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Clarion Intel Exclusive: Philadelphia Shooter Attended Radical Mosque

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Police officers direct citizens to move back near the scene of a shooting  August 14, 2019 in Philadelphia. Six police officers were wounded in an hours-long standoff with a gunman that prompted a massive law enforcement response in the city's Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. (Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images)
Police officers direct citizens to move back near the scene of a shooting August 14, 2019 in Philadelphia. Six police officers were wounded in an hours-long standoff with a gunman that prompted a massive law enforcement response in the city’s Nicetown-Tioga neighborhood. (Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images)

Maurice Hill, the criminal who wounded six police officers in a shootout in Philadelphia and was arrested after a seven-hour standoff, attended a radical mosque.

The mosque, called Masjid Ahlil Hadith Wal Athar, is known for preaching the Islamist ideology promoted by Saudi Arabia referred to as “Wahhabism.”

Clarion Intelligence Network has been aware through its sources that the area where the shootings took place is known for trafficking in guns, drugs and counterfeit items. This criminal market has a strong Islamist element that includes extremist gangs.

Hill’s older sister said he “occasionally attended” an unnamed mosque, confirming initial reports from our sources that Hill is a Muslim. The sources do not yet have first-hand evidence of the shooter being personally involved in Islamist extremism.

Clarion Intel’s sources report that Masjid Ahlil Hadith Wal Athar is a Salafi mosque which follows the theocratic teachings of Saudi Arabia’s top Wahhabist scholars.

At this point, there is no indication that Hill’s shooting of police officers was motivated by Islamism or anything other than a desire to resist arrest.

However, Islamism’s inherent hostility towards Western governments and values fuels anti-police bigotry that can justify violence against law enforcement. Clarion’s sources stated that many of the mosque’s attendees view the police as oppressors of Muslims.

Anti-police bigotry is pervasive in the area, as evidenced by this advertisement that was posted by an associate of the militant Islamist network in America on the Facebook page of the Majlis Ash Shura of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley (see left).

The mosque attended by the shooter bases its preaching on the works of Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahhab, the founder of the theocratic, anti-Western version of Islam that was instituted by the Saudi regime and referred to as “Wahhabism” (see poster below).

Our sources say that the mosque also emphasizes the teachings of Ibn Taymiyyah, a scholar who died in 1328 and is referenced by Islamist extremists and terrorists around the world to justify their views and violent actions.

Steven Simon of the Brookings Institute credits Taymiyya with responsibility for the “elevation of jihad—not the spiritual struggle that many modern Muslims take it to be, but physical combat against unbelievers—to the rank of the canonical five pillars of Islam.”

The mosque’s social media pages also repeatedly quote Sheikh Saleh Al-Fawzan, one of the top Wahhabist imams in the Saudi religious establishment.

Al-Fawzan is perhaps best known for once preaching, “Slavery is part of jihad, and jihad will remain as long there is Islam.” Fawzan also recently got some attention for justifying the murdering of opponents of the Saudi regime.

The shooter was previously arrested about a dozen times, including charges related to burglary, fleeing and evading the police, drugs, guns and aggravated assault (which was a downgrade from attempted murder). He served two years on drug-related charges, was paroled in 2006 and then had to serve another year for shooting someone and was released in 2013.

In the latest incident, the police were executing a search warrant related to drug trafficking when Hill opened fire using an AR15. He also had a handgun.

Clarion’s Intel Network recently exposed a militant Islamist network based around the Philadelphia area that includes gun and drug traffickers and encourages targeting of law enforcement and the U.S. government.

There is no proof linking the shooter to this network at the time of the publication of this article. We will continue to investigate.

 

 

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Ryan Mauro

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org's Shillman Fellow, national security analyst and the director of Clarion Intelligence Network. Mauro is also an adjunct professor of counter-terrorism. He is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio.