An organization known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra (“Community of the Impoverished”) was founded about 1980 by a known terrorist, the Pakistani Sufi Sheikh Syed Mubarak Ali Hasmi Shah Gilani. Over several decades JuF has established a network of dozens of rural training compounds across the United States and Canada.
I have written extensively on Jamaat ul-Fuqra in the past. For more on this group and its activities, see the Jamaat ul-Fuqra Archives. The first post in the series describes my initial visit to Red House in October 2005 — which seems like a million years ago now — and contains a lot of background material on Sheikh Gilani and Jamaat ul-Fuqra.
The group was incorporated in 1985 as “Muslims of the Americas” (MOA), and is also known as “The Muslims of America”, as you can see from the photo of the sign at the top of this post, which stands at the entrance to the MOA compound in Red House.
Sheikh Gilani and his followers seem unconcerned about consistency of wording and spelling: the organization is sometimes also known as “Jamaat al-Fuqra”. The Sheikh himself spells his surname variously as “Gilani”, “Gillani”, “Jilani”, or “Jillani”, and his principal forename as “Mubarik” or “Mubarak”. These orthographic variations helped make my initial Internet research more difficult, forcing me to search repeatedly using different combinations of spellings.
Regardless of the spelling, the Muslims of America have been and remain the same organization, made up largely of African-American converts (many of them recruited in prison) who are devoted to their Sheikh in Pakistan, and are reportedly required to send him 30% of their income.
Back in the 1980s JuF was particularly violent, and well-known to law enforcement at the state, provincial, and federal levels. Its members engaged in assassinations and firebombings, in particular directing their attacks at Hindu temples. They amassed significant firepower, including semi- and full automatic weapons, bombs, grenades, rockets, etc., stashed in various armories in their rural compounds across North America.
A crackdown by the Feds, including the arrest and imprisonment of several prominent leaders, dampened the fierceness of JuF’s zeal for jihad. The Sheikh reportedly sent word for them to cool it, advising them to concentrate on less conspicuous activities. Since the 1990s their illegalities have been mainly confined to welfare fraud, counterfeiting merchandise, money laundering, and occasional firearms violations.
After my first researches into JuF back in 2005, other individuals and organizations took up the investigation of Jamaat ul-Fuqra and the Muslims of the Americas. The most notable and productive among them has been the Christian Action Network in Lynchburg, Virginia. Its members live, as I do, not far from two Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds (in Red House and Meherrin), one of which gained notoriety for allegedly giving shelter to the late John Allen Muhammad, the elder of the Beltway snipers, during his killing spree back in the fall of 2002.
After making a series of videos about MOA, Martin Mawyer, the president of CAN, published a book last fall about Jamaat ul-Fuqra and its rural compounds, Twilight in America: the Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps in America. The book features reports from a confidential police informant who had been placed inside the MOA compound in Hancock, New York — the group’s national headquarters — for eight years.
Marty’s revelations must have caused the Sheikh and his followers severe indigestion, because they recently filed a federal defamation lawsuit against Marty, his co-author, and CAN.
But not until they changed the name of their organization and re-incorporated under a new name. And that’s where the story gets interesting — the organization that is suing CAN did not exist as a legal corporate entity until January 2013. Marty and his co-author could not have defamed it in their book, unless they possessed a temporal speculum with which they could peer into the future.
Common sense would tell us that this lawsuit should have been thrown out of court the moment it appeared on the receptionist’s desk. However, because lawyers are involved, the process may be a bit more protracted than that.
The official papers filed in New York State tell an interesting story. Before Sheikh Gilani took over the franchise, Muslims of the Americas was called “Ikhwanul Muslimeen” (or “Ikhwanul Muslimun”, depending on who is spelling it, and when), which is obviously a variant of Ikhwan el-Muslimeen, or the Muslim Brotherhood. It was incorporated in Brooklyn in 1971, probably as an offshoot of the Nation of Islam. In 1985 it became Muslims of the Americas, and in January 2013 morphed into The Muslims of America. Which is nice — now the name matches the sign at the Red House compound, and they don’t have to replace any corporate letterhead that uses the MOA acronym.
The reason for the official name-change was presumably to protect MOA’s assets from possible state action in the wake of revelations contained in Marty’s book. But the process of the change is fascinating in itself, involving as it does some special Sufi juju performed by an MOA underling to scam the unsuspecting Sheikh and his organization, who were later shocked — shocked! — to discover the evil behavior of the Wahhabis who had infiltrated their innocent and well-behaved religious organization.
Marty Mawyer sent me this overview of what happened:
My book (co-authored with Patti Pierucci) includes two chapters detailing information obtained from a former undercover informant for the NYPD. His name is Ali Aziz, and he served as a police informant for eight years inside the organization. He exposed many incriminating things about Muslims of the Americas (MOA) to Patti and me.
It wasn’t until our book came out that MOA learned that Ali had been an NYPD informant. Obviously, this sent them scrambling as it became obvious to them the NYPD had knowledge about all their illegal activities.
Here is where it gets bizarre, to say the least.
In an effort to disassociate themselves from the crimes committed by MOA, the leaders of the group have announced that MOA was fraudulently incorporated by one of its members, Jamil Abdul Haqq and his associate Hasib Abdul Haqq (“Muhammad Hasib Abdul-Haqq” in the official affidavit).
They claim that in 1985 Hasib Abdul Haqq changed the name of an organization called “Ikhwanul Muslimun” to “Muslims of the Americas” by fraudulently signing Sheikh Mubarak Gilani’s name to the incorporation papers (Sheikh Gilani is the head of MOA and lives in Pakistan).
