Juan Cole on the Miami “Terrorists”

by | Jun 24, 2006 | Stress Blog

“I just saw the spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations on CNN saying that the Miami cult members just arrested are not Muslims. I’d say that is a fair statement. For one thing, they are vegetarians!”It seems pretty obvious that they are just a local African-American cult which mixed Judaism, Christianity and (a little bit of) Islam. It seems to be a of vague offshoot of the Moors group founded by Dwight York. I heard on CNN that one of them talked of being Moors. And Batiste, the leader, called whites “devils” in the tradition of the original Nation of Islam and York’s Moors. Now CNN is saying one member said they practiced witchcraft [likely meaning Haitian voodoo or perhaps Santeria-like rituals]. One former member is called Levi-El, suggesting he might be associated with the Black Hebrew movement or an offshoot. Now a relative of one of the members, Phanor, said that they wore black uniforms with a star of David arm patch and considered themselves of the Order of Melchizadek. I wonder if it is “Seas of David” or “C’s of David”, with “c” meaning commando or some such?…

“This Seas of David group primarily seems to have been studying the Bible. The mother of one insisted that he is a Catholic. Then there is all that Jewish symbology and terminology, even in their names. Islam was nothing more for them but a set of symbols they could pull into their syncretic local culture. The group drew on poor Haitian immigrants and local indigent African-American youth. If this were the 1960s, they’d have been Black Panthers or Communists….

“The group never got past the stage of talking big, and violently. They talked dangerously, and some sort of intervention was warranted. Since they begged the FBI informant for ‘shoes,’ they weren’t exactly a well-heeled group that seems very dangerous in actual practice. And, to what extent did the FBI informant press an al-Qaeda connection on these otherwise clueless but imaginative zealots?”

More here

Hat tip: Lew

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