A radical Pakistani cleric named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani (shown left) and his followers testify to the holiness of a shrine where miracles allegedly prove his supernatural powers. The shrine isn’t in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or anywhere in the Islamic world. It’s in York County, South Carolina, inside a commune about 36 acres large called “Holy Islamville,” located on a street named Islamville Way.
It was founded in 1982 by a group called Muslims of the Americas (MOA), led by the aforementioned Gilani. The Department of Homeland Security says it is linked to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani militant group also led by Glani. The State Department describes ul-Fuqra as “an Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.”
Fuqra was behind many assassinations and bombings between 1979 and the early 1990s. Its biggest plot aimed to kill 4,500 Indians in Toronto during the Festival of Lights in 1991. Its destructive capacity first caught the FBI’s attention in 1989 because of a raid on a storage locker in Colorado Springs. They discovered weapons and plans for various attacks, including a scheme to murder Imam Rashad Khalifa (shown right) in Arizona in 1990. They succeeded, killing him exactly as the seized papers said they would. Two Fuqra members were allegedly involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and dramatic plots against New York City.
In October 1992, Fuqra’s 101-acre compound at Buena Vista, Colorado was shut down. The authorities discovered it was a full-blown terrorist training camp. The members financed their efforts through a web of fake companies and various criminal activities. A poem by Gilani was found that reads: “Come join my troops and army/Says our Sheikh Gilani/Prepare to sacrifice your head/A true believer is never dead/Say ‘Victory is in the Air’/The kafir’s blood will not be spared.” That’s the sheikh who the residents of Islamville and the other MOA compounds view as a representative of Allah that meets with Jesus in heaven, heals diseases, transforms into animals, instantly transports and leaves his body at will.
The MOA says it has 22 “villages” around the country, with its Islamberg headquarters in Hancock, New York being the most notorious. In a secret recruitment tape made by Gilani, he states the purpose of these villages: “We are establishing training camps.” He tells viewers that they “are most welcome to join one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare” by contacting the group’s offices in Pakistan or several locations in the U.S., including South Carolina. That’s Islamville.
The video then shows the type of training being offered: Hijacking vehicles, use of firearms, hijacking vehicles, setting off explosives, etc. Gilani makes it clear that he isn’t just focused on Kashmir. “We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America,” he says. Excerpts from the tape were first released in a film titled Homegrown Jihad and later in The Third Jihad.
The tape was dismissed by some because of its old age and the fact that it was filmed in Pakistan. A law enforcement source later provided me with two more of the MOA’s films. The first showed women living at Islamberg in New York training in guerilla warfare, complete in military fatigue. The second is a propaganda tape where MOA leaders declare America a Muslim country and vow to defend it from foreign and domestic enemies. I gave the films to the Christian Action Network to release to the public.
I then was contacted by a source that offered to record gunfire coming out of Islamville. The first two recordings arrived in November 2009 (click here and here). There are five from March 6, 2011 (click here, here, here, here and here). Four more were taken on May 4, 2011(click here, here, here, and here). On January 26, 2012, two explosions were heard coming from Islamville at around 4:30 PM. This was followed by gunfire 20 minutes later. On February 11, a louder explosion that shook the homes of neighbors at 2:50 PM was reported to police. The neighbors called each other and none could explain what happened. On April 6, there were two explosions at around 2:10 PM, described as being the loudest yet, the source reported.
One neighbor told the Charleston Post and Courier that he has seen a guard carrying an AK-47 and hears gunfire at night. Another said she has seen AK-47s and M-16s being carried by Islamville residents in the words. This is especially concerning when you consider the criminal records of some of those that have lived there.
In 1971, a man named Frank Nelson shot a security guard at a Long Island college. He wasn’t arrested until September 2005 when he was found living right next to Islamville. He had converted to Islam and changed his name to Abdullah Ali. In 1996, a man named Edward Flinton was arrested at Islamville. He had masterminded Fuqra’s attempted bombing of a hotel in Portland in 1983, a 1984 bombing of a Hare Krishna temple in Denver and the murder of Imam Khalifa in 1990. A registered sex offender also lived in Islamville as of 2007 but is now in Georgia.
The children at Islamville and other MOA compounds are homeschooled. Islamville shares an address with a school called the Ace Academy, a mosque named Masjid Fatimah and a company called Al-Oasis Tech. What are the children being taught?
MOA believes that “jinn beings” loyal to the “Satanist-Zionist conspiracy” take over the minds of influential Westerners in order to wage war on Muslims. Movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter, Avatar, Lord of the Rings and The Exorcist are used as conduits to corrupt minds. Gilani teaches that “Jews are examples of human Satans,” refers to Osama Bin Laden as a “Saudi activist,” and his group is adamant that 9/11 was a Jewish conspiracy. The MOA’s newspaper favorably compares Iranian President Ahmadinejad to the Mahdi for his statements regarding 9/11. The children at the Colorado camp that was shut down were given paramilitary training.
MOA has had an astonishing amount of success in building relations with the media, elected officials and law enforcement personnel. The group’s interfaith front, the United Muslim Christian Forum, is endorsed by Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan and Owego Mayor Edward Arrington. It just held its 7th annual event at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. on April 21.
I attended its last event on April 16, 2011, where I confronted the leader of MOA’s “village” at Red House, Virginia. You can read about that here. York Mayor Eddie Lee and the York County Sheriff have attended Islamville events. In 2004, an FBI Special Agent in Charge spoke at the ceremony of Islamville’s Muslim Scouts of America, as is shown on its website. About 300 Boy Scouts attended a camp in Islamville in 2006.
The MOA ideology’s of basically worshipping Gilani is at odds with the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is evidence of a connection. In 1974, a non-profit named “Ikhwanul Muslimun” was registered as a church. That means, “Muslim Brotherhood.” If you enter that name into a search engine, the only organization that pops up is the Muslim Brotherhood. The contact name for it is a person who lives at Islamberg.
A Muslim Brotherhood strategy document in 1991 describes the group’s phased plan for jihad in America. Phase 4 includes “training on the use of weapons domestically.” It said that there are “noticeable activities in this regard.” Was it referring to MOA? I’m not aware of any other Muslim paramilitary training centers, especially in 1991.
South Carolinia officials need to understand what Islamville really is.
Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarion Fund. He is the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel.
This article is sponsored by the The Institute on Religion and Democracy.