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Moorish Science Temple Of America Says Rise Of The Moors Has 'Created A Great Confusion'

BOSTON (CBS) – The Rise of the Moors, the group charged in the highway standoff with police in Wakefield, is causing confusion and anxiety for another group. The Moorish Science Temple of America said the men have distorted their message.

For a second day, there was more defiance in court from the suspects in Saturday's highway shutdown as they faced a judge in Malden on gun and other charges. Some refused to give their names in court.

Police arrested the group of 11 heavily armed men on Route 95 in Wakefield. Jamhal Latimer, the self-proclaimed leader of the Rise of the Moors, told police they were on their way to a training camp. The so-called militia group based in Rhode Island claims to be Moorish sovereign citizens who are not subject to the laws of the United States.

The leaders of the national Moorish organization in Atlanta, called Moorish Science Temple of America, founded in 1928, say they have nothing to do with the Rise of the Moors, who they call a bootleg group.

Shaykh Ra Saadi El
Shaykh Ra Saadi El and Yssis Saadi El (WBZ-TV)

"It's almost like identity theft," Grand Governess Yssis Saadi El told the I-Team. "They have created a great confusion. We just want to basically separate ourselves from the misguidedness of these individuals."

In setting the record straight, Moorish Science Temple of America says they follow the laws, have driver's licenses, pay taxes, and own their own property.

"We are Americans," said Shaykh Ra Saadi El, the Supreme Grand Sheik and Chief of Ministers. "The prophet said that we are Moorish Americans. We want you to know our religion in Islam."

All of the men charged in connection with the highway standoff were held without bail and are due back in court Friday, July 9 for a detention hearing.

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