Training Compounds

Are These Terrorist/Jihad Training Camps?

Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Muslims of America (MOA) has established “Islamic villages” across the U.S. that have been described as terrorist or jihadist training camps. MOA has also been accused of serving as a conduit for training in Pakistan and Kashmir and potentially Islamist groups based there.

The eye-catching language of “terrorist training camps” has resulted in dismissals of legitimate research about MOA as “Islamophobia” or discredited conspiracy theories.

This section of the website is for information about MOA’s documented history of establishing private communes that have a history of being used for basic paramilitary or guerilla-type training of members, as well as other operational and ideological purposes. From its beginning, the organization has received or provided more advanced training off of the premises of its camps, often using security companies as fronts. Declassified documents show that members also go to Pakistan, Kashmir and perhaps other countries for guerilla-type training.

This section also documents and analyses various operating patterns used by MOA, such as the rules for “incognito” members, the conducting of “missions,” the use of fronts, handling relationships with non-MOA Islamist groups for jihadist purposes and the use of deception to disguise or excuse such activities.


MOA has openly waged violent jihad against the Soviets in Afghanistan, the Indians in Kashmir, Israel and others. Its materials show that the group believes in a broader violent jihad against perceived oppressors of Muslims around the world, ultimately culminating in an apocalyptic battle during the End Times. FBI documents from investigations into MOA have identified it as a terrorist group and/or violent extremist sect.

It is indisputable that MOA began as a terrorist organization, engaged in terrorism and is likely contributing to terrorist activity in Pakistan and Kashmir today, even if it halted the direct organizing of terrorist attacks on North American soil in the early 1990s.

Multiple counter-terrorism investigations of MOA were launched by governmental agencies, with the most recent declassified FBI documents identifying MOA as a terrorist threat dating to 2011. One file from December 2010 explicitly refers to “the Muslims of the Americas terrorist organization.”

The first report from the FBI is dated November 27, 2009 and labels the Muslims of the Americas, Inc. as “armed and dangerous.” It begins by summarizing the group’s consistent history of extremism, terrorism and crime:

“Jamaat ul-Fuqra, aka Muslims of the Americas (MOA), have a history of violence and/or violent acts. Use extreme caution when dealing with confirmed members or individuals who are believed to be associated with this group.”

The December 2010 file says there are around 12 MOA “jamaats” in rural parts of America where residents are private, children are homeschooled and outside influence is limited. It states:

“Organized training is also conducted to include weapons training, tactics, hand-to-hand combat, rappelling, and live-fire exercises.”

A 2007 FBI report describes MOA members for being responsible for at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.[5] The most well-known MOA attack was the murder of Imam Rashid Khalifa in Arizona in 1990.

By 1991, Colorado investigators were describing Fuqra as “the most significant terrorist group” in the U.S. at the time. They identified 24 suspected operatives in their state and 662 nationwide.[6]

Colorado investigators into Fuqra’s terrorist activity explained why Fuqra members’ illegal activities were not officially treated as acts of terrorism, including its 101-acre terrorist training camp in Buena Vista that was raided in 1992, in a Colorado Attorney General’s Office document.

It says that Fuqra’s activity fits the non-legal definition of “terrorism” of “the systematic use of terror, violence and intimidation to achieve an end.” However, “terrorism” was not a specific offense or defined in state or federal statutes. It made the overall argument that Fuqra/MOA qualifies as a terrorist group.[7]

An investigative document from this period identifies Fuqra as “the most significant terrorist group” in the U.S. at the time.[8]

The largest MOA terror plot was an attempt to bomb an Indian theater and Hindu temple in Toronto during the Hindu Festival of Lights in 1991, killing up to 4,500 people.[9] MOA members had reported links to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the follow-up “Day of Terror” plot to bomb four New York City targets.

A woman who grew up in the Fuqra camps said that she saw the boys being indoctrinated and trained for an upcoming jihad. She said, “There were exercise classes in the basement. The brothers were training for whatever Muslim war they continuously told us was coming.”[10]

A 2007 FBI report reads:

“The documented propensity for violence by this organization supports the belief the leadership of the MOA extols membership to pursue a policy of jihad or holy war against individuals or groups it considers enemies of Islam, which includes the U.S. Government. Members of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from Sheikh Gilani.”

It also says, “The MOA is now an autonomous organization which possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.[1]

DEA documents from a 2005-2007 investigation into MOA drug trafficking in Virginia describe MOA as, “a domestic terrorist group suspected of using drug proceeds to finance terrorist activities in Southwest Asia.

A 2003 FBI report from a counter-terrorism investigation into MOA in New York states:

“It is believed that [redacted] and 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.”

“Based upon the criminal and terrorist acts committed by elements of the MOA in the past and the possibility that the MOA may provide terrorist organizations with American recruits who will help perform and/or finance terrorist acts within the U.S., [redacted] will attempt to further identify any possible domestic terrorism activities of [redacted] and his businesses.”

B. Raman, who led the counter-terrorism division of India’s Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency from 1988 to 1994, wrote in 2007, “The intelligence officers of the U.S. and Canada, with whom I used to interact, used to describe the JUF [Jamaat Ul-Fuqra] as the most secretive and security-conscious jihadi organization of Pakistan.”[2]

MOA-affiliated sources have all said they’ve heard Sheikh Gilani and top MOA officials state that collected funds are given to unidentified “mujahideen” in Pakistan and Kashmir. One former member, who went on a trip to visit Gilani in Pakistan in 1999, likewise testifies that this is the stated purpose and says he and the MOA members were even trained by “mujahideen” from other terrorist groups and witnessed attacks in Kashmir.

A 2003 FBI report stated, “Investigation of the Muslims of the Americas is based on specific and articulate facts giving justification to believe they are engaged in international terrorism…”

In 2003, MOA/Fuqra in New York was the subject of a counter-terrorism investigation by the FBI. The FBI reports state:

“The MOA in New York is involved in continuous criminal activity to include money laundering and wire fraud. 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.

It is believed that [redacted] and 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.”

Sheikh Gilani received global attention in 2002 when Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and beheaded on his way to interview Gilani in Pakistan. Our section of the website dedicated to this atrocity argues that Gilani should still be considered a suspect.

Additional information on MOA’s terrorist activity can be seen in the state-by-state sections and the sections about MOA’s links to other terrorist and Islamist groups, statements by governments about MOA, first-hand testimony and the murder of Daniel Pearl.

The State Department included Fuqra/MOA in its annual Patterns of Global Terrorism reports in the 1990s but did not designate it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. The State Department described Fuqra as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.”

Law enforcement sources told the Washington Times in 2002 that MOA’s camps in Virginia had residents who “have been linked to various money-laundering operations and weapons violations, and are believed to have aided and abetted various terrorist groups.” They said it was not clear where the funding for the compounds come from beyond a small number of members with regular jobs.

One official said, “The faces of those we have seen in the communities are continually changing. It’s unclear who’s there at any given time and what they’re doing.” [13]

An analysis by the Center for Policing Terrorism concluded, “it is only a matter of time before Al-Fuqra assists an organization in an assault on United States soil.”[14]

“Al-Fuqra has the know-how to conduct terrorist operations, the ability to blend into the rest of the American population, the capability of organizing detailed missions and little difficulty acquiring the necessary funding. As a bonus, Al-Fuqra members work in extremely sensitive transportation centers in and around one of the foremost cities of the world. Furthermore, they control excellent training facilities and are willing to work with other terrorist organizations.”[15]

In 2003, an internal FBI report said, “Investigation of the Muslims of the Americas is based on specific and articulate facts giving justification to believe they are engaged in international terrorism.”[16]

In 2005, an internal DHS report listed Fuqra/MOA as a possible sponsor of a future terrorist attack on U.S. soil and is among a handful of groups that “required continued monitoring.” It estimated its membership to be between 1,000 and 3,000 members and says it “continues to conceal its activities and prepare itself for a possible confrontation with U.S. authorities.”[17]

In 2006, a classified Canadian government report said that Fuqra/MOA members “send regular donations in support of Fuqra jihad activities in Kashmir.”[18]

In 2008, the California Attorney General listed Fuqra as one of the international terrorist groups that continues to impact the state in 2008.[19]

The New York Police Department conducted intelligence-gathering on MOA as a terrorist threat until at least 2009. Various documents show that the NYPD labeled MOA as a “Tier One” terrorist threat and designated it as a “terrorism enterprise.”[20]

Sheikh Gilani may have declared jihad on India in September 2016, accusing the country of committing “genocide” in Kashmir. He said that all Muslims are obliged to “assist them [Kashmiris] in obtaining their freedom.” He said, “I myself will see to their welfare. I will form a campaign in this regard that will go door to door to bring aid and relief to the deprived masses of Kashmir.[3]

MOA-affiliated sources said that the statement was carefully worded in order to call for jihad while retaining plausible deniability.

