Podcast: paradoxes of Moorish American identity

MSTA

In Episode 157 of the CounterVortex podcast, Bill Weinberg discusses the seemingly obscure subculture of Moorish Science, which has had a greater influence than is generally recognized today, as an important precursor to the Black Muslim movement. The doctrine, first propagated over a century ago by the Prophet Noble Drew Ali, holds that there was in ancient times a great Moorish civilization that prospered on both sides of the Atlantic, in North Africa but also in North America, and that Black Americans are in fact Moors and the inheritors of this legacy. Contrary to official histories, Moorish Science holds that not all Black folk in the Americas are descendants of those brought over in the Middle Passage, but also of Moors who were already in America in pre-Columbian times. The book The Aliites: Race & Law in the Religions of Noble Drew Ali by Spencer Dew sheds new light on surviving exponents of this movement, including the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Moorish American National Republic, the Washitaw Empire, and the Murakush Caliphate of Amexem.

Weinberg elaborates on the controversies surrounding Moorish identity¬†in contemporary America, and relates his own involvement¬†in an offshoot of the movement through his work with¬†the¬†Moorish Orthodox Radio Crusade. He joins with¬†Spencer Dew¬†in calling out the oft-problematic Southern Poverty Law Center for portraying these Moorish tendencies as “anti-government¬†extremists”¬†and “hate groups,” and lumping them indiscriminately with the right-wing “sovereign citizen” movement. Also discussed is the special importance Moorish Americans attach to the¬†US-Morocco Treaty of 1786, and the actual historical background to the treaty.

Listen on SoundCloud or via Patreon.

Production by Chris Rywalt

Other books discussed:¬†The Messenger: The Rise and Fall of Elijah Muhammad by Karl Evanzz; Pirate Utopias:¬†Moorish Corsairs & European Renegadoes by Peter Lamborn Wilson;¬†Gone to Croatan: Origins of North American Dropout Culture by James Koehnline, Ron Sakolsky, eds.; Return of the Ancient Ones: The Washitaw Files¬†by the Empress Verdiacee “Tiara”¬†Washitaw Turner Goston El-Bey

Other broadcast discussed: Washitaw: American Captive Nation, WBAI Radio, Nov. 4, 1997

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Photo of Noble Drew and his followers via Wikipedia