He also used an a similar alternative name of Alaa Abdel Aziz and fought under the alias of Ali Ibrahim.
Two sources aware of Ali’s time in MOA cautioned FuqraFiles that MOA has a history of identity fraud and his name is similar to aliases that have been used, such as “Ali Abdul Aziz.” MOA’s history of identity fraud includes sharing identities between members, stealing identities (of the deceased and the living) and creating new identities, sometimes by changing the sequencing of legitimate names, misspelling legitimate names or combining two legitimate names.
Ali was an informant for the U.S. government for 7 years from 2003 to 2010, working for the NYPD and FBI. Two of those years were spent living at MOA’s “Islamberg” headquarters in Hancock, New York.
He is currently the owner of Dominance MMA Management and manages high-profile fighters in the Mixed Martial Arts industry. According to Dominance MMA’s website, Ali manages prominent athletes including Khabib Nurmagomedov, Frankie Edgar, Renzo Gracie, Rashad Evans, Rustam Khabilov, Neiman Gracie, Abdul Razak Alhassan, Muslim Salikhov, Islam Makhachev, Abu Azaitar and many others, most of which have names reflecting Islamic and/or Central Asian backgrounds.
Ali Abdel Aziz is also connected to a scandal over links between UFC fighters and Ramzan Kadyrov, the Russian-backed Islamist dictator of Chechnya, as exposed by MMA watchdog journalists like Karim Zidan, editor of Bloody Elbow.
The mysteries surrounding his spywork, as well as Ali Abdelaziz’s refusal to discuss the topic (including with Ryan Mauro & FuqraFiles.com despite repeated requests) has divided UFC/MMA fans.
Some see Ali Abdelaziz as someone with a checkered past who did heroic work by spying on a dangerous terrorist cult. Others see him as a duplicitous “terrorist snitch rat” (as UFC superstar Conor McGregor called him) who may have been a double-agent.
It is probable that Ali is refusing to discuss the issue out of a fear that further disclosing his work as a spy would breach his immunity agreement with the U.S. government and result in being deported.
2011: The Story Begins Coming Out
The story of Ali Abdelaziz was first broken in 2011 when he approached Martin Mawyer, President of the Christian Action Network, who had released a documentary and later wrote a book about MOA. Mawyer has exclusively provided FuqraFiles with a partial transcript and additional notes from their conversations.
Ali was hoping that speaking out and gaining public support would stop the U.S. government from deporting him back to Egypt after his service as a confidential informant ended. Ryan Mauro, the creator of FuqraFiles.com and Director of Clarion Intelligence Network, was a part-time consultant with Mawyer at the time involved in counter-terrorism research, particularly into the MOA organization.
Further details about Ali’s work as an informant, including why the U.S. government terminated its relationship with Ali, were revealed by authors Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman in their 2014 book, Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Secret Unit and Bin Laden’s Final Plot Against America.
The story of Ali Abdel Aziz rocked the MMA world in December 2015 when MMA muckraker Mike Russell conducted a deep-dive investigation into Ali’s personal and professional background, uncovering details of Ali’s allegedly unethical practices and additional details about his work as a spy within MOA, building from the previous revelations by Mawyer, Apuzzo and Goldman. His expose began an ongoing series about Ali and corruption in the industry at RealFightStories.com.
FuqraFiles.com and Clarion Project’s Clarion Intelligence Network’s research draws upon Mauro’s extensive library of MOA-related research assembled since 2003, consisting of tens of thousands of pages of MOA-related material, U.S. and Canadian governmental reports, input from law enforcement contacts and information provided by over a dozen current and former MOA members inside and outside the group. Portions of this private archive has been shared with a select group of other individuals involved in writing, speaking and investigating stories related to MOA and Ali Abdelaziz.
Sources from nearly 20 countries have provided information to FuqraFiles.com over the course of 2017 and early 2018, including Muslims aware of overseas activity in several countries by Ali Abdelaziz. A portion of this information is provided in this section with necessary caution as recommended by federal, state and international law enforcement personnel, MOA-affiliated sources and our partnering legal counsel with a specialty in matters related to national security, investigative journalism and media.
The story is difficult to uncover given the highly-classified nature of Ali’s spywork, his own deceits and MOA’s compartmentalization and deceptions.
Open-source information and verified sources confirm Ali Abdelaziz’s statements regarding MOA as an organization. However, law enforcement sources say that Ali has provided Mawyer, the NYPD/FBI, colleagues and MOA associates with a dizzying mixture of truths and falsehoods. When his work as an informant inside MOA ended, he was accused of betraying and deceiving the U.S. government. There are suspicions he operated as a double-agent on behalf of MOA members he favored, while providing accurate information about others he disliked or did not have a relationship with. He also may have had an independent relationship with foreign intelligence/law enforcement personnel.
The below account is an accumulation of the publicly-revealed information by Ali Abdel Aziz, Martin Mawyer, Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, Mike Russell, Ryan Mauro and the Clarion Project’s Clarion Intelligence Network. All reporting by anonymous sources has been substantiated by at least two sources and checked against the unreleased FuqraFiles.com library and various databases.
Where Does The Story Begin?
Above: “Sleeper Cell” Documentary About Jamaat ul-Fuqra / Muslims of the Americas (MOA) created by TheBlaze and Ryan Mauro, creator of FuqraFiles.com & Director of Clarion Intelligence Network
The circumstances surrounding Ali’s initial contact with MOA and possibly other Islamist groups remain shadowy. It is unclear why he left his family in Egypt to come to the U.S. in the first place.
Ali came to the U.S. in 1996. He claims he came to the country as part of the Egyptian Judo team for the Olympics. Mike Russell has shown that this is untrue. His investigation indicates it was an alibi for entering the country. Russell has reported that there is evidence from his sources that Ali came to the U.S. to avoid prosecution in Egypt for check fraud and that his brother may have committed a bank robbery.
In addition to the unanswered questions about why he came to the U.S., it is also unclear how he initially made contact with MOA.
MOA did not have a major presence in Egypt. It is a small, cult-like, fringe group that is barely known and not sought-after. It is paranoid and unlikely to accept a stranger into its ranks. Yet, Ali began working with MOA in a major way almost immediately after he arrived in America under a false pretense. The circumstances leave a strong impression that Ali had some connection to MOA before leaving Egypt.
Clues to solving the mystery may be found in MOA’s mysterious involvement with unidentified Arabic-speaking Egyptians in Colorado. Former MOA members say these Egyptians were said to be Olympic athletes who trained in martial arts at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Current and former MOA members pointed out the striking similarities to Ali Abdelaziz’s story to Ryan Mauro, founder of Fuqra Files,
MOA’s Mysterious Egyptian Allies in Colorado
It is possible that these Egyptians were followers of the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman, an ally of MOA and leader of the Egyptian terrorist group, Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya.
The “Blind Sheikh” was prosecuted for his role in orchestrating the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and other terrorist plots in New York, which were committed by an overlapping jihadist network including “Blind Sheikh” followers, Al-Qaeda, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, elements of the Sudanese government and reported MOA associates.
According to detailed accounts from MOA-affiliated sources, a mysterious group of supposed Egyptian Olympians began showing up at a MOA safehouse at 3504 East Pikes Peak in Colorado Springs in the mid-1990s. The Arabic-speaking Egyptians met with a handful of MOA “incognito” operatives involved in criminal activity, including the sale of counterfeit goods and drug trafficking. The Egyptians came from the Olympic Training Center about 15 minutes away, where they trained in martial arts. The meetings were peculiar, as these Egyptians were the only non-MOA Muslims who were ever allowed into the safehouse.
The secret meetings usually involved three Egyptian couples whose identities were not known outside of a very small circle of MOA members. The sources recall hearing references to a mosque in Boulder, Colorado, where they may have worshipped.
These meetings are very significant because the “incognito” operatives in Colorado were part of the group’s most sensitive terrorist and criminal operations and some had direct relationships with Sheikh Gilani. These MOA “incognitos” were supposed to minimize contact with others, going so far as to lie to other MOA members about their whereabouts and activities. Yet, these unknown Egyptian martial artists from the Olympic Training Center were repeatedly allowed into an important MOA safehouse for private meetings, despite the fact that they were not MOA members.
