Born (with the name Paris Lewis) in Los Angeles in 1967, Malik Zulu Shabazz has been a significant figure in radical Black Muslim politics since the mid-1990s. He currently heads the New Black Panther Party
(NBPP), whose twin hallmarks are anti-white and anti-Semitic hatred. A
practicing attorney and a frequent speaker on college campuses, Shabazz
holds a bachelor's degree from Howard University and a J.D. from Howard
University Law School. During his undergraduate college years, he was an
aggressive campus organizer; in 1988 he founded Unity Nation, a self-described "black revolutionary" student group.
In the 1990s, Shabazz's militant temperament caught the eye of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, protégé of Nation of Islam (NOI) leader Louis Farrakhan. Muhammad, who was the chairman of NBPP at the time, called the young Shabazz "one of the greatest student leaders of all time." Muhammad would soon become Shabazz's revered mentor who, according to Shabazz, "helped to shape my life and was a captain and minister over me."
The other major influence on Shabazz's intellectual development was
Louis Farrakhan. "I met Minister Louis Farrakhan on my college campus
and it absolutely changed my life," says Shabazz.
After graduating from law school and passing the bar exam, Shabazz
worked as a campaign aide and spokesman for Marion Barry, the
scandal-plagued, three-term mayor of Washington, DC. During that same
period, Shabazz became a member of the rap music group The Defiant
Giants; he took the stage name "Zulu King Paris" and helped record the album Rise, Black Man, Rise.
Soon thereafter Shabazz joined the Nation of Islam, whose legendary
anti-Semitism dovetailed neatly with Shabazz's own contempt for Jews. "I
say to all Jewish people and all white people," he told a Howard
University audience in April 1994 "… stop pushing your Holocaust down my
throat, when the black holocaust is the worst holocaust humanity has
ever seen." Five months later at the same school, Shabazz warned: "We
will never bow down to the white, Jewish, Zionist onslaught."
In 1995 Shabazz helped organize and promote Louis Farrakhan's "Million
Man March" in Washington, DC. The day before the March (which was held
on October 16), a number of NOI devotees organized, as a preview to the
following day's activities, an event billed as the “Black African
Holocaust Nationhood Conference” (BAHNC). Serving as master of
ceremonies, Shabazz told those in attendance that blacks were little
more than outcasts of American society. Whites, he said, "made…colleges
and institutions, black and white, not to free us but to make us better
servants of white folks. Where's your proof? Look at our condition....
The matter of fact is we [are] still niggers in America." "The
Caucasians and the Government are arrogant," Shabazz added, "telling us
how to suffer. America should be glad that every black man is not on a
killing spree for all the suffering they [white Americans] have done."
The highly anticipated climax of the BAHNC proceedings began when
Shabazz introduced the event's final scheduled speaker, Khalid Abdul
Muhammad. With the audience standing and cheering, Shabazz said: "We
wanna bring on a man who gives the white man nightmares. We wanna bring
on a man who makes the Jews pee in they [sic] pants at night. He's like
black Raid on white roaches." At that point, Muhammad stepped to the
microphone and delivered a blistering attack on white “devil[s]” and
In 1997 Shabazz joined NBPP and quickly became the party's national attorney and spokesman.
Shabazz was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the National Bar
Association. That same year, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the
Washington, DC city council, garnering just 8 percent of the vote (15,644 votes).
Also in 1998, Shabazz co-organized (with Khalid Abdul Muhammad) an
NBPP-sponsored "Million Youth March" in Harlem, New York, which drew
about 6,000 people and ended in clashes between the attendees and city
police. Just prior to that event (which was held on September 5),
Shabazz had threatened
to kill any police officers who might be tempted to "interfere" with
the proceedings. Then, in his address to the marchers, Shabazz
stated: "The only solution any time there is a funeral in the black
community, is a funeral in the police community." "I don't care what the
Jews say," he added.
"You [blacks] are the only people that have been in bondage for over
400 years. You are the true chosen people of God, and it is not the
In August 2000, Shabazz was a featured speaker at Al Sharpton's "Redeem the Dream"
rally at the Lincoln Memorial, where he (Shabazz) delivered his "I Have
a Black Dream" speech calling for a race war in America. Shabazz spoke
of a “black jury” finding “white America” guilty of “injustice and
racism”; he called on black young people, including “gang members,” to
unite against the “common enemy”; and he articulated a “black dream that
when we see caskets rolling in the black community…that we will see
caskets and funerals in the community of our enemy as well.” He also
expressed "solidarity with Reverend Sharpton."
