Skip to comments.Meet Al-Fuqra (Another Domestic Muslim Terrorist Group - My Title)
Posted on 12/21/2001 6:10:19 AM PST by TADSLOS
A Junior al-Qaeda . . .: . . . right here at home
There are a lot of Baptist churches along rural Virginia's Route 615, just south of Appomattox-"where America reunited," as the county welcome sign puts it-but there's only one Sheikh Gilani Lane. A gate and a guardhouse prevent the public from driving very far down it. What lies beyond, however, isn't a closed-off community of rich retirees. Instead, it's a trailer-park compound of black Muslims, or "The Muslims of America," according to a green billboard by the entrance, where an armed guard keeps a wary eye on the main road's traffic.
Until recently, this was the home of Vicente Rafael Pierre, a 44-year-old Brooklyn native with a shadowy past and a dim future. He may never see this home again. Shortly after September 11, federal agents snared him in their roundup of crime suspects who have links to terrorist outfits. Nobody has accused Pierre of any direct connection to the atrocities in New York or elsewhere--he and his wife, Traci Upshur, were taken in on unrelated gun charges and convicted of them on November 30. Yet authorities have detailed Pierre's extensive ties to al-Fuqra, a violent group of black Muslims whose members have been implicated in at least 17 bombings and 12 murders over the past twenty years. Pierre's Virginia compound, near the tiny crossroads hamlet of Red House, is believed to serve as an al-Fuqra base.
Pierre's story is compelling in its own right--anybody connected to al-Fuqra is also connected to killers, bombers, and arsonists. During Pierre's detention hearing in October, Thomas P. Gallagher of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms said he and his colleagues were worried about the possibility of "another Waco situation" developing in rural Virginia. More unsettling is the potential for al-Fuqra to wreak mayhem beyond its remote compound.
Pierre's case shows how militant groups organize and finance themselves--and also how federal law-enforcement authorities are responding to these known threats. Pierre, for instance, might still be free today but for 9/11. He was the subject of an ongoing gun probe when federal agents decided to accelerate his indictment. U.S. attorney John Brownlee explained the strategy: "Prevent first and prosecute second." Although Pierre has not been charged with any violence, he's close to those who have been, including at least one person involved in the 1998 embassy bombings and Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network.
Al-Fuqra--which means "the impoverished" in Arabic--was founded in 1980 when Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani traveled from Pakistan to an African-American mosque in Brooklyn. On this and subsequent trips, the charismatic sheikh helped create al-Fuqra, which is said to have between 1,000 and 3,000 members nationwide. It is not aligned with a more prominent and homegrown black Muslim group, the Nation of Islam, and in fact it has serious theological differences with Louis Farrakhan's flock. And it may pose a much greater threat to civil society.
About two dozen families live at the 44-acre compound near Red House, but al-Fuqra is headquartered in Hancock, N.Y., and maintains extensive ties to Gilani in Lahore. Members of the sect occasionally travel abroad for what Gallagher calls "paramilitary and survivalist training" under Gilani's supervision. Although Pierre has testified that he has not visited Pakistan, the BATF says at least one of the other Red House residents did go there, and Gallagher claims there is evidence of training in Afghanistan as well. Gilani recruited Americans to fight with the mujaheddin against the Soviets during the 1980s.
Al-Fuqra demonstrated its violent streak and national reach early on. A study written by Yehudit Barsky and published by the Anti-Defamation League catalogues the group's activities. From its first days more than two decades ago, members have attacked a virtual rainbow coalition of targets, including Hare Krishnas in San Diego, Hindus in Toronto, Sikhs in Seattle, and Buddhists in Illinois. Many of their favorite victims have links to India; Gilani is obsessed with the Kashmir conflict and views India as a mortal enemy. In 1983, al-Fuqra firebombed a Portland, Ore., hotel owned by the late Indian guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh. But al-Fuqra's hatred also extends to Muslims with whom they have doctrinal differences. A month after the Portland attack, for instance, two members murdered a rival Muslim leader in Michigan, and then were themselves killed when they set fire to an Islamic center in Detroit.
An incident in 1989 demonstrated the group's calculated ruthlessness and also introduced Pierre to federal agents. Police on a search warrant raided a Colorado Springs storage locker registered to Pierre's father-in-law, who is also an al-Fuqra member. Inside they found information on a scam Pierre and others were running against Colorado's workers' compensation fund; they had defrauded the state of some $355,000 over several years. The locker's other contents were more alarming: ten handguns and silencers, 30 pounds of explosives, and target-practice silhouettes pierced with bullet holes and labeled "FBI Antiterrorist Team" and "Zionist Pig" (in Pierre's handwriting, according to Gallagher). Police also found information on local military installations and electrical power lines, plus "attack plans" against various targets. One of the targets, a moderate imam, was stabbed to death four months later.
