By Doug Hagmann & Judi McLeod
Monday, June 11, 2007
The citizens of the United States and Canada, as well as many within various echelons of law enforcement, might be surprised to learn that active paramilitary training of Islamic terrorists, who are focused on bringing jihad or holy war into America on a large scale, are currently operating in the United States and Canada. In fact, they have existed inside North America since at least 1980.
Imagine that during the height of World War II–a few short years after the worst attack against America–you are taking a scenic drive through the woods of upstate New York and somehow–merely by accident–you stumble upon a group of men of Japanese ethnicity engaged in firearms training. You quietly stand out of sight in the brush, hearing them pledge their allegiance to Emperor Hirohito and watch as they practice their combat skills they intend to use against you and your fellow Americans at some time in the future. Frozen somewhere between fear and curiosity, you watch them until they break up, each entering different vehicles. You follow one of the vehicles carrying two male occupants back into town, and find out that one of the men works for a utility company in the Finger Lakes while the other is employed at a steel mill near Buffalo. Based on your observations and concerned about possible spies working in essential American jobs, you notify the authorities, but you are assured that the men have “checked out” and were found to be no risk to national security. But, you know what you saw and care for the security and future of America. Unconvinced, you continue to report your concerns until you are ultimately labeled a bigot and an alarmist.Inconceivable? At that time, when America was at war, when the majority of Americans understood what was at stake and when the mind of every American was focused on the security of the country, such a scenario would be unlikely. Today, unfortunately, America as a nation is at war while most Americans are at the mall.
In a 2002 commentary, Arnaud de Borchgrave, editor at large for The Washington Times, wrote that “Politico-religious extremists in Pakistan… have convinced themselves that ‘in the next 10 years, Americans will wake up to the existence of an Islamic army in their midst – an army of jihadis who will force America to abandon imperialism and listen to the voice of Allah.'” In that same article, he references the number of criminals being recruited for this Islamic army, and cites demographics to make his points clear. Our investigation confirms the almost prophetic observations of Mr. de Borchgrave, noting, however, that it has not taken ten years. The army is already here.
An Islamic army operating in North America
This is the disturbing conclusion of a comprehensive, 5-year investigation conducted by professional multi-state licensed investigators of the Northeast Intelligence Network and investigative journalists of Canada Free Press (CFP). Our findings are the result of extensive covert surveillance operations, field investigations, numerous interviews, and research into paramilitary training and activities by Islamic “extremists” living and working among us in North America. They have been cited in various publications and books such as The Day of Islam by Dr. Paul Williams, reports authored by federal and state law enforcement agencies, and have recently warranted casual mentions in a number of major media venues.
Since publishing our reports pertaining to Islamberg–a private Muslim compound located at the western edge of the Catskill Mountains in Hancock, NY and associated with the Pakistani-based terrorist organization Jamaat ul Fuqra, public interest and concerns by law enforcement about potential terror training camps in existence in North America have intensified unlike any other report we have published to date. Many who once believed that terrorist training camps could not possibly exist in the U.S., or thought their existence to be that of urban legend, or a fabrication of “neocons” are beginning to realize that the vast expanse of the U.S. and Canada offers near perfect conditions for such camps to be operating without detection.
Recruiting the Islamic Army
It is said that necessity is the mother of invention. When U.S. and coalition forces destroyed the jihad training camps in Afghanistan, the Islamic terrorists disseminated their instructional material via the Internet and employed jihadist leaders in North America to assist in the coordination of training camps. Such leaders of jihad actively recruit their members from American prisons, most who are African-Americans. It might come as a surprise to learn that only about 10 percent of American Muslims are of Arab descent. U.S.-born African-Americans account for over 40 percent, and immigrants from southern Asia account for an additional 24 percent. The National Islamic Prison Foundation, a country-wide campaign to convert inmates to Islam, boasts an average of nearly 150,000 conversions to Islam per year–and that number is climbing. Recent statistics show that more than 10 percent of the 2-plus million U.S. prison population is Muslim.
In the 1960s and into the early 1970s, there were fewer than 20 mosques in the United States. Today, there are more than 2,500 mosques and Islamic centers, of which about 85 percent are funded by Saudi Arabia and established by Imams sent from Saudi Arabia to insure that the Saudi doctrine of Wahabbism is practiced. As part of their prison outreach program, Saudi Arabia has provided upwards of 100,000 Qu’rans to American prisons, and funded some of the larger Islamic organizations based inside the U.S.
