Although the state and local police have not officially identified the group which is responsible for the partial closure of the interstate, several news outlets have identified them as the ‘Moorish American Arms.’ According to WCVB, the group, which is also called ‘The Rise of The Moors’ posted a video on Instagram overnight showing armed members blocking the highway.
The group have a Moroccan flag and claim to be American nationals but not US citizens. They were allegedly headed from Rhode Island to Maine with camping equipment for training. The group’s website lists Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey as the Moorish American Consular Post Head for the organization. According to his biography, he has served in the United States Marine Corps previously. “We’re not antigovernmental, we’re not anti-police, we’re not sovereign citizens, we’re not Black-identity extremists,” he said during a live-streamed video posted to YouTube Saturday morning, according to Mass Live. “Police seen us on the side of the road with our guns secured. We were afraid so we got with our arms.”
The Massachusetts police got into a standoff with several members of an armed group on Friday night, which continued into Saturday morning, July 3, causing a closure of a part of Interstate 95 overnight and a shelter-in-place order for parts of the communities of Wakefield and Reading.
Massachusetts State Police Col. Christopher Mason said that the situation unfolded when a trooper spotted two vehicles in the breakdown lane, trying to refuel a vehicle, and stopped to offer assistance around 1:30 am. When the trooper observed the group of eight to 10 men were wearing tactical-style gear and were armed with a combination of rifles and pistols, he asked for their identification. The trooper then called for backup.
“At some point during this interaction, a number of those individuals alight into the woodline with their firearms. A perimeter was quickly established,” Mason said. The Wakefield Police Department wrote in a statement: “No threats were made, but these men should be considered armed and dangerous. We are asking residents in these areas to lock their doors and remain inside their homes. A heavy police presence will be in this area as well.” The local police added that “during a motor vehicle stop, several heavily armed men claiming to be from a group that does not recognize our laws exited their vehicles and fled into the woodline” near I-95.
“The Moorish sovereign citizen movement is a collection of independent organizations and lone individuals that emerged in the early 1990s as an offshoot of the antigovernment sovereign citizens movement, which believes that individual citizens hold sovereignty over, and are independent of, the authority of federal and state governments,” the Southern Poverty Law Center says of the movement. “Moorish sovereigns espouse an interpretation of sovereign doctrine that African Americans constitute an elite class within American society with special rights and privileges that convey on them a sovereign immunity placing them beyond federal and state authority.”
Jamhal Talib Abdullah Bey is identified on the group’s website as the Moorish American Consular Post Head for the Rise of the Moors. His biography on the group’s website lists him as having served in the United States Marine Corps previously.
In a statement on the Rise of the Moors website, he wrote of his military service.
“I truly believe that most of the skills that have been instilled in me through military training can be used to uplift our nation and all Moorish Americans. Honor, Courage and Commitment are the Marine Corp Values. Those same values that every Marine is held to, fit perfectly with the High Principles of Love, Truth, Peace, Freedom and Justice that our Prophet, El Hajj Sheriff Abdul Ali instructed us to live by. I joined the military thinking I would be helping our people, who at that time I was trained to think we were ‘Black’. I now know of the ‘King Alfred Plan’ and its objective to use our men as the tip of the spear for European World Domination and Imperialism. I will continue as the Prophet did, to work day by day, in public and in private to continue his great Missionary work to uplift fallen humanity and reinforce the foundation of the Moorish Movement – The minds of the People.”