Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda FlagSheikh Gilani and Fuqra/MOA deny having any links to Al-Qaeda but the group has worked with Al-Qaeda affiliates and individual Al-Qaeda operatives. MOA believes that Usama Bin Laden did not carry out the 9/11 attacks and Al-Qaeda is part of a Zionist conspiracy. A 2003 FBI counter-terrorism report asserted that MOA has links to Al-Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan. A 2005 DEA report made a similar claim.


2003 FBI Counter-Terrorism Investigation into MOA

Declassified FBI reports show that there was a counter-terrorism investigation into Jamaat ul-Fuqra / Muslims of America (MOA) in New York in 2003. One file has the heading, “American Islamic Radicals.”

The reports warn that MOA serves as a conduit to foreign terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Pakistan. It states:

“The MOA is a loosely structured U.S. based organization. Several current members in New York have been convicted of criminal acts to include murder and fraud. Recruitment most often occurs in prisons or neighborhood mosques. Once recruited, some members are selected to receive training in firearms and explosives in Pakistan.

While overseas, some of these recruits are then handpicked by high-ranking terrorist operatives, like that of Al-Qaeda, and are sent to receive more specialized training. Upon completing of their training, many of these recruits are ultimately asked to pledge ‘beyat’ [allegiance]. If they do not receive beyat, they become what source information reveals as a ‘friend of Al-Qaeda’ who are called upon no matter where he is living around the world to assist Al-Qaeda.”

The FBI reports state:

“The MOA in New York is involved in continuous criminal activity to include money laundering and wire fraud. It is suspected that the MOA in New York have laundered and transferred money through 786 Security and transported these funds on their person through Canada to Pakistan.

It is believed that [redacted] and MOA members located at 786 Security have had direct contact with [redacted] and/or terrorist organizations in Pakistan who provide both moral and material assistance. JUF [Jamaat ul-Fuqra] members also appear to be somewhat of a U.S. based host network used as a point of contact for overseas terrorist cells. The links and/or associations are mostly seen through weapons training.”

2005 Drug Enforcement Investigation into MOA

Documents from a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation into MOA indicate that it came across information linking the group to Bin Laden. A heavily-redacted March 2005 file regarding the MOA presence in Red House, Virginia  mentions Bin Laden three times. The file is also indexed under Bin Laden.

A source connected to a MOA-related investigation said a MOA member linked to the “Islamville” compound in South Carolina was suspected of having met someone linked to Al-Qaeda during travel overseas. The MOA member also spent time in Virginia.

View of Usama Bin Laden

MOA believes that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by a Zionist-Satanic conspiracy that has seized control of the U.S. government.[1] Sheikh Gilani does not refer to Bin Laden as a terrorist but as a “Saudi activist.”[2]

He writes, “Many government agencies want the world to believe that Osama Bin Laden destroyed the World Trade Center. Few believe it because all research and evidences reveal that it was the job of insiders.”[3]

Sheikh Gilani says he has never met Bin Laden or a member of Al-Qaeda. He appears to view Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda as separate entities, as he condemns the latter and not the former. Gilani claims that Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood have tried to kill him six times in Pakistan, forcing him to move his family to the United States for their safety.[4]

MOA has consistently condemned Wahhabism, the hardline form of Islam exemplified by Saudi Arabia, over its history. It says that Salafist groups including Al-Qaeda and its allies like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi are part of the Wahhabist enemy. Gilani preaches that Wahhabists are secret agents of the British, who are secret agents of a Satanic-Zionist conspiracy.

Bin Laden hid in Abbottabad, Pakistan from 2005 to 2011 when he was found and killed by U.S. SEAL Team Six. Interestingly, it was reported in 2002 that Gilani had a training camp in Abbottabad.[5] Pakistani authorities raided the camp after Gilani’s detention in connection with the murder of Daniel Pearl but the site was abandoned.[6]

MOA says that its American Muslim Medical Relief Team personnel volunteered at the Ayyub Medical Center in Abbottabad in 2005 after an earthquake.[7]

Both Bin Laden and Gilani had ties to the Pakistani ISI intelligence service and groups it sponsors. It is suspected that elements of Pakistani intelligence protected Bin Laden because Abbottabad had a heavy intelligence and military presence. While in hiding, Bin Laden maintained contact with Harakat ul-Mujahideen and was reliant upon the group.[8]

Harakat ul-Mujahideen is closely linked to the ISI and has had a relationship with Gilani. A local Pakistani police officer said the compound was used by Hizbul Mujahideen, another group linked to the ISI and Gilani.[9]


