Dwight York (born June 26, 1935, also reported as 1945), also known as Malachi Z. York, Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi, Dr. York, Afro Oonoo, et alii, is an American musician, writer, and leader of the Georgia-based Nuwaubian movement, currently imprisoned on a 135-year sentence on child molestation charges and violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.
York's ministry began in the late 1960s, from 1967 preaching to the "Ansaaru Allah" (viz. African Americans) in Brooklyn, and he founded numerous esoteric or quasi-religious fraternal orders under various names during the 1970s and 1980s, at first centered on pseudo-Islamic themes, Judaism (Nubian Islamic Hebrews), and later moving to a loose "Ancient Egypt" theme, eclectically mixing ideas taken from black nationalism, cryptozoological and UFO religions and popular conspiracy theory. It is now called Nuwabians.
York and the Nuwaubians came under increased government scrutiny in the early 1990s after they built Tama-Re, an Egyptian-themed "city" featuring pyramids, temples, and living quarters for about a hundred of his followers, in Putnam County, Georgia. York was arrested in May 2002, and in 2004 convicted for transporting minors across state lines for the purposes of sexual molestation, racketeering, and financial reporting charges. York's case was reported as the largest prosecution for child molestation ever directed at a single person in the history of the United States, both in terms of number of victims and number of incidents.
- 1 Biography
- 2 Teachings
- 3 Descent
- 4 Aliases
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
- 8 Further reading
According to a birth certificate issued in the United States, York was born in Boston, Massachusetts but other accounts give his birth place as New Jersey, New York, Baltimore, or Takoradi, Ghana.
York says that he was raised in Massachusetts and at the age of seven went to Aswan, Egypt to learn about Islam. "My grandfather, As Sayyid Abdur Rahman Al Mahdi, the Imaam of the Ansaars in the Sudan until 1959, upon looking into my eyes foretold that I was the one who would possess 'the light.'" He says he returned to the United States in 1957 at age 12 and continued to study Islam, and moved to Teaneck, New Jersey as an adolescent.
In the late 1960s York, calling himself "Imaam Isa", combined elements of the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths and Freemasonry, and invented a quasi-Muslim black nationalist movement, which he called "Ansaar Pure Sufi" whose attire was black and green dashikis.
He later changed his name to "Imaam Isa Abdullah" and changed his "Ansaar Pure Sufi" ministry to the "Nubians" in Brooklyn in 1967. The group later became part of the Black Hebrews phenomenon, under the name "Nubian Islaamic Hebrews" and "Nubian Hebrew Mission" in 1969.
Ansaaru Allah Community (1970)
York would later travel to Africa, to Sudan and Egypt in particular, where he was able to meet and convince members of Mohamed Ahmed Al-Mahdi's family to finance him to set up a cell of their organization in America. This was to be a "west" or "American" political wing of Sudan's Ansar movement under Sadiq al-Mahdi (also see Umma Party). This is where the claim of his "Sudanese" roots was developed, in order to authenticate his American branch of the sect.
After York returned from a pilgrimage to (Egypt and Sudan), he invited Sadiq Al-Mahdi over and the group changed its name to the "Ansaaru Allah Community in the West" in 1970, which a 1993 FBI report described as a "front for a wide range of criminal activity, including arson, welfare fraud and extortion."
One observer wrote:
The women of the Ansaaru Allah Community focus on memorizing history as their Imam sees it, learning Arabic (many of them are quite fluent), incorporating Sudanese etiquette into their mannerisms and memorizing the Qur'an. They participate in the compilation of the various texts produced by the community and also work in the recording studio owned by the community. Other than this work, the women's main source of income comes from US government public assistance and monies earned by the men in various enterprises such as food shops, jewelry and merchandise stores, and street vending.
