Members of the Moorish Science Temple of America posing before meeting place during annual gathering, October 1928. Prophet Noble Drew Ali Founder [first row, standing, fifth from left.]
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library
Although presented as a sect of Islam, the Moorish Science Temple also draws inspiration from Buddhism,Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism, embracing a message of self-determination, personal transformation, indigenous identity, indigenous pride, uplift, civic involvement, and self-sufficiency. One primary tenet is the belief that African Americans are of Moorish ancestry, and in their religious texts, adherents refer to themselves as “Asiatics”.