Last week’s brazen attack by a “home-grown” terrorist cell in France that targeted the staff of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has sparked renewed interest in potential cells operating inside the United States.
And there are many.
The FBI is aware of at least 22 paramilitary Islamic communes in the U.S., operated by the shadowy Pakistan-based group Jamaat al-Fuqra and its main U.S. front group, Muslims of the Americas.
With U.S. headquarters in Islamberg, New York, the group headed by Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani operates communes in mostly remote areas of California, Georgia, South Carolina, New York, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Michigan, Tennessee and other states.
The FBI describes the MOA compound in Texas, called Mahmoudberg, as an enclave and “communal living site.” Located in Brazoria County along County Road 3 near Sweeny, Texas, it was discovered more than 10 years ago by the FBI through a tip from an informant in New York, according to a 2014 article by the Clarion Project.
The Texas commune, in a heavily wooded area, is estimated by a local resident to encompass about 25 acres. It dates back to the late 1980s, the resident said, which is confirmed by the FBI documents previously reported on by WND.
Pamela Geller, author of the Atlas Shrugs blog and the book “Stop the Islamization of America,” has been following the militant training compounds since 2007.
Most of the recruits living at these communes are African-Americans who converted to Islam while doing hard time in state or federal prisons, Geller says. They have operated “under the not-so-watchful eye” of the FBI since the early 1980s, she says, but few Americans are aware of their existence all these years later.
Gilani’s group operates a slick website in which a female narrator in one promo video waxes beautifully about how the group has rescued many young Americans from a life a crime, drugs and poverty. The group claims to focus on a ministry to “indigenous American Muslims.” One would never guess from the video that the group trains young men and women in the use of small arms and military tactics.
A January 2003 investigative summary by the FBI states: “The captioned investigation of the Muslims of America is based upon specific and articulate facts giving justification to believe they are engaged in international terrorism or activities in preparation thereof…”
In a recruitment video captured from Gilani’s “Soldiers of Allah,” Gilani states: “We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America.”
Yet, the MOA is not on the U.S. State Department’s list of terrorist organizations.