Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins

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First International Masonology Simposium

Content Protection. Learn More. Flag as inappropriate. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders. Continue the series. See more. Book 2. For those looking for a professionally bound edition for their Moorish Literature collection. Similar ebooks. Noble Prophet Drew Ali. At said conference, our Prophet received from the nations of America the mandate recognizing the Moors' claim to the Americas, and simultaneously, the expiration of the European mandate to occupy Moorish lands in the Western Hemisphere.

Seyyed Hossein Nasr. An accessible and accurate translation of the Quran that offers a rigorous analysis of its theological, metaphysical, historical, and geographical teachings and backgrounds, and includes extensive study notes, special introductions by experts in the field, and is edited by a top modern Islamic scholar, respected in both the West and the Islamic world.

Keith Moore This book is based on the theory that the black Muslim movement was created from the knowledge of the Masonic order. In the early decades of the 20th century, noble drew ali established a political and religious organization known today as the Moorish Science Temple of America. It was this organization that exposed black to something other than the normal Christian influences of that day.

Ali a high degree freemason, incorporated various Masonic teachings from an auxiliary group. A knowledge that was taken away from Africans during the slave trades. The theory behind this book is that the majority of the slaves that were taken from the west coast of Africa were practicing Muslims, and these Muslims were forced to convert to Christianity under the strong oppression of slavery.

At one time Afro-Americans were the biggest minority in the American society. At the beginning of the 19th century most of the so-called Negroes lived in the plantation areas of the Southern States. After the Civil War and the abolition of slavery it wasnt until the early s and 30s that blacks were beginning to experiment with other faiths. Of all the faiths Islam became the fastest growing religion and the most popular. This book by far is in no way a research into black history, instead it covers a more deeper aspect of history in which I call the history behind the history.

It explores the true Asiatic origins of the ancient religions of Hinduism, Buddhism well as the Islamic faith. We do well, therefore, to ponder closely the case of the Black Muslims. There was an air of gentle friendli- ness about him, and he hardly looked the part of a prosecuting attorney.

Slowly he turned and looked at a red-faced, tow-haired white man slumped disconsolately in the dock and flanked by two grim and alert Negro policemen. The prosecutor's eyes hardened. His jaw stiffened, and the veins stood out clearly about his temples. His right arm shot out like a rapier and froze the index finger pointing at the figure in the dock like a javelin momentarily sus- pended in flight. The white man cringed in his chair and was hauled erect by the officers. Some two thousand Negroes in the audience sat petrified with the novelty and daring of it as the young Bostonian delivered his indictment against the white man on behalf of the Black Nation of Islam: I charge the white man with being the greatest liar on earth!

I charge the white man with being the greatest drunkard on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest gambler on earth. I charge the white man, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, with being the greatest peace-breaker on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest adulterer on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest robber on earth. I charge the white man with being the greatest deceiver on earth.

I charge the white man with being the greatest trouble-maker on earth. So, therefore, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I ask you, bring back a verdict of guilty as charged! Within seconds he rose to read the verdict: "We find the defendant guilty as charged. Its repeated ovations required several curtain calls by the players. What was behind it all? Who were these people clamoring for the death of the white man? Under the leadership of Elijah Muhammad, who has been hailed by thousands inside and outside the Movement as "the most fearless Black Man in America," the Black Muslims are demanding and getting a hearing from a significant element of the Negro community.

Their ultimate demand that Black Men be allowed to set up a separate state within the United States, occupying as much as one-fifth of the nation's territory com- mands little or no attention among non-Muslim Negroes. But the lashing indictment of the white man that supports the demand, strikes a responsive, if reluctant, chord in many Negro hearts.

The Black Muslims are neither pacifists nor aggressors. They pay zealous attention to the requirements of the letter of law regarding peace and order. They engage in no "sit-ins," test no segregation statutes, participate in no "marches on Washington" or anywhere else. But they do believe in keeping the scores even, and they have warned all America that "an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth" is the only effective way to settle racial differ- ences. We will not attack anyone. We strive for peaceful relationships with everyone.

BUT [we teach our people that] if anyone attacks you, lay down your life! Every Muslim is taught never to [initiate a] fight. Respect another man's rights whether The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 5 he is white, black, brown, yellow or what-not! Respect him as a man. Nevertheless, the Muslim image is such that an eventual eruption of violence is not unanticipated. Police in many communities maintain constant alerts. In Los Angeles, for example, the news media which co- operate with the local police avoid publicizing the Movement, yet the Los Angeles police openly worry about "what it's going to take to light the fuse.

Despite these precautions, the expectation of an eventual racial clash is widespread among observers who know the Move- ment firsthand, whether as officers charged with the maintenance of public order or as Negro youth who visit the Muslim temples for a vicarious swing at "white oppression. The perspective of a New York youth is typical, if somewhat picturesque: Man, I don't care what those [Muslim] cats say out loud that's just a hype they're putting down for The Man [i. Let me tell you they've got some stuff for The Man even the Mau Mau didn't have!