An internally-distributed copy of the MOA newspaper used bolder language. To a more private audience, Gilani said:

“To all the Islamic nations, the time has come that they should forget about their petty differences and become one under the banner of Al Islam…to form their own united Islamic organization designed to come to the aid of Muslims wherever they are oppressed, murdered or their homes destroyed….

At the same time, as Muslims, we believe that it is the duty of the Muslims who are living in unoccupied Kashmir to reach out and help their Kashmiri brethren in the Indian-occupied Kashmir. This is the law of Sharia, which does not absolve them of any of their responsibility to help their brethren by every possible means…

We will not be silent or sit idle. We are against any type of oppression—be it against Muslims, Christians or Jews. As for Pakistan, it cannot turn its face away to the other side, it must defend the part of the country it calls its ‘jugular vein.’”

After the election of President Trump, Sheikh Gilani and MOA leaders ordered members to be armed and prepared for violent confrontations with law enforcement. They believe that the Trump Administration will order the camps to be raided and that Trump’s election is the fulfillment of End Times prophecy.[4]

In 2017, MOA’s newspaper indirectly expressed solidarity with the Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist organization in Kashmir and Pakistan, legitimizing their violence as “freedom fighters.” MOA announced a campaign to “struggle” (the closest synonym for “jihad”) to “liberate” Kashmir from India.

U.S. State Department Criteria for Foreign Terrorist Organization Designation

Jamaat ul-Fuqra (or any of its alternative names including Muslims of America, Inc. or Muslims of the Americas) is currently not designated by the U.S. State Department as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. This may be due to a view of Fuqra as a domestic group.

The State Department said in 2002 it has not been included in any terrorism reports since 2000 because of its inactivity:

“Jamaat ul-Fuqra has never been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It was included in several recent annual terrorism reports under “other terrorist groups,” i.e., groups that had carried out acts of terrorism but that were not formally designated by the Secretary of State. However, because of the group’s inactivity during 2000, it was not included in the most recent terrorism report covering that calendar year.”[11]

A 2002 investigative piece on MOA stated:

“Law enforcement and intelligence sources, however, suggest the drop-off in Fuqra violence in recent years may be due to its sponsors’ ‘tightening the leash’ after the earlier attacks drew police scrutiny without advancing Islamist objectives. Fuqra’s core of trained operatives in the United States, according to this view, have been directed to lie dormant until needed to support a ‘cost effective’ strike.”[12]

Fuqra fits the three criteria for such designation:

  1. It must be a foreign organization: The group was founded by, and remains directed by, leadership in Pakistan.
  2. The organization must engage in terrorist activity…or terrorism…or retain the capability and intet to engage in terrorist activity of terrorism: MOA has undeniably engaged in terrorism and, as the previously quoted FBI documents states, retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorism.
  3. The organization’s terrorist activity or terrorism must threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security (national defense, foreign relations or the economic interests) of the United States. The terrorist activity on U.S. soil and the activity directed towards U.S. allies like India and Pakistan fulfill this qualification.

Over a dozen North American Muslim organizations and activists have condemned Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Muslims of America and have urged the U.S. government to consider designating it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. You can view the section of this website about Muslims against Fuqra for more information.

Paramilitary Training and Conduit to Pakistan

MOA inherited members experienced in paramilitary training from the now-defunct Dar Ul-Islam movement in New York. Sheikh Gilani began recruiting from the group in 1978, leading to tension that ultimately resulted in its dissolution in 1982.

The Darl ul-Islam paramilitary structure included a “ministry of defense” named “Ra’d” (Arabic for “Thunder”) that taught young members self-defense and was seen a violent but disciplined force. Members of the militia protected women from assault and retaliated against opponents.[21]

MOA was identified as an Islamist terrorist group with a paramilitary structure by the FBI as early as 1988. It states, “the FUQRA organization is a close-knit organization which believes that the Islamic faith will dominate the world within this century. However, this domination will only come through violent confrontations. Based on this belief, Fuqra has developed paramilitary groups within the FUQRA organization.”

In 1985, police arrested MOA bomber Steven Paul Paster in Englewood, Colorado after he detonated a device in a Hindu-owned hotel in Portland, Oregon. The faulty device resulted in Paster losing several of his fingers and his eyesight was severely damaged. His vehicle contained weapons and was booby-trapped.

When his home was searched, firearms and explosive ingredients were found. The police also found materials about paramilitary training and armament, along with texts about the Fuqra organization. The residents were very uncooperative and evasive during questioning.

In 1987, two MOA members were detained in New York after their vehicle crashed near Walkill, the location of a Quranic Open University “campus.” The police found documents about surveillance techniques, political assassinations, the Fuqra organization and material that the FBI described as “revolutionary” in nature.

They also found books titled “Hostile Espionage Organization, Characteristics of Agent Communications and of Agent Handling in the United States of America;” “Counterintelligence Corps Booklet” and “Handbook of Open Sources.” The pair also had two rifles and a handgun, blank birth certificates and driver’s licenses from various states.

A FBI report detailing the incident adds:

“Also present were photographs of children training with firearms at an unknown outdoor facility and photographs of an outdoor training camp with armed guards dressed in army fatigues standing guard in front of the main gate to the FUQRA camp, located at Tompkins, NY.”

In 1989, the police raided a storage locker in Colorado rented by MOA members. The authorities found thousands of pages of Fuqra material, including texts bearing the Sheikh Gilani; thousands of blank birth certificates from several southern states; plans for terrorist attacks including surveillance photos and 40 pounds of assembled and partially-assembled explosives, from simple pipe bombs to more advanced ones designed to be detonated by a pager.

In 1991, Sheikh Gilani ordered all of the group’s boys of at least 12 years old to attend a camp from July 15 to August 15 at Islamberg, N.Y., according to an official MOA notice. Gilani said he was personally supervising the program and attendance was “mandatory without exception.” Any parent who did not send their boy “will be dealt with according by El Sheikh,” it said.

The charge was $125 per boy and $100 for each additional boy in a family. The document listed Khalifa Hussain Abdallah, currently known as “K1” within MOA, as a point of contact. The notice said the boys would learn how to use rifles, parachuting, drill instruction, calligraphy and map reading. They’d also receive religious education and study the “anti-Islamic movement” and “Crusades up to the Gulf War.”

On October 8, 1992, Operation Mountain Storm was launched and the authorities raided the Buena Vista terrorist training camp, two MOA safehouses in Colorado Springs and two safehouses in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. The raid was partially based on surveillance footage showing armed men overseeing basic martial arts training at the camp in the rain, which Fuqra Files has obtained.

The residents of the camp were in the process of constructing an international communications system that included a satellite dish. A long-range radio with frequencies set for Lahore, Pakistan was found, which is the home base of Sheikh Gilani.[22] Various paper shooting targets were found, riddled with bulletholes and writing identifying them as FBI and law enforcement personnel, Zionists, or Qadianis (members of the Ahmadiyya sect).


Law enforcement personnel found 30 guns hidden in a concealed cave at the Buena Vista training camp, as well as 9,000 rounds of Chinese-manufactured ammunition. None of the weapons were illegal.[23] A large number of documents and books were seized from the raids, as well as the previous storage locker raid, revealed the secretive paramilitary nature of MOA.

For example, one document titled “Incogs” (shorthand for “Incognitos”) outlined the rules that members must follow while working undercover.

Authorities also found 48 membership applications to join MOA’s more elite and secretive “Soldiers of Allah” force, which MOA-affiliated sources say is still in existence today. The applications listed the members’ weaponry and skill sets that could be used for violent jihad.

One of the MOA terrorists who was convicted (and later found hiding near Islamville in South Carolina in 1996) was Edward Flinton. He confirmed that many of the group’s members had firearms and that paramilitary training was provided from the 1980s to the early 1990s, but downplayed its significance to a degree that is contradicted by the seized evidence.

Flinton said that a member known as “Doorsman” in New York oversaw the training and members were instructed on weekends, where they’d march in fatigue. Some of the Doorsman’s training happened in Queens, Trenton, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Washington D.C., Baltimore, and in/around Grenada and Dominica. He also said that training happened in Alabama.

Flinton described Doorsman’s classes as “pseudo-paramilitary training” that involved notes on bomb-making. MOA members knew now to talk about the classes and non-attendees knew never to ask about them.

