NEW YORK — Malcolm X's widow put aside 30 years of anger Saturday night to shake hands with Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and praise him at a fund-raiser.
"Minister Farrakhan, may the God of our forefathers forever guide you on your journey," Betty Shabazz said to cheers from more than 1,000 people at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
She also thanked Farrakhan for his "gentle words of assurance" for her daughter, Qubilah Shabazz, who was accused in January of hiring a hit man to kill Farrakhan. Farrakhan has defended Qubilah Shabazz, saying be believes she was entrapped by a federal informant.
As Betty Shabazz left the stage, Farrakhan shook her hand and began his speech.
Farrakhan again denied any involvement in Malcolm X's 1965 assassination and criticized the government for indicting Qubilah Shabazz.
"It's sad that there are those who do not want to see Sister Shabazz and I sit down and make an honest attempt at reconciliation when we are both victims of a wider conspiracy," he told the crowd.
He also asked for the files on Malcolm X to be opened "so the world may see the real truth."
Betty Shabazz sat on stage, two seats from the minister, and nodded occasionally.
She and Farrakhan had always been at odds over the assassination. While Farrakhan has denied involvement, he has admitted stirring sentiment against Malcolm X. Qubilah Shabazz told an FBI informant that she believed Farrakhan played a role in her father's death and that he now was planning to kill her mother.
The fund-raiser was to be called "A Call for Justice," but the name was changed to "A New Beginning" after prosecutors completed a deal with Qubilah Shabazz last week.
She signed an affidavit saying she accepted responsibility for her conduct in the plot but maintained her innocence. Prosecutors agreed to drop the charges after two years if Shabazz, 34, completes treatment for alcohol and psychiatric problems and stays out of legal trouble.
Proceeds from the fund-raiser were to go to the Shabazz family.