Leader of Rise of The Moors militia who was arrested after Massachusetts standoff 


Jahmal Latimer (picture) is the self-proclaimed leader of the Rise of The Moors group

The self-proclaimed leader of the Rise of The Moors group who was arrested along with 10 other heavily armed men following a police standoff in Massachusetts on Saturday has been identified as a man who believes himself to be the ‘grand chief of Rhode Island.’   

Jahmal Latimer, who also goes by the title Talib Abdulla Bey, cofounded the militia group which claims to be a non-profit educational organization based out of Rhode Island.

The group, which flies the Moroccan flag, is centered on the belief that its followers are the ‘aboriginal people’ of the US and takes its teachings partly from a religious sect known as the Moorish Science Temple.   

Latimer and the Rise of the Moors have a large social media presence, with more than 16,000 subscribers to the group’s YouTube channel, in which the leader posts videos showing off firearms and discussing ‘the constitution.’

In one video, posted last month and obtained by CBS Local, Latimer is seen boasting about having three guns as he held a rifle and loaded it. 

‘The investigation of the Rise of the Moors organization – I guess you didn’t see the first video,’ he said to the camera while brandishing the weapon. 

‘We have three guns,’ he smiled.  

Latimer was one of the 11 ‘armed and dangerous’ men taken into custody Saturday after they fled from police during a traffic stop overnight in a bizarre incident that he streamed online.

A state trooper spotted the group at the side of the Interstate-95 between Wakefield and Reading around 1.30am Saturday. 

The men, who were dressed in tactical-style gear and armed with both pistols and rifles, refused to comply with orders to drop their weapons and ran into woodland by the side of the road. 

Massachusetts State Police issued an urgent shelter-in-place warning for residents of Wakefield and Reading, and urged them to lock their doors. They added that the group were ‘dangerous’ and ‘do not recognize US laws’.  

Members of the group were arrested along with 10 other heavily armed men following a police standoff in Massachusetts on Saturday has been identified

Members of the group were arrested along with 10 other heavily armed men following a police standoff in Massachusetts on Saturday has been identified

The I-95 was subsequently closed down as cops combed the area in search of the men before they were later arrested.     

Latimer, who told officers he was ‘not anti-government’ during Saturday’s incident, was arrested by Rhode Island State Police early last year for obstructing an officer, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.

The details of this encounter are not clear but court records show the case is still pending, according to CBS Local. 

Sources told the outlet Latimer is the leader of the Rise of the Moors, and is known as the Moorish American Consular Post Head in the organization. 

He also claims to have served in the United States Marine Corps. 

The Rise of the Moors, which is based out of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, is said to be known to the Rhode Island Police.

The militia group lists its mission on its website ‘as to perform all things relating to and appropriate to portraying the overall history of our ancestors – the Olmecs, Moabites, Canaanites, Hittites etc.’

It says Moors ‘are not ‘Sovereign Citizens’, as sovereignty does not stand alone, sovereignty and nationality can be considered synonymous.’

Jahmal Latimer and the Rise of the Moors have a large social media presence. In one video, posted last month and obtained by CBS Local , Latimer is seen boasting about having three guns as he held a rifle and loaded it (above)

Jahmal Latimer and the Rise of the Moors have a large social media presence. In one video, posted last month and obtained by CBS Local , Latimer is seen boasting about having three guns as he held a rifle and loaded it (above) 

The Rise of the Moors has more than 16,000 subscribers to the group's YouTube channel

The leader posts videos showing off firearms and discussing 'the constitution'

The Rise of the Moors has more than 16,000 subscribers to the group’s YouTube channel, in which the leader posts videos showing off firearms and discussing ‘the constitution’

Latimer, who also goes by the title Talib Abdulla Bey, cofounded the militia group which claims to be a non-profit educational group based out of Rhode Island

Latimer, who also goes by the title Talib Abdulla Bey, cofounded the militia group which claims to be a non-profit educational group based out of Rhode Island

However, the group does believe that Moors are American nationals, but not citizens.