If he tries to crowd them like he's been used to doing the rest of us all the time, they're going to lay it on him from here to Little Rock! I grew up with some of the cats in that temple went to school with them; ran around with them. Man, those cats have changed. They ain't for no light playing. Those cats are for real, and you'd better believe it! What is the meaning of the Black Mus- lim Movement? What kind of people belong to it, and just what are its aims? All observers agree that its membership is increasing, 6 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death yet most Negro leaders insist that the Muslim membership "should reach its peak shortly.

Why do they come? What are they after? To answer these questions, we shall have to look at the socio- logical drama of contemporary America, especially at the Ameri- can Negro's increasing dissatisfaction with the "bit" role he has been permitted to play. As one Muslim minister put it: "We've just had a 'walk-on' part. We've been nothing but background scenery for everybody else. Now we've got something to say, and we're going to say it loud enough for the whole world to hear. The convert may have found spiritual salvation in the White Man's faith; he may have acquired the White Man's culture and learnt to speak his language with the tongue of an angel; he may have become an adept in the White Man's economic technique, and yet it profits him nothing so long as he has not changed his skin.

A man who happens to be born with a different skin color cannot hope to be accepted, whatever his spiritual or intellectual merit. This observation, from the perspective of world history, is on solid sociological ground. In his famous "Yankee City" studies, W. Lloyd Warner writes: The ethnic group carries a divergent set of cultural traits which are evaluated by the host as inferior. The racial groups are divergent biologically rather than culturally. Such physical attributes as dark skin, the epicanthic fold, or kinky hair become symbols of status and automatically consign their possessors to inferior status.

The cultural traits of the ethnic group, which have become symbols of inferior status, can be and are changed in time; but the physical traits which have become symbols of inferior status are permanent. Every intelligent Negro experiences a feeling of quarantine when he ponders his future and the avenues of crea- tive existence open to him. Malcolm X, the "angriest Muslim," protests loudly and at length: "When you say 'Negro,' you're trapped right there.

Makes no difference who you are nor how many degrees you have from Harvard; if you're a Negro, you're trapped. If you're black, the doors close. No less distinguished a person than Dr. Anna Hedgman, former administrative aide to the Federal Security Administration and an administrative assistant to New York's Mayor Wagner, complained bitterly to a television audi- ence: "I don't know why white people are so absolutely wound up on this business, but [you] have to be white.

If you could manage it, you ought to be white with blue eyes and blond hair. It is unlikely that any single event since the Emancipation Proclamation of has produced so disturbing an effect, or has been so portentous of the possibility of extensive social change. There have been other scattered but hopeful indices of change in Negro-white relations since Much encouragement for change has come from the courts. Segregated seating in inter- state transportation no longer has legal sanction, and in a few areas Negro citizens now enjoy the unrestricted use of parks, beaches and other public recreational facilities.

These and similar legal advances have given impetus and encouragement to improvements in some private institutions which, by their nature, cannot be the subject of litigation aimed at desegregation. This has been par- ticularly true of some churches and church-related schools, which 8 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death have admitted Negroes although under no legal compulsion to do so.

In the economic sphere, the picture is less bright. Race re- mains a determining criterion for employment throughout the South and generally elsewhere in the country, and job restriction is a formidable barrier to the Negro citizen's fulfillment of his crea- tive potential. In spite of federal executive orders and state and municipal legislation, 13 discrimination in employment remains the rule rather than the exception. On the contrary, in many parts of the South there has been a general strengthening of traditional methods to restrict Negro voting or to exclude it altogether.

In Fayette County in west Tennessee, for example, Negroes were "starved out" for wanting to vote. For months it was impossible for Negro citizens to buy oil or gasoline for their tractors and other machinery. Bank credit for crop loans indispensable in this rural county had been stopped. No Negro could buy food or household necessities in the local white stores, and wholesale houses refused to supply Negro businesses.

Because Negroes insisted on registering to vote, as did 3, white citizens. Negroes constitute a majority in the county, but they have never been permitted even a single voice in its government. It is against this backdrop that one must come to grips with the Black Muslim Movement. The lynchings, the danger of being killed while under arrest, 16 the unevenness and uncertainty of justice in the courts, the continuing problem of simply finding a decent place to live all are contributory to the making of a Muslim and to the propagation of a mass movement of protest.

The social conditions which made Garveyism possible were similar to those obtaining at the present time, if not quite the same. We have had "Little Rock" and "Clinton, Tennessee," though there has been no wholesale murder of Negroes such as occurred during the infamous "Red Summer" of There have been improve- ments in the Negro's total status since Garvey's day a little here, a l; ttle there. But for Negroes in general, and for the Black Muslims in particular, these isolated improvements in the Negro's total status are not enough.

The tradition of disprivilege and the continuing formidable opposition to first-class citizenship are the discouraging elements that contribute most to the "Muslim mood. The history of the Negro in America is per se a history of race-consciousness and its consequences, 17 but American history has not heretofore produced an archetype of the Black Muslim Movement. The new and most challenging factor, of course, is the expan- sion of the American Negro's horizon from the national to the international scene.

World War II saw the practical end of Euro- pean colonialism, and the rapid demise of colonialistic philosophy has been a significant feature of postwar international relations. The determination to be free is the characteristic mood of the hundreds of millions of people whose destinies have not for cen- turies been self-determined; and for the most part, the colonial powers have seen and heeded the signs of the times.

