Local News

Mayor seeks to void Fayetteville proclamation for separatist group

Posted February 16, 2012

— The ceremonial job of issuing city proclamations has created an embarrassing situation for Fayetteville Mayor Tony Chavonne.

Chavonne last month declared the week of Jan. 8 Moorish American Week in Fayetteville, not realizing that the group is considered by some to be a separatist movement that views the U.S. government as illegitimate and refuses to pay taxes.

The Moors believe they were the first people to live in the Americas, but the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the group "Sovereigns in Black," referring to white, anti-government sovereign citizens groups.

City staffers cleared the request for Moorish American Week, and Chavonne signed off on the proclamation. Other cities nationwide, from Chicago to Tacoma, Wash., to Charlotte, have issued similar proclamations for the group.

"I think they should let the proclamation stand because we are abiding citizens," said Alim El Bey of Fayetteville.

The week of Jan. 8 was chosen for a proclamation because it's the birthday of the founder of the Moorish Science Temple of America, he said.

El Bey said Moorish Americans are nothing like sovereign citizens, adding that their heritage is worth proclaiming.

Fayetteville to withdraw honor for Moorish Americans Fayetteville to withdraw honor for Moorish Americans

Still, he hedges when asked about the issue of paying taxes.

"Indians and those who are three-fifths of a person do not pay taxes, so that's what it's stemming from. It's from the Constitution," he said, adding that he pays taxes as a business owner.

Chavonne said he never heard of the group before issuing the proclamation, and he has asked city staff to draft paperwork to retract the proclamation and apologize for any confusion.

"It was never the intention of the city of Fayetteville to endorse or give credence to any separatist or sovereign citizen group," he said Thursday in a statement to WRAL News. "We sincerely appreciate the many contributions that all Americans have made to our country and regret any confusion or misunderstanding this may have caused."


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  • See Chart Feb 21, 2012

    No one in this country would have known of this proclamation
    from mostly quiet Fayetteville NC ,till it hid the news media.
    Wasn't Hannibal a Moor? Older than apple pie Americans. Yes or no?

  • heavenstudiosmanagement Feb 17, 2012

    The members of the Moorish Science Temple are a part and partial of the government and must live the life accordingly. Moorish-Americans are not for the overthrow of the government and do not advocate "paper terrorism". Act 5 of the Divine constitution, written by the MSTA's founder, Noble Drew Ali states, "This organization of the Moorish Science Temple of America is not to cause any confusion or to overthrow the laws and constitution of the said government, but obey hereby." There are many impostors across the land who misunderstand the teachings of Noble Drew Ali and create confusion. They do not speak for upstanding, dues paying members of the MSTA.

  • jamesstuart Feb 17, 2012

    I wouldn't put to much stock in anything the Southern Poverty Law Center has to say:


  • Raptor06 Feb 17, 2012

    There should only be a celebrate "American" day. Forget Native- , African-, Moorish- ... we're Americans. Dividing us just weakens us... RKBA

    I concur. Maybe we should start treating each other like Americans with all the rights, liberties, and privileges. Even during the election season when so many feel it's to their special advantage to divide and conquer. Otherwise, we have to continue to have those special recognitions to remind some of us why our Nation's motto is "E Pluribus Unum." Better yet, maybe we need to start watching more educational TV about the TRUE origins of Nation. Then the motto will make much more sense.

  • sunshine1040 Feb 16, 2012

    Maybe it is time to remember that most of us are Americans first and are we are free to go back to the homeland if we feel our ancestors made a mistake in coming to the USA

  • josephlawrence43 Feb 16, 2012

    Perhaps the Mayor and Inspections Dept of the Fayetteville Fire Dept. should pay more attention to the welfare of its business community rather than using the "rules and regulations" blindly and in the manner of a robot.

  • WRALwontdeletemyaccount Feb 16, 2012

    There should only be a celebrate "American" day. Forget Native- , African-, Moorish- ... we're Americans.

    Dividing us just weakens us.

  • westernwake1 Feb 16, 2012

    Maybe it is time for cities to stop rubber-stamping proclamations for anti-government hate groups. Has the staff considered doing a simple google search before issuing proclamations.