12. MOA’s “Military Squad” Raises Alarm

Ali Abdelaziz told Mawyer that MOA had decided to make its training more exclusive. The “mass military training” would be replaced with more exclusive training of those selected for a “military squad.”

He explained:

“It’s like a formed military squad. It’s certain groups. Certain individuals. Certain names. Certain guys. It’s a very, very select group they have. It’s a lot of people. But it’s not like they train every day. It’s various people training in different positions…”

He said “there’s a lot…a lot” of MOA tapes about its guerilla warfare training. And, “I gave [the NYPD] some very serious tapes about training in Pakistan.”

Abdelaziz suggested that Pakistan and Kashmir is where MOA links up with the broader jihadist movement.

“[Gilani is] supporting the Kashmir movement…he smuggled people from MOA into Kashmir,” he said. The members pretended to be humanitarian relief workers.

Some would even go to Pakistan and receive training with recruits who were based in other countries. 

“There’s a twist. The people who have helped Gilani, he will train them in Pakistan and they will go back to their own countries. The person who is providing the training answers the questions; it’s the big boss…

Abdelaziz said he had recorded important information about “this Kashmir stuff” that was damning to MOA and Gilani. He declined to go into further detail when he met with Mawyer.

Abdelaziz’s account is substantiated by the testimony of another former MOA member. This other member went to Pakistan and Kashmir and saw, first-hand, how MOA members were entered into an international training program with other terrorist groups overseen by Pakistani intelligence.

This connection to international terror networks made MOA’s military squad an urgent concern.

MOA’s “military squad,” picked from its vetted “Soldiers of Allah,”, operates through various fronts, including non-profits and businesses, especially security companies. 

A declassified 2003 FBI report obtained by Clarion Project shows that the FBI believed MOA was using shell companies in the New York City area to launder money, commit wire fraud and acquire weapons licenses.

The report states:

 “It is suspected that the MOA in New York have laundered and transferred money through 786 Security and transported these funds on their person through Canada to Pakistan.

MOA members located at 786 Security have had direct contact with [redacted] and/or terrorist organizations in Pakistan who provide both moral and material assistance. JUF [Jamaat ul-Fuqra] members also appear to be somewhat of a U.S. based host network used as a point of contact for overseas terrorist cells. The links and/or associations are mostly seen through weapons training.”

Intelligence sources involved in investigations of MOA say that the military squad was/is keenly aware of changes in the law and how the authorities gather evidence to build cases for prosecution. The members were observed constantly taking precautions to thwart detection, surveillance and arrest.

Thee squad is to acquire firearms like AR-15s, weapons licenses, training applicable for covert and paramilitary activity, access to sensitive data, and government contracts.

According to these counter-terrorism sources, the squad was also transferring funds outside of the country, away from the jurisdiction of law enforcement.

With Ali Abdelaziz operating as Confidential Informant 184, the NYPD and FBI had an opportunity to get eyes inside the squad.