In an address before the United Nations, as the world community welcomed the newly independent Cameroons into membership, French delegate Armand Berard called pointed attention to the fact that "inde- pendence need not come as the result of conquest and violence. It is demanding attention and getting it.

The African American Islamic Renaissance, 1920-1975

Some observers are calling 'Africa Year. Most of the colo- nial peoples of the past three centuries have been non-white and under white domination, and American Negroes have understand- ably felt some identification with them. The independence of India, Indonesia, the Philippines and other non-white Asian na- tions stirred applause, though little hope, in the breasts of Ameri- ca's largest minority. With Africa, the parallel strikes painfully close.

Many Negroes for whom Africa seemed as remote as the planet Jupiter now find themselves exhilarated and encouraged by 10 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death the emergence of black national states in the once "dark" conti- nent. But they also find themselves strangely threatened, for the African may leave his American brother behind as the only re- maining symbol of racial inferiority, of the socially and politically dedasst "Black Man," left in the world.

There is a feeling among American Negroes that the non- white world is waiting waiting to see if they are fit to be counted as men. There is a new determination in the Negro community to "go first class, whatever the cost. For others, "first class" means political and social autonomy a national state for the "Black Man" in America. The Stranger in Detroit Sometime in the midsummer of , an amiable but faintly mysterious peddler suddenly appeared in the Negro community of Detroit.

He was thought to be an Arab, 20 although his racial and national identity still remains undocumented. He was welcomed into the homes of the culture-hungry Negroes, who were eager to purchase his silks and artifacts, which he claimed were like those the Negro people wore in their homeland across the sea. He came first to our houses selling raincoats, and then afterwards, silks. In this way he could get into the people's houses, for every woman was eager to see the nice things the peddlers had for sale.

He told us that the silks he carried were the same kind that our people used in their home country, and that he was from there. So we asked him to tell us about our own country. At first, the "prophet," as he came to be known, confined his teachings to a recitation of his experiences in foreign lands, admo- nitions against certain foods and suggestions for improving his listeners' physical health.

He was kind, friendly, unassuming and patient. Since they eat the right kind of food they have the best health all the time. If you would just live like the people in your home country, you would never be sick any more. He used the Bible because it was the only religious book his followers knew.

Moorish History – Aziz Bey Family Trust

It was not the proper book for the Black Nation; but, carefully interpreted, it could be made to serve until they were introduced to the Holy Qur'an or Quran. Eventually the stranger's teachings took the form of increas- ingly bitter denouncements against the white race; and as his prestige grew, he "began to attack the teachings of the Bible in such a way as to shock his hearers and bring them to an emotional crisis. Up to that day I always went to the Baptist church.

After I heard the sermon from the prophet, I was turned around completely. When I went home and heard that dinner was ready, I said: "I don't want to eat dinner. I just want to go back to the meeting. The solution was obvious: they hired a hall, which they named the Temple of Islam. Thus the movement which has become known as the Black Muslims was born.

No one knew very much about the founder of this first tem- ple. Usually he referred to himself as Mr. Farrad Mohammad or Mr. Wali Farrad and W. One of his earliest converts recalls that, on one occasion, the prophet said: My name is W. Fard, and I come from the Holy City of Mecca. More about myself I will not tell you yet, for the time has not yet come. I am your brother. You have not yet seen me in my royal robes. Another describes him as a Palestinian Arab who had participated in various racial agita- tions in India, South Africa and London before moving on to Detroit.

Some of his followers believed him to be the son of wealthy parents of the tribe of Koreish the tribe of Mohammed, founder of classical Islam. They became increasingly alert to the subtle discriminations they faced in the North. For the North was no Promised Land: it was the South all over again, with the worst features of racial prejudice thinly camouflaged by "sweet talk about equality. The starving, overcrowded Negroes living in the slums of Detroit as in other Northern cities became increasingly bitter toward the whites who seemed to control their lives.

Policemen, who are the ever-present re- minder of the white man's power; white workers, who displaced the Negroes as jobs became more scarce or who retained their jobs as thousands of Negroes were being laid off; even the welfare workers, who insulted the Negroes and made them wait long The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 13 hours before passing out the pitiful supplies of flour and lard all these became the symbolic targets of a virulent hatred of the white man growing in the breasts of Fard's Black Nation. One extreme example: An Asiatic trend among Negro dole recipients of the Elmwood dis- trict, noted at the time as a passing whim.

Harris stated to the police that each of these was a "no- good Christian," and that they would have been sacrificed if he knew where he could have found them. After a temple had been secured, however, the house-to-house meetings were discontinued, and a tightly knit organization replaced the informal gatherings. Members were examined before acceptance and were then registered, and a hierarchy was established. Fard continued to teach his followers about the deceptive character of the white man and to help them relive, at least in fantasy, the glorious history of Black Afro-Asia.

