14. Mission: Penetrate the Military Squad’s Training

The golden opportunity came when eight military squad members from six of MOA’s “Islamic villages” signed up for bodyguard classes held at a private facility in Virginia. They all purported to be employees of White Hawk Security International.

They signed up for a series of classes, including ones for unarmed guards and instruction on arrest authority and entry-level firearms training (though their performance was far from entry-level).

Abdelaziz joined the squad members and signed up for a firearms class. He passed along detailed information, pictures and documents to the authorities. 

Below is the enrollment photo taken of Abdelaziz, exclusively obtained by Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro and Martin Mawyer: 

Above: Ali Abelaziz (using the name Alaa Abdelaziz) provided intelligence to the U.S. government on his colleagues in Fuqra. Here, two of the chosen “military squad” members are at the firing range as part of the training they received in security-related duties, including instruction in counter-terrorism.

Ali Abdelaziz only showed up for one class, saying he had to leave early in order to go to Venezuela and set up a Mixed Martial Arts event there. Abdelaziz later told Mawyer that he met with a top MOA leader there, almost certainly referring to convicted terrorist Barry Adams.

We have also obtained the enrollment photos of the eight MOA military squad members. These members were (in the order that they are shown at the link):

  • Ihsan Abdullah from the “Islamberg” headquarters of MOA in New York. There is a 2nd camp next to “Islamberg” named “Maryamville.
  • Uthman Abdul Aziz from the “Mian Mir” camp in Coldwater, Michigan.
  • Faruq Baqi from Fresno, California, where MOA maintained a presence after they abandoned their “Baladullah” camp in California once its charter school scam was uncovered. Faruq Baqi’s mother, Khadijah Ghafur, was arrested in 2004 and convicted for her role in overseeing the scam, which funneled taxpayer money to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan. This branch of MOA also infiltrated military bases in California by working as contractors.
  • Jahad Mumin Fatihah, from the “Madinah Village” in Commerce, Georgia.  The state has at least one other MOA commune named “Aliville” near Jesup and Odum. 
  • Jamaal Johnston, the leader of White Hawk Security International and a member of MOA’s “Ahmadabad East” camp in Meherrin, Virginia. There is at least one more camp in Virginia, “Ahmadabad West,” in Red House.
  • Muhammad Yasin Malik from the “Madinah Village” in Commerce, Georgia.
  • Ramadan Sayeed Shakir from “Islamville” in York County, South Carolina. He has served as the “mayor” of the commune.
  • Derrick Vaughn from the “Madinah Village” in Commerce, Georgia.

We have also obtained pictures from some of the squad’s visits to the firing range, such as this one below:

Above: Ali Abelaziz (using the name Alaa Abdelaziz) provided intelligence to the U.S. government on his colleagues in Fuqra. Here, two of the chosen “military squad” members are at the firing range as part of the training they received in security-related duties, including instruction in counter-terrorism.

Above: Here, two of the chosen “military squad” members are at the firing range as part of the training they received in security-related duties, including instruction in counter-terrorism.

The squad members showed up for the classes in cars with temporary tags. Each had a 9mm firearm. A couple of them wore Battle Dress Uniforms and one had a security badge on his belt.

The accuracy of their shooting far surpassed the typical police officer or security guard at the range (the lowest score was a 96% in one session). Additionally, their conversations showed they were experienced students, as they were familiar with advanced shooting tactics, stances, tactical withdrawals, etc.

However, they weren’t free of careless mistakes. 

Faruq Baqi said “Praise Allah” after a few particularly impressive shots. They were overheard talking about putting high-speed triggers in guns, their visits to various MOA camps and attending other security-related classes.

During the classes, the MOA students asked an abnormal number of questions about the Patriot Act and the handling of AR-15s. 

One of the courses attended by the MOA military squad members was a counter-terrorism course that was funded by a federal grant for homeland security.

The course included sessions about the roles of law enforcement and private security in the War on Terror; terrorism indicators; domestic terrorist and extremist groups; international groups; critical incident response; officer safety issues and active shooter situations.

Ironically, during one class, squad member Jahad Mumin Fatihah was reading The Terrorist Next Door by Erick Stakelbeck, which has a chapter about MOA.

Nonetheless, the federal investigators struggled to build their case. The squad’s tradecraft, combined with the investigators’ severe lack of resources and incredibly overworked personnel, make the investigation a behemoth of a task.

Those involved in the investigation complained aloud about the government’s bureaucracy failing to operate efficiency, which gave the impression that some of the higher-ups were dragging their feet on the case.

The complexity of the case resulted in discouraging mistakes. In one instance, investigators overlooked the easily findable fact that one of the squad members owned another security company. Another slip-up led the suspects to believe they had identified people who were cooperating with the authorities.

Ryan Mauro

Professor Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for the Clarion Project, a nonprofit organization that educates the public about the threat of Islamic extremism and provides a platform for voices of moderation and tolerance within the Muslim community. Clarion Project films have been seen by over 50 million people. Mauro is a frequent contributor to Clarion’s dynamic website ClarionProject.org, providing insightful analysis of the latest news around the global on this subject. The site is viewed by over 250,000 visitors per month.