A Connection to the “Blind Sheikh” and Egyptian Al-Jama’a al-Islamiyya?
At the same time, MOA’s terror cell in Colorado had posters reflecting their admiration of the Egyptian “Blind Sheikh.” Omar Abdel-Rahman. There was also a picture of Sheikh Gilani with Rahman discovered by law enforcement. MOA materials praised Rahman, an oddity because the group is almost entirely Gilani-centric. A source deeply involved with the group at this time says that Rahman was a “dear spiritual friend” of Gilani’s and that he ordered MOA members to intensely pray all night for Rahman’s release when he was arrested in June 1993.
MOA has major ideological differences with Rahman and similar extremists, but Gilani always placed a heavy emphasis on supporting other jihadists despite those differences. The unique modus operandi of MOA’s “incognito” operations is to never take credit for an attack. Instead, the goal is to have it attributed to others, acting as a conduit for another group or like a sub-contractor. One former member who lived in Islamberg in the early 1990’s explicitly recalls hearing about the Blind Sheikh “all the time” and being taught that MOA was to serve as a “backup” force for him and potentially other non-MOA Muslim leaders that Gilani was fond towards.
The leader of MOA’s Colorado terrorist activity, James D. Williams (also known as Muhammad Abdus Shakur) , was supportive of Rahman (due to Gilani’s teachings). He held secret meetings with these Egyptian athletes and non-MOA Egyptians in northern N.J. and New York City, the hub of Rahman’s network and a place where MOA also had a significant presence.
In 1989, James D. Williams, went to Pakistan for a long and secretive stay with Sheikh Gilani amounting to about 4 months. At the time of Williams’ visit to Gilani in Pakistan, Rahman was also there (he arrived in New York City in July 1990).
Gilani and Rahman were dedicated to the same jihadist causes, working out of the same area of Pakistan, relying upon the same governmental supporters (Pakistan and Sudan) and associating with many of the same people. Gilani was offering MOA’s services to other groups. It is highly probable that Gilani and Rahman were collaborating on a substantive level and almost certain that Rahman’s ambitions would be a topic raised during Williams’ stay.
Fuqra Files sources say that Williams left Pakistan in May of 1989 but took an unexpected 2-month detour to the East Coast, obviously a result of whatever was discussed during his meeting with Gilani.
Williams and a close associate–a Muslim who was remarkably trusted even though he did not follow Gilani–traveled in the areas of Jersey City and Brooklyn, the hub of Rahman’s network. Although MOA had a large presence in this area, the purpose of Williams’ visit appeared to be to meet with a group of Muslims, particularly Egyptians, who were not part of MOA. The sources emphasized that these meetings were very unusual and kept very secretive. Williams refused to discuss the topic.
Williams arrived back in Colorado in July 1989.
As soon as Williams arrived back in Colorado, he rushed to flee from his safehouse. A few months later, the authorities raided a storage locker used by Williams and the Colorado terror cell and discovered damning evidence of the Colorado Fuqra/MOA involvement in terrorist attacks, plots for future ones, and posters admiring the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman. Plans for the murder of rival imam Rashad Khalifa in Tucson, Arizona, were found and he was later killed, just as the plans described, on January 31, 1990. Fuqra/MOA operatives James D. Williams, Edward Flinton & Glen Cusford Francis are later convicted for the murder. Another MOA associate, who was also deeply involved in Al-Qaeda and the “Blind Sheikh” network, has been linked to the murder. Wadih El-Hage testified that he was visited by an Egyptian from New York who said he was sent to spy on Khalifa before the murder. El-Hage later become Bin Laden’s personal secretary.
There’s obviously a lot that remains unknown, but it is reasonable to suspect that the relationships between the Egyptians and MOA’s Colorado branch was part of a collaboration with the Egyptian “Blind Sheikh.”
According to the MOA-affiliated sources, MOA’s “incognito” operations in the Colorado Springs area continued even after the authorities raided MOA’s 101-acre terrorist training camp in Buena Vista and its associated safehouses in 1992. The Arabic-speaking, non-MOA Egyptian athletes also stuck around and trained at the Olympic Training Center in the mid-1990s. Their age range is estimated as between their late teen’s and early 20’s.
Above: 1994 “America’s Most Wanted” episode about Fuqra/MOA and the raid on its 101-acre terrorist training camp in Colorado in 1992.
Ali Abdel-Aziz, an Arabic-speaking athlete from Egypt who claimed to be a Judo Olympian, arrived in the U.S. in 1996 and began attending the Olympic Training Center the following year while working with MOA. Sources told Fuqra Files that Ali was one of a small handful of Egyptians who quickly married into the group, but the marriages did not last long. Around 2004, one of the Egyptians complained of supposedly being tricked into marrying a woman from Islamberg in order to scam him and his friends for money, these sources recall.
Ali Abdelaziz’s Arrival in America
Ali Abdelaziz told Martin Mawyer that he first met MOA members at a mosque in an American city. FuqraFiles.com is aware of two mosques in two states where Ali met with MOA members in the time period where he claims the relationship to have begun.
While Ali briefly lived in New York in 1996, he worshiped at a radical mosque in Brooklyn named Masjid At-Taqwa led by extremist cleric Siraj Wahhaj and sometimes attended by MOA members. He then lived in Georgia, where MOA has two camps.
Public records first show Ali living in Colorado Springs, CO, in the summer of 1998.
Somewhere in this time frame, Ali became increasingly involved with people close to James D. Williams and his associates that led Gilani’s “incogntio mission” in Colorado. He was particularly close to MOA members allegedly involved in illegal activity in Colorado, California, Georgia and North Carolina.
Three former MOA members tell Fuqra Files they first became aware of Ali through a member in Colorado named Tabari Malik Zahir, who was in MOA ever since he was a child. His parents were long-time members in Colorado.
Fuqra Criminal Tabari Malik Zahir
Above: MOA member Tabari Zahir’s Quranic Open University ID card from 1991. QOU is an “academic” branch of MOA that has been used as a cover for terrorist activity, including Fuqra’s bomb plot targeting a Hindu festival in Toronto in 1991. He later worked with Ali Abdelaziz in MOA’s activities.
Zahir was close to James D. Williams and known for selling drugs and counterfeit goods to raise revenue for MOA ever since he was a teenager. One source said he gave some of the money to Williams when he was a fugitive being hid by MOA until he was caught in Virginia in 2000. MOA-affiliated sources claimed that Ali and two other specific MOA members were part of Zahir’s trafficking.
Zahir was also tasked with setting up a MOA branch in Morocco, perhaps because he already had family members operating for MOA in Africa. This may be why, according to one source, non-MOA Muslims from Africa were involved in his sale of counterfeit goods.
Zahir’s mother was leading MOA’s efforts in Mali and West Africa overall. She also traveled to Pakistan with her friend, who is said to be a relative of James D. Williams. This close friend of Zahir’s mother visited Abbotabad, Pakistan around 2007, the city famous for being Bin Laden’s hiding place from 2005 to 2011. The city is known as a safe haven for terrorist groups backed by Pakistani intelligence and MOA’s leader, Sheikh Gilani, reportedly has a presence there.
This friend’s husband was also suspected of perpetrating burglaries in the Colorado Springs area in the 1980s for Williams’ cell.
Tabari was arrested in South Carolina in 2003 for cocaine trafficking, sometimes using the alias of Michael Marquez.
After Tabari was arrested, MOA leaders told members that he was kicked out of the group and to sever all ties to him. However, one person close to the situation said Tabari “remained close to Sheikh Gilani” but it was kept secret. Multiple family members of his remain deeply involved in MOA and trusted by Gilani.
Russell reports that Ali married a 42-year old woman in March 1998 for six months, in what is suggested to have been a deceptive means of obtaining a green card in order to stay in the United States.
In 1999, he married another woman he met at a shopping mall in 1999. It lasted one year.