An unusually resourceful teacher, he was able to utilize such varied literature as the writings of Joseph F. All were encouraged to purchase radios so that they could hear the addresses of Rutherford and of Frank Norris, the Baptist funda- mentalist. The white man's words were not to be taken literally, for he was considered incapable of telling the truth. His writings were symbolic and needed interpretation, and this was Fard's mission to his "uncle" in the West. So, having taught his followers to read, he then interpreted for them what they read interpreted it in the name of the one true God, "whose right and proper name is Allah.

To supplement the "symbolic" literature of the white man, Fard himself wrote two manuals for the Movement. The Secret Ritual of the Nation of Islam was and still is transmitted orally; it is memorized verbatim by the students at the Movement's paro- chial schools and has become an oral tradition. Teaching for the Lost Found Nation of Islam in a Mathematical Way, though it was printed and given to registered Muslims, was written in Fard's own "symbolic language" and required his interpretation. Within three years, Fard had developed an organization so effective that he was able to withdraw almost entirely from active leadership.

He had not only set up the temple and established its ritual and worship but also founded a University of Islam actu- ally, a combined elementary and secondary school , dedicated to "higher mathematics," astronomy and the "ending of the spook civilization. Finally, "fear of trouble with unbelievers, especially with the police, led to the founding of the Fruit of Islam a military organization for the men who were drilled by captains and taught tactics and the use of firearms. Each of these men was selected and trained personally by Fard, who gradually stopped his public appearances and eventually disappeared from view.

Poole and his family migrated from Georgia in the s; and after Fard's ap- pearance, several of them were soon identified with the Nation of Islam. An interesting mishap occurred at the time of Poole's initiation into the Movement. Under Fard, each proselyte was required to write a letter asking for his "original" Islamic name; when he received this name, the "slave name" given his ancestors by the white man was discarded. When the three Poole brothers applied for names, they neglected to mention that they were blood The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 15 brothers, and "despite his omniscience, the prophet gave [them] the surnames of Sharrieff, Karriem and Muhammad.

Though opposed by moderates in the hierarchy, he became Fard's most trusted lieutenant. At his initia- tion he had been given the "original" surname Karriem, but Fard now acknowledged his higher status by renaming him Elijah Muhammad. When a chief Minister of Islam was named to pre- side over the organization, Fard chose Muhammad, and the choice proved a wise one.

Elijah Muhammad was almost singlehandedly responsible for the deification of Fard and for the perpetuation of his teachings in the early years after Fard disappeared.

Herbert Berg

The Prophet's disappearance occurred in about June , shortly after Muhammad was named Minister of Islam, and he vanished as mysteriously as he had arrived. Even the police seem to have been baffled. A report that he was last seen "aboard a ship bound for Europe" is unsubstantiated; so also are reports that he met with foul play at the hands of either the Detroit police or some of his dissident followers.

It is certain that many of those who heard Fard were openly hostile to his anti-white diatribes and resented his attacks on the Christian church. Some of Muhammad's critics hint darkly at the coincidence of Fard's disappearance at the moment of Muhammad's rise to power. But Muhammad's rise was neither sudden nor unchal- lenged, and Fard himself had had to struggle to retain leadership after the Movement began to grow. Muhammad simply cast his lot on the side that eventually prevailed. The very nature of the Prophet's teachings made schism and factionalism inevitable.

Quite early in the life of the Movement, Abdul Muhammad, another of Fard's trusted officers, withdrew and organized a competing temple. Fard had consistently taught that his followers were not Americans and that they owed no allegiance to the American flag. It was stupid, he argued, to pledge allegiance to a flag that offered no protection against "the 16 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death depravities of the white devils [who] by their tricknology.

This splinter group, however, did not survive. As early as the Communist party attempted to infiltrate the Black Muslim organization and take it over. It was followed by the Japanese, who sought to establish a fifth-column beachhead in the group under the direction of the wily Major Takahashi. The major tried to persuade the Muslims to swear allegiance to the Mikado, and he succeeded in splitting off some members of the Movement.

Challouehliczilczese sought to use the Move- ment to promote various financial schemes in the interest of his native land. Closer to home, America's "union-busting" interests did not hesitate to take advantage of the hunger and poverty of the unsophisticated Negroes in a war against the CIO. All these efforts failed, but the struggle against them drained much of the vitality of the Movement. After Fard's disappearance, the Muslims soon lost their aggressiveness; and the Movement, to which Fard had drawn eight thousand adherents, began to decline in size and in power.

Quarrels broke to the surface, and the relatively lethargic mod- erates drove Elijah Muhammad from Detroit to the Temple No. There he set up new headquarters and began to reshape the Movement under his own highly militant leader- ship. Fard became identified with the god Allah; having been thus deified, he was worshipped with prayer and sacrifice.

Muhammad, who had served "Allah," naturally assumed the mantle of "Prophet," which "Allah" had worn during his mission in Detroit. Today Muhammad is referred to both as the Prophet and, more often, as the Messenger of Allah. The Black Muslims have come far under Muhammad. He has given them temples and schools, apartment houses and grocery stores, restaurants and farms.

