And maybe it’s OK that Zell doesn’t give a damn about newspapers. The people who like them a lot are beginning to resemble the people who really like passenger trains. —Hot Type, November 15

Moor and Better

There are people of every faith, that say, act, and do things that are contradictory to the teachings of the faith they claim. Yet, this should not be interpreted to mean that their weaknesses and shortcomings are representative of the whole community and instructions of God [“The Aging of the Moors” by Tasneem Paghdiwala, November 15]. The Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali is a true and divine Prophet, prepared divinely in due time, by Allah, to redeem men from their sinful ways; and to warn them of the great wrath which is sure to come upon the earth. He was (is) a “Moslem” and so declared that we were (are) Moslems according to the Great Koran of Mohammed (Mecca). For those that read, know that this Book is the CRITERION for the Moslem and in it Allah, the Great God has “forbidden” the conscious eating of pork and the drinking of fiery drinks. But, it is men in their utter weakness who have lied on Allah and have said otherwise. The Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali, after a special meeting, on July 20, 1928, told the Moors that it would take some of us 50 years before we knew what he had done on that day. In following months, the Prophet came forth, not only announcing his power and authority (you see, just like today, there were those who didn’t know where the seat of authority and power was and had begun to follow their own weaknesses) but also clearly explaining what was to be expected of each officer and member of this Divine and National Movement....

Therefore, if we, today, are going to allow ourselves to be interviewed by outside forces let us, at least, arm ourselves with the truth and have sense enough to know the difference between it (The Truth) and the weaknesses of men, which bear not its splendor. And to those who seek to know our doctrine—before you start printing you should at least do your homework, lest you fall upon the sword of slander and find yourself in court. For we have a national leader, national press secretary, national historian; and, we have temples and ministers throughout the United States, who know the truth about our doctrine. Yes, we are incorporated in the state of Illinois and even there we have more than one subordinate temple. But, please know, we have subordinate temples throughout the United States, some being established as early as 1927.... So, the Chicago temple(s) are not the only temples in this movement with a wealth of history to share. And, as far as the fish fry, this too was a tradition in other cities. In Baltimore, the Moors were known for their fish, corn bread, and macaroni dinners. But, this is not strange, many of our people brought these southern traditions into the movement when they came—this is the truth that must be told. ... But, again, when explaining these things, we should at least, point to their origin, so as not to confuse the public as to what the Holy Prophet of Allah has prescribed as a guide to life.

Brother R. Edwards-El, D.M.

Point to Ponder:

The Holy Prophet Noble Drew Ali established his movement to help in the Great Program of Uplifting Fallen Humanity and this includes our brothers and sisters who have found themselves in prison. I guess some of have forgotten the words of the Prophet Jesus: “When I was hungry, you feed me not. When I was in prison, you visit me not. Lord, when were you in hungry, when were you in prison?? When the lest of you where hungry, I was hungry. When the lest of you were in prison, I was in prison.”

From OurOnline Readers

Overall a fairly impartial article [“The Aging of the Moors”] but with a few major errors. Firstly, Moors do not eat pork or drink alcohol. I don’t know where the author attained this erroneous information. Secondly, there are a number of Moorish Science Temples in the city of Chicago. The author should visit some of the others. The Moorish movement is very much alive and growing in Chicago with a number of young Sheiks and Sheikesses and new members joining everyday.

Chaheed El Amin-Bey

Tasneem Paghdiwala replies:

Some Moorish-Americans make the personal choice to abstain from pork or alcohol, or to make the pilgrimage to Mecca or learn Arabic. But as it was explained to me by members of Temple No. 9, and from my readings of Drew Ali’s Koran and other works, there’s no official prohibition against pork or alcohol.

After Drew Ali died in 1929, the movement split into rival factions. The group with the most members and claim to the name Moorish Science Temple of America, Inc., the name under which Drew Ali legally incorporated the organization in 1928, was the one led by C. Kirkman-Bey in Chicago until he died in 1959. Temple No. 9 adheres to his faction, and it’s the only one in the city that does.

Many offshoots claim direct lineage from Drew Ali’s original group. There’s the Reincarnated Temples, the Noble Order of Moorish Sufis, and the Moorish Orthodox Church, which have temples of varying viability around the country.

I’d like to correct two errors in the story. The first Moorish convention was held in October 1928, not September 1928, at Unity Hall, located at 3140 Indiana, not on the 3600 block of Indiana as I reported.

Re “Chicago Punk, Vol. 1” by Miles Raymer, November 22

It’s great to hear O’Banions and Oz mentioned again. I’m so old I sometimes think I made those places up in my mind. Back then, Tutu opened for EVERY touring punk band—I saw them more than I saw my Mom in 1978-79.


Re “Journalists’ Rites” by Michael Miner, November 22

As a retired newspaper guy and a lifelong rail buff, I don’t know whether to be insulted or depressed.

Henry Kisor

My philosophy is to try to do good work and enjoy the job while I still have a job, staying in tune playing “Nearer My God to Thee” while the icy waters rise. I’m sure someday this will be seen as a romantic period to be a journalist, and future writers will cast a nostalgic eye back to the Great Die-Off, and wish they had been here now. We are here, now, and should make the most of it. It was a long time coming, to quote CSN&Y, it’ll be a long time gone.

Neil Steinberg


In last week’s issue the photo of the painting accompanying Fred Camper’s Critic’s Choice on the Jasper Johns show at the Art Institute was inadvertently cropped. Here’s Map in its entirety.