A Mysterious Trip on September 11, 2001 & Arrest
Russell discovered that on September 11, 2001, Ali was booked on a flight from Cairo to New York using a stolen passport with the name of a U.S. citizen named Robert Britton, another Egyptian who had been training at the Olympic Center in Colorado Springs since 1997. The flight was cancelled because of the terrorist attacks. He was later caught with five passports linked to Fuqra and charged with various crimes including passport fraud, check fraud and counterfeiting.
Ali told Mawyer that he was in Egypt when the 9/11 attacks happened, but did not mention the flight he was scheduled to take on that day. Ali said he was trying to come to America to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs so he could make more money for his mother’s medical treatments.
As Ali tells it, he was later arrested at an airport for having a false passport because he was “ratted out” by someone he knew who went to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. He said that this arrest happened around 2002. He claims was in county jail in Colorado for a year and then found “not guilty” by a jury because of his “choice of evil” defense that using a false passport was necessary in order to save his mother. He claimed that his girlfriend went to Egypt and got his mother’s death certificate and medical records and proved that’s where his money was going.
According to his version of events, he only met Fuqra/MOA by coincidence at martial arts classes in Colorado Springs after his first arrest. He said that he was 18-19 years old and would go to Friday prayers with them, but was unaware of MOA’s history and had not even heard of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, the alternative name of the group that it stopped using in the early 1990’s. He said that their lifestyles were much more strict than his, as he went to clubs and parties and had girlfriends. He claimed he was not an actual member of MOA until after he became an informant.
Ali claims that he was arrested again months later and “they charged me with the same exact thing.” He says he was imprisoned for 16 months.
Abdelaziz’s omission about 9/11 is particularly significant when you consider the fact that declassified documents obtained by FuqraFiles showed deep concern about the ties between Fuqra and Al-Qaeda affiliates, such as Sheikh Gilani’s right-hand man in Pakistan being a close friend of Osama Bin Laden’s.
In 2018, a former member of Fuqra told Ryan Mauro of FuqraFiles about how two close associates of Sheikh Gilani were with the Fuqra leader in Pakistan on 9/11. The two close associates said Gilani had strangely put on the television sets in his home hours before the attacks, as he appeared to watch with anticipation for something to happen. They recalled him being in a celebratory mood as the attacks commenced, shouting “damn you America” and “curse the Jews.” The associates overheard Gilani calling a U.S.-based Fuqra/MOA leader shortly after the attacks begun. The leader said he did not know what had happened, to which Gilani responded by telling him to turn on the news and made fun of him for not knowing what’s going on in his own country.
The two associates did not recall Gilani actually stating that he had any direct involvement or foreknowledge of the attacks. The source, who has been consistently reliable does not believe the U.S. government is aware of the information. One of the associates also talked about, in detail, a large and secretive meeting in Gilani’s home in Pakistan sometime after September 11th where someone thought to be be Osama Bin Laden was seen. Pakistani military personnel and non-Pakistani mujahideen were also present.
Another possibly significant fact is that several of the hijackers used stolen passports. The 9/11 Commission documented how the hijackers and accomplices engaged in a wide range of documentation and identity fraud in chapter two of its report.
One Saudi hijacker, Abdul Aziz al-Omari, is known to have used a doctored passport. Another Saudi by the same name was originally falsely identified as the hijacker. That Saudi mentioned that his passport was stolen from his apartment in Denver in 1995.
Fuqra was/is known for its proficiency in identity theft and was particularly active in Colorado, where a 101-acre terrorist training camp it had was raided by the authorities in 1992. FuqraFiles.com has two exclusive interviews with law enforcement personnel involved in that raid, Chaffee County Undersheriff David Bowers and Colorado Department of Labor and Employment chief criminal investigator Susan Fenger.
Of course, there is not enough information to claim there is a link between Fuqra, the 9/11 attacks and/or Ali Abdelaziz’s 9/11 flight from Cairo to New York City with five fraudulent passports linked to Fuqra.
However, there are enough odd coincidences that are significant enough to be noted:
- Fuqra’s links to Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups who are Al-Qaeda affiliates, including the Egyptian group that was led by the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel-Rahman.
- Fuqra’s links to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing by Al-Qaeda, the “Blind Sheikh” and others, as well as Sheikh Gilani’s stated interest in having Fuqra act in a supporting/logistical role for other jihadist groups.
- The close relationship between Fuqra associate Melvin Lattimore (also known as Mujahid Menepta) and possibly other Fuqra members and convicted Al-Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui in Oklahoma City, who was arrested on August 26, 2001. Moussaoui was linked to the 9/11 plotters.
- The account from Mauro’s source about Fuqra leader Sheikh Gilani celebrating the attack and appearing to have foreknowledge, perhaps due to his right-hand man, Khalid Khawaja, a Pakistani intelligence operative close to Osama Bin Laden.
- The 9/11 hijackers’ extensive use of fraudulent passports and identity fraud.
- Fuqra’s known proficiency in identity theft.
- A 9/11 hijacker’s apparent use of a passport stolen from a Saudi in Denver in 1995, an area for significant criminal activity associated with Fuqra.
- Then-Fuqra operative Ali Abdelaziz’s criminal activity in Colorado and arrest with five false passports associated with Fuqra after booking a flight from Cairo to New York City on September 11, 2001. The flight was cancelled due to the attacks.
- Ali Abdelaziz’s willingness to tell Mawyer that he was arrested with a false passport while booked on a flight from Egypt to the U.S., but omission of the 9/11 flight.
Again, this is a list of strange coincidences, not a conclusion or accusation of responsibility. These are variables that could potentially indicate the existence of an undetermined common denominator.
The Spy Story Begins
Ali Abdelaziz was held at the Federal Correctional Institute Englewood in Littleton, Colorado from July 24, 2002 to April 30, 2003. Russell reported that his inmate number was 31120-013.
Ali told Mawyer that he was approached to become an informant while he was in jail. Someone from Washington D.C. came to visit him and made him take a lie detector test where they asked whether he loved America, about his activities and about his intentions. He says he “passed it, no problem.” He then plead guilty to the misuse of a subpoena in exchange for becoming a spy. He would be deported but allowed to re-enter the country immediately with a special green card and get to work gathering intelligence.
According to Enemies Within by Matt Apuzzo and Adam Goldman, Ali was 25 years old when he became “Confidential Informant 184” for the NYPD Intelligence Division in 2002. He was approached when he was in jail in Colorado for document forgery. The FBI provided Ali with a green card so he could collect intelligence overseas. To establish his alibi, the U.S. government “deported” Ali out of the U.S. and allowed him back into the country, to infiltrate MOA. The NYPD codenamed him “Dolphin” and the FBI codenamed him “Tap Out.”[i]
Public records first show Ali Abdelaziz registered to an address at Islamberg in August 2005. Ali claimed that the NYPD had been trying to get an undercover agent to live inside Islamberg for 20 years, making him a prized asset.
According to personnel from the Department of Homeland Security, FBI and NYPD who talked to FuqraFiles, Ali Abdelaziz’s work as an informant and the overall investigation into MOA assisted with intelligence-gathering on other Islamist extremists that did not share MOA’s cultish Sufi beliefs. Specifically, it provided a window into the Tablighi Jamaat movement’s infrastructure in New York (particularly in regards to international travel) and criminal activities like gun trafficking connected with a radical mosque in Brooklyn named Masjid At-Taqwa.
One former MOA source who attended the wedding between Ali and his wife in Islamberg said that a second Egyptian was in MOA and often accompanied him. She recalled that Ali described him as “his cousin” but he became noticeably awkward when she began asking for more details about he’s related to this other Egyptian.
Above: Screenshot from Fuqra/MOA website about its Muslim Scouts of America event in Binghamton, NY in 2005, which included a presentation by FBI personnel. Ali Abdelaziz is at the bottom-right. Ali told Mawyer that Fuqra “bullsh**s” law enforcement at such events On the bottom left is Hussein Adams, Deputy Director of MOA nicknamed “K2.” He is the son of convicted terrorist Barry Adams, who plotted with other Fuqra members to set off bombs targeting Hindus & Indians in Toronto in 1991, potentially killing several thousand people.
