Last month I reported on the investigation of Jamaat ul-Fuqra as carried out by the Christian Action Network. At the time I met with Martin Mawyer and his associates, the group had just completed a flyover of the Red House compound in a private aircraft. Now Martin has very kindly made the resulting aerial photographs available to Gates of Vienna.
For readers who are unfamiliar with Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a quick synopsis: It was founded in 1980 in New York by a Pakistani Sufi named Sheikh Mubarik Ali Hasmi Shah Gilani, along with a front organization called “The Muslims of America”. Most of its members are American citizens, converted to Islam and recruited via the prison system. The group has been associated with assassinations and firebombings in this country and Canada, and various members have been charged with and convicted of criminal offenses. It is thought that the group obtains its funds through welfare fraud, money laundering, and other illegal activities. JF has established numerous compounds, known as “Jamaats”, mostly in remote rural areas in the U.S.A. and Canada. Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been named as a terrorist organization by the State Department.
For more information on this shadowy group, see the Jamaat ul-Fuqra links on our sidebar, or visit the Politics of CP and look through his exhaustive investigative reports on JF in the archives.
Note: some of the images shown below are thumbnails; click on them to see a larger version of the same image.
Martin’s plane circled the compound several times, giving the photographer an opportunity to snap a number of shots. This is an overview of the main part of the property, looking approximately west. Rolling Hill Road (SR 615) is the paved road at the left.
In this view of the compound’s entrance you can make out the guardhouse and gate, as described in my first post about Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The Muslims of America sign is also visible in the center left of the photo. A close-up ground shot of the same sign is shown below.
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The “Sheikh Gilani Lane” street sign can’t be made out from the air, but you can be sure that it’s still there.
These are some of the residences on Sheikh Gilani Lane. You can see that the infrastructure at the compound is far from opulent, but not all that unusual for this part of rural Virginia. Notice the extensive erosion problems on the ungraveled driveways.
The feature shown at right appears to be a large concrete or asphalt slab, set in the hillside at the eastern edge of the main compound. You can also see it at the edge of the trees in the overview photo.
Its function is mysterious. Is it a basketball court? If so, it’s unlike any court I’ve ever seen. There are no backboards visible, and the painted lines don’t conform to the normal basketball patterns.
Not only that, but the paved area is not completely level. In this detail shot you can see that it has less of a slope than the surrounding hillside, but is still canted. If anyone has any other guesses about what it might be, please leave them in the comments.
As Martin’s plane circled, people gathered in a field near a trailer to look up. After a few minutes they began moving at a rapid pace in the direction of Sheikh Gilani Lane. I have enhanced the contrast in the detailed view shown below, and the shadows make it clear that the figures were moving quickly.
In another few minutes cars from various parts of the compound started up and began pulling out, as shown clearly in the photo at right. This behavior makes sense if one believes the earlier accounts about the Red House compound that cited it as a safe house harboring fugitives wanted on federal warrants. It was also reputed to be the place where John Allen Muhammad holed up to rest and reload during his Beltway shooting spree.
But who knows? There may be some other reasonable explanation why so many residents of Sheikh Gilani Lane suddenly decided to leave when they saw an airplane circling overhead.
There have been reports that some of the lower-ranking people in the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds are unaware of the terrorist nature of the organization and its more dangerous activities. With that in mind, the Christian Action Network printed and dropped hundreds of leaflets from the air on Sheikh Gilani Lane. Each one featured an arrow pointing to a photo of the Sheikh, with a label that read, “This man — known TERRORIST, known MURDERER, ANTI-AMERICA — is honored with a road sign in Charlotte County, Virginia.”
Let’s hear it for the Christian Action Network! I’ll keep you posted on their future investigative efforts.