*Writing by Gozde Bayar
Africa-Press – Eritrea. Telling the true stories and the beauty and peace of Islam could help end racism and Islamophobia, according to the daughter of US civil rights leader Malcolm X.
“If we want racism to end, then we have to tell the true stories of history. If we want Islamophobia to end, we have to control that narrative and tell the true stories of Islam, the beauty and the peace of Islam,” Ilyasah Shabazz told Anadolu.
She urged people to be activated instead of “sitting back and hoping and praying for changes.”
Malik el-Shabazz, who adopted the name “Malcolm X” to symbolize his unknown African ancestral surname, preached Black empowerment at a time in American history when whites dominated society.
Visiting the street called “Malcolm X” near the US Embassy in Ankara, she said she was really “honored and proud” that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan named the street after her father.
“I had a conversation with your president a few years ago. My father loved Turkey, Islam, and the humanity of all people. It would be wonderful to name a street after him,” she said.
She said she was welcomed “really well” by the Turkish people due to his father’s work. “It makes me feel very happy, and it warms my heart,” she added.
Malcolm X “shared Islam, the oneness of humanity, the oneness of God, the oneness of man,” she said, adding that he underlined the importance of embracing the brotherhood and the sisterhood of one another.
“I’m so happy that his legacy continues to live on. I think what you do in the dark always comes to light,” she added.
Place where Malcolm X killed turned from ‘tragedy’ into a place of ‘triumph’
She said the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan, where Malcolm X was killed, was made into a center called the “Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Education Center.”
“My father was assassinated on Feb. 21, 1965, at the Audubon Ballroom in front of his wife, and his children and his followers,” she said.
My mother, Betty Shabazz, turned this venue from a place of tragedy into a place of triumph for many people. It provides cultural and educational programs to inspire the next generation of leaders with ethics and morals, she added.
Noting that she came to Ankara upon the invitation of the Yunus Emre Institute (YEE), she praised the culture, art, and history that YEE provides.
She said she would love to visit the Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz Center in Manhattan, New York City together with the YEE.
Malcolm X rose to fame in the 1950s with his meteoric ascent to power as a member of the Nation of Islam. He increasingly took centerstage over the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, and professed a flexed-muscle approach to the civil rights movement, which significantly contrasted with the peaceful philosophy of MLK, leading the public to portray Malcolm X as a militant leader.
On Feb. 21, 1965, Malcolm X was assassinated as he began a speech at the Audubon Ballroom in New York City.
Three Black men were arrested for Malcolm X’s assassination. Two of them were not even at the shooting scene that day.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office in New York reopened the case, and both wrongly convicted men were exonerated and had their sentences vacated in November 2021.