Most important of all, he has given The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 17 them a new sense of dignity, a conviction that they are more than the equals of the white man and are destined to rule the earth. That's right! Economic and Political Power The Black Muslims are an intensely dedicated, tightly disci- plined block of more than , American Negroes, convinced that they have learned the ultimate truth and ready to make any sacrifice it may demand of them. Theirs is not a "Sunday reli- gion": the Muslim temples hold frequent meetings, and every Muslim is required to attend two and often more meetings a week.

Nor is it a religion that spares the billfold. The mass of Muslims are from the Negro lower class, with relatively low in- comes, and they are encouraged to live respectably and provide for their families. But the men are urged to hold steady jobs; and all Muslims are forbidden to gamble, smoke, drink liquor, overeat, indulge in fripperies or buy on credit.

As a result most Muslims enjoy a healthy standard of living and still have enough cash left over to swell the Movement's coffers. Every Muslim is expected to give a fixed percentage of his income to the Movement each year. In this percentage was set at one-third of all earnings; but the figure is probably not always so high. In addition, the temples collect contributions for a variety of funds, many for local purposes and at least six for the use of the national headquarters at Temple No. Of the six known national funds, four are earmarked for real estate, public relations, official travel and new cars; one is an annual collection on the anniversary of Fard's birthday, February 26th, with no purpose designated; and one is a discretionary fund, 18 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death the "No.

But the Muslims' power to influence the general American community is significant, not only because of their increasing membership and financial resources, but also because they can be mobilized to act in unswerving unison on any matter designated by the leadership. They will, for example, vote as Muhammad tells them to vote and buy where he tells them to buy. A Muslim bloc, therefore, even in a large city, may be the determining factor in the balance of political and economic power.

It is already said in Harlem that Malcolm X, minister of the large Temple 7 and Muhammad's chief lieutenant, is in a position to decide the election of U. Representative Adam Clayton Powell's successor, when and if Powell decides to retire. Whether or not this is true, the deference shown Malcolm X by numerous political figures in New York City is impressive. Even more im- pressive and far more sinister as evidence of the Muslims' political weight is the fact that Fidel Castro, during his dramatic sojourn in Harlem in the autumn of , invited Malcolm X to a secret conference which lasted some two hours.

Malcolm had earlier been invited, along with other important American Negroes, to visit Castro in Cuba. That the invitation was not accepted or that acceptance was delayed can be attributed in part to Muham- mad's distaste for communism as a white ideology and in part to his doubt whether Castro is a Black Man as he seems intent upon proving or a "blue-eyed devil" hiding behind a slogan and a sword. Muhammad has not yet seen fit to use the undeniable power of the Black Muslim vote as a lever to prise concessions from the white or the non-Muslim Negro community.

From the start, Muslims have generally preferred not to vote at all. This has been due partly to their self-identification with Afro- Asia, partly to their belief that America is already corrupt and doomed, and partly to their sense of futility in electing any white man to office. Negroes are still knocking on the door begging for civil rights. Do you mean to tell me that in a powerful country like this, a so-called Christian country, that a handful of men from the South can prevent the North, the West, the Central States and the East from giving Negroes the rights the Constitution says they already have?

I don't believe that and neither do you. No white man really wants the Black Man to have his rights, or he'd have them. The United States does everything else it wants to do. In an address following the political conventions, Muhammad admonished some seven thousand Negroes at a New York meeting simply to "go to the polls with your eyes and ears open, and remember that it is not necessary for you to go seeking justice for anyone but your- selves.

The white people of America already have their free- dom, justice and equal rights. The Muslim leadership may one day feel ready to issue specific demands on local, state and national political bodies. Then, even at the national level, they can expect to be heard with respect. Recent elections seem to have demon- strated that a party, to win, must control the large industrial cities of the North, in which the Negro vote is potentially pivotal.

But Negroes do not vote as a bloc; they split their votes between the two major parties. Anyone who could amass and "deliver" a significant number of Negro votes in these cities, therefore, would lead from strength in dealing with the national party organizations. It is precisely in these cities that the Black Muslim Movement is now flourishing. And, "You can be sure of one thing," says Mal- colm X. Muhammad tells him to vote.

It is reckoned with seriously at the local and state level in many states, but Muhammad is not seeking political align- ments even there, and he is unlikely to attempt a national power- 20 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death play for some years to come. The Muslims' economic power, on the other hand, is already being brought to bear against the white community.

There is as yet no organized boycott of white mer- chants, but every Muslim is expected to "buy black" that is, to trade with his own kind in preference to "spending your money where you can't work and can't sit down. The Muslims demand an entirely separate black economy, arguing that not until the Negro is economically independent will he be, in any real sense, free.

Such a purchasing power, if spent among Negro businessmen and invested in Negro enterprises, would earn the respect of every nation in the world. The Muslims concede that the white man has, for the moment, an edge on technical and commercial know-how. The Black Man must learn whatever the white man can teach him and then outstrip the white man in productivity and trade. As the Negro community develops its own business and industrial plant, the Muslims' pressure for economic separation is virtually certain to increase.

In the not too distant future, this may well take the form of an official boycott against white mer- chants in the Negro ghettos. In a related move, the Muslims might picket the downtown stores so as to discourage Negroes from entering and shopping there. Such a maneuver would be so explosive that white store-owners and policemen might yearn for the good old days of the tension that accompanied the student sit-ins. Store-owners cannot be expected to take calmly the prob- able loss of much of their patronage; but the Muslims are neither "passive" nor "loving" toward white men, and any violence on the part of whites would certainly be met with violence.

