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"I am God", NOI, and the Five Percenters

Reader comment on item: The Snipers: Crazy or Jihadis?

Submitted by DebP (United States), Nov 1, 2002 at 09:41

Prior to the sniper's apprehension, many pundits disallowed the possibility that the sniper could be Muslim because he supposedly left messages for the police saying, "I am God."

I wanted to point out that there is a splinter group of the Nation of Islam known as the "Five Percenters" who teach that the "black man is God." They denounce mainstream Islam and other forms of monotheistic religion that have faith in an incorporeal God, saying that these false religions are trying to get people to believe in a "spook" or "mystery god." For them, each and every black man has the potential of being God, but only a small portion of black men have actually realized that potential. These "Gods" believe themselves to be entirely corporeal, but self-realized or "awakened", if you will. To be God is to have a transformed consciousness. They don't believe there is an after-life or any spiritual plane of existence.

I would like to direct your attention to an excellent online article entitled, "The Five Percenters: A Teenage Nation of Gods and Earths" by Yusuf Nuruddin. It is located at www.nau.edu/library/courses/history/his498c-reese/reserve/nuruddin1.pdf
The "Gods" are the young, black men who have come into realization of their true nature. The "Earths" are the female members of this cult.

The article mentions in passing that the 85% are "poison animal eaters". The 85% (that would be you and me) are the completely deluded people, who have the lowest possible awareness of what's really real. I was intrigued to the mention of food since I've seen many news article references saying that John Lee Malvo subsisted on a strange diet of crackers, honey, and supplements under John Allen Muhammad's direction, and that Muhammad was trying to exert a similar influence over his own children's diets, but that his ex-wives wouldn't cooperate with him on this.

I did additional internet searches on the Five Percenters' viewpoints on food, and I found a wide range of attitudes: everything from a moderate halal-style approach to the lunatic fringe. Amidst the lunatic fringe, I found an entire dietary philosophy based on the proposition that each "cell" of the food you eat possesses its own consciousness, which you, the eater, have to overcome. Otherwise that consciousness which dwells in your food will overcome you. Think of eating as a battlefield where the fate of your consciousness is determined. This becomes of vital interest to those young black men aspiring to realize their "Godhood," since becoming a "God" is entirely based on a transformation of one's consciousness.

At any rate, it is said to be easiest to overcome the consciousness which indwells minerals, then vegetables, then herbivores, then carnivores. Looking this over, my gut instinct is that this bizarre philosophy had some bearing on Malvo's diet.

Next as to how far-out the cult is, apparently Sunni Muslims despise it. But how is it regarded by the Nation of Islam? The article I cited says:

Although members of the old Nation would
dismiss them as Scientists, Minister Louis
Farrakhan in his October 1985 Madison Square
Garden address to a overflow crowd of 25,000
New Yorkers at one point specifically addressed
his "beautiful brothers and sisters of the Five
Percent Nation" in a message of unity. Several
hundred Five Percenters in the crowd cheered in
response. Some Five Percenters now say that the
only difference between themselves and
Farrakhan's NOI is the latter's strict dress
code (e.g., suits and bow ties).

Again I found this interesting in that John Allen Muhammad supposedly was a bodyguard for Farrakhan at the Million Man March.

[By the way, the above reference to "Scientists" is something of a technical term in the cult. They practice a form of numerology, and a similar technique that uses letters; using both techniques, they think they can "prove" scientifically the truth of what they are teaching.]

Another article that I would like to draw to your attention is at http://comp.uark.edu/~tsweden/5per.html entitled, "Islam in the Mix: Lessons of the Five Percent" by Ted Swedenburg.

This article indicates the extent to which Five Percent ideology has infiltrated Rap Music. Dr. Swedenburg goes into great detail naming names as to which Rap groups are Five Percenters, which are Nation of Islam, and which are mainstream Sunni. He points out:

Despite all the Grammy Awards, the tens of
millions of units sold, and the Fugees'
high-profile references to Farrakhan / Ramadan
/ Qur'an, this Islamic infiltration of the
cultural mainstream has, surprisingly, gone
virtually without comment, whether from the
popular media or the academy.

He believes that one reason that academics who note the oppositional qualities of rap music don't get the Nation of Islam references is that they aren't familiar with the ideology or the lingo, so the references go whooshing over their heads. As he puts it:

The other reason for the lack of critical
attention to Islam in rap is that many
Islamic references are either not obvious
or simply occult. The cultural critic
interested in rap but who has not bothered
to study the beliefs of Nation of Islam
or the Nation of Gods and Earths [another
name for the Five Percenters] will, of
course, not catch the allusions.

He does cite this little gem from a rap song:

Praises are due to Allah, that's me
--Poor Righteous Teachers,
"Butt Naked Booty Bless"
(Holy Intellect)

Or this one:

I'm God
G is the seventh letter made
--Eric B. and Rakim,
"No Competition" (Follow the Leader)

That is exactly what the sniper was doing with the "I am God" thing.

There's another interesting article, apparently by a reformed Five Percenter, that also touches on it prevalence in hip hop: see http://www.angelfire.com/hiphop2/imagiin360/godsnearthspdf.pdf


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