Ali told Mawyer that he was paid almost $250,000 a year in cash while working as an informant, funneled to him through a NYPD front company. During their meeting, Ali had boxes of paperwork he kept from his time as an informant, including documents labeled “STK Enterprises,” the government’s entity that was used in the operation. The boxes also included many pictures of him meeting with MOA leaders and being inside MOA-owned homes, proving that he was deep inside the organization. He said he kept five boxes full of documentation to prove that he worked for the NYPD.
He claims that his Dominance MMA business was set up with NYPD funding in order to provide an explanation for why he had so much money.
According to Ali’s testimony, the NYPD asked him to get involved in MOA’s operations setting up branches overseas, specifically in Trinidad, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. If Ali handled the logistics of the travel, then the NYPD could track the movements of the MOA members.
“I was the guy that traveled for MOA. I established jammaats (communes). I could set up jamaats overseas,” he told Mawyer.
For the U.S. Intelligence Community, this enabled them to not only keep tabs on MOA, but to get a foothold in countries that are difficult to penetrate. An asset inside one of the overseas MOA branches could gather intelligence inside the broader Muslim community and help monitor groups and individuals of concern who interact with MOA. In theory, an infiltrator inside MOA could spy on an Al-Qaeda affiliate, for example.
Ali Infiltrates MOA
In his interview with Martin Mawyer, Ali Abdelaziz indicated he was closest to the Canadian branch of MOA, specifically chief executive Hussein Adams, also known as “K2.” He is one of the main spokespeople for the organization. He is the son of convicted terrorist Barry Adams, who was arrested when he led a terrorist cell that tried to bomb Hindu and Indian targets in Toronto in 1991 in what could have been Canada’s “9/11.”
He described Hussein Adams as “untouchable” and “very smart.”
Barry Adams, also known as Tyrone Cole, exercised significant influence over the group while in prison. Ali recalls how MOA officials would make in-person visits to meet him, sometimes for several days in a row, in order to have him involved in leadership discussions. Sheikh Gilani honored Barry Adams with the title of “khalifah” for taking part in a dangerous operation.
He continued to exercise significant control after he was released from prison and deported back to Trinidad in 2006. FuqraFiles sources in the Caribbean have confirmed that Adams travels back and forth between Trinidad and a remote area of Venezuela.
Ali Abdel Aziz told Mawyer that he quickly rose to the top of MOA’s ranks as the right-hand man to Hussein Adams. He claimed that Hussein’s father, Barry Adams, a convicted MOA terrorist living in Trinidad and Venezuela, even nicknamed him as “The Jackal” in honor of the Venezuelan terrorist “Carlos the Jackal” who committed violence for the sake of the Palestinian cause. A former MOA member says that Hussein Adams nicknamed Ali “The Post Man,” perhaps in reference to his drug trafficking with Tabari Zahir using UPS.
He told Mawyer that he sold cars when he was in MOA to maintain his cover and explain where his money was coming from, in addition to his martial arts management business. Hussein Adams owned a used car dealership incorporated as Foreign and Domestic Quality Autos Inc. Russell reported that Ali was a co-owner but it was never registered in his name because MOA believed he had been deported, snuck back into the U.S. and was in the country illegally.
Ali, who some MOA members assumed was Hussein Adams’ bodyguard, told Mawyer he was useful to the group because he taught members martial arts, Arabic, and how to read the Koran.
MOA-affiliated sources who met Ali disagree as to whether he was exaggerating his prominence in the organization. One explicitly confirmed that Ali taught “all kinds of things,” including Arabic and kabbudi, a form of martial arts popular in Pakistan.
The sources say that Ali quickly rose up the ranks because of he was a major donor to MOA and spent lavishly. One source recalls when there was a collection of donations from MOA members and Ali gave thousands of dollars, outdoing everyone else. One former MOA member claims she was castigated by several people in MOA when she said she was suspicious of him and that he “might not be a real Muslim.” She claims he complained about the living conditions at Islamberg and even refused to live there, despite MOA’s ideological focus on poverty as a virtue. She says he even criticized Sheikh Gilani to those closest to him and it was the only time she saw that happen without repercussions. She assumed that the MOA leaders did not want to risk losing his donations and skills.
He was described by all the sources as “very arrogant” and “annoying,” often bragging that he’s “the best” boxer and basketball player. He took part in basketball tournaments that served as fundraisers for the organization. Counter-terrorism sources tell FuqraFiles that some of the funds from the tournaments went directly to Pakistan and into the hands of Gilani and individuals suspected of having links to terrorism.
Ali would travel with Hussein Adams to the camps in Virginia and South Carolina when internal disputes had to be settled. One former MOA member who dealt directly with Ali said that Ali was known to reprimand females for violating the dress code, such as by wearing makeup or not fully covering their hair and neck.
In 2005, Ali says he married the sister of a “big, big leader in MOA.” His wife was the daughter of a prominent MOA leader named Ihsan Abdullah-Simmonds. He married Ihsan’s daughter, Hajrah (also sometimes called “Fatima”) in an Islamic wedding in 2005 and they had a son named Ali. A source at the wedding says that Sheikh Gilani approved of the marriage and that he even talked to Ali on the phone.
Ali claimed that the NYPD pressured him into the marriage and warned that declining the opportunity could result in a termination of his deal to be an informant, triggering his deportation. He claims that the NYPD said she was “depressed” and he could help her. He said that “the girl didn’t know how to write or read, so I started helping her.” They lived in a “disgusting” trailer shared between two families and he spent almost $35,000 to renovate it.
They had a boy the next year in 2006 and later divorced. Ali said he “felt really, really guilty. I feel guilty to this day.” He said he hopes to one day rescue his son from MOA, apologize to him and that he will forgive him. Our sources dispute Ali’s characterization of what happened.
Ali’s father-in-law hated him for allegedly abandoning and mistreating his wife while he was still in the group. Ihsan Abdullah-Simmonds spoke openly about wanting to murder Ali. This conflict limited Ali’s access as an informant.
A former MOA member with direct knowledge of the marriage recalls being puzzled as to why the girl was being given to Ali Abdelaziz so quickly before the community had gotten to know him and vet him. The member says that MOA leaders were eager to tap into his wealth and some girls were jealous of her expected rich and famous lifestyle.
Ali Reports Weapons and Paramilitary Training
Ali told Mawyer that he was personally involved in MOA’s combat training. He taught members martial arts, Arabic and how to read the Koran. He was also selected to be part of an elite “military squad.” Other FuqraFiles sources have confirmed this claim in detail.
Ali was asked about a video of women training at Islamberg that was obtained by Ryan Mauro from a law enforcement source. He confirmed its authenticity but quickly moved away from questions about MOA’s training of females, saying “I’m not gonna comment on the women.”
Above: Video obtained by Ryan Mauro of MOA women receiving guerilla-type training at Islamberg. The video was dated 2002 when received from a law enforcement source.
He said that basic guerilla-type training took place at organized “retreats,” specifically those under the front of the Muslim Boy Scouts of America. Public photos published by MOA show that many of these “Boy Scouts” are full-grown men. Other MOA-affiliated sources confirmed that this happens, but say it is now either not happening at those retreats or a select group are taken to a private area, perhaps off the premises of the camp, during the “retreat.”
The “mass military training” has stopped. Instead:
“It’s liked a formed military squad. It’s certain groups. Certain individuals. Certain names. Certain guys. It’s a very, very select group they have. It’s a lot of people. But it’s not like they train every day. It’s various people training in different positions….There’s a twist. The people who have helped Gilani, he will train them in Pakistan and they will go back to their own countries. The person who is providing the training answers the question; it’s the big boss.”
He said “There’s a lot…a lot” of MOA tapes about its military-type training. He said, “I gave [the NYPD] some very serious tapes about training in Pakistan.” He also said he had important information recorded about “this Kashmir stuff.” He stated flatly that Gilani is “supporting the Kashmir movement…he smuggled people from MOA into Kashmir,” specifically members posing as humanitarian relief workers.