A Colorado law enforcement report written in 1993 explicitly referred to MOA’s Islamberg headquarters as a “training compound.” It stated:

“Deposit, New York is a small town located outside of a known FUQRA training compound, also located near Hancock, New York. Previously obtained telephone records used as evidence in the Workers’ Compensation fraud case had shown that a number of telephone calls, originating from various identified FUQRA residences in Colorado Springs, Colorado, had been made to Deposit, New York and Hancock, New York.”[25]

The Colorado state investigators’ assessment of MOA remained unchanged until at least 2001.

In 2001, the Colorado Attorney General’s Office issued a nationwide memo warning:

“Colorado’s investigation indicated that the United States FUQRA movement was composed of approximately 30 different ‘Jamaats’ or communities, somewhat mobile in nature. Most of these ‘Jamaats’ are believed to currently exist today, along with what investigators deemed to be several stationary ‘covert paramilitary training compounds’…There are believed to be active UL FUQRA training compounds still existing in New York, Michigan, South Carolina, California, and perhaps other states.”[26]

At a trial in 2001 of two MOA members involved in weapons trafficking, ATF Special Agent Thomas P. Gallagher testified:

“Individuals from the organization [MOA] are trained in Hancock, N.Y., and if they pass the training in Hancock, N.Y., are then sent to Pakistan for training in paramilitary and survivalist training by Mr. Gilani.”[27]

Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project obtained documents from a 2003-2004 Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into MOA that was closed “due to lack of substantive tasking and USN [U.S. Navy] assets involvement regarding the subject group.” The various reports state:

“All locations have individuals who are involved with criminal scams to raise money for MOA/JAF [Jamaat al-Fuqra]. The scams include, but are not limited to insurance fraud, mail fraud, credit card fraud, workman’s compensation fraud, illegal straw purchases of weapons, conversion of semi-automatic weapons to fully automatic, etc.”

“Members of these groups send money via mail orders to Hancock, NY and Lahore, Pakistan to fund [redacted] the spiritual leader and founder of JAF.”

“MOA members from all compounds also travel to Pakistan for both religious education as well as military style training and operational experience fighting in the Kashmir region of Pakistan.”

MOA in New York was the subject of a FBI counter-terrorism investigation in 2003.

The reports warn that MOA serves as a conduit to foreign terrorist organizations, including Al-Qaeda and its affiliates in Pakistan. It states:

“The MOA is a loosely structured U.S. based organization. Several current members in New York have been convicted of criminal acts to include murder and fraud. Recruitment most often occurs in prisons or neighborhood mosques. Once recruited, some members are selected to receive training in firearms and explosives in Pakistan.

While overseas, some of these recruits are then handpicked by high-ranking terrorist operatives, like that of Al-Qaeda, and are sent to receive more specialized training. Upon completing of their training, many of these recruits are ultimately asked to pledge ‘beyat’ [allegiance]. If they do not receive beyat, they become what source information reveals as a ‘friend of Al-Qaeda’ who are called upon no matter where he is living around the world to assist Al-Qaeda.”

The FBI reports state:

“The MOA in New York is involved in continuous criminal activity to include money laundering and wire fraud. 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.

It is believed that [redacted] and 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.”

A 2004 study by the National White Collar Crime Center, which was funded by a Justice Department grant, concluded that over 35 “jamaats” (communities) existed in the U.S. with over a dozen “covert training compounds” in Colorado, Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Oregon, Washington, Maryland, Alabama, Oklahoma, Virginia and Tennessee.”[28]

DEA documents obtained by Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project from an investigation into MOA-linked narcotics trafficking in upstate New York state that cooperating agencies believe there is a flow of money from the U.S. camps to Sheikh Gilani’s network in Pakistan.

They state that the agencies “believe that through a narcotics distribution network these individuals were generating funds and then taking these funds back to the compound” known as Islamberg in Hancock. Members in this area were making money transfers to the Fuqra leadership in Pakistan. This particular investigation was closed in January 2007.

A 2006 Regional Organized Crime Information Center report, which was restricted to law enforcement, was titled, “Jamaat Ul-Fuqra: Gilani Followers Conducting Paramilitary Training in U.S.” It says that Gilani is “now known as an international terrorist.” It said that “several covert paramilitary training compounds exist within some of the communes” and that seven “training facilities” have been identified in Marion, AL; Commerce, GA; Macon, GA; Talihina, OK; York County, SC; Dover, TN and Red House, VA. The report says, “in addition, Jamaat ul-Fuqra members are known to travel to Pakistan and receive survivalist training under Gilani’s supervision.”[29]

Lawrence Martines, the former chief of the Nevada Department of Homeland Security, writes:

“Fuqra members are taught from an early age the value of firearms proficiency. Estimates of ammunition expended per year per person have ranged as high as 10,000 rounds. Expensive, but money does not seem to be a problem. When one considers that the average non-SWAT police officer of a large and active department may fire only 360 rounds in mandatory practice per year, smaller departments, often less, one can easily imagine the results should a gun battle erupt between lawmen and JAF operational cells. Additional guidance for select students includes making explosive and incendiary devices, surveillance and counter-surveillance.’[30]

Secret “Soldiers of Allah” Training Video from Early 1990s Reveals “Islamic Guerilla” Training and Strategy, Offers to Assist Non-MOA Jihadists

Sheikh Gilani filmed a secret videotape in or after 1992 that was distributed to select members in North America. The tape clearly shows that one of the purposes of MOA is to recruit Americans for jihad training, particularly in (but not limited to) Pakistan and Kashmir.

He instructs viewers not to make any copies of the tape so it “doesn’t fall into the hands of the enemies of Islam…it can, you know, be quite serious.”

He tells viewers interested in taking “one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare” to contact one of his International Quranic Open University Offices in the U.S., Canada and West Indies. The film shows Gilani’s followers receiving guerilla warfare training in Pakistan.

Gilani states that he has formed the “Soldiers of Allah” (SOA) as an international force for jihad and that training was available for Muslims outside of MOA who follow basic Islamic principles.[24] He tells members not to associate SOA with any other name used previously by MOA; an obvious measure to provide the organization with plausible deniability for SOA’s actions.

Gilani says that some SOA members fought against purported Russian agents in Afghanistan in August 1991. He said that these agents of Russia control the capital of Kabul, indicating that SOA fought against the Afghan government in power at the time. He said that he organized jihad camps in 1992 for the purpose of seizing Kabul. A dozen commanders were appointed to raise an army of 12,000 mujahideen.

Gilani boasts of giving militant training to Muslims in Kashmir and claims he has been training Muslims from all over the world for 10 years. He says his group has trained fighters for India, Philippines, Palestine, Kashmir and “wherever they [Muslim enlistees] are oppressed.”

He follows that statement that MOA is part of this effort and “Allah has chosen them as a community of Muslims who would allay the suffering and oppression of Muslims all over the world.” Gilani says that the U.S. and Russia have allied since the end of the Cold War and that a “single [Muslim] community is the living threat to the Western civilization.”

Gilani makes it clear that he is training Muslims from outside of MOA:

“Life is becoming more hard for Muslims. Therefore, every Muslim—man and woman, should learn to defend himself or herself. And this training project, this training camp which you are about to see is not only meant for Kashmiris. We have opened our doors for Muslims all over the world. It doesn’t matter if you do not belong to the jamaat or the group called the Muslims of the Americas. It doesn’t matter.”

The only conditions for acceptance into his training is that you are a sincere and honest Muslim, you do not declare other Muslims as apostates, you pray five times a day, you don’t violate Islam’s prohibition on interest, you only eat halal food, you believe in one God and you are “modest.”

“Then, of course, you can easily reach us, you know—and we are establishing training camps at present in other countries; some other Islamic countries where there are Muslims from all over the world. And you can reach us, you know, at Quranic Open University offices in upstate New York, or in Canada, or in Michigan, or in South Carolina, or in Pakistan…wherever we are, you can reach us.”

He boasts that “ordinary youth is turned into, you know, very [much] like tigers and they have gone back to their people and they are training them in the very same self-defense and guerilla warfare.”

He suggests that viewers try to contact the founders of MOA sitting on either side of him, Saleh Abdul-Ghaffur, Hussein Abdallah and an individual whose name sounds like “Mujaab Musadari.”

The tape then shows recruits training in Kashmir learning how to ambush guards, set off explosives, engage in hand-to-hand combat, and many other guerilla warfare tactics. In one scene, an instructor is heard teaching, “Act like you a friend, then kill him, just like from the book.”

According to a U.S. government transcript of the tape, enlistees get 20 days of training and then go to Murree, a town northeast of Rawalpindi for four days to receive additional training and an intelligence briefing. A speaker indicates that the course is designed to accommodate 100 recruits at a time. Each recruit is expected to try to recruit and train 100 fighters, so they’ll have a total army of 10,000.

