The family of Malcolm X (El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz) is experiencing another moment of unexpected sadness with the death of Malikah Shabazz. According to the police, Shabazz, who was the twin sister of Malaak Shabazz and Malcolm and Dr. Betty Shabazz’s youngest daughters, was found dead in her home in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. She was 56.
The Amsterdam News called the NYPD press department, and a police spokesperson said, “At 4:40 p.m. [Monday, Nov. 22] we responded to an aided call, and EMS was on site. She was pronounced deceased…The initial reports said it was natural causes.”
The police added that while there was no current investigation, and “no further action on our end,” everything is open “until the medical examiner makes a final determination.”
“In this time of deep sadness from the loss of our beloved Baby sister, Malikah Sabaan Shabazz, our family extends heartfelt gratitude for the outpouring of kindness we have received from so many well-wishers from around the world,” a statement from the family to the Amsterdam News said. “We ask for your continued prayers and warm thoughts as we grieve. Malikah will now rest in peace with our parents, El Hajj Malik Al Shabazz (Malcolm X) & Dr. Betty Shabazz. The Memorial Celebration of Life will be held in the coming weeks with our eldest sister, Ambassador Shabazz, presiding. Malikah is survived by her immediate family, her loving daughter Bettih-Bahiyah, her nephew Malik-Amjhad, and her five sisters respectively, Attallah, Qubilah-Bahiyah, Ilyasah, Gamilah-Lumumba, and her beloved twin, Malaak Sabaan. Blessings and peace be unto you.”
The Rev. Al Sharpton told the Amsterdam News, “I am stunned and deeply saddened with the loss of Malikah.”
The founder of the National Action Network added, “She frequently came to NAN and worked with us on many issues, in fact she was just there three weeks ago when NAN hosted the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 80th birthday. She was a passionate and strong activist/advocate. I was too young to know her father, but I knew her mother very well (Dr. Betty Shabazz, who was godmother to my two daughters). You could see the strength and determination of her Mother in Malikah. May she Rest In Peace.”
Her death comes several days after two of the three men convicted of killing her father on Feb. 21, 1965, were exonerated. The 1966 convictions were overturned after a relentless investigation by the Innocence Project and attorneys for Muhammad Abdul Aziz (Norman 3X Butler), the lone survivor of the two convicted. Aziz, 83, was paroled in 1985. Khalil Islam (Thomas 15X Johnson) was the other and he was released in 1987 and died in 2009. If the prosecution would have rigorously pursued the case and the compelling evidence, and accepted the confession of Mujahid Halim (Thomas Hagan or Talmadge Hayer), who said the two convicted with him were innocent, a different narrative might have prevailed.
In a recent article in the Washington Informer, A. Peter Bailey, who edited the
Blacklash newsletter of the Organization of Afro-American Unity and who was a devoted Malcolmite, said that neither he nor any of the loyal followers of Malcolm were surprised or shocked by the exonerations. “Though they were reportedly ardent supporters of the assassination, neither had a position in the National of Islam needed to plan and execute such a goal,” Bailey wrote.
News about the exonerations were still a topic of discussion when Ms. Shabazz’s death commanded the headlines. A number of notable community activists and clergy issued statements of condolences, including the the Rev. Bernice King, Dr. King’s daughter, who tweeted, “I’m deeply saddened by the death of Malikah Shabazz. My heart goes out to her family, the descendants of Dr. Betty Shabazz and Malcolm X.”
“I pray that Allah has mercy upon Malikah Shabazz,” said Abdur-Rahman Muhammad, an independent scholar who was featured in Netflix’s “Who Killed Malcolm X?” That production gave momentum to the renewed investigation of Malcolm’s murder and the subsequent exonerations. “My prayers are with the entire Shabazz family at this time. This is such a tragedy.”
“Our hearts are truly heavy and saddened on learning of the passing of Malikah Shabazz!” said Assemblyman Charles and City Councilwoman Inez Barron. “Malikah had a beautiful caring loving spirit! May God bless and sustain the Shabazz family! We pledge to continue our love and support for the Shabazz family, a family that has sacrificed, suffered and contributed so much for the liberation of our people! We owe it to Brother Malcolm and Sister Betty! Peace and Blessing!”
“From Allah we come and to Allah we return. May Allah be pleased with our beloved sister Malikah Shabazz,” Muhammad Mosque No. 7, Protocol Director/ Community Affairs,
Daleel Jabir Muhammad stated. “We pray that the Shabazz family and everyone who knew and loved her find comfort in the memories of her life and the life she led as a mother, sister, aunt and friend. Ameen.”
Along with her sisters, Attallah, Qubilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah, and Malaak, she is survived by her daughter, Bettih Shabazz.
Imam Talib Abdur-Rashid announced, “Insha’Allah, Salaatul Janaza for Malikah Shabazz will be on Saturday, November 27, 2021 at 10 a.m., Islamic Cultural Center, 1711 3rd Avenue, at 96th Street, New York.”