Training also takes place using non-MOA facilities outside the camps, with Ali joining a “formed military squad” that took classes in Virginia outside of the Red House compound. He said he provided the FBI and NYPD with photos and videos from some of the training.
A source formerly in contact with Ali told Mike Russell that Ali described his instruction of MOA members as defensive in nature, focused on teaching poor youth how to defend themselves. Ali said that MOA members frequently asked him how to respond if authorities raided their village, such as where to get cover so they can shoot at the intruders.
Ali told Mawyer there are no underground tunnels as some writers have claimed, but there are a “whole lot of guns.” He claims that he intercepted weapons shipments involving MOA on behalf of the NYPD.
In 2004, Ali attended a retreat in Islamville, South Carolina for the Muslim Boy Scouts of America. South Carolina is also home to an Islamic political party that is a section of MOA. He said that this leader from South Carolina would meet with MOA officials in Ali’s apartment in Binghamton, New York. Fuqra Files research shows that this entity was/is named the Islamic Political Party of America and its words are much more overtly radical than the less extreme, more patriotic tone adopted by MOA after 9/11.
MOA’s Islamic Political Party of America was likely overseen by an elder of at the Islamville compound in South Carolina, Atiq Shahid, who Ali described as Sheikh Gilani’s “best friend” who spends about six months per year in Pakistan. Atiq Shahid died in 2018.
Above: Exclusive FuqraFiles.com picture from when Ali Abdelaziz (using the name Alaa Abdelaziz) took a security-related class with a MOA front company used for acquiring training, arms and equipment. Acquired via Ryan Mauro & 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.
MOA Focusing on International Network
Ali told Mawyer that he was sent to Venezuela, Trinidad, Saudi Arabia, Morocco and Egypt to help MOA with establishing overseas “jamaats” (communes).
In Trinidad, he worked with convicted MOA terrorist Barry Adams, also known as Tyrone Cole, who was part of a Fuqra/MOA plot to set off bombs in Toronto during a Hindu festival, potentially killing thousands of Hindus, Indians, Muslims they viewed as apostates, and others. He was deported back to Trinidad in 2006. He is the father of MOA’s Deputy Director based in upstate New York, Hussein Adams. The compound in Canada is named after his other son who died in a car accident as a child. It was Barry Adams who nicknamed Ali “The Jackal.”
He described Adams as being “like a ghost…he really is.” Many current/former MOA members concur, saying they only heard about “Khalifah Abu Bakr” (Adams) but never saw him or was told anything specific about his activities. He briefly surfaced when a video was posted online in 2008, causing a stir within the organization.
Ali said that he was based in Port of Spain. MOA has long operated in Trinidad and is suspected of having had links to the Jamaat al-Muslimeen group there, particularly when it launched a bloody coup in 1990. A Caribbean intelligence source aware of activities in Trinidad told Ryan Mauro that MOA was linked to Jamaat al-Muslimeen and operated under its auspices in Venezuela, as well.
Ali described Venezuela is the most promising “jamaat” outside of North America.
Venezuela was a great spot to hide from the CIA because of lack of cooperation between the Chavez regime and the U.S. He said that people in Venezuela are paranoid about any American presence and suspect any Westerner they come across of being a spy, making it very difficult for the U.S. to develop sources in the country. The Muslim community in the country, he explained, was especially hostile to America and very supportive of Hugo Chavez and his regime, even though he is not a Muslim. He recalled attending a speech by Chavez where he began with reciting the Quran. MOA, he said, also had an opportunity to “establish a home” in Venezuela because there are many wealth Arabs, particularly Lebanese and Syrians.
He refused to divulge any details about what went on in Venezuela, except to say that major MOA figures are traveling there and that Sheikh Gilani may even move there from Pakistan. He vaguely referred to “the richest people in Venezuela…I got involved…I was supposed to do certain things.” As pointed out on this website, the 2015 address for MOA’s office in Caracas matches that of a building owned by an insurance company run by by Pedro Torres Ciliberto, who has been a fugitive since 2009. He is wanted on charges of money laundering and bank fraud and is accused of assisting international criminals in hiding money in offshore accounts. He was/is close to the Chavez regime.
Ali Abdelaziz declined to mention the name of a very significant MOA leader in Venezuela. FuqraFiles.com’s intelligence sources confirmed that Barry Adams frequently travels there and MOA-affiliated sources have provided the names of several individuals known to travel there, usually lying about their destination by telling friends and family that they are headed to Pakistan.
Several MOA-affiliated sources said that the group is focusing on international expansion so they have options if the U.S. government were to try to shut them down.
MOA is said to be concerned about a lack of recruitment of Muslims born in North America, so they are putting more effort into reaching Muslim immigrants from Africa like Somalis and branching out inside countries like Venezuela, Mexico, Trinidad, Morocco, Mali, Egypt, Qatar, Dubai of the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Japan, Indonesia and possibly Somalia. Sheikh Gilani is especially interested in targeting Muslim populations with large followers of the Sufi Qadri Order.
Ali said that other governments where MOA operates are concerned about the group. He referred to the British government as being concerned about one particular individual and said Morocco is also hostile. Various MOA-affiliated sources have confirmed that MOA has a “jamaat” in Morocco and identified several individuals involved in assisting it.
Ali says he helped about 15 MOA members get visas to go to Egypt and that his activities in Egypt on behalf of the NYPD and MOA are why his life is in danger if he were to be deported.
“I pulled a lot of strings in Egypt. And my name was very much on everything. I had to use the help of my brother. He’s full Egyptian. They put my family in a dangerous situation,” he said.
He claimed that the Egyptian government does not like MOA, so anyone associated with them is at risk.
Human Rights Abuses and Radical Indoctrination
Ali describes MOA communities as being filled with crime and human rights abuses. His biggest concern was for the abused women and children. Sheikh Gilani prohibits birth control and condoms so the organization can grow as rapidly as possible and obtain public assistance, a portion of which goes to the leadership in Pakistan. Almost every woman is receiving benefits from the state and welfare fraud is widespread.
Residents live in poverty but Sheikh Gilani lives a life of luxury in Pakistan. He says he saw pictures of Gilani’s cars and multiple homes. He recalled seeing the group spend about $15,000 on video cameras to send to Pakistan for Sheikh Gilani’s studio.
The members are so devoted to Gilani that they treat him as a god and believe he can turn them into monkeys or pigs for disobedience based on a radical interpretation of Sura 5, verse 60 in the Koran. He estimated that “95%” believe in Gilani. They are taught that he is omnipresent and can live forever. If he dies, he’s simply chosen to leave his body.
“The way they treat Gilani is forbidden in Islam. I don’t believe any of this stuff from this guy in Pakistan. He’s crazy. They treat Gilani like he is a god. You understand? They have his picture all over their houses. I’ll tell you what. I love my religion. I think Islam is a great religion. But the way he preaches Islam makes everybody think we’re all crazy.”
Families are crammed into small trailers, sometimes with two families in a single mobile home. Polygamy is extremely common, sometimes with underage girls and marriages are often arranged. Children are usually homeschooled, with the vast majority being practically illiterate and “brainwashed” with MOA’s radical beliefs, Ali described. He said:
“They have school on the Hancock compound [Islamberg]. But a lot of the kids don’t go to school; 90 Percent of them can barely read or write. It’s sad. It’s sad to see this in America.”
The children, Ali explained, are taught that many crimes are permissible as long as they are committed against non-Muslims and contribute to the group’s cause. Other MOA-affiliated sources have told Fuqra Files that this is basically true, but that the crime that is most legitimized is stealing from the “Zionist-controlled” U.S. government and its associates entities and people who belong to groups and demographics they see as enemies of Islam. Some members have justified drug sales by characterizing the drug trade as a government operation and emphasizing that they are selling drugs, not producing drugs or using drugs themselves in violation of Islam. Ali said that, as far as he knew, the drugs are not sold to people on MOA camps.
