Two major cultural powerhouses recently debated the influence of Africa versus the influence of the Bible. Malik Zulu Shabazz and Captain Tazaryach debated for more than five hours on April 5 on the topic, “Can we trust in Africa or can we trust in the Bible?” The event was live-streamed by BlackNews102 on the YouTube channel Sa Neter Studios.
Malik Zulu Shabazz is an attorney who previously served as chairman of the New Black Panther Party. As of 2013, he is the national president of Black Lawyers for Justice, which he co-founded in 1996. The organization advocates for victims of constitutional rights violations and other injustices specific to Black people.
In 1998, Shabazz was named “Young Lawyer of the Year” by the National Bar Association, the nation’s leading Black lawyers’ association, and ran twice unsuccessfully for a seat on the D.C. Council.
Shabazz helped organize and promote a demonstration in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 25, 2015, following the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old African-American man who died while in the custody of the Baltimore Police Department.
Captain Tazaryach is part of the Israelite School of Universal Practical Knowledge (ISUPK) — a non-profit organization based in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. The group is part of the Black Hebrew Israelite movement, which regards American Black people as descendants of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
First to speak in the debate was Shabazz, arguing that Africa should be trusted over the Bible.
Shabazz stressed that ancient Africans believed in one God.
“I bear witness that regardless of land, label, or language that it is but one God. In our African culture and our African history, we have always, throughout the span of time regardless of land, label or language we have believed in one God,” he said (time code: 8:09).
He continued, “Some call that God’ Ra’…some say ‘the Great Spirit.’ There are many names but one God. In this debate, one of the points I am going to prove is that Africans did not worship many gods but they worshiped one supreme being.”
Shabazz contends that the Bible is not as trustworthy as the history of Africans and their spirituality.
“I will prove that every prophet they cite from the Bible originated in Africa,” Shabazz said (time code: 10:34).
He added, “You should not be confined by a 6,000-year-old ‘baby’ Bible. You are the mothers and fathers of civilization. Before you, there was no one; after you, there will be no one… I’m going to prove [the Bible] is kindergarten.”
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Next up was Captain Tazaryach for his five-minute introduction. He laid out his plan to win the debate on the side of the relevance of the Bible.
“If they [Africans] believed in one God, they would have only one name,” Captain Tazaryach pointed out. “You wouldn’t need multiple names; you would have the same name.” (time code: 14:15)
The Nation of Islam, of which Shabazz was part, often refers to the Bible, Tazaryach argued.
In a 2006 speech, Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “The Old Testament of the Bible is considered a testament of law. The New Testament is considered a testament of love…But love is above the law. Love is the highest manifestation of law.”
Tazaryach continued to stress the importance of the Bible for members of the Nation of Islam, saying that Shabazz’s denunciation of the Bible goes against his Nation of Islam teaching.
It was the Nation of Islam leadership who said “the Bible is the road map to the Black man’s liberation,” according to Tazaryach.
“His leader said that the Bible is the blueprint…so he’s either going to trust the Bible, or he’s going to betray his leader,” Tazaryach said. (time code: 14:46)
For Tazaryach, the Bible is more trustworthy than Africans. “The white man would not have been able to enslave us if the Africans hadn’t sold us,” he said.
Photos: Left, Captain Tazaryach Of ISUPK discusses how he found out he was an Israelite, screenshot from YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEFMoQMYbUs. Right, Dr. Malik Zulu Shabazz, former chairman of the New Black Panther Party, leads a protest for reparations for slavery at the National Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 1, 2001. (AP Photo/Hillery Smith Garrison)
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