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Farrakhan says his words may have indirectly led to killing of Malcolm X

Farrakhan
Farrakhan during a CNN interview  

May 14, 2000
Web posted at: 11:06 p.m. EDT (0306 GMT)

CHICAGO (CNN) -- Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan says his words may have indirectly led to the 1965 assassination of Malcolm X, and that he regrets any connection to the death of the African-American religious and political leader.

In an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN, Farrakhan said disagreement with Malcolm X during the 1960s about the moral character of Elijah Mohammed, former Nation of Islam leader, created an environment in which the assassination could take place.

Malcolm X had suspected that Mohammed had been involved in an adulterous relationship.

'Atmosphere was manipulated'

"This atmosphere was manipulated, and unfortunately it caused the death of brother Malcolm," Farrakhan said. "So in that sense, I have been saying all along that my words helped to create this atmosphere, and so did the words of Minister Malcolm."

Farrakhan said, "I regret anything that I may have written or said that could have triggered or helped to create an atmosphere that caused the loss of life of any human being, Malcolm in particular."

Malcolm X was fatally shot on February 21, 1965, while giving a speech in the Harlem section of New York. Because three members of the Nation of Islam were convicted of the crime, family and followers of Malcolm X have long speculated that Farrakhan, a lieutenant of Mohammed's, sanctioned the killing.

Farrakhan asks forgiveness

Farrakhan said being forgiven by Malcolm X's daughter, Attallah Shabazz, is important to him.

"I would hope that forgiveness would come to us for any remarks we made, and forgiveness would come to him and to all of us who, in our zeal, took different positions on a very controversial subject," Farrakhan said.

Farrakhan was interviewed hours before the airing of a CBS "60 Minutes" program in which he says he "may have been complicit in words that I spoke leading up to February 21."



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