He also said there is a large amount of welfare fraud, particularly in Binghamton and Colorado, and food stamp fraud. He flatly stated that it is “approved by MOA” and not the work of a few rogue individuals.
Ali told Mawyer:
“A lot of them do welfare fraud. They do all kinds of scams. All kinds of scams. MOA does not want to lose out on opportunities of a crime being committed. They might have a guy sell a $10 drug or do a pickpocket. Maybe they have someone else, like in Philadelphia and Virginia, go sell a kilo of drugs. The drug money goes back to Gilani.”
He also referred to criminal activity at the hands of “the young [MOA] guys with gangs,” who he didn’t hang out with. MOA-affiliated sources say he is referring to the “Land Boys,” a MOA gang that does crime like drug trafficking off of the premises of Islamberg.
The DEA has investigated and arrested MOA members including the “Land Boys” for crimes like drug trafficking and robbery. Documents from one 2007 DEA investigation said that partnering agencies “believe that through a narcotics distribution network these individuals were generating funds and then taking these funds back to the [Islamberg] compound.” It also said that MOA members in the area were transferring money to the group’s leadership in Pakistan.
This early familiarity with crime dooms many children to a future with a criminal record that minimizes their opportunities in life and their ability to be independent and self-sufficient.
“A lot of the children that grow up there become drug dealers. Some become murderers,” he said.
Ali would not detail what crimes he reported to the NYPD, saying, he feared “it would violate my immunity” agreement. He strongly implied that he reported evidence of MOA members involved in murders and, as he put it, “some very, very serious crimes” where “people got hurt very badly.”
Almost all of the women, he said, “use public services like crazy,” with most receiving food stamps. The women usually have many children, often eight or nine. It is not unusual for two or even three families to be crammed into a single trailer. A portion of the state benefits is sent to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan.
Residents are forced to follow puritanical laws with severe punishments for violations, he says. You can be punished for cursing, watching forbidden TV shows, disobeying leadership, lying to officials, fornication, etc.
He claims he provided evidence to the NYPD of lashings as punishments for violating Gilani’s rules, “kids getting beat, women tied to trees, stuff like that.” He provided an example:
“I saw a 50-year old woman tied to a tree and getting beaten, and Hussein Adams [Deputy Director of MOA] is right there. That’s one of the things, honestly, this is what I think. This is what I think is the biggest disgrace, the abuse. The only thing is, nobody on the camps says anything. Of course they’re afraid…
…Some people are there because they’re scared. They don’t know what to do. They have their children there. They’re scared of the wrath of Gilani. They think, you know, they’re afraid they will get punished. They are so controlled, so brainwashed. It’s crazy.”
Those who leave need to be concerned about retaliation. He told Mawyer, “You have to understand, these people are not the nicest people. They have to do what they got to do. I know this for sure. They will do whatever. They have tried to kill their own people.” Ali explicitly warned Mawyer, “You are in danger.”
Former MOA members have told Fuqra Files of the immense difficulties in establishing a new life after leaving MOA, difficulties and loneliness that has caused many to take the risk of leaving, only to return when they find life outside the group to be too difficult.
Ali says that published estimates of MOA membership being between 1,500 and 3,000 are incorrect because they don’t include the children. He put the number at around 15,000. Another MOA source agreed and said that their numbers are increasing because of their international expansion. According to this source, MOA is recruiting Somalis domestically and overseas. The failed plot to attack Islamberg by right-wing terrorist Robert Doggart and his militia co-conspirators is said to be helping MOA in its “dawah,” or proselytizing.
Ali claims that Gilani funds other radical Islamic leaders and groups. He said that “lots of Muslim leaders go to him for help.” Other MOA-affiliated sources report Gilani telling members that he finances “mujahideen” in Kashmir. Ali said that Gilani has recruited fighters for Afghanistan, Chechnya and Kosovo.
MOA’s Apocalyptic Vision
He warned that the U.S. government might not act before its too late, as MOA members follow apocalyptic prophecies that require MOA to rise up in a violent jihad at a certain point in the End Times, which the members are taught will be very soon. MOA’s ultimate destiny is to fight the Islamic version of the Antichrist alongside the “Mahdi” (Islam’s messianic End Times figure who delivers the final global victory for Islam) and the Islamic version of Jesus. There will be 73 Muslim groups, but “only one group is worthy” of that role in the final jihad. And “Gilani tells them that they are the one group,” he explained.
“That’s what they’ve always said. The ultimate purpose is to be ready when the time is right.”
Ali repeatedly emphasized that “this Mahdi thing is scary. It’s very, very scary because I know the rest of the story. When Gilani comes out and said he knows the Mahdi in the [MOA] newspaper…I was shocked.”
“This is the sign they all have been waiting for,” he said.
With what Mawyer described as an intense sense of urgency, Ali continued:
“You have to understand this. These kids, all they been living for their whole lives is they want to fight a holy war. These are kids. They start at age 17 in the compound and they become a gangster, they wanna become gangsters for what they think is a holy war…
Let me tell you something. If Gilani tomorrow told everyone, set yourself on fire, everybody would burn themselves. This has been going on for 30 years. And people praise him. They give him money. They kiss his feet. It’s crazy. These people are slaves. I call them ‘the Modern Warrior Slaves.’ That’s what I call them…
It’s very simple. MOA is asleep. They are asleep. They are a bomb. Here is the scariest part of MOA. Anything can happen with MOA at any time.”.
MOA’s “Slick” Deceptions
The friendly embrace of MOA by local and state authorities, particularly the local FBI and New York State Police, particularly frustrated Ali in his interview with Mawyer. MOA uses these visits as “proof” that they are moderate and that their critics are paranoid bigots.
“They come. They hang out. They eat food. They get photos taken with the leaders and kids. They’re not really investigating. These people aren’t investigating them at all,” he said.
“Of course, you have to understand, these guys don’t know. There are other FBI agents in the know. The NYPD is in the know. But they don’t share their information with these guys.”
He bluntly said with frustration, “the New York State Police don’t know shit.”
Further describing them as “slick,” he said MOA has a choreographed routine for such events:
“The FBI goes up there and visits them [MOA at Islamberg]. They bullshit them, they bullshit them. When they go visit the camps, after that, they take the American flag down and put their flag back. Slick! Actually, I did that. I took a picture of the American flag one time, when the FBI left, they put their flag back up. I took a picture and provided it to the NYPD.”
Another MOA member from Islamberg unconnected to Ali Abdelaziz told FuqraFiles the same thing.
Pointing to one of the pictures of law enforcement with MOA members and their children, he explained:
“This is nothing. Over half the kids are hiding in the back when they come to visit. MOA leaders tell them, ‘You go hide in the back. Don’t come out.’ It’s about three times more kids than what is in that picture. I was there.”
Ali Abdelaziz mentioned that MOA hates Jews more than Christians, though its vision is to ultimately defeat both. One of the group’s “slick” tricks, he mentioned, was its interfaith front named the United Muslim Christian Forum. Its objective is to legitimate MOA by winning Christian support and to promote anti-Semitism among Christians.
The bigotry of the group was a sore point for Ali, as evidenced in the transcript and meeting notes Mawyer provided to Fuqra Files. One of the themes he repeatedly turned to was that MOA instills hatred towards other religious groups, including Muslims, and then provokes anti-Muslim sentiment by making Muslims appear “crazy.”
“I don’t want to change who you are but I just am trying, maybe, to open a door for you to know Muslims…I don’t want to insult you,” he politely said to Mawyer at one point, reiterating that he did not mean to disrespect or offend.
He seemed particularly struck at how the mayor of Binghamton, Matthew T. Ryan, attended the Forum’s event and publicly supported it and MOA. Ryan Mauro, Director of the Clarion Intelligence Network and founder of Fuqra Files, attended its 2011 event and wrote about the experience.
Above: Ryan Mauro talking to Fuqra/MOA official Hasib Haqq at the group’s United Muslim Christian Forum event (2011).
Above: Mauro talking with Matthew Gardner, senior Fuqra/MOA official from the group’s Red House, Virginia camp, at the UMCF event in 2011.