In October 2000, Richard J. Rosendall, an openly gay writer and the
former president of the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of
Washington, DC, sent Shabazz an email needling him about his poor
showing as a candidate in the aforementioned 1998 city council election
in DC. Shabazz’s response
to Rosendall contained the following sentiments, all in capital
letters: "LEAVE ME ALONE SICK LITTLE FAGGOT.… YOU WILL GET CRUSHED,
LITTLE DEVIL …"
When Khalid Abdul Muhammad died unexpectedly in February 2001, Shabazz was disconsolate. “I was beyond hurt,” said Shabazz.
“I was devastated. I was crushed.... He was so strong. He was so
beautiful. He was so brilliant." On another occasion, Shabazz said,
in tribute to his late mentor: "I could never thank God enough for a
bold, bald-headed black man who taught me what I know, and I come in his
spirit today in what seems to be walking in his footsteps....
Uncompromising and fearless – the enemy didn't like him. But I love him.
The minister and doctor Khalid Abdul Muhammad."
With Muhammad gone, Shabazz took the reins of NBPP and relocated the organization's headquarters from New York to Washington, DC. Soon thereafter he organized a boycott
of a local Korean-American-owned store after a dispute between the
merchant and a black teenage girl had resulted in a fight that was
caught on videotape. Shabazz and NBPP staged a week-long protest on the
sidewalk in front of the market, with the demonstrators chanting, "Death
to the Bloodsucker." The store was eventually firebombed, though
Shabazz and NBPP claimed no connection to that incident.
head of NBPP, Shabazz traveled to various cities across the United
States—among them Cincinnati (Ohio), Louisville (Kentucky), and Decatur
(Alabama)—to recruit new members, stirring their passions by claiming
that police brutality against black Americans was reaching epidemic
proportions. In large part as a result of Shabazz's efforts, NBPP grew
rapidly into an organization with 47 separate chapters.
Depicting America As a Racist Nation:
Shabazz reads American history as an unpunctuated narrative of
white-perpetrated racism and oppression, a reality which he claims the
schools are afraid to teach:
"They teach you lies: George Washington was the father of our
country. Thomas Jefferson was the father of our country. Christopher
Columbus discovered America in 1492. Is that what they teach?... Oh, but
I know a different Christopher Columbus. I know a different George
Washington. I know a different Thomas Jefferson. I know a Christopher
Columbus that came to the West Indies or the Caribbean and wiped out the
Arouak Indians! I ... know a Christopher Columbus that came and began
the holocaust of the Indians they wiped out — I'm talking about white
folks. Wiped out 90 percent of the Indians in America, lied to the
Indians over and over again, broke treaties, killed and murdered 90
percent of the Indians — straight-up genocide.... George Washington!
What about the George Washington that raped black women? What about the
George Washington that had as many slaves as are sitting in this room?
George Washington was a hypocrite, claiming a country that's free and
just for all at the same time tradin' black men and women like a keg of
molaskus — a keg of molasses — a chicken or a keg of whisky. Ol' Thomas
Jefferson, old wooden-teeth-wearin', wig-wearin' Thomas Jefferson,
nothin' but a slave-master, a slave-owner, an Indian-killer. Andrew
Jackson! Indian killers, slave traders, slave owners!"
Shabazz has characterized America's Founding Fathers as "snakes" and terrorists. In 2003 he recorded a rap album featuring excerpts of his speeches and titled Amerikkka's Most Hated. The corrupted spelling of "America"—a trope of the Sixties terrorist group Weatherman—signified the nation's allegedly intractable and ubiquitous white racism.
