An inescapable spotlight was shown upon jihadist cult Jamaat ul-Fuqra (currently known as Muslims of the Americas) over the past week by an unlikely source: Ultimate Fighting Championship superstar Conor McGregor.
McGregor, whose â€œmental warfareâ€ against opponents is so strong that UFC President Dana White says he rivals Muhammad Ali, bashed his upcoming opponent and his manager for their ties to Islamist extremists at last weekâ€™s wild news conference.
McGregor confronted the UFCâ€™s biggest manager, Ali Abdelaziz, who manages his Dagestani rival Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Abdelaziz used to be a member of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, as explained in detail at FuqraFiles.com, Clarionâ€™s comprehensive website about the group.
Abdelazizâ€™s involvement with Fuqra and the U.S. government was first revealed by author and activist Martin Mawyer, who was approached by Abdelaziz in September 2010 about telling his story. That account first appeared in Mawyerâ€™s 2012 book.
Additional details were then discovered by Ryan Mauro of Clarion Project and FuqraFiles.com, authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman and independent Mixed Martial Arts journalist Mike Russell.
According to Abdelazizâ€™s own words to Mawyer and our sources who are/were in Fuqra, Abdelaziz trained Fuqra members in martial arts and Arabic and participated in various criminal activities including passport fraud.
After being convicted, he became an informant inside Fuqra in exchange for being let out of jail and not being deported back to Egypt. Abdelaziz lived at Fuqraâ€™s 70-acre headquarters in upstate New York, Islamberg. He even married the daughter of a prominent member of Islamberg and they had a son.
Fuqra has used security companies as fronts for acquiring training in militant-related skills, equipment, transfers of money and material and various criminal activities. In keeping with this pattern, Abdelaziz was part of a select group of Fuqra members to get advanced training as part of a covert “military squad.”
Abdelaziz passed the information about this training, as well as Fuqraâ€™s human rights abuses, trafficking of firearms and guns, and overseas operation to the FBI and NYPD.
Ryan Mauro and Martin Mawyer acquired documents, including a picture of Abdelaziz, from one of those training sessions and released the photo exclusively this week:
Abdelazizâ€™s relationship with the U.S. government started falling apart in 2008 after a trip he made overseas (this is mentioned briefly mentioned in The Enemies Within). The FBI began distrusting him, especially after he reportedly failed a lie detector test, indicating he did not intend to be truthful with the U.S. government and had told someone in Egypt about his work as a spy.
To make a very long story short, there were even suspicions that Abdelaziz may be acting as a double-agent (which he strongly denied to Mawyer). His relationship with the FBI ended and, some time later, so did his relationship with the NYPD. The U.S. government sought to deport him back to Egypt, whereupon Abdelaziz approached Mawyer for help.
This is the story that Conor McGregor was referring to when he screamed that Abdelaziz is a â€œmad terroristâ€ and a â€œterrorist snitch,â€ shocking the Mixed Martial Arts world and sparking massive interest in what he was referring to.
Before that, McGregorâ€™s trash-talk brought attention to a controversy over ties between the UFC and dictators including Islamist extremists and the Russian government.
He mocked his Dagestani rival, Khabib Nurmagomedov, over his father’s ties to Chechen dictator Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin-backed Islamist extremist known for his vast human rights abuses, including the purging of homosexuals.
Kadyrov said he would â€œcondoneâ€ honor killings of homosexuals by their Muslim relatives and would not enforce laws prohibiting it. In a jaw-dropping claim reminiscent of former Iranian President Ahmadinejad, Kadyrov said there are no gays in Chechnya and, if there were, heâ€™d deport them to Canada.
Due to his major influence in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), Kadyrov has been referred to as â€œthe most dangerous man in MMA.â€
Khabibâ€™s father, Abdulmanap, has been unable to get a visa in time for Saturdayâ€™s matchup, a problem he also had last year. As one Mixed Martial Arts reporter put it, â€œAbdulmanap is a hard man to bring overseas.â€
Here, McGregor wasnâ€™t explicitly bringing attention to Islamist extremism, but it was nonetheless a byproduct of what he said and probably something he foresaw.
McGregor insulted Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov as a â€œquivering cowardâ€ for posting pictures of himself with Kadyrov at his mosque, in what McGregor described as a betrayal of his people out of fear.
The attack elicited a threat to McGregor from a Chechen fighter, Khusein Khaliev, who belongs to Kadyrovâ€™s own Mixed Martial Arts fight club. Khaliev warned McGregor, â€œWe will never forgive for attacking the honor of our familyâ€ and â€œyou will have to answer for your words, inside a cage or outside of it.â€
The Chechen press minister called McGregor a â€œMexican c**kâ€ and â€œoutrageous clown.â€
McGregorâ€™s insults stepped over the line into mocking Nurmagomedovâ€™s faith, calling him â€œbackwardsâ€ for not drinking alcohol. (Obviously, we are giving a very censored version of McGregorâ€™s quotes).
The hype about the fight between Conor McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 229 on Saturday feels like itâ€™s building by the minute. And, with it, an opportunity to bring attention to Islamist extremists like Fuqra and Kadyrov from a direction that few anticipated.