Jamil Abdul Haqq was able to pull off what Gilani is calling, “the biggest fraud in history,” by turning himself into Sheikh Gilani during the signing of the incorporation papers.
Sheikh Gilani says that Jamil Abdul Haqq was able to transform himself into Gilani “by closing his eyes, taking long breaths, and going through physical changes before speaking to people as if he were Sheikh Gilani.”
To make matters worse (according to Gilani) Jamil Abdul Haqq had been engaged in various crimes as the head of MOA. These criminal activities include “street crimes, drugs, brothels, unemployment fraud, and other offenses.”
Now comes the part that affects the lawsuit MOA filed against CAN, Patti and me.
Gilani said that having “recently discovered this horrendous fraud and after throwing out the culprits we are filing new incorporation papers.”
And they did. In January 2013 the leaders of the group incorporated under a new name, “The Muslims of America.” (Yes, they moved the word “The” to the front of the new entity and removed an “s”.)
On that date they also petitioned the NY Supreme Court in Delaware County to transfer all property holdings from “Muslims of the Americas” to “The Muslims of America.”
The attached files are in reference to their NY Supreme Court request to transfer property to “The Muslims of the Americas.” To my mind, it shows they are running scared at the moment.
If you read through it carefully, there are many gems inside.
And indeed there are. Interested readers may click here to download the full pdf of legal documents. Pay special attention to the affidavit by Muhammad Hasib Abdul-Haqq — whose fraudulent actions are presumably long past the statute of limitations for offenses of that type.
Sheikh Gilani felt so strongly about rectifying these terrible misdeeds that he gave his own account of events. Below are excerpts from the Sheikh’s explanation of how he and MOA were hoodwinked, as posted on his website, The Islamic Post (Notice that he names himself “Gillani” in this treatise):
Ikhwanul Muslimeen (IM) is the deadliest armed wing of the Wahhabis, which was created by Ibn-as-Saud with the aim to extinguish all those who do not believe in their religion, Wahabism, which declares Muslims to be heretics, and Holy Shrines and Sufi Centers as places of idol worship. Wahabis are operating in many countries under various cover names such as Salafi, Darrussalam, and Al-Qaida as well as in the middle of India and Pakistan under the name of Lashkar-Jhangui (LU), Lashkar-A-Tayyaba (LT), Sifah-A-Sahaba (SS). A glimpse into their past horrendous deeds will open the eyes of everyone for they specialize in murdering Descendants of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him), Sufis, and destroying their Mosques, Shrines and Tombs.
I, El Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani, am head of the Qadiree Sufi order, Vice Chancellor of the International Qur’anic Open University, Imam of the Muslims of the Americas and a direct Descendant of the Holy Last Messenger (peace be upon him). I find it necessary to clarify certain things about myself and our community, which is being falsely labeled as terrorist organization. The Muslims of the Americas (MOA) is a Sufi organization. We have gotten rid of Wahabi Ikhwanul Muslimeen in America. I came to the U.S. in 1980, to propagate Islam. My mission is supported with the appearance of miraculous signs. Ninety-nine (99%) of people who come to the United States from other countries are aiming to make a fortune through business and other enterprises; some come to commit fraud, cheat and deprive people. On the contrary, my sole aim was to save humanity.
Soon after my arrival in America, thousands of members from Ikhwan-al-Muslimeen’s Herkimer Place headquarters in New York City, followed me and became Sufis. I then established a new organization for non-Wahhabi Sufi Muslims, the Muslims of the Americas. However, those “die hard” individuals who were involved in gang wars for distribution of funds from Arab countries did not give up, but followed the Sufi way while setting up their underground organization, Ikhwan-al-Muslimeen (also known as Ikhwanul Muslimun). Jamil Abdul Haqq, who had been crippled in a gang war, became my follower and later on, I made him my Khalifa. Most surprisingly and shockingly, he was secretly the head of the hit team of Ikhwanul Muslimeen and established himself at the MOA village of Islamberg by occupying a doublewide mobile home. Haqq went so far as to have his collaborator submit MOA incorporation papers without the knowledge of IQOU and MOA administration. One of his accomplices, Hasib Abdul Haqq, counterfeited my signature making me president and then stating that from then onward “Ikhwan-ul-Muslimun” would be known as MOA. I did not approve or sign such a document. I was never President of MOA. This was a treacherous attack by Wahhabis to sabotage the Sufis. We recently discovered this horrendous fraud and after throwing out the culprits are filing new incorporation papers
My last visit to the U.S. was in 1990 and before that previous visits were brief. Jamil Haqq took advantage of my absence to start the biggest fraud in history by closing his eyes, taking long breaths, and going through physical changes before speaking to people as if he were Sheikh Gillani. Some believed him and so Ikhwan once again tried to take root. Jamil Haqq recruited people from Delaware, Atlantic City, and beyond who were involved in street crimes, drugs, brothels, unemployment fraud, and other offenses. Unfortunately, when caught, it brought a bad name to MOA. It was Jamil Haqq who patronized the Egyptian Ali A. Aziz, the man now known to be an NYPD informant who married a girl from a family that was also living in Haqq’s doublewide.
So now we know what really happened. All is clear. Everything is nice and tidy, and I can continue to use my logos for the Muslims of America, knowing that they are officially correct.
At least until some jinn-in-human-form closes his eyes, takes deep breaths, and changes the name again.
Note: New York is a bit strange in that the words “Supreme Court” do not mean the final court for hearing the case. It’s actually the first court before any appeals are made.