Links to Al-Qaeda Affiliates

Gilani and MOA have had relationships with various Islamist terrorist and extremist groups that are related to Al-Qaeda. The list includes the Blind Sheikh’s Gama’a Islamiyya; Hasan al-Turabi’s National Islamic Front; Harakat ul-Mujahideen (also known as Harakat ul-Ansar); Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezb-i-Islami; Hizbul Mujahideen; Jaish-e-Mohammed; Lashkar-e-Taiba; the Islamic Revolution Movement of Afghanistan and the Kashmir Freedom Front. There are also reports linking the Jamaat Al-Muslimeen of Trinidad to Al-Qaeda.[10]

A 1993 State Department intelligence document said that Sheikh Gilani is linked to a “mujahidin hub” that includes multiple allied Islamist terrorist groups. It reads:

A close working relationship reportedly exists among [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar, Egyptian Islamic Gama’at spiritual leader Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman, Yemeni Islamic Jihad leader Sheikh Zindani and Sudanese National Islamic Front (NIF) leader Hassan al-Turabi. Sheikh Jilani, the leader of the Jama’at al-Fuqra based in Lahore, is also believed to have some ties to the mujahidin network. This circle of mutual admiration nurtures the network of safe havens, bases and logistical support.”[11]

Every single one of the terrorist allies of Sheikh Gilani listed above are closely linked to Osama Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda. The memo said that Bin Laden was financing the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman’s network in the United States by funneling money through Hassan al-Turabi’s National Islamic Front.[12]


Makhtab al-Khidamat / Al-Kifa

Author John Wilson describes Fuqra (MOA) as being the “killer squad” of the Al-Kifa Refugee Center, the American branch of Maktab al-Khidmat, in the early 1990s.[13] It was run by Bin Laden and his mentor, Muslim Brotherhood cleric Abdullah Azzam. Maktab al-Khidmat worked closely with the Pakistani ISI intelligence service.

Wilson goes so far as to say Fuqra “was one of Azzam’s network of front organizations.”[14] MAK/Al-Kifa is regarded as the predecessor to Al-Qaeda. A Defense Department document from 2006 likewise refers to Fuqra/MOA as being another name for the Makhtab al-Khidamat. It identifies an operative of Tanzeem ul-Fuqra (another name for Jamaat ul-Fuqra) as also being part of Al-Qaeda.

The secret memo from the Joint Task Force at Guantanamo Bay, released by Wikileaks, shows that a Saudi citizen from Kasim named Nasir M. Asubayi “is an Islamic extremist with admitted links to the Maktab al-Khidmat (MK), aka Tanzeem Ul Fuqra, a non-governmental organization (NGO), a known supporter of Al Qaida.”

The memo identifies Maktab al-Khidmat as a Tier 2 NGO counter-terrorism target that has “demonstrated the intent and willingness to support terrorist organizations willing to attack U.S. persons or interest.” In other words, this memo states that Fuqra/Maktab al-Khidmat may not directly engage in terrorism but is a conduit for supporting other terrorist groups’ activities.

Asubayi also went by the aliases of Nasir Mazid Abdullah Al-Qurayshi Al-Subii and Al-Dindah al-Najdi. It is suspected that he helped provide Maktabal-Khidmat with travel documents and other logistical aid. He “is believed to have linked up with three others in Dubai.” The memo does not indicate he had links to Fuqra or MAK in the U.S.

In 2001, he was inspired by a fatwa from a radical Saudi cleric to travel with another terrorist held at Guantanamo Bay (Khalid Rashd Ali Al-Muri) to go to a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan. They arrived via the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan. He trained for three weeks and was among the Al-Qaeda fighters who fled to the Tora Bora mountains after the U.S.-led invasion.

Asubayi’s leg was injured in December 2001 and was apprehended at a hospital in Jalalabad.


Khalid Khawaja: Pakistani Intelligence Service

Khalid Khawaja was one of Sheikh Gilani’s closest advisers until he was murdered in 2010 and often acted as Gilani’s liaison to the media and outside world. A former MOA member who traveled to Pakistan to meet Gilani describes him as Gilani’s “right-hand man.” He was murdered in South Waziristan in 2010.

