Farrakhan's Feeble Apology

Imagine being 6 years old and living in hell.

Picture a man who's fighting to evict you from your home, harassing you with round-the-clock threatening phone calls, and sending goons to lurk outside your windows and menace you with shotguns whenever you venture forth. Visualize henchmen forcing your allies' cars off the road, firebombing your home (while you, your father, your pregnant mother, and your three small sisters sleep), colluding with the police and FBI to position assassins wherever you appear, inciting your father's murder (which you and your family witness), then taking his place in the organization that your martyred father has put on the map.

Now imagine that 35 years later, the man who is at least partially responsible for the ruination of your childhood has grown elderly and become rich from the profits of the empire wrested from your father over his dead body. Would a general "statement of regret" that denied direct involvement in your father's murder and that began, "As I may have been complicit in words that I spoke" suffice? Would it even come close?


Those are the questions that Attallah Shabazz, the oldest daughter of Malcolm X, and her five sisters are faced with in the wake of the "60 Minutes" interview that recently brought Shabazz and Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, together at his home in Arizona. Although Farrakhan delicately avoided specifics like the ones listed above, and probably remains safely hidden from the proof of any direct links, Farrakhan has long been suspected of much more than what press reports politely synopsize as "incendiary rhetoric" where Malcolm was concerned.

What were Farrakhan's words but a fatwa of the type that the Ayatollah Khomeini issued against Salman Rushdie?


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