A squatter and her religion
By Jennifer Stevens
A squatter is defined as, “a person who unlawfully occupies an uninhabited building.” Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officers were notified that a woman had been living in a $600,000 house in a South Charlotte neighborhood. The house was previously foreclosed and is now owned by a bank. Ninti El Bey has been arrested for breaking and entering, along with second- degree trespass, but continues to keep living in the foreclosed home. As to date, there is no future court date set for El Bey, but authorities say they are working diligently to get her out of the house for good.
The main defense of El Bey is that she belongs to a branch of religion under the Moorish Science Temple of America, which protects her from having to leave the house. A Durham native founded this religion in 1939. This religion believes that African Americans are descended from the Moors or North West Africa and are therefore, Islamic by faith. The purpose of this religion was to give African Americans an identity and promote involvement in their society. The movement of this religion varies through time, but has now taken a turn for the worse in the twenty-first century. People that claim to follow Moorish Science are now known to file false legal documents, including: fake liens, deeds, and property claims. Although this popular trend has now reached the Moorish Science religion, the Moorish Science Temple has claimed they have no affiliation with these false documents and state that people who file these false documents are not following the true way of the religion.
The first attack El Bey made was on a realtor who was to show the house to potential buyers of the house. When he entered the house, he found numerous people living in the house. El Bey then filed a temporary restraining order on the realtor. Once El Bey was first arrested, she was back living in the house the next day. El Bey is using the tactics of her “special” religion to support her. Neighbors cannot believe the amount of work it is taking in order to get her removed from the house, especially because the house is not her house.
As to date, neighbors saw work crews brining wooden sheets and boards into the home to keep the squatters out. Meanwhile, squatters at the house are still fighting against authorities and are continuing to work to secure the property. It is unclear whether the authorities will be able to overcome El Bey’s religious protest and permanently secure the house.
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