The Moorish Science Temple of America

Overview

Sheik Robert Webb-Bey, Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey, Chairman Terrence Hopkins-Bey

1928—2017
105

Historical Note

The Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA) is a religious organization founded in 1913 by Noble Drew Ali, born Timothy Drew. Among many beliefs, he asserted that Black people are descendants of the Moors who governed North West Africa. As such Black people, or "so-called Black people" as the Moorish community phrases it, are not Black but Moorish Americans "Moslems" of Islamic faith. Noble Drew Ali was reported to have stood on street corners in Chicago proclaiming: "Come all ye Asiatic of America and hear the truth about your nationality and birthrights, because you are not negroes. Learn of your forefathers ancient and divine Creed. That you will learn to love instead of hate." In addition to the assertion of a specific national identity, the MSTA was founded instill national pride and spiritual upliftment at a particular point in American history when "so-called Black people" were searching for a sense of belonging in the midst of the Great Migration and shifting national politics.

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"My father was basically trying to find liberation for himself as well as his people. He was raised in the gang life, the gang atmosphere in the city of Philadelphia. In trying to search for truth he became frustrated and this frustration in a sense boiled over..."
"You have a lot of hearsay. You have a lot of individuals taking a stance that's not based on the orthodoxy as established by Prophet Noble Drew Ali. And often it's an outside view approaching an interpretation of the teachings of Prophet Noble Drew Ali."
"But seeds do not unfold into life, they manifest. So it has to go through stages to grow and unfold as does the bud unfold to show the flower. So while we're here on the earth, we're learning. We're learning to love instead of hate."
"Prophet Noble Drew Ali likened himself unto Prophet Confucius (all spirits are one). Prophet Confucius saw himself as a 'transmitter and not a creator.' [...] He [Confucius] proclaimed that he was a 'transmitter and not a maker' and that Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali's publishing of The Holy Koran of the Moorish Science Temple of America is also a transmission of ancient lessons..."
"Who were you before you were enslaved? That's a question that we have to ask and now we have history books where we have so many cloaked names...."Black" was manufactured."
"As an eight to ten-year-old boy, I'm talking to him about us not being Negro, black, or colored and doing physical demonstrations as far as grabbing a crayon, a black crayon, and saying look; this is not us. "
"...we may say they changed forms or they veiled their form which means they just took off this earthly garb that the spirit uses to function on the earth plane, the manifest, and moves on to a higher level of vibration."
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Moorish American Remembrance Day

October 14 2016
Philadelphia, PA

About a hundred Moorish-Americans from across the country gathered on Independence Mall on Friday to remember the first generation of Moors who were stripped of their nationality and birthrights in colonial Philadelphia.

We are paying respects to our ancestors who were mislabeled as black," said Azeem Hopkins-Bey, grand sheik of the Moorish Science Temple in North Philadelphia. "'Black,' that's a slave term.

Hopkins-Bey said that in 1774, the First Continental Congress "erased" the heritage of those who were brought to America as slaves, by considering them all to be "blacks" and thereby erasing the identity of the men and women who suffered and died as slaves.

Once you lose your heritage, you lose your culture," he said. "Then, you're looked at with a stereotypical eye.

Moorish-American Remembrance Day is a unique gathering intended to allow Moorish-Americans to remember that heritage and preserve their own identity. Members of the temple – who consider themselves Moorish by nationality and practice Islam — gathered in Old City for a reading of the city's proclamation noting Oct. 14 as Moorish-American Remembrance Day in Philadelphia, before they toured Independence Hall and Carpenters' Hall.

October 14 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Leaders of Moorish Science Temple Holding the American and Moorish Flag
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sister Tami Hollowell-El from Temple 11 Study Group in Memphis, TN
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Two Sisters in Traditional Turbans
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sisters Listening to Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Explain the Importance of Remembrance Day
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Leader Holding Moorish Flag
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Brother Taharka Aboke Bey from Baltimore, MD
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sister Elisa Hopkins-Bey with Her Daughters and Friend
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Brother Walking with Procession During Remembrance Trek
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish Americans Walking with Remembrance Trek Procession
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Young Moorish American Man Takes Pause
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Explaining the Remembrance Trek in Front of Independence Hall
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish Americans Listening to Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Explain the Importance of Nationality
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish American Man Listening to Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Explain the Importance of Nationality
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Young Moorish American Boy and Girl
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish Americans Listening to Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Explain the Importance of Nationality
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish Science Temple of America Leaders Taking a Break During Trek
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Brother Javed Bey
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Brother Javed Bey and Sister Delelia
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Mother Love, the Mother of Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey and his Mother, Mother Love
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish American Men Taking a Break During Banquet
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Moorish Science Temple of America Charter
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Day of Remembrance Banquet
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Mother and Daughter at Day of Remembrance Banquet
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Delivering Lecture at Banquet
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed
Sheik Azeem Hopkins-Bey Takes a Break During Lecture at Banquet
October 2016
Philadelphia, PA
Kameelah Janan Rasheed