Both the American prison system as well as newly established mosques and Islamic centers, funded by Saudi Arabia, are fertile grounds from which “radicalized” Muslim coverts emerge.
The Islamic “jihadist” Army in our Midst
The most astute researchers of Islamic terrorist activities might believe that the so-called “Virginia jihad network,” often referred to as the “paintball jihad network,” was the first paramilitary training of its kind in America. The “paintball jihad network” consisted of nearly a dozen Muslim men, including Randall “Ismail” Royer, an American convert to Islam and former official of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), who honed their combat skills through the use of paintball gun exercises with other like-minded Muslims, according to the federal indictment and his subsequent conviction. Others might cite the case of Ernest James UJAAMA, a/k/a Bilal AHMED, (a Muslim convert born James Earnest Thompson), who, according to court documents, attempted to set up an Afghanistan-style terrorist training camp near Bly, Oregon in 1999 as a precursor to physical jihad training in America.
Warriors for Islam: They could be your neighbor or co-worker
The stunning truth, however, is that Islamic terrorist training has existed in the United States for much longer and involves Muslims and Muslim converts from all stations in life that have one common objective–to wage jihad or “holy war” against the West. Individuals involved in such paramilitary training include Muslim religious leaders, professional men, laborers, and even students. Recruitment for Islamic jihad is as broad as its participants, from radical Imams and community spiritual leaders to Islamic prison chaplains who appeal to the largely black and disenfranchised prison population.
Terrorist training camps are equally diverse, and range from ad hoc locations in rural, sparsely populated areas to abandoned warehouses in urban areas. Regardless of the individuals involved in such training or the location of the combat training, the motivations are the same, and should be considered as potentially dangerous as the more established camps that existed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other remote regions of the world.
We know that the members of the “domestic” terror cell dubbed as the “Fort Dix Six” utilized a rural area in the Pennsylvania Pocono Mountains to conduct paramilitary training using semi-automatic weapons–training they intended to put into practice against one of America’s military installations where they intended to kill as many soldiers and base staff as possible.
An example of paramilitary training conducted in an urban area–a Miami, Florida warehouse–is the June 2006 arrest of seven Muslim “extremists”. That group, led by Narseal Batiste, trained in a secluded and secured warehouse in Miami to conduct paramilitary exercises and training in preparation for bombing and/or attacking the Sears Tower in Chicago, the FBI building in North Miami Beach, Florida, and other government buildings in Miami-Dade County.
Jamaat ul Fuqra–a dangerous terrorist organization inside North America
Perhaps the most insidiously dangerous of all terrorist organizations that maintain an active presence inside the U.S., and the forerunner of all Islamic terrorist training based in the U.S. and Canada, predating al Qaeda by nearly a decade, is the Pakistani-based terrorist organization Jamaat ul Fuqra led by terrorist Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. Since 1980, at least a dozen Jamaat ul-Fuqra members have been convicted for terrorist activities, including conspiracy to commit murder, firebombings, and gun smuggling. Jamaat ul-Fuqra members are also suspected in 10 unsolved assassinations and 17 bombings that have occurred since Gilani established his organization when he spent time at a Brooklyn, NY mosque in 1980.
According to a 2002 report in The Weekly Standard, “Gilani, sporting ammunition belts, preached Islam at a Brooklyn mosque as the path to a better life and called for fighters to join the holy war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Under the guise of studying Islam, some of his followers were initiated into the international Islamist movement. Their campaign of crime on U.S. soil began almost at once.” Gilani’s ideology begins with the idea that moderate Muslim leaders have lost the moral authority and vision to achieve “victory” and that he is the only true defender of Islam. He considers all those who do not follow the tenets of Islam (as laid out in the Qu’ran) to be his enemies. This includes non-Muslims as well as Muslims he deems as heretics. Members of his U.S. compounds must take an oath to Jamaat ul Fuqra and Gilani that states: “I shall always hear and obey, and whenever given the command, I shall readily fight for Allah’s sake.”