Another source says:
He was based in Coney Island for a time, and operated a bookstore and a printing press on Flatbush Ave. in the 70s. In the 80s he was based in Brooklyn, on Bushwick Ave. York's students are best remembered by New Yorkers as practitioners of orthodox Islam – members of certain New York Five Percent Nation, Nation of Islam and Arab Islamic mosques still regard the Nuwaubians as a rival faction – but at different times they followed the paths of Christianity and Judaism. Operations relocated to Liberty, near the Catskills, around 1991, then to Georgia in 1993.
In the early 1980s, York performed as vocalist with his own groups Jackie and the Starlights, the Students, and Passion.
He launched his own record label, also named Passion Productions, recording himself as the solo artist Dr. York. His debut release was the single "Only a Dream" (later included in the album New York Hot Melt Records UK, 1985). Dr. York and Passion Productions were profiled in an advertisement May 4, 1985 issue of the Billboard magazine (p. 41)
The artistic contributions on the album included background vocals from Ted Mills of the group Blue Magic. He also teamed up with Sarah Dash for the duet "It's Too Late" and recorded with T.C. Curtis on the Hot Melt label in the UK. His debut album, New, was released by Hot Melt in December 1985.
York also wrote and produced "What Is He to You (To You)?" for his daughter, Kenné. It did not reach the mainstream charts, but it had something of a presence in Black urban video shows such as Video Music Box and NY Hot Tracks.
He later also claimed grander musical contributions, stating at one point, "You were listening to my hits back in the 60s and did not know it, nor did you know that songs that were considered message music in the 70s were written by me." York claimed to have recorded as a singer with such acts as Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes, The Delfonics, McFadden & Whitehead, and Evelyn 'Champagne' King.
Ministry and fraternal orders
York's groups later took on a new array of names and functions – religious, fraternal, and tribal – including "The Holy Tabernacle Ministries", "The Egiptian Church of Karast", "the Holy Seed Baptist Synagogue", "the Ancient Mystic Order of Melchizedek", "the Ancient Egiptian Order", "All Eyez on Egypt", "The United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors", "Yamassee Native American Tribe", "the Washitaw Tribe", Lodge 19 of the Ancient and Mystic Order of Malachizodok. Even though he changed his group's name and doctrine several times, he always claimed that Al-Islam was the true way of life and would merely change the title of his doctrine while keeping the pseudo-Islamic themes.
Dwight York himself had his name legally changed to Issa al Haadi al Mahdi in 1990, and then again to Malachi York in 1993, but also adopted a number of titles and pseudonyms, including The Supreme Grand Master Dr. Malachi Z. York, Nayya Malachizodoq-El, and Chief Black Eagle (York claimed that the Nuwaubian Moors are descendants of the Olmecs via Egypt over an ancient land bridge to Georgia.)
Move to Georgia and Tama-Re (1993–2002)
York fled from New York and later moved to Georgia in order to escape criminal investigations and other charges in New York. Also, to avoid any further scrutiny from the world Muslim community, the Nation of Islam, the Nation of Gods and Earths, legal troubles and the negative history of his group during their New York period, he changed his own name several times, as well as the group's name, and masked different parts of their doctrine.
Government officials acquired the property of Tama-Re through asset forfeiture in 2005 and then sold it. The buildings and monuments have since been demolished.
Arrest and conviction of child molestation (2002-present)
York exercised tight control over the sexuality of his followers. One source notes:
[W]hile extolling the virtues and importance of family life and the conjugal relationship, he denies such relationships to his followers except at strictly controlled intervals. He urges his female followers to pattern themselves on the Islamic paradigms of the wife and the mother, apparently desiring the creation of stable family units. But in reality the husbands and wives are segregated in dormitories, separated also from their children. York permits spouses to cohabit only once every three months. They are permitted to meet in the "Green Room" by prior appointment only.
In 2002 York was arrested and charged with over a hundred counts of sexually molesting dozens of children, some as young as four years old. According to Bill Osinski, who wrote a 2007 monograph about the case: "When he was finally indicted, state prosecutors literally had to cut back the number of counts listed — from well beyond a thousand to slightly more than 200 — because they feared a jury simply wouldn’t believe the magnitude of York's evil.… [It] is believed to be the nation's largest child molestation prosecution ever directed at a single person, in terms of number of victims and number of alleged criminal acts."
In early 2003 York's lawyer had him evaluated by a forensic psychologist, who diagnosed a DSM-IV "impression consisting of Axis I – Clinical Syndrome of Delusional (Paranoid) Disorder, Generalized anxiety disorder, Adjustment disorder with depressed mood, and Axis II – personality disorders; histrionic personality traits, self-defeating personality traits, and schizotypal personality features."
In 2003, York entered into a plea bargain that was later dismissed by the judge, and then was convicted by a jury on January 23, 2004 – the judge having rejected his desire to be returned for trial to his own tribe:
"Your Honor, with all due respects to your government, your nation, and your court, we the indigenous people of this land have our own rights, accepted sovereign, our own governments. We are a sovereign people, Yamassee, Native American Creeks, Seminole, Washitaw Mound Builders. And all I'm asking is that the Court recognize that I am an indigenous person. Your court does not have jurisdiction over me. I should be transferred to the Moors Cherokee Council Court in which I will get a trial by juries of my peers. I cannot get a fair trial, Your Honor, if I'm being tried by the settlers or the confederates. I have to be tried by Native Americans as a Native American. That's my inalienable rights, and it's on record."
He asserted to the court that he was a "secured party," and answered questions in court with the response: "I accept that for value." This may have been a heterodox legal strategy based on patriot mythology.
He was convicted of multiple RICO, child molestation, and financial reporting charges and was sentenced to 135 years in prison. His case was appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, but that court upheld the convictions on October 27, 2005. A U.S. Supreme Court appeal was denied in June 2006.
Malik Zulu Shabazz of the New Black Panther Party (who says that York "is a great leader of our people and is a victim of an open conspiracy by our enemy"[unreliable source?]) and Liberian Senator Francis Y.S. Garlawolu have been among those working on a variety of avenues of appeal, and the Southern Regional Director of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition also pledged his support.
York's followers assert a number of defenses, including that their leader Malachi Z. York who was charged and convicted is not the same person as the Dwight D. York who is listed in court documents as the defendant (one of York's sons is named Dwight, and sometimes the claim is made that it is York's son and not York himself who is or should be the real defendant), or that York was set up by his son Jacob in coordination with al Qaeda-linked American mosques jealous of York's influence among black Muslims.
In October 2004 York wrote a letter from prison to his followers that read, in part:
On August 12, 2004, just days before court, 3 visitors came to me, Crlll, Alomar, and Saad, they healed me. They came from Zeta Reticuli. I had not seen them since I was a child in Teaneck, New Jersey. They don’t age at all. Anyway, they told me the game is almost over. Those that truly love you are coming together for you. They are passing the Great Test. I asked them why I could not just walk out? They said, "Because there is an order to the Kosmos that must never be altered" … Many inmates have seen me float. That is why they keep moving me away. It is because people Canaanites as well are converting inside.
York believes that his betrayal, arrest, trial and imprisonment (and eventual release) were foretold in chapter 10 of Zecharia Sitchin's The Wars of the Gods and the Men, with York being represented by Mar-duq in that story.
As of 2014[update] Dwight York is serving his sentence at the United States Penitentiary Administrative Maximum Facility (ADX) in Florence, Colorado as Inmate # 17911-054. His projected release date is April 7, 2122.
As York's followers attempted to free him they stopped pushing the scenario that York should be considered immune from prosecution due to his status as a sovereign aboriginal Native American Moor, in favor of a new claim that since 1999 York has been a Consul General of Monrovia, Liberia under appointment from then-President Charles Taylor and should therefore be given diplomatic immunity from prosecution and extradited as a persona non-grata to Liberia.
York explains his shift from defending himself as a sovereign "indigerness" Yamassee Native American to defending himself as a Liberian diplomat in this way:
Fact is we called ourselves Native American Moors and tell them of Mali which is Africa and the Bassa Tribe are from Mali as well as Sudan. So when I stood up in court and stated I was indigerness [sic], that did not in any way state I'm not African and the fact that I wore a fez in court not a Indian head dress shows I favor Africa to America. Plus, I got my diplomatic status and citizenship in 1999 before the arresst [sic]. And we have two eye and ear witness to the fact and yes they did legal affidavitts [sic] to this fact. that on May 8th 2002 at the arrest the [sic] saw and heard me inform the arresting officer that I am a consul general and a Liberian citizen.
York has taught an ever-changing and multifaceted doctrine over the years, with influences and borrowings from many sources, that includes a baroque cosmology, unconventional theories about race and human origins, cryptozoological and extraterrestrial speculations, black nationalism, conspiracy theory, and religious practices invented or borrowed from many existing religions.
York was born in Omdurman, Sudan. His mother is Mary C. York née Williams, now also known as Faatimah Maryam, who at the time was married to David Piper York. York claims that his biological father was Al Haadi Abdur Rahman Al Mahdi, whom Williams is said to have met while she was a student in the Sudan.
York claims that the name he was given at birth was "Isa Al Haadi Al Mahdi" and that he only acquired the name "York" (without a first name) a month later when the family returned to Boston. David and Mary York have four other children: David, Dale, Debra and Dennis. David Piper York is said to be a descendant of "Ben" York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
In one telling, Ben York is the son of Old York, also known as Yusuf Ben Ali, and these Yorks were named after Black-A-Moors from the English House of York. In another telling, Ben York's mother is said to have been Warda Saliym "Rose" Idriys, "a Yamassee Native American Moor," whose father is Old York/Yusuf Ben Ali, which would make Ben York the grandson of Old York. Idriys was also the "daughter of Sharufa Salim Idriys, of the Idrisid Dynasty"
On his mother's side, Clarence Daniel "Bobby" Williams, Mary C. York's father, is described as "an Egyptian Moor named Salah Hailak Al Ghala, a merchant seaman from a little village called Beluwla, in Nubia of Ancient Egypt" but another genealogical tree shows Bobby Williams's father as unknown and his mother as "Madam Decontee" of the Bassa tribe of Liberia.
York variously claimed to be simultaneously a Yamassee Native American chief, a Celtic Moor from the house of York, a Nubian Egyptian, a Liberian yet with royal Sudanese blood and so forth.
York has been known by a multitude of aliases over the years, many of which he used simultaneously, including the following:
- Nuwaubic – a language created by York
- Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal The Ansar Cult in America Tawheed Publications 1988, p. 1 . Philips shows that in 1975 York's publications changed his declared birth year from 1935 to 1945, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of The Mahdi, who is popularly believed to have been born in 1845. See also York's birth certificate as shown on the nuwaubian-hotep.net website.
- Moser, Bob "'Savior' in a Strange Land: A black supremacist cult leader meets his match in rural Georgia" Southern Poverty Law Center Intelligence Report 107 (Fall, 2002) 
- In the Matter of the Application of Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi for leave to change his name to Malachi York January 15, 1993 [dead link]
- Osinski, Bill "Cult leader ignored his own rules" Atlanta Journal-Constitution July 7, 2002 Archived March 3, 2003 at the Wayback Machine
- Lewis, James (ed.) Odd Gods: New Religions and the Cult Controversy Prometheus Books 2001
- York, Mary C. "Affidavit of confirmation of true birth records of Malachi Kobina York/Yorke by myself his biological mother" April 19, 2001
- York, Malachi Z. The Ansaar Cult, Rebuttal to the Slanderers p. 57
- Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal The Ansar Cult in America Tawheed Publications 1988, p. 3
- McKee, Susan "A Provisional History of Muslims in the United States" (glossary from work-in-progress)
- "Ansaaru Allah Nubian Islamic Hebrews: Ourstory!"
- Arson was nothing unusual in New York City in the 1970s, however; see http://www.demographia.com/db-sbrx-txt.htm
- Ancient Mystic Order of Malchizedek, Index of Cults and Religions, Watchman Fellowship ministry
- Heimlich, Adam "Black Egypt: A Visit to Tama-Re" New York Press 8 November 2000 
see also: Hevesi, Dennis "Muslims Leave Bushwick: The Neighbors Ask Why" New York Times 24 April 1994
- "Record News", Sounds, December 14, 1985, p. 6
- York, Malachi Z. "El's Qur'aan 18:60–82, What It Means Today" The Truth (Bulletin), The 7 Heads and the 10 Horns (1993) p. 12
- York, Malachi Z. The Ansaar Cult, Rebuttal to the Slanderers
- "Malachi York". Masonicinfo.com. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "In the matter of the Application of Dwight York a/k/a/ Isa Muhammad, leave to change his name to Issa al Haadi al Mahdi" N.Y. Supreme Court, Brooklyn, Kings County, November 27, 1989
- Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal The Ansar Cult 1988, p. 36 (referencing York's 1985 books The Man of Miracles in This Day and Time and You Are Adam's Descendants)
- Testimony of Jalaine Ward, quoted in Peecher, Rob "FBI: York molested dozens; grand jury indicts Nuwaubian leader on 116 state counts" The Macon Telegraph May 14, 2002 Archived June 16, 2002 at the Wayback Machine
- Joe Kovac Jr., New Book Asks Provocative Questions About Dwight York, The Macon Telegraph/May 20, 2007 
- Gabriel, Theodore "Dwight York – a religious and cultural bricoleur" in Partridge, C. UFO Religions Routledge 2003, p. 152
- Osinski, Bill Ungodly: Fact Sheet
- Robinson, Matt: Attachments filed with the 2241 Habeas Corpus motion, April 27, 2006
- U.S. v. York (Case 02-CR-27-1) 30 June 2003 transcripts
see also: Peecher, Rob "York claims immunity as Indian: Defense raises new issues as about 200 show support" Macon Telegraph 1 July 2003
- "Maku is a Secured Party" We the People (Yamassee Native American Moors of the Creek Nation)
see also: Peecher, Rob "Lawyer withdraws guilty plea for York: Nuwaubian leader likely to face new charges, including racketeering" Macon Telegraph October 25, 2003
- U.S. v. Dwight D. York, a.k.a. Malakai Z. York, etc. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, D.C. Docket No. 02-00027-CR-CAR-5-1, October 27, 2005 
- Dwight D. York, Petitioner v. United States Docket for 05-1503
- email from M. Shabazz to various Nuwaubians, 13 December 2006
- All Eyes Do Behold Nuwaubian Administration of International Affairs, 2005 [dead link]
- "Issue #1 Who is Dwight D. York?" United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors [dead link]
- "360 Reasons to Free Malachai York – Reason No. 3: No Such Person As: Dwight D. York" A Public Outcry / Nuwaubian Administration of International Affairs [dead link]
- York, Malachi Z. "Pop's Letter To Diane Stevens" NuWorldOrder Forums 17 October 2004 [dead link]
- York, Malachi Z. Compilation of Powerful Letters 27 June 2005
- Inmate Locator, Federal Bureau of Prisons
- "Liberian Repatriation Efforts" Nuwaubian Administration of International Affairs [dead link]; see also Johnson, Joe “Notaries play role in fake document ploy: York's sect at it again” Athens Banner-Herald 20 December 2009
- York, Malachi Z. handwritten note
- "York Geneaology Chart of African and Native Decendancy" Nuwaubian Administration of International Affairs[dead link]
- "Genealogy of Consul General Dr. Malachi Z. York and his African-Native Moorish American-Aboriginal and Indigenous Peoples of the Land Heritage" Nuwaubian Administration of International Affairs [dead link] – "Ben York was the son of Old York, 'Yusef Ben Ali'. Ben York's parents were named after the Yorks from 'Yorkshire, Northern England'. The ancestors of these Yorks in England were Negroid, Black-A-Moors, which is the Yorkshire Coats of Arms. The name York is a British name [from] Yorkshire, northern England. York was the ruling house of England (1461–1485), which included Edward IV, Edward V, and Richard III. During The War of the Roses its symbol was a white rose. York was a borough of Northern England on the Ouse River East – Northeast of Leeds. Originally it was a Celtic settlement, meaning it was occupied by Moors, that is Dark Skinned Woolly Haired Moors, not to be mistaken with modern day Moroccans, who are Spaniards and Francs."
