brutally murdered in Mexico City on May 9, 2013.
There are no new answers coming from the U.S. or the Mexican government in regards to motive and who is responsible. Two employees of a bar that Malcolm supposedly walked into were arrested after allegedly beating Malcolm to death.
Since that time a number of Afro-Mexicans have organized themselves to protest the killings of Blacks in Mexico with Malcolm being the most recent case. They have been on a hunger strike and protesting, and many were also beaten by police for the activities.
Shaykh Hashim Alauddeen was Malcolm’s Imam, and the one who presided over Malcolm’s funeral in Oakland. Malcolm at times lived with Hashim and his family and on a very regular basis consulted with him about life. I wanted to give Shaykh Hashim the opportunity to share a little bit about his relationship with young Malcolm.
M.O.I. JR: It has been five months since Malcolm’s assassination in Mexico City. Do we have any new information on who is responsible?
Shaykh Hashim: I have really no new information concerning what has happened in Mexico City, but there is an ongoing investigation, which, God willing, will help us all get to the bottom of what happened and put a rest to ours and his mother’s heart.
Shaykh Hashim: I don’t think that either government is as concerned as they could be because they do not hold Malcolm or the Shabazz family close to their hearts as we do. If it was a person whom either government looked up to, or a family with political power, it may be another story. But to me their lack of interest is not important. What is important is the lack of interest of African Americans towards the hardships that have fallen not only on Malcolm, but the Shabazz family as a whole.
M.O.I. JR: How did you meet Malcolm? How did you become his Imam? Please define Imam for the non-Muslims.
Shaykh Hashim: Wow, I met Malcolm on Facebook of all places. A friend of mine told me that he had met Malcolm in Syria at the tomb of Zainab, the revolutionary granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad, and I added him on Facebook.
Then one day he sent me a message asking if I could teach him Shia Islam, and could he come and live with me and my family. I without a hesitation said yes. I told him I was indebted to his grandfather’s teachings and sacrifice, and I would be honored to have him as a guest in my home.
An Imam or Shaykh is a special word given to Muslim leaders in our communities. Malcolm would tell people that I was his Imam or Shaykh because I functioned in that role for him but only God knows.
Shaykh Hashim: He was quiet, very kind and humble. He was very eager to learn about Islam and the plight of African Americans and was very dedicated to unifying all oppressed peoples in the world for justice. He was very similar to his grandfather after he returned from hajj, where he had set up multiple organizations, both religious and non-religious, to help with the upliftment of the human race.
M.O.I. JR: Why and when did Malcolm come to the Bay? What did Malcolm like about the Bay?
Shaykh Hashim: Malcolm and I would always argue about which coast was the best, east or west. I told him that no matter where you come from, you have to go through the Bay to get your game.
The Bay is the imperial homeland for Black struggle and has laid the foundation for counter-culture. Even Pac learned the game when he got to the Bay. So we studied the history of each coast and saw that the Bay still is the base for activity.
But what had me win the argument was when I asked him who was in contact with him while he was captive in the gulags of New York, and he said JR, Rashida and Yuri (Kochiyama) – all who had contact with the Bay. And he loved the Black Panther Party and saw them as living the political legacy of his grandfather.
M.O.I. JR: What is the significance of the Bay Area in the life of El Hajj Malik Shabazz?
Shaykh Hashim: On Oct. 11 will be the 50 year anniversary of Malcolm X’s speech at UC Berkeley. He came then and had a big influence not only on African Americans also on many white and Asian activists. It was not until after his martyrdom that we see the affects that his legacy had in the lives and organizations of the Bay.
You can find all of the different dimensions of Malcolm all over the Bay, but the political aspects were mainly in the activities of the Black Panther Party, Weather Undergound, free speech and anti-war movements and even in Richard Pryor’s comedy.
M.O.I. JR: How would you compare and contrast the life of young Malcolm with that of his grandfather?
Sahykh Hashim: What I find the most significant is that both of them love God and their people. Young Malcolm never was able to fully develop, but just like his grandfather both were in constant battle to purify the self and help uplift humanity.
Also both Malcolm, his mother, Qubilah, and Malcolm X had beautiful smiles. I once told young Malcolm that his grandfather’s smile was like reassurance to Black folks not to worry; we will get through this. Even when he was shot, he was still smiling.
M.O.I. JR: Why was Malcolm’s funeral held in Oakland?
Shaykh Hashim: I had asked Malcolm’s mom to allow me to do the rites here in Oakland for various reasons: 1) I wanted to make sure that his burial was done in accordance with the Islamic principles of the Prophet’s Family (ahul bayt). 2) I had no doubt that he loved the Bay was going to settle down here in the future. Also, a selfish reason was that I wanted to be close to visit his grave and pray for him.
She allowed for his ceremony to be here and out of respect, with which I agreed, to place his body with his grandparents. Notably, we were looking for grave sites, and we attempted to find one near Little Bobby Hutton, since young Malcolm had such a fond appreciation for Little Bobby’s sacrifice.
M.O.I. JR: There was an outpouring of financial support for Malcolm after he was brutally assassinated. Why do you think these same people did not support him when he was alive?
Shaykh Hashim: No, but on the real, many of the people who did help out were of the lower income class and did not have a lot of money. I got people who sent $5 to $10. That money was straight love and from the heart.
My problem was with the big money people who say they love Malcolm X and promised Malcolm to help but didn’t, like Spike Lee and Denzel Washington. I have the letter he wrote to Denzel asking for help because Denzel offered help while he was making the film Malcolm X. Never heard from him while he was living and not even a letter of condolence. But don’t get me started.
M.O.I. JR: Where were some of the places Malcolm travelled and spoke that he told you about?
Shaykh Hashim: Malcolm loved his trips to Libya, Syria and his pilgrimage to Mecca. I remember he called me from Mecca so excited to tell me he was able to get into the cave where the Prophet Muhammad first received the revelation. He was also happy that he met Shaykh Amri, the leader of the Shia Muslims in Medina, Arabia, and was shocked to find that they all were Black and look just like African Americans.
M.O.I. JR: How could people assist Malcolm’s children financially?
Shaykh Hashim: Very soon I believe that something official will be set up to assist in helping his children. Until then it is important that we honor all of the children and families of our fallen souljahs with prayers and supplication.
M.O.I. JR: What is the greatest lesson that you learned from the life of young Malcolm?
Shaykh Hashim: A luta continua. The struggle continues.
The People’s Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.