Who are these "faithful," these true believers, these Black Muslims? A survey taken in Detroit during the early years of the Movement showed that the overwhelming majority of Muslims all but half a dozen or so of the two hundred families interviewed were recent migrants from the rural South. Investigations by the Wayne County Prosecutor's office indicated the same origin. The limited freedom they had experienced in the North made them acutely conscious of the extreme subordination of the Negro in the South a realization which sharpened their hostilities and increased their sense of frustration.

Through these visits they had become more conscious of race dis- crimination on the part of the Caucasians. After their brief sojourn in the North they tended to reinterpret with sinister implications incidents of race contact in the South. They began to realize that lynchings and the indignities of the Jim Crow system were perpetu- ated by Caucasians who worshipped the same God as they did and worshipped Him in the same way.

In the pattern of membership remained generally the same, but the disproportion of recent, rural migrants did not 22 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death appear so extreme. Several factors may be responsible. In the first place, the proportion of Negroes in the North and East is now much greater than it was in the depression years , and they have been there longer. The Muslims can thus proselyt- ize a more established population. Secondly, although there is a continuing stream of migrants from the South, many of the current migrants are from Southern cities and towns, or at least have had some urban experience before pushing on to the North.

Again, the Black Muslim Movement is no longer limited to the industrial cities of the North. Thus, while the vast majority of Muslims still belong to the most disprivileged class, they are no longer necessarily recent, rural migrants from the South, nor are they functionally illiterate. A recent poll taken of Muslims in Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and New York 39 revealed that more than half had lived in their present city longer than five years.

Fifteen per cent had lived in the city for at least ten years, and 5V4 per cent were born there. Forty-six per cent of the group sampled claimed to have had at least a sixth-grade education, and only 2 per cent admitted to less than a fourth-grade education. But we must not lean too heavily upon this sampling. Mus- lims are extremely wary about giving any information about them- selves or the Movement unless such information is of obvious propaganda value.

The typical Muslim will talk freely about the teachings of the Messenger or the treacheries of the white man, but he will seldom provide information subject to statistical analy- sis. If he does not evade factual questions entirely, the Muslim brother politely refers them to his minister, who in turn invokes Elijah Muhammad. Critical observation and informal interviews have, therefore, been the best tools available for determining the constituency of the Movement.

My observations and experiences with Muslims in several cities suggest the following: 1. The membership is young. Up to 80 per cent of a typical congregation is between the ages of seventeen and thirty-five.

This pattern has been noted again and again in temples across the The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 23 country. In the newer temples, youth is even more pronounced; in some, fully three-quarters of the membership is under thirty years of age. About the same proportion of the ministers are under thirty-five; the youngest is only twenty-three.

The reason for such a concentration of youth is clear. This is an activist movement, and the appeal is directed to youth. Large, young families are eagerly sought, and least attention is paid to older people reared as Christians. Older people have a certain security in their familiar religious orientation, and they do not readily shift to a position so unfamiliar and radical as that preached by the Muslims. The older people who do belong to the movement, especially in the Northern cities, are for the most part ex-Garveyites or ex-Moorish Science Moslems, or they have belonged to some of the more esoteric cults flourishing in Harlem, Detroit or Chicago.

Many of these older "nationalists" consider Muhammad a natural successor to both Garvey and Noble Drew Ali, and they have had little difficulty in making the transition. Muhammad himself pro- fesses "a very high opinion" of both Garvey and Noble Drew Ali; he refers to them as "fine Muslims" and calls upon their sym- pathizers to "follow me and cooperate in our work because we are only trying to finish up what those before us started. The membership is predominantly male. Unlike the typi- cal Christian church, the Muslim temples attract many more men than women, and men assume the full management of temple affairs.

Women are honored, and they perform important func- tions within a defined role; they are not in any sense considered mere "property," as has sometimes been the case in classical Islam. However, they do not constitute the organizational founda- tion through which the Movement functions, either in service or in finance. They work alongside the men in the various business enterprises owned by the temples, and they share in the affairs of the temples themselves, but almost always in roles not in conflict with the male assumption of primary responsibility.

The membership is essentially lower class.

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A generation ago Erdman Beynon could report: At the time of their first contact with the prophet, practically all of the members of the cult were recipients of public welfare, unem- 24 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death ployed, and living in the most deteriorated areas of Negro settlement in Detroit. By , however, Beynon observed: At the present time, there is no known case of unemployment among these people.

Practically all of them are working in the automobile and other factories. They live no longer in the slum section. They tend to purchase more expensive furniture, automobiles, and clothes than do their neighbors even in these areas of higher-class residence. Muslims are fully employed, yet they live and meet in the most deteriorated areas of the slums. Recruitment for the Movement is still predominantly from among low-income groups at the lower end of the educational scale.

It has attracted a few intellectuals, an increasing number of college students and a scattering of business and professional men; but a majority of the membership of any given temple is composed of domestic and factory workers, common laborers and the like. The Muslims are justifiably proud of the "technicians" who oper- ate their sound and recording equipment, and of their expert stenographers and secretaries.

