Armed group with police claim to be America’s ‘indigenous people’
Massachusetts police arrested 11 people on Saturday morning who claimed to be part of a group called “Rise of the Moors” following a nearly seven-hour standoff that closed a freeway.
The heavily armed group posted videos throughout the standoff, claiming to be peaceful and abide by “federal laws and judicial advice” of the United States.
Rise of the Moors has a strong online presence, with a website and social media, including a YouTube channel, Instagram page, and Facebook page.
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The group’s website says “We are Moorish Americans dedicated to educating new Moors and influencing our Elders.”
Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey is identified as the head of the US Moorish consular post for the group: his biography lists him as having previously served in the Marines.
The term Moors refers to the Muslim inhabitants of North Africa and southern Europe. The group claims, on its website, to be descended from a wide range of peoples, including “Olmecs, Moabites, Canaanites, Hittites,” among others, but primarily a strong US-Moroccan relationship.
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Specifically, however, the group asserts that the Moors are the “indigenous people” of America and that they do not assert their sovereignty but their “nationality” as Moors-Americans, “upon whom sovereign power is vested. “.
In the early hours of the clash, between Lynnfield and Stoneham, a video posted by the group on its YouTube channel showed two men standing in the middle of Interstate 95 holding a Moroccan flag. A state patrol soldier responded first and then called for reinforcements.
The group’s website establishes close links with Morocco, asserting that the term Moor does not designate blacks but Moroccans, and that all “persons qualified as Dominicans, Haitians, Tainos, etc.” do not come from blacks, they are descendants. of the Moors. “
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The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Moorish Sovereign Citizens movement as a “collection of independent organizations and isolated individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the anti-government Sovereign Citizens movement, which believes that individual citizens hold sovereignty and are independent of, federal and state government. ”
However, it is not clear if Rise of the Moors is directly affiliated with this movement.
The group heavily refers to constitutional amendments and US Supreme Court cases to discuss their rights and actions, but they apparently believe they are not subject to state laws.
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In Saturday’s stand-off, Bey claimed they were neither anti-government nor anti-police, sovereign citizens or black-identity extremists.