Pierre dropped from sight, but he was located several years later working as a security guard in Pennsylvania. Put on trial in Colorado in 1993, he was convicted for his role in the workers'-comp swindle and sentenced to four years of probation. He was not linked to the murder of Khalifa, however; that crime was charged to James D. Williams, who remained a fugitive until last year, when he was arrested in Lynchburg, Va., not far from the Red House compound where he is believed to have lived and where he would have been one of Pierre's neighbors. (Earlier this year, Williams was sentenced to 69 years in prison.) During his detention hearing in October, Pierre denied knowing Williams, even though their names appeared alongside each other on documents found in the storage locker; he also denied the existence of al-Fuqra. "This is a phantom, nonexistent organization which does not exist," said Pierre. "It's just a figment of someone's imagination due to their ignorance of the Arabic language or perhaps due to their hate or prejudice of al-Islam."
This was a surprising claim, because many others--including Sheikh Gilani--have discussed al-Fuqra's activities. Pierre's very real participation in the al-Fuqra plot to rip off the state of Colorado is what made his arrest this year possible: Because of his 1993 felony conviction, federal law bars him from buying firearms, yet this is precisely what he tried to do at a gun store near Red House by having his wife make a "straw purchase" on his behalf.
Al-Fuqra's activities may be small-scale compared to those of al-Qaeda, but there is evidence linking the two groups. According to Gallagher, one of the men who assisted al-Fuqra in monitoring the murdered imam in 1989 was Wadih el-Hage, an al-Qaeda member sentenced to life in prison this October for his role in the 1998 embassy bombings.
Pierre and his wife won't be sentenced until April 5, and there's reason to think that others who live in the Red House compound continue to stockpile illegal weapons. On December 3, another Red House man, Bilal Abdullah Ben Benu, was indicted on federal firearms charges.
Some have questioned why the Bush administration wants to detain and prosecute people like Pierre and Benu, who have no apparent connection to the events of September 11. But the alternative to charging them with relatively minor crimes is to wait and see if they commit major ones later, and to catch them afterwards--if we can, and when it's too late.
But al-Fuqra's hatred also extends to Muslims with whom they have doctrinal differences. A month after the Portland attack, for instance, two members murdered a rival Muslim leader in Michigan, and then were themselves killed when they set fire to an Islamic center in Detroit.
Maybe this problem will take care of itself. Gads, how many more idiots will we have to deal with...
hi,i just want too set this straight,what they did,has nothing to do with jalani.what they did is their own doings.im a young black muslim gurl who lived on one of those lands.jalani is a kind hearted person,who has done nothing but tried too help us be better people.jalani is not involved in any of this bombings or murders.those men did that out of there own greed and stupidity.i dont know all that happen,but i know one thing for sure GOD is and will take care of them.im ashamed of them,the fact that i came for the group.i wish people wouldnt judge us because of what they did.its sad i know longer live there anymore because of this stuff.i luv my home.its embarrassing because every were i go people believe im some sort of terroist.the cops allways watching us.after 9/11 my life started changing in a bad way,i had too stop going too school afraid of being hurt.i know longer want too live on a land again. dont get me wrong im afraid that i cant live in peace in my own enviroment.i've been trying too find my father(who i will not say,too be safe)who is now in prison for being involved with this whole thing.i started too cry when i saw why he was in prison,my mother never told me why she just said he in prison.my father left my mother with 7 children who are all close in age.my father has 11 children on this earth that he has never father.the reason ive been trying too find him is that i have 4 older sister that i would like too know.i hated my father for leaving us like he did.but know i know why,GOD is taking care of him,because he will be in prison for the rest of his life.well if you have any questions you can e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org you
that not true,i (we)dont hate anybody of different beliefs.we respect everyones beliefs just like we like our beliefs respected.i dont hate anyone,i was not taught too hate.i was taught too love and respect everybody.weither their christian,jewish etc.
* Muslims of the Americas (MOA) is a virulently anti-Semitic, Islamic extremist group with ties to Al-Fuqra, a terrorist organization that has carried out firebombings and murders in the United States. MOA claims to have offices in six U.S. cities and Toronto and maintains secluded residential communities in New York, Virginia and California.
The group's Web site and e-mails have featured writings by notorious anti-Semites and Holocaust deniers, including Michael Hoffman and former Klansman David Duke.
MOA was founded and is led by the radical Pakistani cleric El Sheikh Sayyid Mubarik Ali Jilani (commonly known as Sheikh Jilani or Sheikh Gilani). Based in Lahore, Pakistan, Jilani established MOA in 1980, after arriving in the United States for the first time. In the 1980s, Jilani, who claims to be a direct descendant of the Prophet Muhammad, actively recruited American Muslims to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. MOA claims to have offices in six U.S. cities and Toronto, and it maintains secluded residential communities in New York, Virginia, California, and possibly other states. The group also runs a Web site and an e-mail mailing list.
The available evidence strongly suggests that MOA has served as a corporate front for another group founded by Sheik Jilani, the terrorist organization Al-Fuqra, which has committed firebombings and murders on U.S. soil. Both Sheikh Jilani and MOA officials deny that Al-Fuqra even exists, and MOA claims to be a "peaceful" group. Though relatively few members of MOA have been arrested for criminal activity, two residents of the MOA community in Virginia were recently arrested for firearms violations, and a resident of the MOA community in California was recently arrested for the murder of a Sheriff's Deputy. Muslims of the Americas: In Their Own Words Here are examples of anti-Semitic, anti-Christian,anti-American, and homophobic statements made by MOA, as well as comments that promote violence: ...see more at link. --------Muslims of the Americas: In Their Own Words