Khawaja was a mid-level Pakistani ISI intelligence operative and known for his wide range of contacts amongst Islamist terrorist groups. He admittedly worked with Bin Laden during the jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s. He maintained contact with Bin Laden and is said to have been a pilot for him at one point in time.[15]

In 1993, Khawaja was with Gilani when they attended a massive Islamist terrorist summit in Khartoum, Sudan. The event included representatives of Al-Qaeda and possibly Bin Laden himself, who was sheltered in Khartoum at the time. The purpose of the event was to unite Islamist terrorists of different political beliefs into a common front against the West.

Gilani and Khawaja were noticed by Muslim journalist Nazim Baksh, who videotaped the event and interviewed Gilani for a documentary. Khawaja initially tried to cover up Gilani’s presence by asking Baksh not to publicize it.[16]

Khawaja also had his own organization named the Islamic Solidarity Movement. He was arrested in 1995 by the Pakistani government for intending to commit murder. Khawaja says the prosecution was a political persecution at the behest of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.[17] He was again arrested in 2007 for distributing extremist material.

In Mariane Pearl’s book, she described Khawaja as acting like a “psycho” in conversations. He ranted about the legitimacy of jihad against the U.S., condemning U.S. military operations in Afghanistan against Al-Qaaeda and the Taliban and accused a Jewish conspiracy of orchestrating the 9/11 attacks. She writes that he seemed to know everyone in the jihadist movement in Pakistan.[18]

Khawaja said in 2002 after Pearl’s death:

“I am telling you, Osama doesn’t have many people in America. But here [in Pakistan], he has lots and lots of followers there and followers who are, I am telling you, I am sure of one thing, Osama does not have even one of his followers as committed as Sheikh Mubarak Gilani. Osama does not have even one as committed as the least of his people.”[19]


1990 Murder of Imam Rashid Khalifa: Wadih el-Hege

An Al-Qaeda operative named Wadih El-Hege was part of MOA’s surveillance team in the murder of Imam Rashad Khalifa in Tucson, Arizona in 1990.

Hege developed Al-Qaeda cells in Arizona using the Al-Kifah Refugee Office network, which was intertwined with MOA and the Blind Sheikh. He met with an Egyptian named Mahmud Abouhalima at the Al-Kifah office in Oklahoma City. Abouhalima was later convicted of involvement in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Hege became Usama Bin Laden’s secretary and was convicted of involvement in Al-Qaeda’s bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.


Mujahid Menepta / Melvin Lattimore

Another connection is through Melvin Lattimore, also known as Mujahid Menepta, a reported MOA member. He lived at an address in Oklahoma City in 1990 that was the centerpiece of a broader terrorist network that included MOA, Al-Qaeda and Hamas.[20]

He moved to the address after returning from a trip to Pakistan. At the same time, other MOA members linked to the address were active in Talihina and Red House, VA.

He is a close associate of Al-Qaeda operative Zacharias Moussaoui, who is suspected of being the “20th hijacker” who was unable to take part in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Moussaoui says that he was tasked with taking part in a follow-up wave of attacks.

They both attended the Islamic Society of Norman mosque. Menepta said that no one at the mosque knew Moussaoui better than he did.

On August 16, 2001, Moussaoui was arrested on immigration-related charges because authorities believed he was planning a terrorist attack involving airliners. Menepta said he was being used as a “scapegoat.”

After he defended Moussaoui and admitted his close friendship with him, the FBI arrested Menepta on terror-related charges. Agents who raided his home found an assault rifle, shotgun, handgun and over 1,500 rounds of ammunition. His family claimed he was peaceful and merely enjoyed hunting and target practice. As a felon, it was illegal for him to possess guns.

The warrant for the raid stated that Menepta was under investigation for involvement in a terrorist plot and involvement in a seditious conspiracy to levy war against the U.S. His cell phone had contacts that were the subjects of criminal investigations including money laundering and drug trafficking in Oklahoma City, St. Louis, Detroit, El Paso and Kansas City.

Gray writes that Menepta expressed anti-American extremism in his presence. He would accuse the U.S. of terrorism for slavery and oppressing Muslims. Menepta claimed he confronted an individual he suspected of being a FBI agent for allegedly harassing Muslims.

Menepta and his wife also engaged in fraud that is consistent with Fuqra/MOA operations. After his arrest, the government learned that she did not declare their marriage to the state welfare authorities, which could reduce their government assistance. She was accused of receiving over $2,400 in state money including food stamps over the course of the unreported marriage.[21]


1993 Terror Summit in Sudan

A close ally of Gilani and Al-Qaeda, Sudanese cleric Hasan al-Turabi, was working hard to form a common Islamist front against the West. These efforts included a massive terrorist summit in Khartoum in 1993 that brought together jihadists of all stripes. Sheikh Gilani was seen there and initially attempted to keep his attendance secret.[22]

Al-Qaeda representatives were present. Usama Bin Laden may have attended the event as well, as he was harbored in Khartoum at the time.

