NEW YORK, June 2 -- Leaders of New York's black community say they are praying for the recovery of Malcolm X's widow, Betty Shabazz, who was critically burned in a fire allegedly set by her 12-year-old grandson. Friends say that a day after Shabazz's grandson allegedly doused her apartment with gasoline and set a fire outside her bedroom door, 1,000 ministers joined in a citywide prayer service.
Her grandson, Malcolm Shabazz, is expected to be arraigned (Tuesday) on charges of juvenile delinquency. Marge Battle, who worked with Shabazz at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn, called the incident 'horrific' and said Shabazz' friends and colleagues, as well as students at the college, are 'shocked to the core.' Battle recalled times when Shabazz brought her young grandson to work with her. Said Batttle, 'She was very close to him. He always seemed very well-behaved.' The woman went on to say that Shabazz was 'very dedicated to keeping alive the legacy of her husband, Malcolm X.' While three of Shabazz's daughters kept vigil at her bedside, a prayer service in her honor was also held at the college by about 300 clergy, students and faculty members. The City Council's black and Latino caucus described Shabazz as 'an icon of strength' for all Americans and encouraged all New Yorkers to pray for her recovery. NAACP Chairman Myrlie Evers-Williams also had kind words for the woman who survived the assassination of her husband, raised six daughters and earned a doctorate in education. Evers-Williams calls her the 'epitome of a strong woman.' ---
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