Are The Five Percenters A Religion?  Are They A Gang?

Why have some Five Percenters been declared to be a Security Threat Group (STG)?

The Five Percenters are also known as the Nation of Gods and Earths. They were founded in Harlem, NY in 1963, by a man named Clarence Smith who, among other names, was also known as "The Father" and "Clarence 13X."

Their teachings or lessons are mostly derived from the teachings of Elijah Muhammad, who, until his death, was the Muslim leader in the United States. Unlike the Muslims, who believe in Allah, members of The Five Percenters are taught and believe that the Black Man is the "true and living god" and there is no other God in whom people should base their faith.

Are the Five Percenters a religion? They claim that they are not.

Are the Five Percenters a gang? They claim that they are not and proclaim that the entire organization should not be blamed for the crimes and other anti-social acts committed by a few.

As with any group of citizens, let's assume that the majority of the followers are honest, law-abiding people who have deep beliefs in the teachings of the culture. Much of the problem with the group lies with the incarcerated members of the group whose propensity towards violence is well documented, particularly in the eastern region of the United States.

The threat posed by members to the security of the institutions, the staff and other inmates has caused a number of departments of corrections to consider the group a Security Threat Group.

Learn the history, philosophy, identifiers, and the areas where they are known to exist.

I have given presentations, devoted to this single group, to corrections and law enforcement personnel throughout South Carolina. I have also given this presentation to the North Carolina Department of Corrections, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction, the American Jail Association Training Seminar and the National Major Gang Task Force.

The material is presented through Power Point and includes materials obtained from many sources. One such source that conveys how dangerous the Five Percenters are, is a video statement given by the current national leader of the Muslim Community, the son of Elijah Muhammad, W. Deen Mohammed.

This presentation may be given independently, or as part of the overall gang identification presentation.

Length of presentation: 90 minutes

Video - Questions asked of W. Deen Mohammed

About 1997, I was invited to attend a Muslim Conference in Columbia, SC.  The keynote speaker was W. Deen Mohammed who succeeded his father, Elijah Mohammed as the leader of the Society of Muslim Americans.  He died in 2008.


Five Percenters - Security Threat Groups

In 1995 the South Carolina Department of Corrections designated The Five Percenters as a Security Threat Group. Subsequently, a group of inmates (Plaintiffs) filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court against the Department of Corrections (Defendants).

In December 1997 the Court ruled in favor of the Defendants. This action was appealed by to the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals by attorneys representing the inmate plaintiffs and in March 1999 the Court of Appeals upheld the lower court decision in favor of the Defendants.

To view the court's decision, please click on to the link below: In September 1999, the United States Supreme Court rejected the Five Percenterís (plaintiffs) appeal and let stand the decision of the Fourth Circuit.

New York federal judge rules in favor of Five Percenters

On July 31, 2003, a federal court district judge ruled that the Five Percenters may practice their "religious" beliefs within the New York Department of Corrections.

To view news articles and reports about incarcerated Five Percenters in South Carolina and other Departments of Corrections please click on to the links below:

A Street Gang

The Supreme Team

Read the court decision from The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit about a New York group of Five Percenters who called themselves "The Supreme Team." According to the background provided in the court document, this group "regularly committed acts of violence and murder to maintain its stronghold on the areaís drug trade."

FBI Report - Freedom of Information