Skip to comments.Al-Fuqra Tied to Colorado Crimes
Posted on 02/12/2002 8:28:59 AM PST by Come And Take It
Al-Fuqra tied to Colorado crimes Leader owned land in Buena Vista; followers convicted in bombing of Krishna temple
By Charlie Brennan, News Staff Writer
The radical Islamic leader linked to the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl has been tied to a wide range of illegal activity throughout Colorado.
Through a broad-based investigation launched in 1989, Colorado authorities convicted four members of the al-Fuqra movement on a series of felonies including racketeering, forgery, conspiracy to commit first-degree murder and the 1984 firebombing of a Hare Krishna temple in Denver.
Those who helped lead those investigations said the Pakistani-based leader of al-Fuqra, Sheik Mubarik Ali Jilani, briefly owned two lots in downtown Buena Vista.
Susan Fenger, then an investigator for the state Department of Labor and Employment, helped build the case against the Colorado al-Fuqra members.
She said Jilani had been in Colorado.
"Sheikh Mubarik Jilani was the leader of al-Fuqra and still is," said Fenger, now working privately as a forensic documents examiner.
"Sheikh Jilani visited Colorado, we know that," said Doug Wamsley, a prosecutor in the Jefferson County District Attorney's office. Wamsley, then an assistant attorney general, led the prosecution against four al-Fuqra members in the early 1990s.
"We have at least one witness who remembered Jilani from the Buena Vista area, where he had talked to a Realtor and arranged to buy a piece of property," said Wamsley. "But then it was sold, right away. We didn't pay much attention to it, because he held it so briefly."
Pearl was seeking to interview Jilani when he vanished on Jan. 23 in Karachi. Jilani has been questioned in the Pearl kidnapping, but has reportedly denied knowing anything about it.
Fenger described al-Fuqra's presence in Colorado now as minimal.
The extremist group is believed to still have compounds in New York, California, South Carolina and Virginia.
Jilani was questioned in connection with the Pearl kidnapping, Fenger said, after police intercepted a communication from Jilani to al-Fuqra members at their compound in Red Huse, Va.
"What the content of that communication was, I didn't ask," said Fenger. "I knew the source wouldn't tell me, so I didn't ask."
Jilani, Fenger said, attended a December 1993 meeting in Sudan that included members of Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
"I know Jilani was there," said Fenger, "and there was a huge group of Somalis," a group among whom there are many bin Laden supporters.
While Jilani's reason for briefly investing in downtown Buena Vista more than 10 years ago may never be known, authorities know far more about other al-Fuqra activities in Colorado.
For example, Jilani's followers also owned a 101-acre compound 12 miles east of Buena Vista near Trout Creek Pass. It was situated between 9,000 and 10,000 feet, and lacked electricity or plumbing.
Wamsley believed they wanted the property for "a high-altitude training camp."
Police raided it in 1992 and discovered a hidden cave containing about 30 military weapons, including AK-47 rifles and about 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
The Trout Creek Pass compound, located on an old mining claim, had been kept under surveillance by state and Chafee County authorities from June 1989 to March 1991, during which time police watched "various individuals conducting martial arts training, engaging in hand-to-hand combat and other paramilitary tactical maneuvers, and practicing the shooting of assorted firearms and weaponry," according to court documents.
It was finally raided in October 1992, resulting in the arrest of four members who were ultimately convicted in a series of crimes attributed to the group.
Those still serving prison terms in Colorado in conection with their al-Fuqra activities are James D. Williams, 48, James Upshur, 57, and Edward Flinton. A fourth defendant, Edward Ivan McGhee, 46, has since been paroled.
"Jilani recruited these people in this country, and set up these groups around the country," said Wamsley.
The first solid lead investigators developed on al-Fuqra in Colorado came in 1989. In probing a series of storage locker thefts in Colorado Springs, police executed a search warrant on a locker rented by the group.
The locker held 30 pounds of explosives, three large pipe bombs, 10 handguns, silencers, military training manuals and bombing-making instructions.
Additionally, investigators recovered documents, maps and surveillance photographs relating to potential targets in Los Angeles, Tucson and Denver, plus a detailed description of the Aug. 1, 1984, Hare Krishna temple firebombing at 1400 Cherry St. in Denver. At that point, the fire was unsolved.
One of the devices found in that Colorado Springs locker, Wamsley said, "was identical to the device that was used to burn the temple."
Other crimes on which Colorado al-Fuqra members were convicted include defrauding the state of $355,000 in fraudulent worker compensation claims.
Contact Charlie Brennan at (303) 892-2742 or brennanc@RockyMountainNews.com.
Of course. Because the Media knows that only the most crusty of conservative relics even believe in the idea. Evil is a notion better left to agitiated, sweaty southern preachers than broached by any enlightened president, for harvard's sake.
Get with the program, please. ;)