One class is training specifically for fighting “Jews and Israelis.” Another part talks about preparing recruits to go to Germany and getting past customs. Gilani tells enlistees, “We will be sending you to Germany to train others.”

One scene shows Sheikh Gilani directly training enlistees, describing 19 types of curriculum available. He tells them that “if any calamity comes upon you in combat, you need to understand that it will be taken care of. You will be paid 7,000 if you agree to it and if it’s okay with you…We are doing everything we can on your behalf. We have also made arrangements for your protection in every way we can.”

He ends the pep talk by pledging to “train you to be like tigers and lions.” The talk ends with shouts of, “Long live Gilani!”

The video cuts back to where Gilani was looking into the camera directly. He says that the Soldiers of Allah organization under MOA are not terrorists or mercenaries because they “fight for the oppressed people” and “the sake of Allah.”

Gilani says how he hopes to raise an army of 12,000 to establish “Islamic order” in Kabul and the rest of Afghanistan. He recalls how fighters he recruited in the past to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan did not cross the border due to a threat from Russia to retaliate against Pakistan.

The film ends with Gilani saying he will send video of the coming “actions” in Kashmir and Afghanistan by his trainees.

2002 Video of Guerilla Training of Women in Islamberg

A video that is believed to have been filmed in 2001-2002 shows a group of armed women at Islamberg being given guerilla warfare training while in military-style attire. The trainees are seen being taught by male instructors and marching in formation, practicing hand-to-hand combat, learning to use knives and swords, firing guns into a lake, etc.

It was obtained in 2009 by Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project through a law enforcement source. [31]

MOA-affiliated sources report that the group “freaked out” after the release of the video and moved more of the training off-site. Trainees were also ordered to stop wearing military-type attire during training and to instead wear tan-colored uniforms.

Public statements by local law enforcement officials have downplayed the video and reports of gunfire coming from the compound, particularly in the wake of media reporting and thwarted terrorist plots targeting Islamberg.

In the 2008 Clarion Project documentary, The Third Jihad, Sgt. Lou D’Marco of the neighboring Deposit Police Department is shown saying, You hear gunfire when you go past there. At night, you do hear screaming and yelling. And there have been people who have left the compound that have told us information about some of the stuff they have done.”[32]

Paramilitary Training at Baladullah, California

MOA’s massive compound at Miramonte, California, was abandoned in 2002 after the group’s massive charter school scam there was exposed. Several of those involved, including senior MOA official Khadijah Ghafur, were prosecuted.

Neighbors reported frequently hearing gunfire coming from the compound in the afternoon and late at night. One neighbor said it alternated between sounding like target practice and automatic gunfire.[33] The California Attorney General confirmed that neighbors heard automatic gunfire and explosions coming from the site.[34]

Law enforcement personnel confirmed to a local ABC News reporter that gunfire could be heard coming from Baladullah and that there are guards at the entrances to intercept visitors. Neighbors reported seeing armed patrols on the perimeter of the property. The neighbors disagreed that the gunfire could be explained away as the sound of innocent hunting.


Pictures from inside Baladullah show numerous vehicles with bullet holes, indicating they were used for target practice. The action mirrors pictures from Islamberg in New York that showed bullet holes in a school bus. MOA said that the school bus had been vandalized and denied that it was used for target practice.


Another picture from Baladullah shows a blackboard with the words, “If you are in range I will shoot” and “I will win bet on it!!!!”

According to Lawrence Martines, the former chief of Nevada’s department of homeland security, locals reported “loud and extensive gunfire” coming from the site. He continues:

“Upon inspection of the site by local sheriff’s personnel, it was revealed that the compound in question was occupied by a hundred or so Afro-American men, women and children. The occupants professed to be of the fundamentalist Islamic faith and were merely living apart from the surrounding kufrs (non-Muslim infidels) to avoid cultural pollution while embracing religious peace and solitude. A concern of the sheriff’s personnel examining the site was not the ‘mosque’ or heavily patrolled grounds, but the crude yet extensive weapons range for both pistol and rifle use found within the camp grounds.”[35]

MOA-affiliated sources who visited Baladullah before it shut down described it as being full of weapons and constant target practice and other kinds of violent training. The sources were especially shocked by the anti-American attitude of the youth, who spoke enthusiastically of one day waging jihad, particularly against law enforcement.

Paramilitary Training at Islamville in South Carolina

Various credible reports have identified Islamville as a site where paramilitary training including firearms usage takes place. MOA-affiliated sources confirmed this, but emphasized the importance of MOA members who live near the compound but not inside of it.

In 2010, nearby residents told a local newspaper that they had seen armed guards patrolling Islamville and that they sometimes heard gunfire at night.[36] The sound of gunfire coming from Islamville was recorded in November 2009, March 2011 and May 2011. A local resident reported the sounds of explosions on January 26, 2012 and April 6, 2012.[37]

Reports of gunfire by neighbors continue to come to the Clarion Project.


Two neighbors have claimed that a man in full Islamic garb armed with an AK-47 stopped them from stepping on Islamville property when they searched for their dog. They say that four armed men escorted them inside the commune.[38] A source that was inside Islamville took pictures of an alleged weapons stockpile in Islamville in 2009 and provided them to Professor Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project. A book published by Martin Mawyer in 2012 includes pictures of .50 caliber shells retrieved from Islamville through a separate source.[39]

Paramilitary Training at the Ahmadabad Virginia Camps

Law enforcement sources told the Washington Times in 2002 that the compounds in Virginia had 200-300 residents and “have been linked to various money-laundering operations and weapons violations, and are believed to have aided and abetted various terrorist groups.”

One official said, “The faces of those we have seen in the communities are continually changing. It’s unclear who’s there at any given time and what they’re doing.” [40]

Documents from a 2003-2004 Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation into MOA state:

“The MOA, Red House, VA group have also been instructed to purchase firearms and ordnance each month to continue to enhance the defenses of their compound. Reporting to BATF [Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms] has noted that MOA, Red House, VA conducts squad type training in surrounding woods/swamps, and that they have made uncorroborated statements that they would fight any law enforcement encroachment on their compound by use of defensive force.”

A 2003 NCIS report says that “the group has expressed an interest in harming a VSP [Virginia State Police] trooper if they pose a threat to MOA members in central Virginia.

A 2009 Virginia State Police Fusion Center report confirms that the MOA in Virginia has been involved in drug trafficking, fraud, surveillance and counter-surveillance, sale of counterfeited items and attempted government infiltration. MOA-owned businesses and charities are used to fundraise for Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan.

The report said that the MOA in Virginia have held “paramilitary drills” that involve using firearms. However, the report rated MOA’s “attack capability” in the state as “low.” It states:

Current intelligence suggests the MOA attack capabilities have declined and members lack the training resources to mount a serious attack.” However, the report says that “intelligence gaps make it impossible to assess the level of criminal activity” of MOA in the state. [41]

When the Clarion Project’s Ryan Mauro asked the Virginia camps’ “mayor,” Matthew Gardner, in 2011 about the gunfire heard at MOA communes, he indicated that members of his camp go shooting and said, “What is wrong with shooting your gun in the United States of America?”[42]

An intelligence source with direct experience investigating Fuqra in Virginia described the group as highly dangerous and well-armed with legal weapons. He described their tactical training, some of which took place inside Red House at the time, as “very good.” He said it is believed that members strategically choose places of employment in order to develop expertise in needed areas.

Paramilitary Training at the Sweeny, TX Camp

Documents from a DEA investigation into MOA’s camp in Sweeny, TX state that the Brazoria County Sheriff’s Department “had received information that individuals on the compound were speaking Arabic and firing semi-automatic weapons on the premises of the compound.”

Locals reported hearing gunfire coming from the compound in 2014. Pictures were obtained of shell casings from the site and provided to Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project.

Weapons Trafficking and the Red House, Virginia Standoff in 2001

The paramilitary and anti-police nature of MOA became clear to law enforcement in Virginia in 2001 when it sought to arrest a female member for illegal gun trafficking.

Vincent Rafael Pierre, one of the MOA terrorists convicted during the Colorado case, was arrested in 2001. As a felon, he was prohibited from obtaining a firearm, so his wife bought one on his behalf. [43] Evidence from the trial (and confirmed by various MOA-affiliated sources) indicated that a larger scheme to conduct straw purchases was happening.

Pierre and his wife lived at the Red House “Islamic village” in Virginia since 1996. Another MOA member from the Colorado case, James D. Williams, was also found in the area in 2000. He is currently incarcerated in Colorado.

