Monday, December 17, 2012
Moorish Science Adherent Arrested After Claiming Change of Identity
Yesterday's Tampa Bay Times reports on the jailing in late November in Pasco County Florida of Shanita Marie Burden on charges of driving with a counterfeit car tag, driving without a Florida license (her South Carolina license was suspended), and giving a false name to police. Burden insists she is Zuri Akila Betiti Matawala Zurj-Bey, a "grand sheikess" in the Moorish Temple of Science of the World. She insists that black people are not subject to the United States government, but instead are Moorish. In September, she was stopped when she was found driving a car with license tags reading : "Moorish American Republic 070117-004." She claimed that a piece of paper with a fuzzy photo from the Moorish Divine National Movement of the World issued to a Zuri Akila Betiti Matawala Zurj-Bey was her drivers' license. The woman claims she was born of a religious conversion last year and that she declared her former self, Shanita Burden, dead. She then made herself the personal representative for Burden's estate and filed court papers declaring this. At a Nov. 19 arraignment on the traffic charges, Bey, identified herself only as "flesh and blood." She told Circuit Judge Susan Gardner that she was appearing as the personal representative of Burden, but the court ruled that since she wan not an attorney, she could not do so. The court then issued a warrant against Burden for failing to appear in court. She was arrested eight days later when she attempted to file papers in the clerk of court's office ordering Judge Susan Gardner not to issue any more unlawful warrants against Burden.