The Moors were the Muslim inhabitants of the Maghreb, the Iberian Peninsula, Sicily, and Malta during the Middle Ages. The Moors initially were the indigenous Maghrebine Berbers. The name was later also applied to Arabs.


Police are warning Seattle-area homeowners about a group that is knocking on the doors of pricey waterfront properties claiming to be their rightful owners — and in one case, told a woman she was being evicted.

The individuals identify themselves as Moorish Sovereign Citizens, CBS Seattle affiliate KIRO-TV reported. The group believes they are independent from any government interference and own all the land between Alaska and Argentina, according to Edmonds police Sgt. Josh McClure.

“They have basically come to say that they’re from this particular group and they’re there to repossess the home and want the people to vacate the premises,” McClure said.

In recent weeks, the group has been targeting homes that were put up for sale in Snohomish County, just outside Seattle, but have run similar scams in other parts of the country.

The Southern Poverty Law Center identifies the Moorish Sovereign Citizens as an extremist group, saying members, “...believe their status as members of a sovereign nation imparts immunity from federal, state and local authorities.”

In Maryland, a member of the group moved into a 35,000-square-foot mansion with 12 bedrooms, which was for sale. CBS covered that story.

“Lamont Butler, aka Lamont Maurice L, claimed the mansion for himself. He even provided documents provided by the so-called Moorish National Republic to back it up,” the CBS report said.

In North Carolina, a couple who identified with the Moorish sovereign movement moved into a multimillion dollar home for sale, holding a quit claim deed, and barricaded themselves inside. Their contentious arrest for trespassing rattled neighbors.

Police say the group hasn’t committed a crime, but that it’s visited the same house twice and they expect the takeover attempts to continue.

“Because we’ve had contacts with this group over the last couple of years, we’ve also notified our local partners with the FBI. They have them on the radar as well, so this has been a collaborative effort with law enforcement in the area,” said McClure.

In every case so far, the homes where this has happened have all been recently put on the market, so police are keeping an eye on vacant homes around Snohomish County as well.


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