When the police sought to apprehend Pierre’s wife, Traci Upshur, the police were threatened with violence. The “mayor” of the village, Matthew Gardner (known by his Muslim name, Muhammad Ali), told the local sheriff that an estimated 200 armed members from around the east coast were at the compound for an event.

Muhammad Ali (Matthew Gardner) explicitly said they were ready to defend her if police came onto the property.

Evidence introduced during the trial indicated this purchase was part of a larger weapons acquisition and trafficking operation run by Virginia MOA members. An ATF agent who testified during the trial said that Red House residents would buy the same type of gun so they could share ammunition “in case of an attack on their village.”

Pierre said during the trial that “our religious community encouraged its members, who are not prohibited persons, to take advantage of their 2nd Amendment rights as American citizens.” He said that the majority of residents were armed by the late 1990s.

MOA Members Arrested on Weapons Charges

Multiple MOA members have been arrested on firearms-related charges and MOA-affiliated sources state that the group remains heavily-armed and a large amount of weapons trafficking continues across the country.

In July 2017, Ramadan Abdullah was indicted on 16 counts after he was arrested with a weapons stockpile.[i]

Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project and Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network jointly reported that Abdullah is a senior associate of MOA and that his weaponry was headed to Islamberg. Their sources inside MOA described him as a “founding father” of the group who helped buy the Islamberg property. They also reported his attendance at a counter-protest on Islamberg property in 2016 when bikers held a drive-by demonstration against MOA.[ii]

The suspect, 64-year old Ramadan Abdullah, was previously arrested in 1977 when he and another man tried to rob a candy store in Brooklyn and someone was murdered in the process. When police searched his home, they found enough material to build 50 bombs. The charges against Abdullah were significantly reduced.

On May 31, Abdullah was arrested after trying to steal four boxes of ammunition from a local Gander Mountain store. When police questioned him about the purpose of the ammo, his answers made them suspicious and they obtained a search warrant for a storage locker he was renting in the town of Union.

During that search, police found a large assortment of weaponry including 8 assault weapons, 4 loaded handguns, one loaded shotgun, two rifles, 64 high-capacity ammunition feeding devices, flak jackets and thousands of rounds of ammunition, including .50-caliber armor-piercing rounds.

Searches of other residences linked to Abdullah turned up another loaded handgun, more high-capacity ammunition feeding devices and ammunition, including .38-caliber rounds.[iii]

New York State Police Major Jim Barnes would not say whether Abdullah was connected to terrorist groups or any organizations, but confirmed that they believe he has gone overseas.

MOA denies that Abdullah was ever a member of the group or a founder of Islamberg. MOA PR Director Matthew Gardner, an official from the commune in Red House, VA, says Abdullah tried to join the organization but was denied because they “were very wary of him.”[i]

In March 2001, MOA member James Hobson, who lived at the Baladullah compound in California, was arrested for weapons trafficking between New York and South Carolina.[44] Hobson was arrested in 1999 for providing firearms to felons. An ATF Special Agent indicated during the trial of Pierre that an investigation into weapons trafficking involving Islamville in South Carolina was ongoing, indicating that Hobson’s activity was part of a larger scheme. (See above document)

In December 2001, another Red House resident, Bilal Abdullah Ben Benu, was arrested for illegally buying guns. He was previously convicted in 1992 for lying about his conviction for possession of crack cocaine in Maryland.[45] Ben Benu had a SKS assault rifle, 9 mm pistol and AK-47 ammunition.[46]

In February 2003, another female MOA member at the Red House compound was indicted for illegally purchased several weapons for the group.[47]

First Hand Testimony

Ali Abdel-Aziz, a former MOA member who served as a NYPD informant from 2003 to 2010 and lived for two years at Islamberg, said “mass military training” has stopped. MOA instead picks a select group of proven members for advanced training that takes place off-site.

The best ones go to Pakistan for additional training and return home to share some of their skills. Training also takes place using non-MOA facilities outside the camps, with Ali joining a “formed military squad” that took classes in Virginia.

Ali said there are no underground tunnels as some writers have claimed, but there are a “whole lot of guns.” He claims that he intercepted weapons shipments involving MOA on behalf of the NYPD.[48]

MOA-affiliated sources state with certainty that basic, military-type instruction continues under the guise of “self-defense” at the camps. These sources claim that the retreats held by MOA’s Muslim Boy Scouts are where training takes place and that it always includes gunfire. The best recruits are identified as these retreats.

The training is said to include target practice, combat tactics, archery, mountain climbing, disarmament of adversaries with firearms, knives, small caliber handguns, rifles and high caliber semi-automatic weapons. Most of the loud training is before morning prayers between 4 and 5 A.M. when most neighbors are sleeping.

Explosives training was more freely offered in the past but it now restricted to more trusted members. Several sources described operatives being trained in how to use a light-bulb to make a bomb, as well as how to set up a bomb in the medicine cabinet of a bathroom.

The sources do not recall women ever being trained in how to make explosives. The few women who were instructed in explosives only learned how to plant them and make logistical preparations for undercover operations that could include bombings.

The sources said that training at the retreats also moves off-site. Events during these retreats explicitly proclaim they are preparing for jihad and glorify “martyrdom,” they say.

Some sources say that the talk of jihad has ceased in recent years due to public scrutiny, instead describing the instruction as “self-defense.” The accompanying religious studies, however, are radical and talk about jihad against perceived oppressors of Muslims around the world. Attendees learn about major battles in Islamic history and are even organized into separate “brigades,” each named after a companion of Prophet Muhammad who engaged in warfare.

More training has moved off-site since the release of the video showing women training at Islamberg. (See video above.) Firing ranges and formal firearms classes held by private companies are now used in order to avoid suspicion. MOA continues to front groups, such as security companies, as a means of acquiring licenses, training, employment and a way to transfer funds.

The sources say that the Muslim Boy Scouts are also known as the Muslim Rangers. The members with more advanced training join the Soldiers of Allah, which is tasked with more responsibility including undercover work and illegal activity.

MOA members continue to travel to Pakistan and Kashmir and receive training but they never talk about it and members know not to ask about it, these sources say. They say that larger groups used to go in the 1990s, but then it fell to a handful at a time. Now, it has fallen to only a couple, but these sources admit it’s possible that more are going and their attendance is being kept secret from other MOA members.

A former member who was a member for nine years and says he went to Pakistan to meet Sheikh Gilani in 1999 described receiving guerrilla warfare instruction during the trip. He said:

“Gun training was on the military bases and also by mujahideen trainees. We met Muslims from Ireland, England, Bosnia, Russia and other European countries. The religious training was more extensive than the jihad training. We learned ancient martial arts. We also engaged in some form of ancient wrestling that reminded me of sumo wrestling.”[49]

One source said that permitted non-MOA individuals have also attended training sessions in the U.S. This would not contradict Sheikh Gilani’s teachings, as he said in the “Soldiers of Allah” tape that this organization would facilitate training for non-MOA guerilla fighters.

MOA-affiliated sources say that male members have also taken part in a non-MOA group called the Jawala Scouts that follows the same Sufi Qadri school of thought, but is not loyal to Gilani.

They said that Jawala Scouts welcomes hardline Islamists including MOA members in its activities. These sources describe the Jawala Scouts as having extremist teaching in line with Sankore’s ideology and physical exercises that include military-style training of boys and young men.

The MOA-affiliated sources include ones who have relatives who were simultaneously members of MOA and the Jawala Scouts in Philadelphia and Brooklyn. The sources said the Jawala Scouts were very “military-centered” with boys being required to wear combat boots, simulating combat with wooden rifles and learning martial arts, accompanied with an anti-Western education that includes teaching about jihad.

The sources say that many boys from MOA families that do not live in or near MOA’s “Islamic villages” will join the Jawala Scouts as an alternative.

2017: Federal Source Confirms Ongoing MOA Tactical Training

In April 2017, a retired federal source with direct investigatory experience with MOA spoke to Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project and agreed to provide anonymous testimony with unclassified portions of his experience.

The source took issue with claims that law enforcement no longer had concerns about MOA, saying:

“I was briefed, in detail, multiple times about MOA while assigned to national security missions in the proximity of MOA compounds and areas where MOA members are employed. These briefings took place after 2009.

“I know there’s an anonymous source claiming that the threat from MOA was neutralized and members disarmed by 2009, but these briefings took place years after that.

“The intelligence briefings consisted of information about MOA’s tactical capabilities with an emphasis on the tactical training that women and children participated in, as well as weapons’ capabilities and the legal purchases of weapons by MOA members who are not felons.

“It was known that MOA would use non-felons to get guns for those who are felons. It was strongly suspected that this was still happening.