According to Shabazz, white racism remains as harmful today as it was during the era of slavery:
"This is not just slavery.... [T]his is up until the 1940s, 1950s, a
favorite habit of theirs [whites] is to take a black man and ... take a
rope and wrap it around his neck and hang him from a tree. Our holocaust
did not last six years, our holocaust did not last 12 years, you
talkin' about a 400-year holocaust! ... We are the only ones who have
been in a land that is not our own for 400 years, stripped of our name,
our language, our religion, our culture, and our god. Huh? Castrate the
black man! Take the black man, cut his genitals off! Take the genitals,
ram it in his mouth and light the black man on fire! And they sit around
eating popcorn and laugh about it! Huh? Havin' picnic, which really
comes from the origin 'pick-a-nigger.' Picnic comes from the origin pick
a 'nigger'! 'Pick a nigger' to lynch and go an' get some food and
popcorn and laugh about it! No genuine human being could lynch another
human being without just cause and sit around and laugh and smile and
eat popcorn about it.... The black man to them has always been a threat,
and they get joy out of hanging the black man. They get joy out of
either physically hanging you, or they get joy out of mentally and
politically hanging you."
From the outset of his career as a public figure, Shabazz has
regularly trumpeted his outrage over the alleged epidemic of
white-on-black violence in the United States. "[T]he number one opponent
in Black history has been white racism and white attacks on Black
people," he states. "If any racist, straw-chewin', tobacco-chewin'
racist redneck lays their hand on any black man or woman in this
county," Shabazz said
at an April 2001 news conference in Bowie, Maryland, "crush that devil
that is trying to do you harm and to do you evil in the name of God and
in accordance with your legal rights."
Shabazz believes that
all black prisoners in the United States should be set free, on grounds
that they could not possibly have been tried fairly by the racist
criminal-justice system of a racist nation. In 2002 he expressed his solidarity with then-murder suspect Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin,
who was ultimately convicted of killing a black sheriff's deputy in
Georgia. Shabazz is also a devoted supporter of convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu Jamal. In 2003 Shabazz created
Black Lawyers for Justice, an organization promoting the notion that
black inmates have been unjustly railroaded into their prison cells.
Shabazz's call for the release of black inmates is consistent with the ideals of the original Black Panther Party that was established in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale.
While NBPP has an identity separate from that of the former
organization—and has been attacked by the old Panther guard for
"stealing" the name—Shabazz is adamant about keeping the faith. "We love
Brother Huey Newton," says Shabazz.
"We love the Panthers of the 1960s but the New Black Panther Party, by
and large, reads and studies the Teachings of the Honorable Elijah
Muhammad and we respect the leadership of Minister Louis Farrakhan."
Shabazz's speeches are commonly laced with variations of the statement, "All praise is due to Allah. Black power! Black power! Black power! Black power!" He refers to blacks as "God's chosen people," and has borrowed his mentor Khalid Abdul Muhammad's signature phrase: "I didn't come to pin the tail on the donkey, I came to pin the tail on the racist honky!"
During a March 23, 2011 radio interview, Shabazz unambiguously articulated his vision of what group posed the greatest danger to black people:
“We have a common enemy: the white man. And the white man’s system,
his way of doing things, his way of operating. That’s what we mean by
‘the white man.’ His military, his planes, his aircraft carriers, his
bombs, his missiles, his imperialism, his colonialism, his Zionism.
That’s the real enemy, what we call the white man.”
Even as he denounces what he depicts as the scourge of white
supremacy, Shabazz embraces his own philosophy of racial
superiority—merely the mirror image of the worldview he ascribes to the
legions of racist whites purportedly peppering the American landscape:
"We [blacks] are the original people on the planet. We are
responsible for the existence of the white race!... You are the mothers
and the fathers of the brown man. The yellow man. And the white man and
the white woman. And no matter how you look at these people you call
niggers, no matter how you look down on black people, remember you're
lookin' at your mother and lookin' at your your father. Huh? They should
bow down when they see you in the hallways — bow down and kiss the feet
of the black woman. And say if it were not for you, black woman, I
wouldn't have even a biological chemical existence. Huh? Black Power!
Black Power!... you are the original people but they don't want you to
know it; according to them you're nothing but a nigger! Black Power!
Black Power!... Our genes are dominant, white genes are recessive. A
black man and a black woman can produce brown. You can produce red,
queen! You can produce yellow! You can produce white and something
that's whiter than white, 180 degrees opposite in either direction! But
if Bob and Jill — if Bob and Jill get together, they can do it all day,
all night — they can produce nothing but a little white baby. It's
because Mendel, the German scientist — I'm talkin' facts here now —
Mendel the German scientist teaches us that dark genes are dominant and light genes are recessive. Black Power!"