Ali Complains About the U.S. Government’s Handling of MOA
Ali Abdelaziz expressed his disappointment with the federal government’s handling of MOA, claiming he had provided enough information to shut down the camps. This is a complaint that Fuqra Files has heard from a number of law enforcement personnel involved in, or aware of, MOA-related investigations.
One of the reasons that some law enforcement personnel go to bat for MOA, he explained, is the lack of information-sharing between the agencies. He complained, “they fight so stupidly,” claiming that the NYPD instructed him not to share their intelligence with the FBI. He also said that the Department of Homeland Security was also involved in the in-fighting.
He also described some authorities as hostile to the civilians researching and exposing MOA because “they don’t want people to know.”
The Beginning of the End of Ali’s Spy Career
According to our MOA-affiliated sources, Ali Abdelaziz’s relationship within MOA became strained because he refused to get rid of his dog. MOA leaders, citing Sharia Law rulings, believe that Muslims cannot have dogs live inside their homes and can only have dogs for service, like guard-dogs. Two sources claim they were suspicious of Ali right from the beginning, as were others. For those skeptical of Ali’s loyalty, the dispute over the dog validated their suspicions. For others, the choosing of a dog over Sheikh Gilani was highly offensive and proof that Ali could not be trusted.
Ali refused to comply. According to one source, he was nearly kicked out of the group. The rift limited his access and, presumably, his ability to provide worthwhile intelligence to the U.S. government. He also told Mawyer that there were a few “close calls” where MOA could have caught him. These incidents may also have undermined the operation.
MOA-affiliated sources differ in their interpretations of Ali Abdelaziz’s success. These interpretations fall into three categories:
- Those that confirm that he was highly successful, particularly in getting close to Deputy Director Hussein Adams. These sources caution that Ali Abdelaziz’s access would still be limited due to the compartmentalization of the group and its security measures. These sources believe his information about MOA is accurate but there is a large amount of information he would not be privy to. Some of these sources believe that Sheikh Gilani is so secretive that no one or almost no one in MOA in America is fully aware of what his network and its partners are doing around the world.
- Those that believe his level of access is being exaggerated, but his general information about MOA is correct or mostly correct. These sources emphasize that MOA assumed that the U.S. government was trying to acquire informants and implant undercover officers inside the group and claim that numerous people were suspicious of Ali Abdelaziz. These sources contend that the group always put some limits on his access to sensitive information and further limited it as suspicions about him grew. His rift with Ihsan Abdullah-Simmonds prevented him from moving around as he pleased within the group, particularly at Islamberg. Some of these sources claim he was kicked out for various reasons, such as refusing to give up his dog and being suspected of being an informant. One source said that, at one point, MOA somehow discovered that information was leaking to the U.S. government and zeroed in on Ali as a suspect.
- The smallest group claims that Ali Abdelaziz told some members of MOA that he was an informant and that he had manipulated both sides. These sources are unsure when he allegedly told MOA.
Patriotic Hero or Duplicitous Villain?
In 2008, Ali went to Egypt and was arrested by the Egyptian authorities and let go.7] FBI concern about Ali dramatically escalated as a result, and the Bureau put severe pressure on the NYPD.
The book Enemies Within first broke the details about Ali’s interrogation, relying on intelligence sources whose version of events contradicts that of Ali’s. According to Apuzzo and Goldman, FBI suspicion of Ali grew until it insisted that the NYPD bring him in for a lie detector test in the local FBI office on April 8, 2008, conducted by agent Michael Templeton. The polygraph indicated he answered deceptively about whether he intended to be truthful and was repeatedly deceptive when asked about whether he revealed his covert work for the U.S. government to someone in Egypt. He was also believed to be lying about some undisclosed activity in New Mexico.Ali asked for a bathroom break, which was granted.
The tensions between the NYPD and FBI escalated, with the FBI claiming Ali was disloyal and the NYPD defending him, offering potential reasons for the alleged deceit. FBI Agent Templeton grilled Ali about his history and the NYPD intervened and ended the polygraph. The FBI wrote in the summary of its test results, “Deceptive with no admissions, interrupted and terminated by the NYPD.” That is when the FBI stopped using him as an informant and began trying to deport him back to Egypt.
The FBI believed Ali Abdelaziz had disclosed his classified spywork to either Egyptian authorities (and possibly struck a deal with Egyptian intelligence), family members in Egypt and/or MOA members in Egypt about his spywork. There was additional concern about whether had essentially become a double-agent for either Egyptian intelligence or MOA. It is possible that he disclosed his role to the Egyptian authorities during his detention in order to protect himself or his family members there.
Here is Ali Abdelaziz’s version of the story, as told to Mawyer and his colleagues, which has not been previously published:
“When I went to Egypt, I didn’t want to go to Egypt. I was contacted by the CIA and FBI in Egypt. The FBI, they took my visas and after that, it went crazy. They make me take a lie detector test. I come back with them to an office in Manhattan. I took a lie detector test and I failed the lie detector test. A lie detector test normally takes an hour. It was not a lie detector test, it was an interrogation. I was there for 14 hours.
For 14 hours, I tried to stay cool, they asked me questions and after that they let me go but things are happening. Again, two months later, they want to do another lie detector test. Same guy. I failed it again. I failed one question. They wanna prove to the NYPD that I was dirty. They make me fail it. Then, I go to the NYPD, take a test and pass it.”
Ali refused to go into detail about what went on in Egypt when he talked to Mawyer.
He also mentioned that the Department of Homeland Security caused a lot of problems for his family, including his brother, who he claimed “helped whenever.” MOA-affiliated sources say that Ali’s family members in Egypt treated the MOA members Ali traveled with as guests and that’s what Ali is referring to and refused to disclose to Mawyer. He also alleged that the FBI launched an investigation of the NYPD detectives involved in his operation.
Public records indicate that Ali Abdelaziz was arrested in 2009 and the charges were filed in North Carolina.
The NYPD continued using him until 2010, at which point he reached out to Mawyer. The breaking point for the NYPD was when he flew to Abu Dubai, United Arab Emirates for a Mixed Martial Arts event in defiance of NYPD restrictions on his travel. According to Russell, NYPD officers boarded the airplane upon his arrival back in the U.S., handcuffed him and walked him off.
Russell writes that the FBI suspected that Ali Abdel-Aziz was a spy and/or acting as a double-agent for MOA, at least in some cases. One MOA-affiliated source told Fuqra Files that Ali told MOA that he was a U.S. government informant. In his interview with Mawyer, Ali explicitly said he feared that if he was deported back to Egypt he’d be accused of espionage or acting as a double-agent for MOA.
It is noteworthy that Ali’s lies to the U.S. government were related to areas of secret MOA activity: Egypt, New Mexico and Dubai. He was also vague in his conversation with Mawyer about MOA activity in Trinidad, Morocco and Venezuela. He also refused to discuss, or lied to Mawyer about, his original life in Egypt and how he became connected to MOA initially, specifically in Colorado.
In his interview with Mawyer, Ali emphasized that the Canadian MOA wing led by Hussein Adams is not as bad as the U.S. wing where Hussein Adams’ leadership is resented. Ali clearly favored Adams and the MOA faction from Canada, opening up the possibility that he was loyal to some MOA members while betraying others for the NYPD and FBI.
Ali told a very different story about the end of his spy career to Mawyer in 2010. He says he told the NYPD he was “quitting” his job as an informant and then learned that his green card was no longer valid when he tried to come back into the U.S. from Vancouver. He was detained by the authorities, placed into an immigration holding cell, and a deportation hearing was scheduled for January 2011. Ali claims he was only imprisoned for a few months and then was released because he has epilepsy. The government monitored his movements with a mandatory ankle bracelet. He frames this as punishment for ending the deal he struck with the U.S. government to work as an informant in exchange for residency.
