Muhammad-Abdul-Aziz
Muhammad Abdul Aziz | Biography

Quick Wiki

  • Full Name Norman Butler
  • Nickname Islamic Name - Muhammad Abdul Aziz
  • Birth Date 1983
  • Ethnicity Muslim African American
  • Nationality American
  • Religious Affiliation Islam
  • Political Affiliation Nation of Islam
Zahir Jaffer-Noor Mukaddam Court ve...
Zahir Jaffer-Noor Mukaddam Court verdict
Wrongfully Convicted of Killing Civil Rights Activist Malcolm X

Muhammad Abdul Aziz | Biography

From the beginning of the trial, both Aziz and Islam had maintained their claim of innocence, while Halim also corroborated that they were not involved with him. In addition, Halim admitted to shooting Malcolm multiple times after he was on the ground after a previous fatal shot in the heart. Nevertheless, all of them were sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment in 1966. 


Muhammad Abdul Aziz was one of the wrongfully convicted suspects of 1965 Malcolm X’s assassination who got exonerated in 2021. 

Who is Muhammad Abdul Aziz?

Muhammad Abdul Aziz, also known as Norman Butler, is one of the wrongfully convicted suspects of Muslim Political Leader Malcolm X

He was born in 1938. After high school, he served in the US Navy, and he was a lieutenant of the Nation of Islam (NOI) Militia at the Harlem Mosque. He had worked with Malcolm before his 1964 resignation from the group. 

At the time of the arrest, Aziz was out on parole. He was convicted of beating and shooting a person named Benjamin Brown, who had attempted to build a mosque in the Bronx. He was married with six children. 

Muhammad Abdul Aziz and Khalil Islam

On 21 February 1965, Malcolm X was shot 21 times while he was about to give a lecture at the Audubon Ballroom, New York. The authorities concluded that there were three suspects. One of the suspects, Mujahid Abdul Halim, also known as Talmadge X Haye, was caught on the spot. Then later, the witnesses of the Ballroom recognized Aziz and Khalil Islam, also known as Thomas Johnson, as the other two suspects.

From the beginning of the trial, both Aziz and Islam had maintained their claim of innocence, while Halim also corroborated that they were not involved with him. In addition, Halim admitted to shooting Malcolm multiple times after he was on the ground after a previous fatal shot in the heart. Nevertheless, all of them were sentenced to 20 years to life imprisonment in 1966. 

Islam was also a lieutenant of the Nation of Islam militia, who was convicted of killing Benjamin Brown like Aziz and was out on parole. He worked as Malcolm’s driver while Malcolm worked for the NOI. 

Both Aziz and Islam were 26 years old at the time of their arrest. However, even in prison, they maintained their innocence. In addition to that, in the 1970s, Halim signed an affidavit claiming that he was conspiring against Malcolm’s assassination with other two conspirators from New Jersey, but it was dismissed by the court. 

Islam was released in 1989 on parole, but he died in 2009. He converted to mainstream Islam and admonished the Nation of Islam completely in prison. 

On the other hand, after being sent to prison in 1966, Aziz was kept in solitary confinement for 19 months. On the ABC New’s show Soul of the Nation in 2022, Aziz revealed that he was not under any threat in prison as nobody there believed that he killed Malcolm. Despite that, he was kept in solitary for over a year. 

Muhammad Abdul Aziz during the 'Soul of the Nation' interview
Muhammad Abdul Aziz during the 'Soul of the Nation' Interview. (Photo: Instagram)

Aziz spent 20 years in prison and was released in 1985 on parole. But his wife had left him already. However, in 2020 a six-part Netflix documentary on the death of Malcolm X was released, which instigated a re-investigation of Aziz and Islam’s wrongful conviction. The investigation lasted for 22 months. It was led by the former district attorney of Manhattan, Cy Vance. 

Then in 2021, New York State Supreme Court gave a verdict exonerating Aziz and Islam (posthumously) from their wrongful conviction for the death of Malcolm X.

During the investigation, it was found that a crucial file proving their innocence was hidden by the FBI and NY Police Department. Therefore, based on a lack of fair trial, the supreme court concluded their exoneration. 

Subsequent to the verdict, Aziz made a formal statement concerning his and Islam’s wrongful conviction, “The more than 20 years that I spent in prison were stolen from me and my family, and while the official record now recognizes the truth that has been known for decades, nothing can undo the damage that my wrongful conviction caused to all of us.” 

Along with the statement, Aziz’s lawyer also added that they intend to receive a settlement on a compensatory deal with the state. And they are ready to file a 40 million dollar lawsuit in the absence of it. 

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Who was Malcolm X?

Malcolm X was a Civil Rights activist and preacher of Black Nationalism in the Nation of Islam. He was one of the powerful figurines during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement, who helped thousands of African American people join the NOI and find faith in racial equality in America.

He was also an advocate of self-defensive violence, which contrasted with the ideologies of influential Dr. Martin Luther King. 

Malcolm grew up watching and being racially victimized by white supremacists in America. He joined NOI in 1952 after being inspired by the NOI prophet Elijah Muhammad. But in 1963, Malcolm had fallout from the community, and he resigned in 1964.

After that break, he became a target of assassination, which was eventually played out on 21 February 1965 by Mujahid Abdul Halim, also known as Talmadge X Haye. 

He was outlived by his wife Betty Shabazz and six daughters, Attallah, Qubilah, Ilyasah, Gamilah Lumumba, and twins Malaak and Malikah. Since 2015, the State of Illinois has observed his birthday 19 May as Malcolm X Day, State of Michigan followed in 2019. 

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