Minister Malik Shabazz --not to be confused with Malik Zulu Shabazz, the Chairman of the New Black Panther Party-- drew attention Monday evening at a financial board hearing in Detroit, where he said that he would burn down the city before seeing it "taken over" by an emergency manager in the wake of the city's debt crisis.
An activist in his own right with the New Black Panther Nation/New Marcus Garvey movement, Shabazz said: "This is white on black crime...This is white supremacy, and we will fight you. And before we will let you take over our city, we will burn it down first."
The statement was a reaction to the Detroit's declaration of financial emergency on Monday, and the consequent "emergency manager" that could be appointed if the city's budget is not restructured. However, the financial review team, Governor Snyder, and Mayor Bing have all said that they too want to avoid such an outcome, and are working to find an alternate solution by the end of the week.
According to Detroit Free Press, "For many in attendance [at the meeting], the state's threat...stirs bitter memories of unfair wages and forced segregation."
Shabazz explained that he sees "fascism being inflicted upon the peoples of the inner cities of Michigan," particularly in the cities where emergency managers have taken over. But though many are sympathetic to the struggles of those in Detroit, that doesn't mean they agree that burning down the city is the best solution.
WJBK-TV met up with the minister after the event and pushed back on the race-baiting, telling him, "You're out of your mind!" The colorful reporter, Charlie LeDuff, even asked, "What the fu** is a matter with you?"
LeDuff and Shabazz were eventually able to reach a conclusion with Shabazz conceding, "Don't burn it down...Don't burn the city, but burn evil and injustice and white supremacy -- not white people."
But not before a passionate conversation: