Moorish Orthodox Church of America

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The generally-accepted flag of the Moorish Orthodox Church of America.

The Moorish Orthodox Church of America is a syncretic, non-exclusive, and religious anarchist movement espousing a vast array of liturgical and devotional traditions laid over a theology that includes teachings gleaned from Moorish Science, the Five Percenters, the Episcopi vagantes movement, Nizari Islam, Sufism (particularly from the Sufi Order Ināyati, Shadhili, Alevi-Bektashi and Uwaisi traditions), and varying degrees of Theosophical mysticism, Hermeticism, Oriental Orthodoxy, the League for Spiritual Discovery, Western esotericism, Neoplatonism, the teachings of Noel Ignatiev, Tantra, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, and Vedanta teachings.

History and development[edit]

A lineage group of the Moorish Science Temple of America, the Moorish Orthodox Church was founded in New York City in 1962 primarily by Warren Tartaglia,[1] beatniks, spiritual seekers, anarchists and members of the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis (a group that grew out of the Moorish Science Temple #13 in Baltimore on July 7, 1957).[2] The Moorish Orthodox Church of America published a journal entitled the Moorish Science Monitor from 1965-1967, which has been revived at times over the next few decades.[3] Moorish Orthodoxy was founded to explore the more esoteric dimensions of Noble Drew Ali's Moorish Science teachings, but quickly developed into a movement of spiritual exploration beyond its intended purpose, though it maintains Moorish Science as its core. After a long period of quiescence, the Moorish Orthodox Church of America experienced a small renaissance in the mid-1980s owing to the involvement of former members of the beat/beatnik movement, the counter-cultural hippie community, and the gay liberation movement, along with the continued involvement of Sultan Rafi Sharif Bey (who founded the Moorish League) and the prolific writings of Hakim Bey.

Notable members[edit]


  1. ^ Patrick D. Bowen (17 August 2015). A History of Conversion to Islam in the United States, Volume 1: White American Muslims before 1975. BRILL. p. 320. ISBN 978-90-04-30069-9. Then, in 1962 one of the Baltimore group's young members, Warren Tartaglia, left the city to attend New York University, where he introduced the organization to Manhattan's white hipsters, including the man who would become one of the US' most influential non-orthodox Muslims: Peter Lamborn Wilson (Hakim Bey). The New York Group, which was named the Moorish Orthodox Church, would soon adapt other elements of Sufism...
  2. ^ Eugene V. Gallagher (2004), The New Religious Movements Experience in America, Greenwood Publishing Group, p. 135, ISBN 978-0-313-32807-7, Another group that traces its origins to the work of Noble Drew Ali is the Moorish Orthodox Church of America. Despite its claim to Orthodoxy, the group, which was started by a handful of white poets and jazz musicians in the 1950s in Washington, D.C., developed a thoroughly eclectic theology.
  3. ^ Aminah Beverly McCloud (16 July 2014). African American Islam. Routledge. p. 201. ISBN 978-1-136-64937-0. The last Moorish Science Monitor, according to Peter Lamborn Wilson, appeared in 1966, but the journal was revived in 1986. It is the publication of the Moorish Orthodox Church of America which was "founded in the late 1950s by Europeans who (according to oral sources) had obtained Moorish Science Temple passports as 'Celts' or 'Persians." (Sacred Drift, 49).

External links[edit]