They have a corps of excellent photographers, who make film records of every important event; the photographic mural on the wall of their Temple 7 Restaurant in New York is a display of their professional skill. Many Muslims have come into the movement from various levels of extralegal activity. Some are ex-convicts or even con- victs, for at least three temples are behind prison walls.

Some have come into the Movement as dope addicts and alcoholics, or from careers as pimps and prostitutes, pool sharks and gamblers. But all who remain in the Movement are rehabilitated and put to work. The members' claim that they are able to secure work much more easily than other Negroes 44 appears valid. Today's Muslims, however, do not generally live in the better residential areas available to Negroes. Where Negroes of middle- and upper-class status have developed or moved into resi- dential areas consistent with their new prosperity, Muslims have not followed, for the Movement continues to emphasize its affilia- tion with the working class.

There are exceptions: Elijah Muham- mad lives in a nineteen-room mansion in a quiet neighborhood near the University of Chicago. But the Messenger has an unusu- ally large family seven children ; his offices occupy part of the building; and several rooms are set aside for the use of his many guests ministers called to Chicago for consultation and, often, visitors from abroad. Even in this mansion there is no ostentation in furnishings or appointments, and few of Muhammad's ministers and followers have elected to abandon the slums.

The Muslim leaders tend to live and to build their temples and businesses in the areas from which they draw their major support the heart of the Black Ghetto. This ghetto houses the most dissident and disinherited, the people who wake up to society's kick in the teeth each morning and fall exhausted with a parting kick each night. These are the people who are ready for revolution any kind of revolution and Muhammad astutely builds his temples in their midst.

Furthermore, in the segregated Black Ghetto, the illusion of a "Black Nation" within a surround- ing and hostile "white nation" takes on a semblance of reality. The only whites around are the hated shopkeepers who "suck my people blind. The membership is almost wholly American Negro. The Garvey movement was built around a hard core of West Indians, who, sharing his nationality and cultural experiences, were most readily attracted to his program.

American Negroes gave Garvey little attention until he had already attracted a large following of West Indian immigrants. The Muslims consider all non-whites to be Black Men, whatever their skin color, and it is worth noting that Muhammad was indicted for pro-Japanese sympathies in the first year of World War II.

At one time, Muhammad's chief minister was a Haitian, Theodore Rozier. More recently, a number of Arab nationals have been associated with the movement in teaching or advisory capacities.

Freemasonry and Brotherhood

Shaikh Diab, a Palestinian Arab, for example, taught Arabic at the Chicago University of Islam a combined ele- mentary and secondary school for several years. A number of Egyptian nationals are friendly to the Movement and its leader- ship, but whether they hold membership in the temples is not known. A Nigerian graduate student also teaches at the Chi- cago University of Islam, and foreign students from all parts of Asia and Africa frequently attend the local temples, which are found in nearly all cities having large universities. These foreign contacts are highly prized, yet the Movement itself remains distinctively "Black American.

Finally, the membership is predominantly ex-Christian. American Negroes have always been a religious people; and until very recent times, "religion" has for them meant Protestant Chris- tianity. Except for the Moorish-Americans and a few hundred ex-cultists of varying past proclivities, almost all of the Muslims seem to be drawn from Protestant families or traditions, although there are significant numbers of ex-Catholics in the Movement. Many Muslims have come from revivalistic sects, but a substantial number have held active membership in the established denomi- nations, and some of the Muslim ministers are former Christian preachers.

The younger Muslims, especially those under twenty, have usually had no strong Christian convictions, but almost without The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 27 exception they come from Christian homes. All too often, their conversion reflects a serious inadequacy in their religious environ- ment. One parent whose son had "gone Muslim" turned to his minister in anguish. The parents come here four or five times a year, and the boy doesn't come at all. No wonder the Muslims got him; he was looking for something. And Why They Become Believers The fundamental attraction of the Black Muslim Movement is its passion for group solidarity, its exaggerated sense of con- sciousness-of-kind.

What matters above all is that men acknowl- edge themselves as black or white, and that all black men work together to accomplish their group aims. These aims have been summed up by a Muslim minister as: To get the white man's foot off my neck, his hand out of my pocket and his carcass off my back. To sleep in my own bed without fear, and to look straight into his cold blue eyes and call him a liar every time he parts his lips. In this context, although the Black Muslims call their Move- ment a religion, religious values are of secondary importance. They are not part of the Movement's basic appeal, except to the extent that they foster and strengthen the sense of group solidarity.

The Muslims make no secret of the fact that they count themselves a part of the growing alliance of non-white peoples, which they expect eventually to inundate the white race, washing away the hated supremacy that that race has so long enjoyed. Almost fifteen years ago, Dr. Buell Gallagher warned about ortho- dox Islam: There are signs that the Pan-Islamic movement may harden into a new political nationalism, based on race, which may replace the Islam of an international and interracial brotherhood.