Given his hatred for white people, it is not at all surprising that Shabazz is a racial separatist:
"The perfect world for us [blacks] would be ... a nation of our own.
We want our own land, factories and farms. We are tired of demonstrating
against police brutality year after year, month after month, [saying]
'Please treat us right. Stop discriminating against us.' It seems almost
impossible to achieve real justice within the confines of White racist
America. So, the perfect world, of course, is a Black nation. The
perfect world for us would be the Honorable Louis Farrakhan as our
president and a Congress with our best politicians, scholars,
researchers, thinkers and activists working under a divine chain of
Shabazz on 9/11, the Jews, and Israel:
In the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Shabazz defendedOsama bin Laden
and blamed President George W. Bush for the horrors of that day. During
an October 31, 2001 news conference at the National Press Club, Shabazz
called America and Israel the “number one and two terrorists right now on the planet,” and he blamed Zionism for the 9/11 attacks:
“Zionism is racism, Zionism is terrorism, Zionism is colonialism,
Zionism is Imperialism, and support for Zionism is the root of why so
many were killed on September 11.... Zionists control America, lock,
stock and barrel. The European Jews have America under control, lock,
stock, and barrel, the media, foreign policy."
During an NBPP meeting on March 22, 2002—six
months after 9/11—Shabazz held up picture of Osama bin Laden and
praised him as a Muslim "brother" and "a bold man" who was "not bowing
down" to the West, but rather was "standing up" for his beliefs and
"bringing reform to this world." Shabazz reasoned that because bin Laden
had caused both President Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to
be "shaking and quaking," the al Qaeda
leader "got to be some kind of friend of yours and mine." Urging his
listeners to "give [bin Laden] his respect," Shabazz said: "Let's give
him a hand, man." His listeners responded with enthusiastic applause.
At a pro-reparations rally in 2002, Shabazz blustered,
"The President wants to talk about a terrorist named bin Laden. I don't
want to talk about bin Laden. I want to talk about a terrorist called
Christopher Columbus. I want to talk about a terrorist called George
Washington. I want to talk about a terrorist called [New York City
Mayor] Rudy Giuliani. The real terrorists have always been the United
Snakes of America."
On numerous occasions,
Shabazz has intimated that Jewish conspirators possessed exclusive
foreknowledge of the 9/11 attacks and thus were able to save their own
lives that day by not going to their respective workplaces in the World
Trade Center, the main target of the suicide hijackers. For instance, at
a July 3, 2003 news conference in Morristown, New Jersey, Shabazz said:
“If 3,000 people perished in the World Trade Center attacks and the
Jewish population is 10 percent, you show me records of 300 Jewish
people dying in the World Trade Center. We're daring anyone to dispute
its truth. They got their people out." (Note: As of 2001, there were 5.2 million Jews in the United States, 1.9 percent of the American population.)
In a January 2002 interview, Shabazz spoke out
against U.S. aid to Israel: "There is no moral reason why America
should support the colonial and imperial state of Israel. They have
stolen land from the Palestinians, killing and murdering the
Palestinians on that land…. In truth, the land belongs to the African,
who was pushed out of Palestine, Egypt and Northern Africa."
At an April 2002 protest outside B'nai B'rith headquarters in Washington, DC, Shabazz said: "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"
At a July 7, 2004 interfaith vigil protesting the mass killing of blacks in Sudan, Shabazz said:
“The Zionist has no right to open his mouth anywhere on the planet.” He
explained further that the Jews were “Zionist liars” who were “robbing
the gold mines in Africa,” and who had “the blood of Palestinians on
Promoting the false notion that Jews played a
major role in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Shabazz states that Jews
"are absolutely in fear today, of a message that will come to the
student that will expose their involvement in their crimes, historically
and presently against Black people."
On other occasions, Shabazz has said the following about Jews and the state of Israel:
“The Jews have taken the entire state of Israel, West Bank, and
Gaza, all of that is stolen territory. And they are the reason that
someone else would blow themselves up. It is not the Palestinians'
fault. It is the fault of the Zionists.” (March 10, 2006)
"The New Black Panther Party stands in 100 percent solidarity with
the Palestinian people. As you know, we're strong opponents of Zionism.
