The newest Democratic congressional candidate in Massachusetts, Tahirah Amatul-Wadud, is a prominent official of not one but two Islamist groups: Jamaat ul-Fuqra and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
Clarion Project was the first to report on Amatul-Wadud’s political aspirations when she expressed her intentions to eventually become the governor of Massachusetts.
Now, the 44-year old attorney just announced that she’s running in the Democratic primary for Massachusetts’ 1st Congressional District, challenging Rep. Richard Neal, who has held the seat since 1988. The media coverage has focused on her status as an attorney in Springfield and that she is a four-year member of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Nowhere does her campaign website mention her official involvement with Muslims of America/Jamaat ul-Fuqra or the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Her business website does identify her as the “counsel” to the “Islamberg” commune that serves as MOA’s national headquarters. An obvious decision was made to omit that from her biography.
Media coverage of her candidacy also failed to report on these affiliations. In fact, she was practically endorsed by Amanda Drane, a reporter for the Berkshire Eagle, who called her a “champion of marginalized communities.”
CAIR also promoted her candidacy in its national newsletter, leaving out her long-time affiliation with MOA/Fuqra. CAIR-Massachusetts’ website only makes a vague reference to her being a “general counsel for a New York Muslim congregation.”
As of the publication date of this article, none of MOA’s official websites or social media pages have acknowledged her candidacy.
She is running as a Democrat and not with MOA’s Islamic Political Party of America. The status of that party is unclear.
The criminal history, terrorist attacks and secretive and paramilitary nature of Fuqra/MOA have long been documented. MOA claims to have 22 “Islamic villages” across the country. The U.S. government recently confirmed that there are ongoing investigations into MOA.
MOA’s Pakistan-based leader, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, acts like the master of a radical Islamic cult. He and his group preach a radical ideology that includes anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, as seen in this screenshot from Islamberg’s old website:
In 2014, Sheikh Gilani published through MOA an article that claimed Nazi Germany was not an enemy of the U.S., drew moral equivalence between Hitler and the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and spouted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about 9/11 and Pearl Harbor.
“There was no need for America to go to war against Hitler. Hitler was not the enemy of America or the American people. There was a mutual animosity between Hitler and the Jews. So, the American people paid a very heavy price for fighting someone else’s war.”
This article was then promoted by now-congressional candidate Tahirah Amatul-Wadud.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Muslims of America (MOA) received the most attention when its leader, Sheikh Gilani, was suspected of possibly killing Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was trying to interview him when he was abducted and beheaded on videotape by jihadists in 2002.
Gilani was never charged with involvement in the murder (some U.S. officials exonerated him), but suspicions remain due to the facts and circumstances surrounding Pearl’s death. Gilani claims Pearl was an Israeli agent sent to assassinate him as part of a Zionist conspiracy.
MOA has received significant media coverage since then due to the Clarion Project’s release of declassified documents as well as footage from around 2002 showing women at “Islamberg” receiving basic guerilla training and the publication of a book and documentary by activist Martin Mawyer.
The group’s 101-acre terrorist training camp in Colorado was raided in 1992. Its 400-acre compound in California was abandoned once it came under investigation for a massive charter school scam. It also showed signs of militant activity.
Over a dozen Muslim organizations in North America have called on the State Department to review whether Fuqra/MOA qualifies as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Other Fuqra Members in U.S. Politics
Amatul-Wadud isn’t the only MOA member seeking a political career.
Alaska-based MOA member Gregory Jones also recently launched a failed bid for political office, running as a Democrat for the Alaska State House. He was also a delegate for Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.
MOA member Jamaal Johnston of Meherrin, Virginia ran a campaign for the Virginia House of Delegates this year and lost. Meherrin is the location of one of two MOA/Fuqra “villages” in the state of Virginia.
Declassified NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) documents obtained by the Clarion Project show that the U.S. government believes MOA is connected to a wide range of criminal activity, especially in Virginia.
Johnston owns White Hawk Security International Inc. MOA has long operated through such security companies, as acknowledged in declassified FBI documents from 2003 that warned that MOA’s use of such front businesses and ties to extremists in Pakistan. If he runs for office again, reporters are obliged to ask him about White Hawk’s offices, travels, activities and business contracts overseas in light of its connections to MOA.
The Justice Department designated CAIR as an unindicted co-conspirator during the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, an affiliated Muslim Brotherhood front that was prosecuted for financing Hamas. The Justice Department specifically listed CAIR as an “entity” of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “Palestine Committee” that was established to covertly aid Hamas in the public sphere.
The FBI’s wiretaps of a secret Muslim Brotherhood meeting in Philadelphia in 1993, which included two of CAIR’s founders, proved beyond any doubt that the group hides its radicalism using slick word games and omissions.
