Jamaat ul-Fuqra (JF) or "community of the impoverished", is a Sufit outfit operating in Pakistan and North America that seeks to purify Islam. "Jamaat ul-Fuqra" (alternative spelling of "Jamaat al-Fuqra") used as alternative names "Muslims of the Americas," "International Quranic Open University," and "United Muslim-Christian Forum." MOA is a North American Sufi Islamic group consisting predominantly of African-American Muslims. The US Secretary of State has never designated JF as a “foreign terrorist organization,” which unlike the “terrorist group” appellation carries with it a variety of criminal sanctions.
Fuqra is a Sufi "tariq", or brotherhood, led by Pakistani cleric Shaykh Mubarik Ali Gilani, who established the organization in 1980. Gilani now resides in Pakistan, but most Fuqra adherents are located in North America and the Caribbean. Although El Sheikh Gillani is the spiritual guide of The Muslims of America, it has its own US administrative setup which supports members across the nation that have organized together with other families to move onto private, rural villages. In the villages, residents practice the religion of Islam.
Addressing accusations that he is the leader of a foreign terrorist organization called Jamaat Al Fuqra, El Sheikh Gillani exclaims, "What is Jamaat El Fuqra? It is a pity that there are those who have repeated this same nonsense and baseless accusations for the last 30 years! They have taken 25 year old Kashmiris' training videos and claimed them to be American Muslims training in the US! This is all known to be false." Many Kashmiris are sufis who follow the Qadri order started by the ancestor of El Sheikh Gilani, the very famous Great Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilani of Baghdad.
El Sheikh Gillani stated in response to criticism regarding his leadership of TMOA, "The Holy Quran says that Almighty God gives honor to the descendants, or Ahli Bayt, of the Holy Last Messenger Muhammad, peace be upon him, who told the Muslims then, 'the similitude of my Ahli-Bayt is like the Ark of Nuh (Noah). Whosoever boards it will be saved and whosoever stays away from it will drown.' My position is like that of the Pope. I'm not limited to Americans, but have followers all over the world in many countries. Many Christians go out and do bad things, do you blame the Pope? I'm not responsible. I have always said, if anyone violates the law, punish them."
Within 10 years of its formation, Fuqra's communes in the US attracted many Muslim converts - including some of those recruited in prisons. The JF is said to comprise of some 1,000 to 3,000 members in the US. The organization maintains an estimated 20-30 compounds (known as jama`ats), primarily in the northeastern, mid-Atlantic, and southeastern regions of the United States.
By another account, the group was said to have approximately 1500 dedicated members, who reside in nine rural jamaats (communities) in the United States: Hancock, New York (headquarters); Coldwater, Michigan; Dover, Tennessee; Sweeny, Texas; Commerce and Odum, Georgia; York, South Carolina; Red House and Meherrin, Virginia. Two are outside the United States in Barry’s Bay, Canada, and Las Lomas, Trinidad. Compounds also reportedly exist in Canada, and in Trinidad and Tobago and other countries in the Caribbean basin, an important region for JF/MOA proselytizing.
Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural compounds in North America to live communally, practice their faith, and insulate themselves from Western culture. There is no evidence that these or other jama`ats have functioned as “covert paramilitary training compounds,” as the Colorado Attorney General’s office alleged in December 2001. In Wayne County, Georgia, Sheriff John Carter received a "tip" that the TMOA village nestled in rural Odum was building underground bunkers, an oft-repeated but proven fictitious story that pops up at every corner when researching TMOA. Sheriff Carter responded, went to the property to investigate and discovered that the only underground activity was the innocent homeowner's replacement of a septic tank.
The Muslims of America, Inc., " ... have long warned that it is not Muslims, but the ISIS/salafi extremists, and their wahhabi ideology, financed through Arab countries, that are oppressing and murdering millions around the world." Hussein Adams, Chief Executive of The Muslims of America, Inc., stated 19 February 2015 "Muslims are not terrorists, we are the number one victims of terrorists. This is a known point," began "Muslims are being slaughtered by these people who are perpetrating their devastation in the name of Islam in order to instigate chaos in the world. And yet, here at home in America, Islamophobes are wasting time harassing American Muslims who have not harmed anyone. The American Muslim community has co-existed here peacefully for decades."