“The problem that law enforcement had is that it’s not against the law to train with weapons on private property or to legally purchase weapons, even if you are affiliated with an Islamic extremist group. The concern was that these tactical capabilities could be used in a coordinated action against U.S. citizens and/or interests.

“The concern about MOA was not shared with everyone. Federal agencies are compartmentalized. I was never told that the concern was real until I had a real need to know. Others who raised the topic were told to leave the subject alone and the conversations ended. It even happened to me after I completed my duties that required me to be briefed on them.

“MOA will activate in a moment if Sheikh Gilani commands it. Ryan Mauro and the Clarion Project are providing the American public with credible and vital information about the group. has more than enough evidence for any objective person to see that the group is hiding its extremism and those who defend the group aren’t doing their research well or have been misinformed by authorities.”[i]

The source was prompted to speak in response to a behind-the-scenes “whisper campaign” by a researcher making unsubstantiated, bizarre claims that MOA was “disbanded by the FBI” between 2007 and 2009 when the Bureau “totally destroyed the infrastructure of MOA.” The researcher claimed that MOA has “never been reconstituted since,” with only “poor food-stampers who have no weapons” remaining. He responded to FBI documents released by Clarion Project from 2007 by telling media figures, activists and experts with MOA became “defunct” in a strangely convenient timeframe starting right after the 2007 FBI report was written.

Common sense and basic research–such as MOA’s open activity on its own websites and in plain view–clearly contradicted the claims.The “whisper campaign” was definitively debunked in 2018 with the release FBI documents from 2009 to 2011 related to a counter-terrorism investigation into MOA in Alaska. It was also debunked by ATF’s confirmation in November 2017 that its investigations into MOA are ongoing. 

The FBI documents from 2009-2011 confirmed that about a dozen MOA communes in America remain and that “organized training is also conducted to include weapons training, tactics, hand-to-hand combat, rappelling and live-fire exercises.”

The FBI reports urged personnel to consider the group “armed and dangerous” and to use “extreme caution when dealing with members or individuals who are believed to be associated with this group.”[ii]

[i] Mauro, Ryan. (2017). Jamaat ul-Fuqra in U.S. Still Active Threat: Federal Source. Clarion Project.

[ii] Mauro, Ryan. (2018). Exclusive: FBI Confirms Jihadi Training Camps in America. Clarion Project.

Historical Structure and Methods of Operation

Seized MOA documents, published MOA materials and substantiated information from MOA-affiliated sources and former members provide insight into how the group is structured and what its methods of operation are.

Descriptions of Structure

MOA says it has 22 “Islamic villages” across the U.S., with only a portion being publicly recognized. The headquarters is the 70-acre “Islamberg” village in Hancock, N.Y. The “Islamville” village in York County, S.C. is considered the second-ranking village and contains the holiest shrine to MOA members in America.

These “villages” are also referred to as “jamaats,” or communities. Major “jamaats” are sometimes located nearby a covert “jamaat” where paramilitary training takes place.

For example, the 101-acre paramilitary training camp in Buena Vista, Colorado, was the companion site to the “jamaat” in Colorado Springs. In more recent years, a covert 25-acre training camp wasn’t publicly known until bloggers identified it in 2005.[50] It is located near the publicly-acknowledged “jamaat” at Red House.

MOA-affiliated sources emphasize that key operatives live outside of the camps and that smaller communities of members also exist outside the camps. Many of those involved in illegal activity do not live on the camps so that MOA can claim not to know of their activity or that they expelled the member because of their crime.

One MOA-affiliated source said that the group’s long-term goal has always been to establish at least one camp in each U.S. state.

A FBI report on the group from 1988 indicated that Fuqra/MOA’s paramilitary elements are part of an inner core that not all members belong to. It states:

“the FUQRA organization is a close-knit organization which believes that the Islamic faith will dominate the world within this century. However, this domination will only come through violent confrontations. Based on this belief, Fuqra has developed paramilitary groups within the FUQRA organization.”

The Regional Organized Crime Information Center said in 2006 that MOA is comparable to ‘classically-structured terrorist cells.’”[51]

Susan Fenger, the Colorado Special Investigator who played a key role in prosecuting the MOA branch in Colorado, described the group as having four “faces:” Militant lifestyle; crime; fictitious organizations and terrorism.[52]

In 2009, the Urban Warfare Analysis Center, which is sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, wrote a study of terrorist sleeper cells that described Fuqra/MOA as an example of an “expanded hybrid cell.”

These kinds of cells “involve a trained infiltrator entering the United States to join forces with homegrown radicals, producing the most lethal combination of outside experience and local knowledge.”

Hybrid cells “combine local knowledge of U.S. targets with tactical expertise and resources.” They “have the potential to combine high-level expertise and international combat experience with local knowledge and diverse cultural backgrounds to implement innovative terrorist attacks.”

“A network of hybrid cells spread across the country has the potential to perform synchronized and sophisticated attacks not easily suppressed by local law enforcement personnel,” the study says.

The trained operative forms the “hub” or “star” of a cell and connects the cell to foreign contacts and/or other cells. The structure allows for information to be tightly compartmentalized so that penetration by government agencies is exceptionally difficult.

Hybrid cells pose the greatest danger to homeland security, capturing the strengths of infiltration and homegrown cells while mitigating some of the weaknesses of each,” it states.[53]

Absolute Secrecy

MOA has a cultish devotion to Sheikh Gilani and those he appoints, as demonstrated in the section of this website about the group’s ideology. The group also frequently operates under different names and has various fronts, as detailed in the section of this website about their front groups.

MOA-affiliated sources state that there are a significant number of members, particularly women, who are too afraid to leave. Some members who have left are pressured into returning or find life outside of MOA to be too difficult and return to the organization.

All the sources describe the group as highly secretive and say that members accept that they cannot be told about undercover operations and are even accepting of being lied to in order to ensure operational security.

Copies of the original pledge to Fuqra/MOA were obtained by law enforcement during raids on their sites. MOA sources say that the same pledge is used today, but the name of Jamaat ul-Fuqra has been dropped. There are additional pledges required for covert undertakings on behalf of MOA.

“I shall always hear and obey, and whenever given the command, I shall readily fight for Allah’s sake,” one pledge reads.

“In the event I am selected to participate in this noble undertaking, I agree to abide by the law and discipline of Jamaatul Fuqra,” one pledge reads. The signatory agrees to make “every possible sacrifice for the betterment of the family” and the “Islamic town.” The member agreed to abide by all security measures, “including those that may be enforced from time to time.”

The Regional Organized Crime Information Center said in 2006:

“The Jamaat ul-Fuqra includes at least 35 of these communes, each of which is assigned a geographic location in which to operate. The members of one commune do not know members of another, and the only communication between them is via telephone at pre-determined times. This method is typical of ‘classically-structured terrorist cells.’”[54]

MOA keeps making of its proclaimed 22 “Islamic villages” secret from the public and even from its own members. MOA-affiliated sources recounted numerous times when they only learned about a camp’s existence when it was exposed by someone on the Internet. For example, one well-connected source inside MOA recalled only learning about the site in Texas after Ryan Mauro of the Clarion Project exposed it publicly.[55]

Efforts to deceive about the camps and their relationships to MOA were apparent in depositions taken when the group tried to sue author Martin Mawyer for $30 million and failed.

For example, Hussein Adams, the chief executive of MOA, claimed that the group only had three villages “officially,” consisting of Islamberg in New York, the neighboring Maryamville and Islamville in South Carolina.

When confronted about other MOA officials that he may consider to be “unofficial,” he mentioned nine more. Together, the total fell 10 short of the 22 that MOA openly states it has.

When MOA’s own numbering of its villages was pointed out, Adams replied, “Well, maybe there were other locations included.”

Adams and other officials made various evasions during the deposition and provided minimal information about the group.

In his first book that was distributed to early followers, Sheikh Gilani claims to spiritually bring select students (“talibs”) to the Holy Court of the Prophet Muhammad where orders are given for actions on earth. Those that witness proceedings related to earthly rulers must keep the rulings a secret.[56]

The book refers to one student as being on a secret “mission” and censors his name. It emphasizes that trusted members are sent on undercover operations related to jihad.

It says that Allah commanded Sheikh Gilani to “revive the spirit of jihad” and, in further of that objective, “Our Jamaat of Qadria is rendering great services in various countries of the world but it is being done silently and for Allah’s sake.”

In another book published in 1982 by MOA, Doors of Beholding and Presence, it is commanded that anyone chosen to communicate directly with Gilani must not share the contents of their conversations.

“A talib [student] must never disclose anything which he might be hear from the sheikh nor should he inform any other person about the sheikh’s impressions about him,” it states.

