Radical Islam in New York and New Jersey

(Photo: Creative Commons)

There’s a lot more to radical Islam in New York and New Jersey than 9/11. Here are a few of the most shocking facts.

 

Chelsea Bombing

In September 2016, a pressure cooker bomb exploded in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City, injuring 30 people. A second, unexploded, pressure cooker bomb was found a few blocks away.

Soon after, a pipe bomb went off at a charity race in Seaside Park, New Jersey. Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident as the race had been delayed.

Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the suspect, is a naturalized U.S. citizen originally from Afghanistan. He was captured following a shootout with police officers outside a bar in Linden, New Jersey.

 

Imam Mohammad Qatanani

Mohammad Qatanani is the imam of the Islamic Center of Passaic County in New Jersey. He came to America in 1996. He was tried in 2008 on charges of failing to disclose a conviction for being a member of Hamas, the Gaza based Muslim Brotherhood affiliate which is designated by the United States as a terrorist group. Israel says they arrested him for being a member of Hamas in 1993. Qatanani claims he was tortured while in Israeli custody, that he was detained and not arrested and that anything he signed was in Hebrew and he did not understand it.

Qatanani did admit he was a member of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, which is a legal entity in Jordan.

The court dismissed the case. In December 2016, DHS appealed and he is now being retried. The DHS claims it has authenticated three documents from the Israelis about the case, a letter from the Israeli liaison, a verdict in Israel and indictment from the military court.

Despite his Islamist connections, Qatanani is known to be close with New Jersey governor Chris Christie. Christie has publicly backed Qatanani.

 

Muslims of the Americas

The Muslims of the Americas (MOA) is the American affiliate of a Pakistani based extremist sect called Jamaat al-Fuqra.   

In 1998, the State Department said ul-Fuqra is an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” In March 2014, close to a dozen anti-Islamist Muslim Organizations in the U.S. and Canada released a statement in conjunction with the Clarion Project calling on the State Department to designate Jamaat ul-Fuqra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The group is run by a extremist preacher named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. He is on record making extremist statements such as “We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America” and the “U.S. has become a pawn of hidden hands that use America’s wealth and the innocent blood of their sons and daughters to wage their wars against Muslims.”

Their headquarters is a 70-acre compound in New York State called Islamberg.

In November 2016, multiple confidential sources within MOA told Clarion Project they had been told to arm themselves and prepare to violently resist expected raids on the group’s roughly 22 compounds across the United States.

 

Multiple Foiled Terror Plots

In 2015, a 20-year-old student named Munther Omar Saleh was charged with “conspiring to provide material support to a terrorist group.” He later admitted communicating with ISIS “knowing that it was involved in terrorism.” He researched how to build a pressure cooker bomb, among other things.

In 2016 the FBI arrested an Uber driver for allegedly attempting to join the Islamic State and expressing support for a proposed terror attack to run people over with a garbage truck in Times Square.

Also in 2016, the FBI arrested 22-year-old Sajmir Alimehti after he attempted to help an undercover informant travel to join ISIS in Syria.

Many other plots have been foiled by the tireless work of our security services.

 

Chris Christie

In addition to publicly supporting Imam Muhammed Qatanani, former New Jersey governor Christie has other radical ties.

Clarion discovered in 2012 that four Islamists (including Qatanani) were members of Christie’s Muslim Outreach committee.

Christie called criticism of his record on Islamism “internet blog B.S.” when asked about it at a 2014 Republican Jewish Coalition event in Los Vegas Nevada.

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Elliot Friedland
Elliot Friedland is a research fellow at Clarion Project.