L-R: Ilhasya Shabazz, Tariq Ramadan and Malaak Shabazz
By Isseu Diouf-Campbell
A full house was waiting for Tariq Ramadan at the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Center on February 21, 2013.
The professor of Contemporary Islamic Studies at Oxford University was the keynote speaker of the Malcolm X Memorial event organized by the two daughters of the late activist, Ilhasya and Malaak Shabazz.
Ramadan addressed the audience on “The transformations of Malcolm X” he met when he was just two years old, when Malcolm visited his family in Egypt.
But before Ramadan took the floor in the former Audubon Ballroom site, Peter Bailey, a member of Malcolm X’s Organization of Afro-American Unity spoke. Bailey had refused for a long time to return to this building where Malcolm X was assassinated.
“I remember all the 20 times the brother Malcolm spoke here and I think I was at everyone of them … The last words I heard brother Malcolm say was Assalam Alaikum and the next thing I heard was the shots. I ran to the main ballroom area, people were running, screaming, crying, and cursing. It was a total chaos. I run and jumped on the stage. I looked down on him. I didn’t know what to do, what to say. The next thing I know I saw brothers coming with a stretcher. I still have a very difficult time having any kind of favorable attitude towards the hospital across the street because the doctors refused to come to the Audubon. The brothers had to go there get stretchers and bring Brother Malcolm to the hospital. I never had great feelings towards that hospital since that day.
Then I went home, later that day and my birthday was three days after the assassination. This was the worst birthday of my life.”
The event ended with a panel discussion featuring Tariq Ramadan, Dr. Ron Daniels and Imam Talib Abdur Rashid.
Photos of the event