Once Gilani established his organization in the U.S., he returned to Pakistan, where he currently resides in the city of Lahore. According to a number of media reports and intelligence briefs, Gilani was a participant in a “terrorist summit” In Khartoum, in December 1993, at which time he rubbed elbows with Osama bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and other well-known and still sought Islamic terrorists. According to one government report, the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) filmed Gilani and the others shouting anti-U.S. and anti-Semitic chants such as “Death to the Jews, Death to America, Down, down USA, and down CIA!”
According to the Regional Organized Crime Information Center (ROCIC) that serves more than 1,800 criminal justice agencies located in 14 states in the southern U.S., including Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, there are over 35 known Jamaat ul Fuqra compounds located inside the United States under the control of Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. They operate under the names, Muslims of the Americas, Inc., a “front organization” established by Gilani in 1990 (based on ROCIC reports), and the Qu’ranic Open University, also founded by Gilani.
Jamaat ul Fuqra compounds–Southeastern United States
The locations are scattered throughout the United States, located mostly in sparsely populated rural locations including: Marion, Alabama; Augusta, Georgia; Commerce, Georgia; Macon Georgia; Talihina, Oklahoma; York County, South Carolina; Dover, Tennessee; Red House, Virginia, and Roanoke, Virginia. Other Jamaat ul Fuqra compounds are located in Washington, Colorado, Michigan, and California. Due to occasionally heightened attention and complaints by local residents, some encampments have become more transient over the last several years–moving from one rural location to another. (Editor’s note: Buena Vista, a radical Muslim paramilitary compound referenced in Springtime in Islamberg, a May 11, 2007, story by Dr. Paul Williams posted by CFP no longer exists. It was raided by Colorado Attorney General John W. Suthers, leading to the prosecution of five ul Fuqra members between 1993 and 1994).
As we previously reported, their North American headquarters is located in Hancock, NY, which is an encampment of trailers, outbuildings, and various other structures spread over a large area that is adjacent to a reservoir that provides dinking water to all five boroughs of the greater New York City area. Notably, other compounds are situated in the same manner–close to significant infrastructure targets. For example, the Jamaat ul-Fuqra property in Dover, Tennessee is located along a power easement seven miles west of the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Cumberland Fossil Plant, a plant that produces more power than any other plant in the TVA system. Twelve miles northeast is Fort Campbell, home of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. A CFP reader points out that there was a penal institution near the now defunct Buena Vista compound.
Nearby residents to the compounds report hearing gunfire coming from the compounds, a fact that one resident of Islamberg publicly admitted to John Mazor, a reporter for the New York Post. The article in the New York Post states that “reports of gunfire and military-style physical training at the camp have led some investigators to believe that the group’s members are preparing for homegrown jihad.” Stated one member of Islamberg: “We got guns up here just like everyone else got guns.”
School bus on Islamic-owned property used for target practice?
In America, it is one’s right to own a gun. Even in Islamberg, a Muslim enclave that boasts of adhering to its own set of laws inside of the compound, based on Sharia law and allegiance to the Sheikh Gilani and his beliefs–one has the right to own a firearm as long as such ownership complies with federal and state firearms laws. Based on Islamberg’s ties to Pakistani Sheikh Gilani, however, and a population that is composed–at least partially–of recruits from the state and federal prison system, questions must be raised. Such questions become more pressing with the presence of a school bus (pictured above) on the property. This bus appears to hold distinctions few other school buses have… windows that appear to have been “blown out” from the inside, and holes that resemble and appear to be bullet holes into its exterior shell.
Members of Jamaat ul Fuqra, or those who have been assisted by that organization include but are not limited to such terrorists as Richard Reid, the infamous “shoe bomber,” and John Allen Muhammad, the senior “DC sniper” who reportedly received assistance from a Virginia Jamaat ul Fuqra compound.
Most notably, our exposure of the activities of this organization has generated the ire of the leader of the terrorist organization himself, calling our report “a campaign of hate, fabricated falsehood, lies, and appalling propaganda aimed at bringing about a clash between Muslims and Christians the world over, and particularly in the United States.”
Gilani might be correct about one thing: a clash between Muslims and non-Muslims is getting ready to take place “the world over,” and in many areas, has existed for centuries. More importantly, however, is that the training for the upcoming clash is taking place in our own backyard. Yet too few seem to be paying attention.