We're strong opponents of the U.S. policy of strictly supporting Israel.
We find no legal or legitimate basis, really for the existence of the
Zionist state.… I say to the Palestinian people to continue to stand up
and continue to resist and never forget the blood of the martyrs that
went before them.”
"Who's the real
racists? Is it me or is it the Zionists?... Who went in crushin' over
two million Palestinians outta that land? Then they kept startin' wars
with their Arab neighbors to grab more and more land; that's part of
what Zionism is, to take as much land as they can. If they could get
away with it they'd swallow up Gaza. If they could get away with it
they'd swallow up — uh ... the West Bank, they'd swallow up Jordan.
They'd swallow up the Golan Heights.... How can you be a Jew and say you
[sic] a Zionist? How can you be a Jew and participate in the taking of
another people's land? And right — and ripping them off of their land
and killing them on their land. They just bulldoze the houses!
Drove them off the land and today they say they don't even have the
right to return.... Look at what they do to the Palestinians, flyin'
helicopters, shootin' missiles into they [sic] houses. Huh? They don't
like em they just bulldoze your house. Take a bulldozer, bulldoze your
houses. The blood of the Palestinians on the hands of the Zionists drips
all the way down into the core of the planet Earth."
More of Shabazz's Words and Actions:
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina's devastation of New Orleans in September 2005, Shabazz visited that city and reported:
"Wholesale police brutality is being waged against the [mostly black]
victims of this natural disaster." He charged that police sniper units
were trying to provoke black residents into disorderly behaviors that
could justify "opening fire on groups of black males randomly and
indiscriminately." Shabazz further claimed that when the storm hit New
Orleans, the American government treated black people as hostages and
slaves, refusing to let them flee for safety. "[T]his is more of a
racist occupation of subjugation rather than a relief effort," said
In October 2005, Shabazz was appointed by Louis
Farrakhan to be a Co-Convener of the "Millions More Movement" marking
the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March.
after Election Day 2008, Shabazz became the subject of controversy when
it was revealed that he had dispatched two members of his NBPP to stand outside an open polling station in Philadelphia and intimidate white voters with racial slurs and threats of violence. Shabazz instructed
the men (one of whom was armed with a nightstick) to "use all means at
your dispoal" to "stop angry whites" from voting against Barack Obama. On January 7, 2009, the Justice Department under President Bush filed criminal
charges against Shabazz and the two men for violating the 1965 Voting
Rights Act. The failure of all three Panthers to appear in court led to
an order by U.S. District Judge Stewart Dalzell to seek judgments or
sanctions against them. In May 2009, however, the Justice Department—now
under President Obama—dismissed the case.
that on September 27, 2010 in New York City, he attended a secret
meeting with Louis Farrakhan, fifty Imams, and Iranian President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad (the latter was in town for a UN visit). When asked by an
interviewer about this meeting, Shabazz did not reveal explicitly what
was discussed, but implied that the participants had talked “about
perhaps bringing natural gas and oil and other reparations [in
compensation for past Arab slaving activities] into the black nation,”
along with “other things—unmentionable.” “Anything I do is for
revolution for black people, no matter what it is,” Shabazz added.
Indicating that the tenor of the New York meeting was positive, he then
said: “You know, there is no greater enemy than the white man. You
know, uh, again we have to learn because it’s just as many Arabs who
hate this white man as we do. So, am I not to ally myself, alliance
myself with this Arab in fighting this white man?”
2012, Shabazz and NBPP weighed in on the explosive case of Trayvon
Martin, a black teenager who had recently been shot and killed under
disputed circumstances by a "white Hispanic" named George Zimmerman in Sanford, Florida. Declaring
that “White America” had “failed black people” for “400 years” and
would no longer be permitted to “kill black children and get away with
it,” the Panthers initially offered a $10,000 bounty for the “capture” of Zimmerman—"dead or alive." Soon thereafter, the Panthers upped the ante to $1 million, a sum which they expected to collect in donations “from the black community [including] athletes and entertainers.” Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
also worked aggressively to draw attention to the Martin case, though
they did not condone Shabazz's and NBPP's implicit approval of violence