The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has arrested Malcolm Lateef Shabazz, 28-year-old civil rights activist and grandson of the late Malcolm X, according to Iranian news reports.
The arrest allegedly occurred as Shabazz was preparing to attend a conference on film and politics in Iran, according to Press TV, citing sources outside of the United States. According to Mehr News, the FBI moved him to an unknown location, and would not provide the reason for the arrest.
The news report began attracting attention in African-American, hip-hop and American Muslim communities. It has not been independently confirmed by non-Iranian news sources. We are examining the veracity of this report.
Shabazz is Malcolm X's first male heir. He was born in Paris to Quiblah Shabazz, the second daughter of Malcolm X and Betty Shabazz, and an Algerian Muslim father. His mother moved back to the US, but had to work menial odd jobs despite her education at Princeton and the Sorbonne. Malcolm Shabazz had a nomadic childhood existence, living at different times with his mother, aunts and grandmother. In 1995, Quiblah Shabazz was indicted on charges of hiring a hitman to assassinate Louis Farakhan, whom she allegedly blamed for Malcolm X's murder.
At the age of 12, Malcolm set a fire in Betty Shabazz' apartment. This unintentionally led to her suffering extensive burn injuries, resulting in her death. As a child, he pled guilty to the childhood equivalent on manslaughter and arson. He then received a disputed diagnosis of schizophrenia. In 2002, he was sentenced to 3 and a half years in prison for robbery and burglary, being paroled in 2006. Shabazz went on to college, became a public speaker, and is currently a student at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. His reportedly working on his memoirs.
Shabazz is also a convert to Shia Islam. He was scheduled to attend the third Hollywoodism International Conference, a side event of the 31st Fajr International Film Festival in Tehran, iran. Former US senator and presidential candidate Mike Gravel attended the conference.
The alleged arrest coincides with Lifetime's release of Betty and Coretta, a TV movie purporting to depict the lives and mutual friendship of the widows of Malcolm X and Martin Luther kIng, Jr. Relatives from both families have criticized the film for alleged inaccuracies.
ILLUME sas learned that Iranian press reports about the arrest of Malcolm Lateef Shabazz were inaccurate in a major detail. The Shabazz family has stated that Malcolm was indeed arrested, but not by the FBI. The matter is not related to any federal case.