The original “hijrah,” or movement of MOA members across the U.S. to establish their villages, was done in complete secrecy. A MOA newspaper article said the members had to “pretend not to be followers” of Islam.

MOA is also hostile to outsiders, granting few interviews and only pre-arranged, escorted visitations when it suits their public relations strategy. There are many stories of police, firefighters and ambulances being denied access to the camps.

The New York Water Supply Bureau investigated Islamberg as a possible terrorist threat to the water supply starting in 1988. A report by the Bureau discloses that there was a fire inside of one of Islamberg’s trailers on December 24, 1988. The Islamberg residents did not report the fire. The local fire department only showed up because a neighbor called about smoke emanating from the compound.

Islamberg denied the firefighters access to the inside of the compound. Live ammunition was heard being discharged due to the flame, proving that weapons were being stored inside Islamberg. The New York Water Supply Bureau was later reprimanded for its investigation.

In a 2002 meeting with New York law enforcement, attending police officers and two officials from Islamberg had contentious exchanges about MOA’s lack of cooperation, including denying entry to law enforcement and an ambulance.

On February 7, 2002, a shooting incident happened at a MOA camp in Texas known as Mahmoudberg. An unidentified resident killed Salminma Dawood, formerly known as Terrance C. Davis III, as he “returned gunfire to unknown individuals who were harassing the MOA commune.” When the police arrived, they saw a dozen African-American males at the scene, about five of which lived at Mahmoudberg. The investigators saw about seven women and children, including a 10-month old infant, who lived there.

The police were denied access to the trailer homes at Mahmoudberg and were stopped from directly interviewing the women. The women covered their faces when approached by the police. The men required police to only communicate with the women by passing a note through a male intermediary.

In September 2003, the Red House compound leaders refused to allow Virginia Power to come onto the property to fix power lines and denied access to the local fire department. Access was only granted and power restored several days later. The incident was mentioned in documents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Locals said that law enforcement have visited Mahmoudberg a few times and residents refused to talk to them. One local said that two ambulances were denied entry in 2013 until the police intervened. A search of the Brazoria County criminal records indicates that three Mahmoudberg residents were arrested on February 28, 2013. Two were charged with interfering with public duties and one was charged with reckless driving.[57]

The high degree of loyalty and secrecy has been a problem for law enforcement agencies seeking to collect intelligence on the organization.

A NYPD counter-terrorism file from 2006 lists MOA as a “Tier One Group” for intelligence-gathering. Although it says it succeeded in having an informant in their ranks, the NYPD had not succeeded in having an undercover officer inside the group.[58]

The police department of Englewood, CO, a major hub of MOA terrorist and criminal activity in the 80s to the early 90s, said they were only first made aware of the group’s existence in June 1985. A file from that time states that “very little intelligence information is known about the Fuqra.”[59]

A FBI report from 1988 described MOA members as highly-disciplined and well-trained. It said that law enforcement had little, if any, success in convincing current or former members to cooperate in investigations.

A 1993 Colorado Attorney General’s Office document about the investigations into MOA states that two investigations into the group prior to 1984 were stopped because of a lack of leads.

The difficulties of getting information about MOA is made significantly greater by the fact that affiliation with the group is usually not considered as evidence that is admissible into court because it is not illegal. Martines writes that the number of crimes associated with MOA “might realistically be double or more in North America” than commonly believed.[60]

Frequent Movement / Hiding of Wanted Members

Various law enforcement documents from MOA’s early history describe the group as “nomadic” in nature with members constantly transporting between camps, often using false identification and/or the IDs of other members. Camps also frequently started, stopped or were moved.

Our research indicates that this is unchanged.

It is common for members to be linked to many addresses and social security numbers simultaneously. The members are very difficult to follow as they quickly move between addresses.

MOA-affiliated sources say that camps that receive less public attention are used to house members who are in need of greater security, either because they may be wanted for crimes, fear a threat from someone outside of MOA or are considered a trouble-maker in need of stricter supervision and religious guidance.

Members engaged in illegal activity or on parole are told to only come into the camps when it is absolutely necessary. MOA does not want law enforcement, including a parole officer, to have justification to enter the areas without prior scheduling.

moa-finances-terror-pakThe sources point out that when an off-camp member is arrested, MOA denies responsibility for their crime by claiming they kicked the person out for their crime or another behavioral issue. However, there is no evidence that MOA is reporting these allegedly “expelled” members to police for their crimes. Declassified documents show that these members’ illicit fundraising goes to MOA and Gilani.

The sources reported the movement of parolees off camps in the wake of President Trump’s election and a peculiar scattering of members into areas of the U.S. with no prior history of a MOA presence.[61] They also say that members involved in known illegal activity, as well as parolees, are told to only come into the camps when it is necessary in order to avoid providing law enforcement with a justification for entry.

Virginia law enforcement noticed this pattern among the members of the compounds in their state in 2002 and suspected it was for the purpose of setting up safe-houses in rural parts of southern Virginia.[62]

One official said, “The faces of those we have seen in the communities are continually changing. It’s unclear who’s there at any given time and what they’re doing.” [63]

There are several examples of MOA fugitives finding safe harbor in and/or near the “Islamic villages.” Some, such as Steven Paul Paster and Chris Childs, escape to Pakistan and lived with Sheikh Gilani’s group there. MOA terrorist Edward Flinton, who was convicted in the Colorado case, was eventually found in 1996 near Islamville in South Carolina. He later admitted that he spent time inside the village.

MOA terrorist James D. Williams, also convicted in the Colorado case, did not show up for sentencing and went on the run. He was later caught in 2000 near the Red House, Virginia compound where he lived. MOA-affiliated sources say he spent years hiding in a safehouse in Chicago before moving to Virginia.

Frank Nelson, a fugitive who shot a security guard at Long Island college in 1971 wasn’t arrested until September 2005 when he was found living adjacent to Islamville. He converted to Islam and went by the name of “Abdullah Ali.”[64]

Attributing Activity to Others

MOA is unique in the jihadist world in that it has never claimed credit for any attack, generally avoids publicity and does not compete with other Islamist groups for attention. Instead, Gilani and MOA prefer to act as a conduit for material aid to other groups that do take responsibility. Although the group has conducted terrorist attacks on North American soil by itself, it has always shown a preference for serving as a “spoke in the wheel” for the Pakistan-backed jihadist groups, particularly Hizbul Mujahideen.

When MOA conducted terrorist and paramilitary operations on U.S. soil, the selected “incognito” operatives would form a new entity such as the “Muhammad Commandos” to hide its links to MOA. The “Soldiers of Allah” tape from the early 1990s explicitly stated that the entity was set up to facilitate “Islamic guerilla” training for jihadists around the world regardless of whether they belong to MOA or not.

In the early 1990s, Gilani and MOA sounded more than happy to transfer assets to the “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdel Rahman, the Sudanese “Pope of Terrorism” Hasan al-Turabi, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar of Hezb-i-Islami and Hizbul Mujahideen in Kashmir and respond to the requests of certain state sponsors of terrorism, namely Pakistan and Sudan. Fuqra Files has interviewed MOA members who traveled overseas and saw this conduit operating first-hand.

Sources inside Muslim communities with a strong extremist presence have told Clarion Intelligence Network that even non-MOA extremists are impressed with the creation of the MOA infrastructure in the U.S. and its potential. Other Islamists openly talk about copying MOA’s strategy of having “lands,” with the strategy being of particular interest to groups with a large number of black converts and influence from groups like Nation of Islam, Dar ul-Islam, the New Black Panther Party and Ummah and preachers like Louis Farrakhan, Jamil Al-Amin, Luqman Abdullah, Bilal Phillips and those associated with the Muslim Alliance in North America led by Siraj Wahhaj.

While Gilani and MOA boast of their involvement in the jihad in Afghanistan against the Soviets and the jihad in Kashmir against the Indians, few details are provided and available evidence indicates that Gilani and MOA prefer to act as a “spoke in the wheel” of the Pakistan-backed jihadist groups, serving as a conduit for material aid without operational responsibility for actual acts of violence.

MOA has also sought to attribute attacks to militants representing other causes. In the 1980s, MOA operatives tried to have some of their violent attacks attributed to Sikh separtists who were/are being backed by Pakistan against India.

MOA and other jihadists reflexively blame any attack on its adversaries (including those they committed), usually a Satanic-Zionist conspiracy that includes the governments of the U.S., U.K., Israel, Saudi Arabia and India.

