World War IV Daily

2.18.2006

SFS - Jamaat ul-Fuqra in America

>>> Welcome to the first edition of the Saturday Featured Story (SFS)! Every Saturday--if I can get my act together--I hope to provide an in-depth and comprehensive look at a given subject of my choosing. In conjunction with the Monday-Friday news format and my new Sunday feature, I hope to make WWIV Daily a more informative and more exciting place for all my readers (you people). Enjoy, and thanks for stopping by! <<<

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The blog that you are currently reading began as a daily e-mail exchange with a close friend of mine who shared my interest in military and counterterrorism issues, as well as the occasional random
humor piece. After a week or so of sending interesting links back and forth, I realized that I might as well turn it into one of these new-fangled 'weblogs'. At the time, I already had a little bit of blogging experience under my belt: Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, I created a blog called 'The Idiot Spotlight'. I lit up a couple of especially-deserving people, but the blog was quickly overloaded by the sheer number of idiots in our native galaxy and I disbanded it after a week or so. (However, the ghost of The Idiot Spotlight lives on, and will be returning to haunt this very site starting tomorrow and continuing each Sunday after that.)

I first posted on October 1st, 2005. I spent the first week exploring other blogs, linking to many interesting stories, and generally becoming a smarter human being. I found The Belmont Club and I ate it up. Security Watchtower and Bill Roggio's The Fourth Rail--which has returned!--were quickly bookmarked. On October 10th, ten days after my first post, I stumbled across a blog called Gates of Vienna
--I don't quite remember how, but we'll chalk it up to fate--and discovered this post concerning what appeared to be a militant Islamic group operating right here in the United States known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Suddenly I was all over this story. Family, friends, and acquaintances were quickly informed as I made every effort to 'get the word out', something the new blog and all two of my readers--thanks Mom and Dad--became useful for. Before we move on, for those of you that are unfamiliar with Jamaat ul-Fuqra--and are too lazy to follow the links--here's some background:

According to the South Asia Terrorism Portal, whose report on Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JF) can be viewed here, JF is a terrorist organization based in Pakistan and North America. Founded in New York State 1980 by the Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, it's name is literally translated as 'community of the impoverished' and it's goal--as stated by Sheikh Gilani himself--is to 'purify' Islam through violence. Hiding behind a labyrinth of front organizations and charity organizations, JF leads a comfortable existence in some surprising places. According to the SATP:


"Although Gilani, the reclusive chief of Fuqra resides in Lahore, Pakistan, most JF cells are located in North America. Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural properties in North America to live as a community, practice their faith, and insulate themselves from Western culture. The group has set up and funded rural communes that the US authorities allege are linked to murder, bombings and other felonies throughout the US and Canada. Currently, there are half a dozen Fuqra residential compounds in rural hamlets across the US sheltering hundreds of cadres, some of who have reportedly trained in the use of weapons and explosives in Pakistan.

Muslims of the Americas, a tax-exempt group established in the US in 1980 by Gilani, operates communes of primarily black, American-born Muslims in many states in the US, including in Binghamton in New York, Badger in California, York in South California and Red House in Virginia. JF is reportedly linked through court documents to the Muslims of Americas. There is also a road in the name of Sheikh Gilani in the vicinity of Virginia. The cult houses between 100 and 200 people, many of them women and children in about 20 huge trailers."

It was the compound in Red House, Virginia that attracted the attention of Baron Bodissey and his digital camera. He knew what he was getting into:

[On Sheikh Gilani] "Sheikh Gilani, you may remember, is the cleric with whom Daniel Pearl had arranged an interview back in January of 2002. Unfortunately, Mr. Pearl was betrayed by his sources, and then abducted and beheaded. Sheikh Gilani was arrested later that month and languishes in Pakistani custody.

So this is the kind of people we are dealing with here. They launder money, smuggle firearms, plan and carry out assassinations and bombings, and conduct intense Islamist indoctrination, including inside American prisons."

Of course, The Baron documents his sources. His post cites information from the SATP report, a Defense Watch article, and an article from The Daily Excelsior of India. In the interest of time and space, I will refrain from reproducing that information here. However, the reader may kindly exercise the use of his/her mouse button on the blue underlined words. In short, Jamaat ul-Fuqra's history of violent activities in the United States is quite extensive.

The Baron was obviously nervous:

"So this is all I knew as I drove through Rustberg toward Red House on a gloomy Saturday afternoon."

Rather than steal his post, I now kindly direct you to Gates of Vienna. His excursion to Red House simply deserves to be read in its entirety.

