The Macon Telegraph, Jan. 24, 2003
By Rob Peecher
Some former members said they hope those who still count themselves among York’s followers will leave the group, while at least one supporter said he believes the Nuwaubians should stay together.
State Rep. Tyrone Brooks of Atlanta had said since York’s arrest in May that he was “highly suspicious” of the charges against York. But after hearing of the guilty plea Thursday afternoon, Brooks said York has “got to suffer the consequences.”
Brooks said he was surprised that York pleaded guilty.
“I am surprised because so many of his supporters have called me and said that he is maintaining his innocence,” Brooks said. “I spoke to two of his associates last week. They were calling around trying to get people to be character witnesses. I told them I didn’t have time to be a character witness for anything like that because I didn’t know anything about any of those charges.”
Brooks said he will remain a staunch supporter of York’s followers and hopes they will not disband.
“If he’s pleading guilty to these serious charges, obviously they’ve got to look for new leadership,” Brooks said. “I hope the Nuwaubians will stay together, get organized, stay focused and continue to build on their land in Putnam County.”
But former members say they hope York’s remaining followers will disband.
Saadik Redd was York’s driver during the 1970s when York first formed the Ansaru Allah Community – an Islamic sect that became the Nuwaubian Nation. Redd said he has a daughter who is still in the organization, and he hopes she and other Nuwaubians will leave York behind.
“I hope that they can see the fallacy in him and understand that the whole thing was a lie and that they can put their lives back together and become functioning human beings,” Redd said.
In an e-mail, another former member wrote of York’s plea: “What’s sad about a guilty plea is that now the Nuwaubians won’t get to hear for themselves the evidence and the details and É see all the victims.”
Brooks said in the times that he has been with the Nuwaubians, they have been “very peaceful, very focused, very orderly.”
“They don’t use profanity, they don’t smoke tobacco products,” he said, adding that he believes the community York created should continue.
“We have bishops in the Catholic Church (who have) been charged with molesting children,” Brooks said. “I don’t think we’re going to give up on every bishop or the pope. You have to deal with that particular person who would do such a horrible thing to a child and then move on.”
The 476-acre farm west of Eatonton where York and the Nuwaubians settled 10 years ago seemed almost lifeless Thursday evening, except for two security guards sitting in a gray sedan.
One of those guards, Claude Turner, greeted visitors with a smile. He said he was unaware of York’s plea, but declined to comment further.
- Staff writer Khalil Abdullah contributed to this story.