Federal prosecutors said in a 2008 court filing:
“From its founding by Muslim Brotherhood leaders, CAIR conspired with other affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood to support terrorists … the conspirators agreed to use deception to conceal from the American public their connections to terrorists.”
CAIR, like MOA, tries to tar any of their critics as an “Islamophobic,” anti-Muslim bigots. They use this tactic to deflect attention away from their ties to Islamist movements and their own inflammatory rhetoric. Yet interestingly, a CAIR official’s offensive comments opposing Memorial Day sparked a backlash from other Muslims who appreciate the sacrifices of the U.S. military.
Amatul-Wadud was born in Queens, New York to parents who converted to Islam when she was about four years old. She grew up in Brooklyn. Her family moved to Massachusetts in 1984 when she was nine. She attended Elms College, graduating in 1998 and then graduated from Western New England University School of Law in 2005.
An old list of MOA mosques states that one existed in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Our sources within MOA and former MOA members do not directly link Amatul-Wadud to any criminal activity, but they do confirm her allegiance to Sheikh Gilani. In fact, Sheikh Gilani’s wife in Pakistan has even tweeted her admiration for Amatul-Wadud:
Old documents from the 1980s and early 1990s obtained through Clarion Project’s Fuqra Files project do not mention her full name (Tahir Amatul-Wadud), but others were found with just her last names on them.
For example, someone with the surname of Amatul-Wadud and the titles of “amir” and “Maulana” lived in Virginia as a “jamaat administrator” and applied for Sheikh Gilani’s secret militant force named “Soldiers of Allah.” His application boasted he was “very good with a shot gun” and “willing to hear and obey and [be] committed.”
At least one other person with the Amatul-Wadud surname applied to become a “Soldier of Allah” and lived in Pennsylvania. Another traveled to Abbotabad, Pakistan, years after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, supposedly on a humanitarian trip. She also has relatives in Egypt, one MOA-affiliated source says.
A former member of MOA responded to her candidacy by telling me:
“I know that the Jamaat helped pay for her schooling. They raised donations from members, basically. She was groomed from a child. I can remember Gilani specifically mentioning these younger members like her, commanding the parents to groom them for law enforcement, doctors and the political arena. Still the same old radical beliefs, that didn’t change.
“Gilani always gives the go-ahead for these kinds of decisions [her candidacy]. They do nothing this big without his approval.”
From the first day of her campaign, Amatul-Wadud began depicting her expected critics in the worst of terms. She said:
“Doing strong work, as a woman, gives me some push-back. People are going to write some crazy things about me online. There’s going to be lots of fake news, elements of xenophobia, Islamophobia, there’s going to be elements of racism, it’s going to be sexist and elements of misogynistic.”
She reiterated that bigoted “fake news authors” will soon respond to her candidacy, an apparent reference to this author. She said:
“In the campaign I fully expect that I’ll be attacked in the media and I’ve already seen the playbook, I know what that’s going to look like: It will not talk about anything substantive, it will not speak on anything on the merits of who I am, but it will be soaked in the following values: misogyny/sexism, xenophobia and Islamophobia. The fake news authors will be all over this, they will try to drive a wedge between me and my neighbors and when they realize they cannot break our spirit, they will keep trying. I’m asking people to keep no separation between us, come to me.”
Amatul-Wadud knows a thing or two about the politics of personal destruction.
She was part of MOA’s attempt to use lawfare against activist Martin Mawyer, who published a book about MOA. The group, using its pro-bono lawyers, tried to destroy him with a $30 million lawsuit. He bravely fought back and won, with the judge throwing out MOA’s bizarre and illogical lawsuit.
MOA has listed this author as a member of the “American Taliban” and responded to my previous research piece regarding Amatul-Wadud by attacking me personally in a deception-filled article titled, “Ryan Mauro, a Discredited Islamophobe Attacks Muslim Woman Attorney in Blog.”
The article cites the highly-criticized work of the Southern Poverty Law Center, without mentioning that the Center hypocritically reported on Fuqra’s terrorism and extremism in 2002.
(Of course, real anti-Muslim bigotry and violence is a real threat—one Clarion has and will report to the relevant authorities. Plots like those by anti-Muslim, anti-government terrorist Robert Doggart—who sought to attack Islamberg as a means of sparking an American civil war—are not only morally reprehensible on every level, but serve as fuel for the very extremisms they claim to be fighting against.)
Amatul-Wadud plans to challenge Rep. Neal from the left, identifying herself as “unapologetically progressive.”
All voters in Massachusetts considering her candidacy are obliged to review this long list of incendiary quotes from MOA’s own leaders and publications.
Progressive voters must think critically about her claims to be “unapologetically progressive” and ask: What is progressive about MOA’s ideology, none of which Amatul-Wadud has publicly rejected?