The FBI and NYPD apparently viewed Ali Abdelaziz as a threat. When Martin Mawyer called Detective Dave Calla, who oversaw Ali’s work, he asked if Ali was trying to threaten him and his family. Calla intensely said that Ali would be deported back to Egypt and if Ali keeps asking questions about him, he will be thrown in jail. Mawyer interpreted the conversation to mean that the NYPD feared that Ali had been a double-agent for MOA. Ali, on the other hand, told Mawyer, “You know, I love the guy (Calla),” and said he thought that the hostility was “coming from people higher up.”
U.S. Government Tries to Deport Ali Abdelaziz
The U.S. government began deportation proceedings against Ali Abdelaziz when his work as an informant ended. That is when Ali considered coming out publicly and approached Mawyer for help.
Interestingly, Ali told Mawyer that he believed MOA would testify on his behalf during the deportation trial. Obviously, it was not yet publicly known that he was an informant.
Russell points out that Ali married his current wife while the U.S. government was trying to deport him in 2010.
Ali won asylum in 2011 by saying he believed that the Egyptian government would kill or torture him if he returned to his home country.
2012: The Story Comes Out & Fuqra Discusses Killing Ali Abdelaziz
Ali Abdelaziz’s story first came into the public eye due to Martin Mawyer’s book, Twilight in America. Mawyer has provided us with a transcript and additional notes from their meetings.
According to FuqraFiles.com sources affiliated with MOA and the intelligence community, the MOA’s top leaders privately conveyed to their trusted inner circle that Sheikh Gilani had authorized the assassination of Ali Abdelaziz. Ryan Mauro of FuqraFiles.com saw written communications first-hand reporting that orders had “come down,” referring to Gilani. We cannot confirm that there was an active plot based on that authorization. However, these sources do believe that certain MOA personnel would try to kill Ali if given the opportunity.
In addition, his former father-in-law is said by these sources to hate Ali Abdelaziz so much that he would exploit any opportunity to attack him. He is infuriated by his alleged abandonment of his wife and son at Islamberg. Our MOA-affiliated sources reported in 2018 that MOA leaders mentioned that Ali’s former family was about to sue Ali and they talked about it possibly bringing in revenue for the organization.
Fuqra / MOA have a history of committing assassinations of rivals and threatening defectors, including ones we talk to. It is known that Sheikh Gilani put out a bounty on Susan Fenger, one of the lead investigators involved in the raid of Fuqra’s terrorist training camp in Colorado in 1992, for $50,000, forcing her to change her identity. Gilani also permitted the murdering of other key personnel involved in prosecution members of the camp like David Bowers.
Multiple MOA-affiliated sources have reported extensive discussions about murdering Martin Mawyer ever since he began writing about the group. Ryan Mauro has also been talked about as a target, according two independent sources within MOA. An apparent MOA supporter also set up two Twitter accounts impersonating Mauro in 2018 that referred to his possible assassination and named his parents.
When Mauro and Mawyer wrote an article challenging Sheikh Gilani to issue an official statement permanently forbidding harming them, he never responded.
MOA has publicly responded to the disclosure that Ali Abdelaziz was an informant by saying he was part of a criminal/terrorist group that infiltrated MOA and committed crimes to damage MOA and Islam. Sheikh Gilani and MOA regularly claim that any criminal activity by members is committed by secret agents of a Satanic-Zionist-Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy that puppeteers the U.S. government, media and all of MOA’s major opponents.
According to current and former MOA members we have communicated with, many MOA members were told either that Ali was kicked out of the group because the leaders were smart enough to identify him as an informant or, at the very least, they became skeptical of him and minimized his access so he couldn’t damage the group. The sources reported being told that Ali had moved back to Egypt. “Wild” stories and gossip about Ali spread after he left the group, with one rumor spreading that he was a homosexual and had a husband in Egypt. However, these sources say that members spread rumors like that about anyone who leaves the group.
MOA-affiliated sources reported that the group’s leaders claimed that the NYPD and FBI actually apologized for spying on them. The agencies were said to be putting extra effort into engaging MOA as interfaith partners and emphasizing that they don’t see MOA as a threat. The MOA-affiliated sources said that senior officials claimed that the formation of MOA’s front, the United Muslim Christian Forum, as well as political changes on the federal level, resulted in the pressure coming off of MOA. One high-level source directly told Mauro and Mawyer that he was greatly concerned by MOA feeling emboldened, as they are most aggressive when they feel they are flying beneath the radar.
Some sources are under the impression that Ali has not severed all associations with MOA members or members of Islamist organizations who operate in the same circles as MOA. Ali Abdelaziz continues to receive scrutiny for his company’s business with Ramzan Kadyrov, the radical Islamic, Russian-backed dictator of Chechnya.
Sept. 20, 2018: Conor McGregor Calls Ali Abdelaziz “Terrorist Snitch” at Press Conference
On September 20, 2018, UFC star Conor McGregor shouted towards Ali Abdelaziz at a press conference for his upcoming fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, who Abdelaziz manages. McGregor insulted Ali Abdelaziz as a “terrorist snitch,” obviously referring to the story detailed here.
He also yelled, “How’s Noah? How’s Noah?” McGregor was talking about Abdelaziz’s son, Noah. MMA journalist Mike Russell had alleged that Abdelaziz abandoned this son in Colorado when he became an informant inside MOA. Russell said that he hasn’t paid $50,000 in child support, despite his lucrative career.
Then, at the final press conference before the fight, McGregor raised the topic again, calling Abdelaziz a “f**king snitch terrorist rat” that can’t be trusted because he was an informant. He even mentioned that Abdelaziz was booked for a flight from Cairo to New York City on September 11, 2001 and was arrested when he was caught with five passports as originally reported by Russell. McGregor essentially called for Abdelaziz’s deportation, saying he doesn’t understand why he’s allowed to be in America with his background.
The Mystery Continues
More details, sometimes contradictory given its complexity and the compartmentalization of MOA and the U.S. intelligence community, continue to arrive and this page is updated frequently. Major questions remain about why Ali Abdel-Aziz came to the U.S. originally, how he originally came into contact with Fuqra/MOA, why he chose to become closer to them, the circumstances surrounding his 9/11 flight, his detention in Egypt that led to his failing the polygraph, the deterioration of his relationship with the U.S. government, how he broke his relationship with Fuqra/MOA and what types of relationships he has with Fuqra/MOA or other Islamist extremists since then.
When he met Martin Mawyer in 2010, Ali showed him some documents to prove he was in MOA and worked as a spy. He said he had boxes of material, keeping copies of everything he could in case he’d need to prove to a judge that he worked as an informant one day. To date, he has not spoken to any writers about this topic or shared those documents with anyone since that interview with Mawyer. He and his lawyer have rejected interview requests from Ryan Mauro and FuqraFiles.com since 2012.
 Homegrown Jihad. (2009). PRB Films. http://www.christianaction.org/shop/homegrown-jihad.
[i] Russell, Mike. (2015). Who Are You? The Real Story of Ali Abdel Aziz – Part 2. Real Fighting Stories. http://realfightstories.com/2015/12/08/who-are-you-the-real-story-of-ali-abdel-aziz-chapter-2
 Mawyer, Martin. Twilight in America. (2011). http://www.christianaction.org/shop/twilight-in-america.
 Russell, Mike. (2015). Rat in a Cage: The Real Story of Ali Abdel Aziz. Real Fighting Stories. http://realfightstories.com/2015/12/02/real-ali-abdel-aziz/.
 Russell, Mike. (2015). Who Are You? The Real Story of Ali Abdel Aziz – Part 2. Real Fighting Stories. http://realfightstories.com/2015/12/08/who-are-you-the-real-story-of-ali-abdel-aziz-chapter-2/.
 Russell, Mike. (2015). Rat in a Cage: The Real Story of Ali Abdel Aziz. Supra note 3.
 Mawyer, Martin. Twilight in America. (2011). http://www.christianaction.org/shop/twilight-in-america.
 Russell, Mike. (2015). Rat in a Cage: The Real Story of Ali Abdel Aziz. Supra note 3.
 Harrison, David. Revealed: The Men with Stolen Identities. The Telegraph. September 23, 2001.