Jamaat ul-Fuqra (now known as Muslims of the Americas) is a cultish Islamist group with a history of criminal and terrorist activity that is eager to give its image a makeover. It has a surprising advocate assisting that endeavor: Congressman Mick Mulvaney (R-SC).
The groupâ€™s extremism has been repeatedly documented by the Clarion Project. Mulvaney and his office could have easily found this material before having his picture taken as he stood should-to-shoulder with the group, which the Fuqra/MOA newspaper was happy to use in its favor and will use for years to come.
Fuqra/MOA is led by a Pakistan-based radical cleric and it claims to have 22 â€œIslamic villagesâ€ in the U.S., with South Carolinaâ€™s Islamville being one of them. Guerilla training of women has occurred at its â€œIslambergâ€ headquarters in New York, as seen in this undated footage obtained by the Clarion Project from a law enforcement source.
In December, Mulvaney visited Islamville and declared he is â€œlooking forward to dispelling the rumorsâ€ about the village that has been there since 1982.
â€œI can tell people now I have been there, and no, there is not a terrorist camp or any threat in York County,â€ Mulvaney said.
The congressman spent 90 minutes visiting the village and meeting with its leaders and apparently thinks that the copious amount of documentation from government records, counter-terrorism raids and extremism expressed by Fuqra/MOAâ€™s own leaders and literature should be dismissed.
â€œThis is a group of law-abiding American citizens who are practicing their faith, and I saw no reason for anyone to see a threat,â€ said Mulvaney.
Of course he didnâ€™t. Why would a congressmanâ€™s pre-arranged meeting for less than two hours with deceptive Islamist radicals ever result in finding the truth?
Mulvaney would have been better served by spending 90 minutes reading the actual history of the group.
Islamville existed since the very beginning of Fuqra when it was systematically engaged in terrorism and organized crime. After carrying out a series of terrorist attacks in the 1980s and early 1990s, it changed its name and makes the ridiculous claim that Fuqra never existed.
The State Department included Fuqra in its annual terrorism reports until 2000, describing Fuqra as an â€œIslamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.â€ It was removed due to its relative inactivity, but has been under investigation since.
A dozen North American Muslim organizations have asked the State Department to designate Fuqra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
A FBI document dated September 6, 2007 obtained by the Clarion Project says Fuqra has been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted bombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
It goes on to say â€œthe documented propensity for violence by this organization supports the belief the leadership of the MOA extols membership to pursue a policy of jihad or holy war against individuals or groups it considers enemies of Islam, which includes the U.S. Government.â€
It says â€œmembers of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from [Sheikh] Gillani,â€ referring to their radical leader.
It warns that MOA â€œpossesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.â€
The Clarion Project also recently obtained documents form the Navy Criminal Investigative Service about the group that cast doubt on Mulvaneyâ€™s claim that this group is â€œlaw-abiding.â€
One 2003 investigative file mentions Islamville as part of the Fuqra network and states:
â€œAll locations have individuals who are involved with criminal scams to raise money for MOA/JAF [Jamaat al-Fuqra]. The scams include, but are not limited to insurance fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, workmanâ€™s compensation fraud, illegal straw purchases of weapons, conversion of semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic, etc.
â€œMembers of these groups send money via mail orders to Hancock, NY and Lahore, Pakistan to fund [redacted] the spiritual leader and founder of JAF.
â€œMOA members from all compounds also travel to Pakistan for both religious education as well as military style training and operational experience fighting in the Kashmir region of Pakistan.â€
â€œTheir leader is openly extremist, preaching that Jews are â€˜examples of human Satans,â€™ that the Pearl Harbor bombing and 9/11 attacks were Jewish conspiracies and ridiculing the U.S. for going to war with Hitler because â€œHitler was not the enemy of America or the American people. There was mutual animosity between Hitler and the Jews. So, the American people paid a very heavy price for fighting someone elseâ€™s war.â€™â€
A female spokesperson for Islamville got her â€œdegreeâ€ from a Fuqra school with a thesis about how a â€œSatanist-Zionist conspiracyâ€ framed Muslims in carrying out the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
There is also a videotape where the groupâ€™s leader, Sheikh Gilani talks about being a jihadist. A secret tape from in the late 1980s or early 1990s shows him boasting of having â€œone of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfareâ€ and telling viewers to contact his group in South Carolina and other states to sign up.
Mulvaney calls all of this governmental â€œrumors and hearsay.â€
In a Facebook post after his visit, Mulvaney concludes, â€œThere are plenty of things that present challenges to our national security that we need to be concerned about â€¦ but the community in York certainly doesnâ€™t seem to be one of them.â€
This embrace of an Islamist group is out of character for Mulvaney. Ironically, he supports the Muslim Brotherhood Designation Act that includes information linking the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to the Brotherhood and Hamas.
MOA has growing ties to CAIR and even shares an official with MOA. How can Mulvaney support a bill accusing CAIR of having terrorist ties but defend MOA?
Mulvaney has given a strong helping hand to MOAâ€™s efforts to become legitimized as a mainstream â€œmoderateâ€ Muslim-American voices, efforts that include the group being included in an event at the White House for advocates of “religious pluralism,” floating a run for governor, becoming a delegate for Bernie Sanders at the Democratic National Convention and running for the Alaska state House of Representatives.
Either Mulvaney and his office did absolutely no fair-minded research or chose to ignore the facts, perhaps out of a very understandable fear that a deplorable vigilante or anti-Muslim extremist would target Islamville. But neither is an excuse. Combating bigotry doesnâ€™t require legitimizing a bigoted Islamist group.