As we reported last week, the Muslims of America (MOA also operating as Jamaat ul-Fuqra) has established “Islamic villages” across the U.S. which have been described as terrorist or jihadist training camps.
Experts believe there are as many as 35 “Islamic villages” across the U.S., with only a portion being publicly recognized. The headquarters is the 70-acre “Islamberg” village in Hancock, N.Y. The “Islamville” village in York County, S.C. is considered the second-ranking village. One MOA-affiliated source said that the group’s long-term goal has always been to establish at least one camp in each U.S. state.
These “villages” are also referred to as “jamaats,” or communities. Major “jamaats” are often located nearby a covert “jamaat” where paramilitary training takes place.
For example, a 101-acre paramilitary training camp in Buena Vista, Colorado, was the companion site to the “jamaat” in Colorado Springs. Another covert 25-acre training camp was discovered in 2005 located near the publicly-acknowledged “jamaat” at Red House, Virginia.
MOA-affiliated sources emphasize that key operatives frequently live outside of the camps and that smaller communities of members also exist outside the camps. Many of those involved in illegal activity do not live in the “jamaats” so that MOA can claim not to know of their activity or that they expelled the member because of their crime. (As in the case of Ramadan Abdullah we covered last week, he had once lived at the Islamberg compound, but was kicked out. In many states, parolees can be ‘checked in on’ without the need for a warrant. MOA explicitly says they intend to prevent any outsiders, from entering their settlements, including law enforcement.)
A 1988 FBI report on the group indicated that Fuqra/MOA’s paramilitary elements are part of an inner core that not all members belong to. It states: “the FUQRA organization is a close-knit organization which believes that the Islamic faith will dominate the world within this century. However, this domination will only come through violent confrontations. Based on this belief, Fuqra has developed paramilitary groups within the FUQRA organization.”
The Regional Organized Crime Information Center said in 2006 that MOA is comparable to ‘classically-structured terrorist cells.’
A 2004 report funded by the Justice Department said that “members of the Fuqra group have raised money by taking advantage of a variety of social service programs, including worker’s compensation, public health care, welfare, and food stamps programs. Other crimes committed by Fuqra members include the creation and use of false identification cards, birth certificates, and other forged documents.” The group recruits heavily from those with criminal backgrounds and is known to use security companies as fronts.
Gilani vehemently denies MOA/Fuqra is a terrorist organization, though intelligence reports on Gilani himself as well as a study of his teachings suggest otherwise.
In December 1993, Gilani attended a terrorist conference in Khartoum, Sudan. Among the groups represented were Hamas, Hezbollah, Egyptian Islamic Jihad, and others. Reports indicate Osama Bin Laden was present—a believable claim since he lived in Sudan at the time.
In 2002, Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and executed in Pakistan when he was on his way to interview Gilani. He has never been charged and denies involvement but says that Pearl was sent to assassinate him.
A secret tape made by Gilani’s followers in Pakistan proves that the purpose of the camps in the U.S. is to facilitate paramilitary training. In the video, Gilani boasts of having “one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare” and invites interested Muslims to contact MOA offices in Pakistan or in several states in the U.S.
The film shows Gilani followers receiving the training and practicing the hijacking of vehicles, use of firearms, hand-to-hand combat, setting off explosives and other violent acts. In one scene, an instructor says, “Act like you are a friend, then kill him.”
Years ago, when law enforcement authorities shut down MOA’s commune at Buena Vista, Colorado (upon discovering that it was essentially a terrorist training camp financed through crime) a poem was recovered which reads, “Come join my troops and army/Says our Sheikh Gilani/Prepare to sacrifice your head/A true believer is never dead/Say ‘Victory is in the Air’/The kafir’s blood will not be spared.”