FBI informant Emad Salem, who worked closely with some MOA operatives as a bodyguard for the “Blind Sheikh,” described in his book how the terrorist cells he infiltrated took measures to try to lend credence to conspiracy theories that it was committed by Jews. And just as he warned, the Islamist groups behind the terrorist networks responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and follow-up “Day of Terror” mass-casualty plot targeting various high-profile targets in New York City immediately claimed to be the victims of a U.S. government conspiracy at the behest of anti-Muslim Zionist agents.

MOA Events As a Cover

Sometimes the holding of events may be cover for discreet meetings and activities.

MOA-affiliated sources have said that events like the Muslim Boy Scouts retreats are covers for jihadist indoctrination and combat training, some of which takes place away from the camp where the event began. MOA material from the early 1990s indicates this is a long-standing practice.

In 2004, MOA held an event in Philadelphia under the name of its vocalist group, Islamic Naat Group. A law enforcement source says that 60-70 vehicles strangely parked in a privately-owned lot two blocks away from the convention site, even though parking at the site was available. The vehicles were from all over the U.S. and Canada and only 20 men were there appearing to act as security. Between 80 and 100 women were present.

The source stated that he suspected that the missing men who normally travel with the women were attending a meeting at another location, using the Islamic Naat Group event as a cover for their travel.

Footnotes and Citations

[1] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas. Clarion Project.

[2] B. Raman. (2007). The Jundullah Phenomenon. Outlook India.

[3] The Imam of the Muslims of America, Inc. and Head of the Qadri Order Declares the United Nations Guilty of Criminal Negligence for Failing to Address Indian-Inflicted Genocide in Occupied Kashmir. (2016). Islamic Post.

[4] Ryan Mauro and Martin Mawyer. (2016). American Islamist Group Preps for Jihad Against Trump. Clarion Project.

[5] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas. Clarion Project.

[6] A 1991 investigative note authored by Colorado investigators.

[7] “Is Fuqra a Terrorist Organization?” Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

[8] A 1991 investigative note authored by Colorado investigators.

[9] Goddard, John. (2010). Forgotten Islamist terror plot targeted Toronto. Toronto Star.

[10] Mauro, Ryan. (2016). Exclusive: I Was Raised by an Islamist Terror Cult in America. Clarion Project.

[11] State Department Daily Press Briefing: Taken Questions, January 31, 2002.

[12] Boland, Mira L. (2002). Sheikh Gilani’s American Disciples. Weekly Standard.

[13] “Militant Muslims Seek Virginia Base,” Washington Times, July 1, 2002.

[14] Crowley, Zachary. “Jamaat al-Fuqra Dossier,” Center for Policing Terrorism, March 16, 2005.

[15] Id.

[16] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas. Clarion Project.

[17] Lipton, Eric. (2005). “Homeland Report Says Threat from Terror-List Nations is Declining.” New York Times.

[18] Sean Webby and Brandon Bailey. (2007). “The Mysterious Saga of Sister Khadijah.” Mercury News.

[19] “Organized Crime in California 2007-2008: Annual Report to the Legislature,” Office of Attorney General Edmund C. Brown, Jr.

[20] “NYPD Intelligence Division Strategic Posture 2006.” (2006). New York Police Department.

[21] Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and Jane Idleman Smith. (1994). Muslim Communities in North America. SUNY Series.

[22] Interview with Colorado Department of Labor and Enforcement investigator Susan Fenger, who played an instrumental role in building the case against Fuqra.

[23] Memorandum: Overview of the Fuqra Investigation. (1994). Colorado Office of the Attorney General. Memo from Assistant Attorney General Douglas S. Wamsley to Attorney General Gale A. Norton.

[24] The video can be seen on the Fuqra Files YouTube channel and is discussed in greater detail in the section of this website about guerilla training.

[25] Colorado law enforcement report authored by Special Investigator Susan Fenger. (1993).

[26] “Information Regarding Colorado’s Investigation and Prosecution of Members of Jamaat Ul Fuqra.” (2001). Colorado Attorney General’s Office.

[27] Boland, Mira L. (2002). “Sheikh Gilani’s American Disciples.” Weekly Standard.

[28] Kane, John and April Wall. “Identifying the Links Between White-Collar Crime and Terrorism,” National White Collar Crime Center, September 2004.

[29] Jamaat Ul-Fuqra: Gilani Followers Conducting Paramilitary Training in U.S. (2006). Organized Crime Information Center.

[30] Martines, Lawrence J. (2010). Jam’at Al-Fuqra, a.k.a. Society of the Impoverished. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International. Vo. 8, No. 3.

[31] “Fuqra/MOA Video of Armed Guerilla Training of Women in Islamberg, NY.” (2002). Fuqra Files YouTube channel:

[32] The Third Jihad. (2008). Clarion Project:

[33] Noyes, Dan. (2007). ABC7 News. YouTube: Fuqra Member Sentenced for California Charter School Scam to Fund Gilani:

[34] “Organized Crime in California 2007-2008: Annual Report to the Legislature,” Office of Attorney General Edmund C. Brown, Jr.

[35] Martines, Lawrence J. (2010). Jam’at Al-Fuqra, a.k.a. Society of the Impoverished. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International. Vo. 8, No. 3.

[36] “Neighbors Wary of Muslim Village,” Myrtle Beach Online, April 25, 2010.

[37] Mauro, Ryan. “Holy Islamville: Paramilitary Training in America’s Backyard,” Clarion Project, April 24, 2012.

[38] Mawyer, Martin. “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.” (Christian Action Network: 2012).

[39] Id.

[40] “Militant Muslims Seek Virginia Base,” Washington Times, July 1, 2002.

[41] “2009 Virginia Terrorism Threat Assessment,” Commonwealth of Virginia Department of State Police, Virginia Fusion Center, March 2009. Law enforcement sensitive.

[42] Mauro, Ryan. “Confronting Muslims of the Americas,” FrontPage Magazine, July 27, 2011.

[43] “Transcript—Gun Land.” PBS.

[i] Hermanovitch, David. (2017). Weapons bust suspect Ramadan Abdullah indicted on 16 charges. WBNG 12 News.

[ii] Mauro, Ryan and Mawyer, Martin. (2017). Exclusive: Jihadi Cult Associated Arrested in NY with Firearms Stockpile. Clarion Project.

[iii] Watch: Details of Major Weapons Bust in Broome County Explained. (2017). WBNG 12 News.

[i] Daro, Ishmael N. (2017). No, The Feds Did Not Raid a ‘Jihadi Training Camp’ in New York State. Buzzfeed. 

[44] Sean Webby, Karen de Sa and Brandon Bailey. (2001). Muslim Enclave in California Draws Suspicion from FBI. Associated Press.

[45] “A Nation Challenged: Briefly Noted; Muslim’s Court Case.” New York Times.

[46] “Transcript—Gun Land.” PBS.

[47] Documents from the Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigation from 2003-2004.

[48] Twilight in America. (2011).

[49] The defector briefly had a blog in 2006 under the name of “Fuqra Hater.” Details of his testimony were confirmed. More information from his testimony is available on this website in the section for first-hand testimony.

[50] “Secret Fuqra Compound in VA (Updated.” (2005). Politics of CP.

[51] Jamaat Ul-Fuqra: Gilani Followers Conducting Paramilitary Training in U.S. (2006). Organized Crime Information Center.

[52] Mawyer, Martin. (2012). Twilight in America. Law Enforcement Today.

[53] Threat Analysis: Hamas and Hezbollah Sleeper Cells in the United States. (2009). Urban Warfare Analysis Center.

[54] Jamaat Ul-Fuqra: Gilani Followers Conducting Paramilitary Training in U.S. (2006). Organized Crime Information Center.

[55] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas. Clarion Project.

[56] Qadree, Faqeer Mohammad Ahmar Naveed Sarwari. (1982). The Doors of Beholding and Presence. Brooklyn: Quranic Open University. Printed at Nafees Printers, Patiala Ground, Lahore, Pakistan.

[57] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). “Exclusive: Islamist Terror Enclave Discovered in Texas.” Clarion Project.

[58] “NYPD Intelligence Division Strategic Posture 2006.” (2006). New York Police Department.

[59] Englewood Police Department file.

[60] Martines, Lawrence J. (2010). Jam’at Al-Fuqra, a.k.a. Society of the Impoverished. Journal of Counterterrorism and Homeland Security International. Vo. 8, No. 3.

[61] Ryan Mauro and Martin Mawyer. (2016). American Islamist Group Preps for Jihad Against Trump. Clarion Project.

[62] Weber, Christian. (2002). Examine Gunman’s Possible Ties to Ul Fuqra. Defense Watch.

[63] “Militant Muslims Seek Virginia Base,” Washington Times, July 1, 2002.

[64] “Man Arrested in 1971 Stony Brook Shooting,”, reposted on Free Republic, October 5, 2005.