— "The Idrisid Dynasty were the first Arab rulers of the whole of Morocco. They were the descendants of Bilaal son of Rabah and Hamama, [an] Ethiopian Moor born 551–641 A.D. This Bilaal was of the Hebrew Essenic Branc[h] of Shriners who was responsible to pass the scepter of rulership from Israel to Ishmael giving Muhammad his link to the Ancient Shriner Brotherhood of Sayyids called Shariyfs 'Nobles'. The Idrisid held power in Morocco from 789–926 A.D."
- "Important Bulletin!!!!!!" Yamassee Native Americans – Tribal News (c. 2004) [dead link]
- Philips, Abu Ameenah Bilal The Ansar Cult in America Tawheed Publications 1988, p. 12
- e.g. York, M.Z. The Black Book part two, chapter 1, scroll 10: "…I the great Neter: Amun Nubi Raakh Ptah, who did not rule on earth but rule amongst the stars, am also known as Amunnubi Rooakhptah or Amunubi Rah Ka Ptah, the sun raising out of the East unto the west, who throughout time on earth, was known as the great Tehuti, from Septet (Sirius) even called Djehuti, Zehuti, Djhowtey, or in Greek they called me Thoth, Toth, Thought, Thout, and Hermes Trismegistus. Also called by the Arabs of Islam Al Khidr, Al Masih, and by the Hebrew Rabboni, Ha Mashiakh, also called, Issa Al Haadi Al Mahdi, the grand Mufti of the western world al Mukhlas, ‘the purifier’ Al Mujaddid, ‘the reformer’ Al Qubt, ‘the axis’ Al Imaam, ‘the leader’ Melchizedek, ‘angel of justice’, Miyka’el, angelic being, Yaanuwn, ‘the 19th elder’ Murduk, ‘the Anunnaqi’ Malachi, ‘the messenger of fulfillment’ and Atum-re, the great deity of the Sun, Re ‘ra, roi’ raised to the heights 720 degrees, 360 degrees of physical (understanding) and 360 degrees of spiritual (overstanding), the Supreme Grand Hierophant of the Ancient Egiptian Order."
- Facts About Dr. York Legal Case And His Innocence
- A Public Outcry – site concentrating on York's legal defense
- Bureau of Prisons inmate registry: Dwight York
- A Visit to Tama-Re New York Press by Adam Heimlich November 8, 2000
- Nuwaubian Nightmare at the Wayback Machine (archived August 6, 2002) Washington Times by Robert Stacy McCain June 2, 2002
- U.S. v. York – 04-12354 (11th Cir. October 27, 2005)
- Sect chief’s influence felt at Clarke jail: Deputy’s letter to convicted child molester sparks probe by chief jailer who’s fired OnlineAthens.com June 18, 2006
- Books authored by Malachi York
- Kossy, Donna. "Ansaaru Allah Community" in Kooks: A Guide to the Outer Limits of Human Belief, 1994 (ISBN 0-922915-19-9)
- Palmer, Susan J. "The Ansaaru Allah Community: United Nuwaubian Nation of Moors" in The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects and New Religions, ed. by Lewis, James R., 2001
- Osinksi, Bill. Ungodly: A True Story of Unprecedented Evil, 2007 (ISBN 1934144134)
- Christenson, Yovan. "The Man of Many Faces" Book 1 (ISBN 978-1-906169-52-7)
- Christenson, Yovan. "The Man of Many Faces" Book 2 (ISBN 978-1-906169-53-4)
- Deniran, Diemiruaya O. "The Kidnapping of Dr. York" (ISBN 978-1-906169-87-9)
- Ellis, Marvin A. "Malachi & I" (ISBN 9780557443192)