This Pan-Islamic 28 The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death spirit which appears about to come to full fruition in a union of the entire Muslim world against the rest of the globe is one of tomorrow's imponderables. The Muslims are not recognized by orthodox Moslems in this country, but they con- sider themselves Moslems and are apparently so considered by the many Moslem countries in Africa and the Middle East who have welcomed and honored their leaders.

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Certainly, to the extent that the Pan-Islamic goal is a power structure forged out of anti- white sentiment, these goals are shared by the Black Muslims in America. The anti-Christian tone of much of the Muslim teaching also has a strong attraction for some Negroes. Occasionally this attraction is personal, as with the youth rebelling against a parental authority which has been symbolized by enforced church attend- ance.

But increasing numbers of Negroes are disillusioned by the continuation of racial segregation in the church and are coming to identify the church with social apathy and racial subordination. To these disaffected Christians the Muslims make a shrewd appeal. On the one hand, aware that the Christian tradition rejects hatred, they proclaim a positive slogan: "Not anti-white, just pro-black.

We're so pro-black we havn't time to be anti anything! Predominantly, this is where you find Christianity, or at least people who represent themselves as Christians. Whether they practice what Jesus taught is something we won't go into. The Christian world is what we usually call the Western world. The colonization of the dark people in the rest of the world was done by Christian powers. The number one problem that most people face in the world today is how to get freedom from Christians.

Wherever you find non-white people today they are trying to get back their freedom from people who represent themselves as Christians, and if you ask these [subject] people their picture of a Christian, they will tell you "a white man a Slavemaster. One minister in Richmond, Virginia, discouraged by his denomination's The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 29 posture on the racial issues in that state, led his entire congrega- tion out of the Christian church and into the local Muslim temple, where he eventually became the new Muslim minister.

His con- gregation is said to have doubled since in numbers and vitality. Because Christianity is "the white man's religion," the re- pudiation of Christianity is an overt act of aggression against the white man. To be identified with a movement that openly rejects the fundamental values of the powerful majority is to increase vastly one's self-esteem and one's stature among one's peers. This social incentive to defiance is not limited to the Muslims; among Negro intellectuals generally, a deviation from the white man's ways of doing things has come to be called "independent thinking" and reaps its rewards.

The difference between the intellectual and the Muslim is simply one of degree: the intellectual's defiance is carefully calculated; the Muslim's is wholehearted and absolute. Thus the intellectual will not become a Muslim, but he will em- brace Bahai. Both men are repudiating an identity to which they are hypersensitive in the presence of the white man, and both are chiding Christianity for its racism. But the intellectual astutely remains within the orbit of the white man's culture, while the Muslims set themselves completely adrift.

The challenge of an ascetic ideal, balanced by the absence of social barriers to affiliation and service, have brought thousands under the banner of Muhammad. Probably in no other religious organization are alcoholics, ex-convicts, pimps, prostitutes and narcotic addicts welcomed so sincerely. The Christian church is, in most instances, careful to take none to its bosom until they are cleansed. The Muslims welcome the most unregenerate and then set about to rehabilitate them. They have stern rules of conduct, but no man is condemned for what he was only for what he refuses to be.

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They say a man should never be condemned or tried twice for the same crime once he has paid the penalty. Yet, when a man goes to prison and pays his debt to society, when he conies out he is still looked upon as a criminal. Well, Mr. Muhammad has succeeded there where Western Christianity has failed. When a man becomes a Muslim, it doesn't make any difference what he was [doing] before as long as he has stopped doing this. He is looked upon with honor and respect and is not judged for what he was doing yesterday.

Muhammad today. The Negro has often been characterized as a ready "joiner," and more often than not this characterization has been justified. He is compelled to join in order to escape the isolation and sense of helplessness he experi- ences as a social outcast. He joins for recreation when public recreation is not available to him and for security against sick- ness and want. He joins for consolation and companionship the attempt at flight of an earthbound Negro in a white man's world. All these elements are present, to some degree, in the appeal of Muslim membership.

But the appeal goes deeper: every Mus- lim holds himself ready to die for his brother, and more especially for his sister. In a Muslim was arrested in New York City on a false identi- fication, as it turned out. Within an hour, several hundred of his brothers turned up at the precinct station in a quiet show of fra- ternal solidarity to insist that "justice be done.

Membership in the local temple immediately spiraled. Their show of solidarity had won what the Negro community interpreted as an important victory. The intensity of this sense of unity makes unnecessary the usual trappings of organizations which emphasize group solidarity. It is unrealistic though at least one Negro leader has done so to dismiss the Movement as "another mutual admiration cult an- other opportunity for people who aren't going anywhere to hang out the signs to prove it.

Among the Black Muslims, however, there are no phony "doctors" or specious "saints," no uniforms and no prestige offices. The only titles are those given to Muhammad and to the hierarchy of the secret military organization, the Fruit of Islam. To be called a "brother" or a "sister" is the highest compliment a The Verdict is "Guilty" The Sentence is Death 31 Muslim can be paid, for as Minister Louis X of Boston puts it "we were brothers before we were ministers. Another aspect of the Movement that has strong appeal- value is its emphasis upon youth and masculinity.

Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins
Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins

Related Moorish Circle 7: The Rise of the Islamic Faith Among Blacks in America and its masonic origins

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