A few weeks back I went shoe shopping (no luck, everything was open toed, and I don't do those...) Anyway, my son was running wild up and down the aisles and my husband was keeping an eye on him while I browsed around. A woman, looking like the average American, came in and was looking in the same area as I was. I said "Hi" to her and she smiled at me and said, "As salaamu alaikum." I responded back to her.
Just minutes later my husband went outside the store with my son and the sister said to me, "Lemme ask you something now that your husband's gone.."
"How do you live in that thing? Like don't you ever just wanna rip it off your face? Do you ever tell him you don't want to wear it?"
Of course she was talking about my niqaab. I laughed. "I've been wearing this before I even married him! He has nothing to do with this, this is between myself and my Lord."
"Oh... okay... so he didn't make you?"
"No, not at all."
"Aight, cuz he look like that reallllll strict religious type... like hardcore religious..."
I laughed again. My husband looks so stern in person, but in reality I'm the one who tells him what to do ;) haha. "No, he's good alhamdulillah, not strict at all."
"Okay, thats good. I took my shahadah back when I was 17, I was part of the Bushwick movement, you heard of them?"
"Yeah, but I don't know too much about them..." I could recall the term, but that was really it. I couldn't remember anything that set them apart from other Muslims.
"Yeah I even moved out to Georgia with them. But then they started getting into all this Hebrew type stuff... myself and my then spouse weren't feelin it, so we came back here. Maybe you've seen me before, I used to sell scented oils and hand out da'wah information by the monument in the early 90's.." I didn't want to tell her I was just a toddler at that time haha. I didn't want to get into a whole conversation about age, and I didn't want her to feel old either.
We spoke for a couple more minutes and then I left the store. I came back to the car and mentioned to my husband that she said she was part of the Bushwick community. It wasn't until he mentioned the Arabic term the group used to refer to themselves as that I wished I could have ran back inside to talk to her.
The Bushwick community goes by a number of names, and so does their founder, Dwight (Malachi) York. But they're most commonly known as Ansaru Allah, or the Nubian Islamic Hebrews. I'd never heard of this group until a couple years ago, when I got my hands on a book about them a couple years back. My grandfather had passed away and my dad went to clean through his apartment and found a book about Ansaru Allah which I delved into in awe.
Their practices were just so bizarre, and so was their founder.
In short, this group was founded in NY in the 80s by York, a self proclaimed Prophet. who believed he was 76 trillion years old and came from some unknown planet onto Earth in the form of a comet. His sect followed a distorted mix of Islam, Christianity, and Judaism -with a strong emphasis on black nationalism as well. He yielded hundreds of followers, who soon moved out to other parts of NY and later to Georgia where they built their own communities. In Georgia they even built some pyramids and temples in their own community (known as the Tama-Re coumpound). As many cult leaders, he was eventually convicted in 2004 with at least 100 counts of child molestation. Though with him in prison, he probably has more supporters now than when he was a free man! SubhanAllah, and Allah knows best. May these people be guided to the true Islam, ameen.
I wish she'd said ANSARU ALLAH rather than Bushwick, or I wish I knew some people refered to them as the Bushwick community because I would have been all over her with questions!!
The book I have is focused on women who cover in niqaab, but it sheds light on some of Yorks teachings. It's written by York himself, he's written more than 450 books. Here are some excerpts from the one I have:
"These mortals can't teach you anything you can't look up or find yourself. But I am 76 trillion years old. I have seen many kingdoms fall and rise, nations fall and raise and galaxies fall and rise. Don't turn away from me. You have prayed for me for many years while in slavery and now I am with you again. Don't reject me. I am the way, the truth, the light, the doorway to our father - Allah most glorified and exhalted."
"Through radio, television, and newspapers he, the devil (CH), has promoted products such as Cover Girl, Revlon, Jerri Curl, and Jordache. Such diversions are designed to keep you, the Nubian (Black), in total darkness..."
"The Devil (CH, pale man) would like you to believe that Sarah was fair or as they'd say light skinned so they can justify their claims of being the descendents of the Prophets (PBUT). But that is why I am here to clean up the lies made by these lying devils (CH). No, the Prophets (PBUT) were not pale, they were all of Nubian stock as their father, the Prophet Adam (PBUH), was and as you are. Don't let the Devil (CH) trick you as he tricked your father, the Prophet Adam (PBUH)."
And one of my favorites: "In certain cartoons for instance, the term 'Salami Bologna' is used. This phrase is an outright mockery of the Muslim salutation - as salaamu alaykum!!!"