Enter CP. Like me, he had stumbled across Gates of Vienna and was quite surprised at The Baron's findings. On October 14th, he revealed the fruits of his own research. These included a map and a listing of purported JF compounds as well as their activities. Suddenly the "half-dozen residential compounds in rural hamlets across the US" is a much larger issue.

Over the next several months, both Gates of Vienna and The Politics of CP continue their research. Baron receives some informative e-mails and reveals the dubious connections of Sheikh Gilani, and CP methodically details individual JF compounds in Colorado, California, South Carolina (since updated), New York, Virginia, Georgia, and Tennessee. In fact, all of CP's reports have been compiled into one place for easy access. Take some time to read through these reports. Aside from a few radio appearances by The Baron in October and CP just yesterday, there has been very little public coverage of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, something that for the past four months has been increasingly irritating. I'm sure CP and The Baron would echo those sentiments.

However, I think it may be fair to say that the coverage of Jamaat ul-Fuqra has turned a corner. CP has teamed up with the Northeast Intelligence Network--which has an excellent history of investigation--and a formal investigative report has been released.

That report can be viewed here in PDF format.

I will let the report speak for itself, but a short summary is due: After presenting an excellent collection of background information on Jamaat ul-Fuqra and Sheikh Gilani, the report details a comprehensive field investigation of the JF Headquarters in New York known as 'Islamberg'. Investigators have secured photos of the site, and conducted additional covert observation of areas of the compound not visible from any publicly-accessible position. Among their findings are an apparently well-used firing range, a military style obstacle and rope course, and numerous armed sentries patrolling the grounds armed with rifles. Above all, the layout of the compound appears to have been designed to prevent public observation. The report also details a number of interviews with local residents who live near the compound. Most notable are these two quotes:

"We see children - small children run around over there when they should be in school. We hear bursts of gunfire all of the time, and we know that there is military like training going on there. Those people are armed and dangerous. We get nothing but menacing looks from the people who go in and out of the camp, and sometime they yell at us to mind our own business when we are just driving by. We don't even dare to slow down when we drive by. They own this mountain and they know it, and there is nothing we can do about it but move, and we can't even do that. Who wants to buy property next to that?" [Source: CP/NIN Report, page 13]

And:

"These people need to be investigated. They are training for war, either for war here in this country or against our troops. Who in the hell is allowing this stuff to happen right here in our own backyard, and why?" [Source: CP/NIN Report, page 13]

Additional supporting information can be found in the appendix of the report.

By no means is the Jamaat ul-Fuqra story over. The CP/NIN effort states that it is an interim report, and that further investigations are pending. CP himself and Baron and Dymphna at Gates of Vienna continue to research and publish their findings. I myself am currently researching possible JF activities in my region of the country.


This story will always carry a special distinction for me, hav
ing been fortunate enough to follow this story from the day of its revelation by Baron Bodissey to the CP/NIN report and beyond. I am proud of my fellow bloggers who have made incredible strides in researching, compiling, narrating, and presenting any and all information they have uncovered. As an American, I am disturbed by the threats that organizations like Jamaat ul-Fuqra pose to our country, as well as the apparent impotence of the proper authorities to deal with the situation. However, if the past four months are any indication, I am confident that the American people will competently defend their homeland by raising awareness of this story and conducting private investigations in a thorough yet mature manner. Government knowledge of these investigations appears to be lacking, but progress is being made. (Both Gates of Vienna and CP were mentioned in a weekly NYPD counterterrorism briefing.) I am optimistic--something that usually doesn't come easily for me--that we will prevail.

But let me address the members of Jamaat ul-Fuqra themselves: Jamaat ul-Fuqra, Muslims of the Americas, or whatever you choose to call yourselves, we are watching you. We know where you are and we know what you are doing; we know what you believe and what you're hoping to do. If you're anywhere near competent, I expect that you've been following our reports and you're probably reading this right now. (Thanks for stopping by and upping my traffic, but don't let the door hit you on the way out.) Make no mistake, we will not allow our country to be attacked from within. You have managed to use and abuse the freedom and liberties inherent in American society to operate your illegal compounds, indoctrinate your followers with murderous ideology, and subvert the civil order of this nation by committing numerous murders, bombings, fraud, and other criminal acts. Yet we are not powerless against you. In accordance with the laws of our nation--the very laws which protect your rights to speak freely, assemble together, practice your ideology, and bear arms--we will expose your activities and bring you to justice. We know that you are patient and resourceful, but so are we.

Your days are numbered.

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