Detroit Preacher Who Said ‘Burn City Down’ Calls For Peace, Plans To Rally

DETROIT (Talk Radio 1270) Detroit Rev. Malik Shabazz continued on Tuesday to defend and explain his headline-making comments that residents would “burn the city down” if outside financial management is approved.

Shabazz visited Charlie Langton’s Talk Radio 1270 morning show to say young people shouldn’t take what he said literally. “I’m a man of peace, I’m not going to burn the city, burn a building, a cat or anything,” Shabazz said.

Shabazz said he plans to head to City Council to rally at 10 a.m. Tuesday to tell Council to “tear up the consent agreement.” The consent agreement discussion is where Shabazz made his incendiary statement, as the state tries to get Detroit to enact an agreement that would give a nine-member board oversight of the city’s finances.

After borrowing more than $600 million since 2005, many experts say Detroit is still on the brink of bankruptcy. But many residents and council members are fighting the consent agreement, which they believe would wrestle control of the city away from its democratically elected leaders. Some, including Shabazz, believe it’s based in racism.

Shabazz said Gov. Rick Snyder is pushing the agreement because he’s a white supremacist. He also called city leaders “Uncle Toms.”

“Tear up that document,” Shabazz said about the consent agreement on Langton’s show. “Use it for toilet paper and stand with the people.”

The reaction was immediate, with caller Dale saying,”Every time you’re saying white supremacy, you’re creating division.”

Caller John Groner said he’s a fan of Shabazz and all the things he’s tried to do in Detroit, but thought the “burn it down” comment was unfortunate. “I know it was a metaphor, but it scared the hell out of me,” Groner said.

“I’m not going to burn anything,” Shabazz said, “I’m for peaceful, powerful, constructive change. All of us have to sit down, get together and be honest. We’ve got to deal with this thing from a historical, global perspective.”

He went on to explain where his comments came from, telling caller after caller about the “historical aspects of race.”

“I stated history, wherever the white man has gone, the native, natural indigenous people who were already there for eons
and eons were wiped out,” Shabazz said. “Genocide, and then you make treaties with them and break every treaty.”

One caller rebutted, saying,”The Native Americans were slaughtering each other, everybody was taking land from each other. In Africa, they were enslaving their own and selling to the white slavers…Everything he said, the historical aspect of race, was a total fallacy.”

Another said, “Do you think all the men who fought in the Civil War — Do you think they died in vain? They were white and they wanted to free the black man.”

“The Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery, that’s a myth,” Shabazz said. “It was fought over secession, it was fought
over whether the country was going to move Industrial.”

Langton asked Shabazz to move his race discussion up to present time. “Yesterday is connected to today…They’re inseparable. The only way we’re going to come together as one family is to understand the crime of yesterday.”

Another caller questioned the idea that blacks are victims.

“I’ve got to call you out Malik, I’m a white guy who used to live in Detroit, what got me to where I was…It was the decisions I made and the actions I took. Me being a white guy, homeless, was that white supremacy?”

“Abject poverty is a crime against all of us,” Shabazz said. “It’s the United States government fault. For anyone to be homeless in the richest land on the planet…is a shame before God. We have the mortgage companies…They can trick people and give them toxic homes, people can’t handle it…As individiuals we bear some responsibility for the decisions we make, but the government can do better.”

“We’ve got 90,000 people right now getting ready to be foreclosed in Detroit, there’s something wrong.”

Former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s brother-in-law Daniel called, first to say Kilpatrick, who faces federal corruption charges after a local perjury conviction and owes the city hundreds of thousands of dollars, is also a victim — then to discuss the consent agreement. On Kwame, he said, “If it was me, I wouldn’t pay nothing. That man’s paid his debt to society. What is the money for? Who are the victims in all of this? Who actually put this money on this man?”

He went on to say Europeans have stolen $4.1 trillion “from the African people,” in the last few centuries while asking for “accountability.”

As for today, Daniel said Detroit has enough lawyers, doctors and accountants to keep itself running.

“I’m for us governing ourselves, we have everything we could possibly need,” Daniel said.

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