The summit came at around the same time that Sheikh Gilani was emphasizing the need for MOA to work with other Islamist militants and formed a group called Soldiers of Allah for that purpose.[23]


Islamic Society of Susquehanna Valley

Declassified documents report that the MOA of Pennsylvania non-profit organization received many checks from a mosque named the Islamic Society of Susquehanna Valley. An online directory of mosques places that facility at Sunbury, PA.[24] A now-defunct website for the mosque stated that events were held at the Ghulam Rasool Mosque in Sunbury. The website did not acknowledge any ties to MOA when it was last updated in 2000.

The mosque website linked to various organizations and individuals tied to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. It also linked to the Benevolence International Foundation, an Al-Qaeda front used to support terrorists in Bosnia and Chechnya.[25]


Shoe-bomber Richard Reid

Gilani has been reported to have a link to Richard Colvin Reid, a British Al-Qaeda operative who tried to detonate a bomb hidden on his show onboard an American Airlines flight in 2001. Gilani denies that Reid was a follower of his, but admits that Reid was trying to contact him. He claims that Reid was part of an Indian and Israeli conspiracy to assassinate him. Gilani says:

“Many of my followers wait five to ten years before they are granted audience with me. This is why the recent conspiracy hatched against me by the Indian and Israeli agencies failed when they used Farah Stockman, Richard Reid and Daniel Pearl. Each of these people was trying to contact me, but they all failed…[26]

Reid was in Pakistan and Afghanistan from 1999 to 2000. Farah Stockman of the Boston Globe reported that there was evidence that Reid went to a religious school in Lahore that is linked to Gilani.[27] Mariane Pearl mentions that there were reports that Reid even met Gilani at his home in Karachi.[28]

An anonymous Pakistani official involved in following Reid’s steps flatly told Stockman, “he [Reid] was there,” referring to Gilani’s compound in Lahore. A member of Gilani’s extended family also said that Reid had visited Gilani’s home.[29]

Gilani denies ever meeting him and said he had never even heard the name of Richard Reid. However, Islamist terrorists often travel under different names. Reid, for example, used the names of Abdul/Abdel Raheem and Abu Ibrahim.[30] He also went by Tariq Raja. Khalid Khawaja said, “He is not a follower and he is not known to any of the people within our system. If there was anything like that, we would have known it.”[31]

Richard Reid visited the Karachi home of Sheikh Gilani before boarding the flight from Paris to Miami where he unsuccessfully attempted his bomb plot. (A Mighty Heart, Mariane Pearl, p 11 (2007)). Reid considered Gilani a “spiritual advisor” but sources such as Daniel Pearl wondered if there was more than merely the “spiritual” connection between the two. (A Mighty Heart, Mariane Pearl, p 11 (2007)).

Another link between Reid and Gilani may have been Zacarias Moussaoui. After his conversion to Islam, Reid attended the same mosque as Moussaoui in Brixton, London. Reid “disappeared” from the mosque in 1998.[32] Moussaoui was closely linked to a reported MOA member named Melvin Lattimore, or Mujahid Menepta, in Oklahoma City.[33]


Murder of Daniel Pearl

 Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl believed he was on his way to interview Sheikh Gilani about his reported connection to shoebomber Richard Reid when Pearl was kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan by Al-Qaeda affiliates and beheaded on videotape in 2002. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and then third-in-command of Al-Qaeda, credibly claims to have been the one to execute him.

Sheikh Gilani was never charged with involvement in the Al-Qaeda plot to kill Pearl. However, a significant body of evidence exists to consider him a suspect.  Though mainly circumstantial, its comprehensive value in totality would be considered quite strong in a U.S. court of law. A detailed explanation of this evidence is available in the section of this website about Daniel Pearl’s death.


 


gitmo-report-aq

[1] For more information on MOA’s beliefs in regards to 9/11 and terrorism, read the section of this website about Fuqra Ideology.

[2] “I.Q.O.U. Vice Chancellor Presents Historic Evidence of Situations Created to Cast Islam as the Enemy.” (2010). Islamic Post. http://www.islamicpostonline.com/opinion/2010/02/07/iqou_vice_chancellor_presents_historic_evidence_situations_created_cast_islam_enemy/

[3] His Eminence El-Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani. (2015). Extreme Wahhabism is the Brainchild of British Intelligence Agency. The Muslims of America. http://www.tmoamerica.org/news/515-extreme-wahhabism/

[4] Sufi Leader El Sheikh Gilani: America Beware of Ikhwan Al-Muslimeen. (2013). Islamic Post. https://www.islamicpostonline.com/opinion/2013/01/29/sufi_leader_el_sheikh_gilani_america_beware_ikhwan_al_muslimeen-421/

[5] Stockman, Farah. (2002). Bomb Probe Eyes Pakistan Links: Extremist May Have Influenced Reid. Boston Globe. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/847

[6] Abdullah Iqbal. (2002). Gilani Indicates Links with Officials. Gulf News.

[7] Shadzia, Umm. (2011). North American Muslim Journalists Travel Abroad. Islamic Post.

[8] Carlotta Gall, Pir Zubair Shah and Eric Schmitt. (2011). Seized Phone Offers Clue to Bin Laden’s Pakistani Links. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/24/world/asia/24pakistan.html

[9] Graeme Smith and Muzammil Pasha. (2011). Bin Laden Given Haven by Militants Linked to Pakistani Security Forces. Globe and Mail. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/bin-laden-given-haven-by-militants-linked-to-pakistani-security-forces/article2009083/

[10] More information on MOA’s relationships with each of these groups is available in the section of this website about MOA’s links to other Islamist organizations.

[11] “The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous.” (1993). State Department Intelligence and Research Bureau.

[12] Id.

[13] Wilson, John. (2007). The General and the Jihad. Pentagon Press.

[14] Id.

[15] Jehl, Douglas. (2002). Pakistan Holds 2 Ex-Agents in Kidnapping. New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/02/12/world/a-nation-challenged-journalists-pakistan-holds-2-ex-agents-in-kidnapping.html

[16] Baksh, Nazim. (1995). “Seeds of Terror.” Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. It can be watched on the Fuqra Files YouTube channel: https://youtu.be/4vNz_rkGWik

[17] Sharif, Arshad. (2002). Brig Cheema Says Omar Misleading Investigators. Dawn. http://www.dawn.com/news/21651/brig-cheema-says-omar-misleading-investigators

[18] Mariane Pearl and Sarah Crichton. (2003). A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl. Scribner.

[19] Kohn, David. (2002). Sheik Gilani. CBS News. http://www.cbsnews.com/news/sheik-gilani/

[20] More information is available on this Oklahoma network in the section of this website that breaks down MOA activity by state.

[21] Simpson, Cam. (2002).  Roundup Unnerves Oklahoma Muslims. Chicago Tribune. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2002-04-21/news/0204210346_1_fbi-agents-jail-material-witness/3

[22] Footage from the summit, including an interview with Sheikh Gilani, was in the award-winning “Seeds of Terror” documentary that can be watched on the Fuqra Files YouTube channel.

[23] The “Soldiers of Allah” video is available on the Fuqra Files YouTube channel and is discussed in detail in the section of this website about guerrilla training.

[24] Islamic Society of Susquehanna Valley. (n.d.). Islamic Valley. http://islamicvalley.com/iv/mosque/info/53M/islamic+society+of+susquehanna+valley

[25] In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful. (2000). Susquehanna Valley Islamic Society. http://www.oocities.org/svislamics/

[26] His Eminence Sultan Mohyuddin Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani Hashimi Hassani wal Husaini. (n.d.). “Pillar of Lies.” International Quranic Open University-Muslims of the Americas.

[27] Stockman, Farah. (2002). Bomb Probe Eyes Pakistan Links: Extremist May Have Influenced Reid. Boston Globe. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/847

[28] Mariane Pearl and Sarah Crichton. (2003). A Mighty Heart: The Brave Life and Death of My Husband, Daniel Pearl. Scribner.

[29] Stockman, Farah. (2002). Bomb Probe Eyes Pakistan Links: Extremist May Have Influenced Reid. Boston Globe. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/847

[30] Zambelis, Chris. (2006). Radical Trends in African-American Islam. Jamestown Foundation. https://jamestown.org/program/radical-trends-in-african-american-islam/

[31] Stockman, Farah. (2002). Bomb Probe Eyes Pakistan Links: Extremist May Have Influenced Reid. Boston Globe. http://www.militantislammonitor.org/article/id/847

[32] Id.

[33] See the Oklahoma Section of this website for more information.

in Links to Other Islamist Groups