Muslims of the Americas (MOA), a terror-linked group led by a radical cleric in Pakistan, suffered a defeat last week when U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy tossed out the group’s $30 million lawsuit against an author who documented MOA’s involvement in terrorism, crime and extremism.
Muslims of the Americas states on its website that is “the only indigenous American Muslim organization founded and based in the United States of America.” It claims it is moderate, non-violent and a positive force for interfaith relations. The Clarion Project’s fully-documented profile of the group tells a different story.
In January, Clarion identified an MOA enclave in Texas as proven by declassified FBI documents that clearly identify it as a jihadist enclave and terrorist threat. We have also released a MOA videotape showing its women getting guerilla training at its “Islamberg” headquarters in New York.
Our revelations prompted over a dozen North American Muslim groups to endorse our initiative for the labeling of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, MOA’s parent group, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) agrees that MOA should also be designated and said our identification of an enclave in his state was “more than troubling—it’s appalling.”
The FBI document released by Clarion was recently shown on the History Channel 2’s “America’s Book of Secrets” television show on April 12, 2014. MOA accused the History Channel of committing a “direct attack against peace.”
MOA’s $30 million lawsuit was filed against Martin Mawyer and Patti Perucci after they published their book Twilight in America in 2012. The book includes testimony from Ali Abdel Aziz, a high-level member of MOA who was an informant for the New York Police Department when he lived in “Islamberg.” Aziz says he travelled around the world for MOA, confirmed its terrorist links and expressed grave concern about the treatment of women and children inside MOA’s communes around the U.S.
The documentation of MOA’s extremism is so thick that its $30 million lawsuit was clearly frivolous. It was aimed at bankrupting Mawyer and Perucci and intimidating other potential critics. This Islamist tactic is often referred to as “lawfare” or “legal jihad.”
MOA’s strategy was bizarre and full of logical holes. On January 24, 2013, the MOA leadership incorporated a new organization named The Muslims of the Americas (TMOA). The original group, MOA, was dissolved shortly thereafter on February 6.
At this time, MOA posted an article by its Pakistan-based leader, Sheikh Gilani. He claimed that the original MOA was secretly taken over by Wahhabi–Muslim Brotherhood infiltrators using a non-profit named “Ikhwanul Muslimun” that was incorporated in 1974 and established on “Islamberg” property. Gilani said that these infiltrators fraudulently incorporated MOA without his approval.
One supposed Brotherhood operative sent to damage Gilani was Jamil Abdul Haqq, who Gilani appointed as his “khalifah” (caliph) in the U.S. Gilani claims that Haqq even was able to take on the appearance of Gilani to fool his followers into obeying his orders.
“[Haqq] took advantage of my absence to start the biggest fraud in history by closing his eyes, taking long breaths, and going through physical changes before speaking to people as if he were Sheikh Gillani,” he wrote.
Any crimes committed by Gilani’s followers were done under the auspices of the Brotherhood infiltrators. In his article, Gilani complains that the U.S. hasn’t praised him and welcomed him back into the country for eliminating the Muslim Brotherhood in America.
Thus, MOA’s strategy in court was that TMOA cannot be blamed for the actions of MOA because they are actually two separate organizations—however, TMOA is still entitled to damages from accusations against MOA. It wasn’t hard for the judge to see the ridiculousness of that position, and he dismissed the libel lawsuit because the plaintiff lacked standing (legally, a party may only assert his or her own rights in court and is not allowed to raise the claims of a third party who is not before the court).
“Further, the reason given for the dissolution of MOA—namely, the fraudulent pretenses under which it operated, seems to be antithetical to the contention that TMOA was formed merely to implement a name change,” District Judge McAvoy ruled.
The attorney representing the defendants, David W.T. Carroll, said MOA/TMOA would have lost the lawsuit anyway because of the evidence supporting the book’s allegations.
In a website statement on April 24, MOA said its lawsuit was dismissed because of a “procedural defect that the plaintiff believes can be easily cured.” It says it will continue legal action against the authors and is reviewing its options.
If MOA figures out a way to continue the legal battle, it’ll lose unless the financial burden forces Mawyer and Perucci into submission. MOA cannot win on the facts. The only it win is through intimidation and financial warfare — through legal jihad.
Ryan Mauro is the ClarionProject.org’s National Security Analyst, a fellow with the Clarion Project and is frequently interviewed on top-tier TV stations as an expert on counterterrorism and Islamic extremism.
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