‘The record show that the Moors are the organic or original sovereigns of this land – America,’ the website reads.  

The group takes its teachings from Noble Drew Ali, who founded the Moorish Science Temple of America in Chicago in 1913.

The Temple follows Islam and believes African Americans are descendants of the Moabites and so are Moors. 

Mark Pitcavage, a senior research fellow at the Anti-Defamation League’s Center on Extremism, told the Boston Globe some of Rise of the Moor’s beliefs come from this sect.

The organization’s website details the life of Drew Ali and features an application form to join the Rise of the Moors Temple. 

Pitcavage said the group is fairly new and small and shares similar beliefs to the sovereign citizen movement but is different in that it shows an interest in paramilitary activity. 

When the standoff broke out, the men were dressed head to toe in military gear and laden with firearms, telling officers they were on their way to train in Maine.  

Massachusetts police issued an urgent shelter-in-place warning for residents in two towns near Boston on Saturday after nine heavily armed men fled into woodland during a traffic stop

Officers are seen scouring the local area on the hunt for the 'armed and dangerous' men

Officers are seen scouring the local area on the hunt for the ‘armed and dangerous’ men 

‘Many sovereign citizen groups are armed, but very few of them actually engage in paramilitary activity like a militia group would, their sister movement,’ he said. 

‘But this appears to be one of the rare exceptions.’  

The group believes that Moors are not required to pay taxes because they ‘are not represented within their body politics’ and the IRS ‘is not an agency of the United States government.’

It also claims to have taken possession of an abandoned home for the use of its followers.

‘We claimed this building as an organization so that not just one person benefits from this – our goal is to inspire people to move here, help secure the building and once this is done, we will repeat the process to the point that every Moorish family has a home and a business, if they so desire, for themselves,’ the website reads.  

The property is owned by Midfirst Bank which has sued the militia group over it, reported the Globe. 

It is unclear how closely the Rise of the Moors is related to Moorish Sovereign Citizens – a separate extremist group of squatters who do not recognize the authority of the United States government or its laws. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Moorish sovereign citizen movement as 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.    

Two of the group were captured and arrested shortly after daybreak. Others were found and taken into custody around 10.30am.

Police have confirmed that members of the group posted multiple videos to YouTube under an account named 'Rise of the Moors' (the footage above)

Police have confirmed that members of the group posted multiple videos to YouTube under an account named ‘Rise of the Moors’ (the footage above)

Police initially reported nine suspects were taken into custody, but two more were taken into custody in their vehicle later Saturday morning. Two suspects were hospitalized, but police said it was for preexisting conditions that had nothing to do with the standoff.

Police say they made no specific demands. They are now sweeping the men’s vehicles and surrounding woodlands to make sure no weapons were left behind. 

During a press conference, cops confirmed that members of the group posted to the YouTube account ‘Rise of the Moors’ early on Saturday morning. 

The group were reportedly on their way from Rhode Island to Maine to conduct ‘training’ when the incident in Massachusetts occurred.  

One clip shows several men dressed in camouflage clothing waving a Moroccan flag as they stand at the side of the I-95 and declare ‘we are not anti-government’.  

A separate video, filmed after daybreak, shows one of the camouflage-clad members speaking directly to the camera, stating: ‘We’re not anti- police, we’re not sovereign citizens, we’re not black identity extremists.

‘The possession of a gun per se, constitutes no offence, so we haven’t violated any laws.’ 

‘The police saw us on the side of the road with our guns secured, we were afraid, so we got out with our arms, and I have a body camera that has been recording the whole time,’ the Rise of the Moors member insisted.  

‘We reassured them multiple times that we are abiding by the federal laws as well as the judicial opinions of the United States Supreme Court, but they keep portraying us as being anti-government but we’re not anti-government at all.’

