BOSTON — This week in court, arrested members of the Rhode Island-based Rise of the Moors group repeatedly told a District Court judge they were sovereign nationals who did not recognize the court’s authority over them.
Many members said they did not understand why the serious weapons charges filed against them even apply to them.
All of the Rise of the Moors defendants are now held without bail, pending dangerousness hearings Friday, after an hours-long standoff with State Police on Route 128 in Wakefield early Saturday.
Prosecutors say the men were all dressed in military gear, some of them carrying loaded firearms including rifles and pistols.
None of the weaponry, authorities said, was locked and secured as required under Massachusetts law.
The Rise of the Moors group claims to base its beliefs on the Moorish Science Temple of America and its founder Prophet Drew Ali.
But the leaders of the Moorish Science Temple of America, based in Atlanta, told me they disavow the Rise of the Moors and the group’s claims of sovereignty.
Moorish Science Temple of America leaders allege the Rise of The Moors is a misguided version of their religion obey American laws in the United States.
“Everybody says they’re Moors, but they’re not. All these people that you are looking at in the courtroom, are lost souls,” Shaykh Ra Saadi El said.
At Friday’s dangerousness hearings, prosecutors will ask a judge to continue to hold the arrested men of the Rise of the Moors group without bail.
Many of those defendants, acting under the guise of sovereignty, have refused the use of court-appointed attorneys.
Boston lawyer Brad Bailey said not only are the arrested members risking their immediate liberty, they are also at risk of inadvertently giving up key evidence against them, by representing themselves.
“The biggest danger is in their making admissions or adoptive admissions that can subsequently be used against them in criminal proceedings,” Bailey said.
If found guilty, members of the Rise of the Moors group could be sentenced to 10 years in state prison.
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