TEMPLE No. 11 Showcases the Moorish Science Temple of America in Historic Islamic Documentary
By. Bro. Y. Sirius-El
June 30, 2014
Last Tuesday officials and members of Temple 11 invited Moors to attend the Premier of a documentary titled, ‘Muslim Voices of Philadelphia’ at the International House of Philadelphia on Chestnut Street. The event was a huge success and attracted a diverse range of Muslim communities in the Philadelphia area. Viewing the compilation documentary was a mixed audience of Muslim brothers and sisters of all ages and nationalities. The film itself showcased 9 groups that included the Moorish Science Temple of America (MSTA), Members of the Bawa Muhaiyaddeen Fellowship and Mosque, the New Africa Center, Masjid Freehaven, and the Muslim Student Association (MSA) of The University of Pennsylvania to name a few.
Produced by Bro. T. Hopkins-Bey [Sheik] and Directed by both he and the GS Bro. A. Hopkins-Bey, the MSTA segment of the 1 hour and 51 minute film is featured second and included clips from the Grand Sheik and Moderator Bro. R. Jones-Bey plus officials and elders from the Philadelphia area including the GS.  Sister H. Graves-El, Bro. Wilson-Bey, Bro. Bannister-Bey, Bro. Sharif A. Bey, and AGS Sis. S. Hopkins-Bey. The history of the MST of A was laid out concisely, including the fact that the Holy Prophet was the first to bring Islam into the United States.
The various producers of the documentary were called up in two groups and asked questions by the audience and the two Moors provided powerful answers. One woman in the audience asked what was the difference between the Koran of Mecca and the Koran used in the MSTA, and Bro A. Hopkins-Bey replied that the Koran was divinely Prepared by the Noble Prophet, before he recited from memory a portion of the Holy Koran page three that explains how these secrets were freed and delivered into the hands of the Moslems of America. His answer resonated tremendously within that specific audience of brothers and Sisters in Islam. Bro. T. Hopkins-Bey also gave a powerful demo on the need for increased unity among the different walks of the Islamic faith there in Philly and throughout the United States. From the questions and answers given by the entire group, it appeared that we were all inspired by learning about the personal stories and beginnings of our coreligionists. Moorish Americans showed up from all over Philadelphia, New York, New Jersey, and Baltimore to support the program and left excited by what we witnessed.
The viewing came on the heels of a very symbolic week where Philadelphia hosted its 22nd annual Islamic Parade and Festival the previous Saturday whereby many Masjid’s in the city were represented . The following day they gathered for an Islamic Symposium which featured panelists from the Ahmadiyah Community and the Nation of Islam, as well as the MSTA; Dr. Khalid Blankinship of Temple University, Prof. Mikal Nash from Essex University, Grand Sheik Azeem Hopkins –Bey, and Imam Amin Nathari of the Islam in America Movement. The topic of discussion was, “Early Roots, Muslims in Early American History” documenting the growth and development of the Muslim American Community in the twentieth century. The documentary premiere also came less than a week from the Holy Month of Ramadan.
Philadelphia has a very large muslim population that has grown significantly in the past 10 years. Philadelphia is one of the largest Muslim cities in the United States with 50,000 Muslims reported living there in 2012. These statistics make the significance of this documentary premiere even more profound, and that’s without considering the fact that Philadelphia is the location of the first and second Continental Congress where plans were made to strip the Moors of their Nationality and names, and Philly was also the Capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. Temple No. 11 Hosts a peaceful march every year called ‘The Trek Thru History” on Moorish American Remembrance day in October where we march to Carpenter’s Hall the location of the First Continental Congress and Independence Hall where it is said that our Moorish Flag was held.
The DVD is available for sale at the Scribe Video Center. “Muslim Voices of Philadelphia is a community history project, using media to explore some of the rich histories of Philadelphia area Muslim communities. The project includes several components: a series of short documentary projects produced collaboratively with local Muslim communities, a 60 minute documentary about late 19th and early 20th century Muslim communities in Philadelphia, a companion book, a website, and a national outreach and engagement campaign that includes screenings and replication workshops.”