A rebuttal published July 2013 entitled, Three 'Decades of Light' in America: Vice Chancellor of the International Qur'anic Open University Issues Statement of Policy, expounds: "When arriving in America, El Sheikh Gillani met a devoted group of indigenous American Muslims whose hearts were yearning for a leader and guide dedicated to the practice of Al Islam at a time when the deviant Wahhabi ideology infiltrated the American Muslim mainstream. El Sheikh Gillani found this earnest group of American Muslims in an unlikely place- the depressed ghettos of the inner cities where drugs, crime and violence were rampant. As unlikely as it seems, these Americans had prayed to Almighty God for relief, and after witnessing many Divine miraculous manifestations supporting El Sheikh Gillani's mission, this group of American Muslims soon formed a devout community of faithful Muslims becoming known as The Muslims of America, Inc."
The FBI assesses various claims the US government allows the group Muslims of the Americas (aka Jamaat ul Fuqra, hereinafter referred to as MOA) to operate terrorist training camps at dozens of locations across the United States resonate with adherents of a militia ideology who seek validation of anti-government conspiracy theories. These assertions — repeated over the course of a decade by self-appointed watchdogs of Islamic extremism, Internet bloggers, and some news media — are based in part on official government information which bolstered claims the US Government chooses to ignore the camps. Accusations about the camps periodically surge, as in the wake of the 7 January 2015 terrorist attack against the French magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Investigation of five MOA members for fraud by the state of Colorado in the early 1990s uncovered evidence the group could have ties to domestic terrorism. A restricted law enforcement report issued in 2006 and subsequently released to the public identified the location of seven MOA “training compounds.” Internet news reports about the MOA camps reference declassified FBI documents from the period 2005-2007.
Secrecy is the hallmark of the outfit and cadres are reportedly well versed in the use of aliases. The Fuqra’s structure is well concealed behind front outfits and consists of a network of safe houses and cells. Furthermore, the JF founder as well as cadres consistently maintain that it does not exist. JF members occasionally travel abroad for ‘paramilitary and survivalist training’ under Gilani's supervision.
Fuqra members have attacked a variety of targets that they view as enemies of Islam, including Muslims they regard as heretics and Hindus. Attacks during the 1980s included assassinations and firebombings across the United States. Fuqra members in the United States have been convicted of criminal violations, including murder and fraud.
The search of a storage locker on September 14, 1989, by the Colorado Springs Police Department produced various documents and photographs identifying targets and describing methods of attack. On October 8, 1992, federal and state authorities conducted a search of the FUQRA mountain property near Buena Vista, Colorado. This search produced additional documents as well as a cache of weapons, which resulted in the indictment of seven additional individuals charged with violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act.
Edward Nicholas Laurent Flinton, a fugitive and alleged member of the Jama’at al-Fuqra (FUQRA) Sunni Muslim radical sect, was arrested in 1996 on charges relating to violations of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act. On September 12, 1996, the FBI arrested fugitive Edward Nicholas Laurent Flinton in a trailer park in Lake City, South Carolina. Flinton is a member of a radical Sunni Muslim sect known as Jama’at al-Fuqra (FUQRA) that is dedicated to purifying Islam through violence. His fugitive status stemmed from a violation of the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act on various charges, including racketeering; conspiracy involving the August 1, 1984 arson of a Denver Hare Krishna temple; and the January 30, 1990 murder of Rashid Khalifa, a controversial Muslim religious leader.
A Texas congressman known for his criticism of the federal government’s handling of the threat of Islamic terrorism called the newly reported existence of a terrorist enclave in his state “appalling.” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, vice chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, criticized the government’s “lackluster” response to the enclave’s parent organization, Muslims of the Americas, which has been regarded by law enforcement officials as a front for a foreign terrorist group.
Muslims of the Americas was linked to the Pakistani-based militant group Jamaat al-Fuqra, founded in New York in 1980 by Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani, an Islamic cleric in Pakistan who at one time was in Pakistani custody in connection with the abduction of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. A 2007 FBI record states members of the group had been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
Much of the available information on the group is dated or questionable. The group’s membership is often described as primarily African-American, and made up largely of converts. The "MOA Camp Locations" map was created for a documentary about MOA terrorist training camps c.2009 - this image is now widely presented on the Internet as both factual and current.
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