The member did not specifically outline his group’s goals or beliefs. 

One of the members of the 'Rise of the Moors' is pictured during a livestream shared to YouTube on Saturday morning

One of the members of the ‘Rise of the Moors’ is pictured during a livestream shared to YouTube on Saturday morning 

One clip shows several men dressed in camouflage clothing waving a Moroccan flag as they stand at the side of the I-95

Meanwhile, another clip titled ‘Moroccan Peace’ featured the man saying: ‘According to the United States federal law, we have the right to peaceful journey, so with that being said we should not have been detained here. 

‘We were not pulled over, we had stopped to fuel our vehicle. I’m going to show you for the record, I also have a bodycam, it’s still recording (points to body cam) my red light indicates that it is recording.’ 

He continued: ‘Our vehicle is full of camping equipment, which supports what I said about how we’re going to our private land to train, which is our second amendment right.’

‘I ensured them that we had planned to fill up these fuel tanks which I’m about to show you right now, so that way we don’t have to make any unnecessary stops, so that way we could have just passed through their state.

‘They [police] specified how they were trying to protect public security and public peace and I specified how we were just travelling through, we weren’t going to stop, we weren’t going to stop at any gas stations because that could have alerted the public…  there’s no need for them [cops] to be here.’

The man was seen in another video titled 'Moroccan Peace' insisting that his group was simply passing through Massachusetts on their way to a training camp in Maine

The man was seen in another video titled ‘Moroccan Peace’ insisting that his group was simply passing through Massachusetts on their way to a training camp in Maine 

The I-95 was closed in both directions as state and local police combed the area

Police issued their shelter-in-place request early Saturday morning

Police issued their shelter-in-place request early Saturday morning

However, Massachusetts State Police claimed the men did not have driver’s licenses or gun licenses when they were approached by the officer early Saturday morning. Both of those are a violation of Massachusetts state law, even if the group was simply passing through and had no plans to stop. 

Wakefield and Reading are located just 15 miles from downtown Boston, but police said city residents were not under threat. 

The FBI Boston Division also issued a statement saying they were ‘fully engaged’ with the situation and were standing by ready to offer assistance. 

The I-95 remains closed as of 10.30am local time Saturday, but is expected to be reopened in the coming hours now that all the men are in custody.  

Wakefield Police issued a statement saying the men are 'dangerous' and 'do not recognize US laws'

Wakefield Police issued a statement saying the men are ‘dangerous’ and ‘do not recognize US laws’

Moorish Sovereign Citizens: An extremist group who claim to be America’s original inhabitants 

MSC's founder Noble Drew Ali (pictured) taught that black 'Moors' were America's original inhabitants and were therefore entitled to self-governing status.

MSC’s founder Noble Drew Ali (pictured) taught that black ‘Moors’ were America’s original inhabitants and were therefore entitled to self-governing status.

While the group of men pulled over in Massachusetts on Saturday proclaim to be members of ‘Rise of the Moors’, it is unclear how closely they are linked to  Moorish Sovereign Citizens  – an extremist political movement that emerged in the mid-1990s on the US East Coast. 

‘Rise of the Moors’ members insist they are not anti-police or anti-government and are not sovereign citizens. They also purport to be abiding by all US laws, unlike Moorish Sovereign Citizens (MSC).  

MSC’s founder Noble Drew Ali taught that black ‘Moors’ were America’s original inhabitants and were therefore entitled to self-governing status. 

He believed that all African Americans were descendants of the Moabites and are therefore Moorish.

Some Islamic historians believe that the Moors and Muslim groups reached the Americas before Christopher Columbus.

Moorish sovereigns believe this entitles them to claim immunity from federal, state, and local laws and can sometimes cite God’s law or common law over constitutional authority. 

They come into conflict with federal and state authorities over their refusal to obey laws and government regulations.

The Southern Poverty Law Center describes the Moorish sovereign citizen movement as 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. 



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