Europe

The MOA presence in the United Kingdom goes back to 1976. The group believes that the British government is an enemy of Islam. A video of Sheikh Gilani’s guerrilla warfare training in Pakistan mentioned having operatives infiltrate Germany.

United Kingdom

Sheikh Gilani and MOA consider the U.K. to essentially be at war with Islam. Gilani preaches that the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) terrorist group is a “brainchild of British intelligence.” He writes, “On behalf of Qadri Sufis and other Muslims, I demand from the British government to withdraw their support of their agents who are causing death, destruction and genocide following their agenda in Pakistan and elsewhere in many Islamic countries.”[1]

Some confidential sources have alleged that a relative of Sheikh Gilani’s in the United Kingdom named Syed Imran Ali Gilani is likely to be his successor. This is contradicted by other sources. This relative has been mentioned as a “correspondent” for the newspaper in the U.K. but it appears that no effort is being made to elevate his stature.

Sheikh Gilani visited Manchester in 1976 and stayed for months as he moved between homes owned by Pakistanis as he wrote a book about his Quranic Psychiatry. He returned in December 1978.[2] He got into a fierce theological argument in January 1980 with the chairman of the Jami’ia Mosque in Manchesor that was part of the Tablighi Jamaat movement.

MOA says that psychiatrists in the U.K. were hostile to his work and waged a campaign to slander him, along with other psychiatrists in the U.S., Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.[3]

An account of someone who met him at a friend’s house in Manchester says he was considered to be “very important” in Pakistan and nearly impossible to meet with because of his reclusiveness and long lines to see him.[4]

Gilani was married to the author’s friend’s sister. He was close friends with a follower of the Deobandi school of Sunni Islam, even though he is a Sufi. He is described as “very nice,” “idiosyncratic” and “flamboyant.”[5] Several people who knew Gilani, including the sister of his wife, said comes from a wealthy family and is a big spender.

The author’s friends were convinced that he can perform miracles. They believed that a woman was blessed with two more sons just because Gilani came into contact with her son.

In 1979, Gilani began raising money to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He asked supporters in Manchester how to buy a tank for the fighters. The author describes this as the start of his career as a “global fundraiser” and recruiter for mujahideen in Afghanistan.

The author tells a story of an African-American in a state penitentiary in the U.S. writing a letter to Gilani’s relatives in Manchester, saying that he had a dream where Gilani promised his release. He indeed was released and then he and another African-American showed up in Manchester to meet Gilani, who had already left. The pair stayed at the author’s friend’s house and then went to Pakistan, met Gilani and converted to Islam. The recruit who was released from prison then went to Africa to proselytize.[6]

A FBI agent spoke to a member of Martin Mawyer’s Christian Action Network around 2008 and said that the government had tracked financial transfers from the camps to London, including revenue from welfare fraud and drug trafficking. He said, “When wanted to trace it from London, we were stopped. (The U.S. government) has no interest in pursuing it because Pakistan is an important ally, and we don’t want to do anything to jeopardize it.” (Martin Mawyer, Twilight in America)


Germany

In his secret “Soldiers of Allah” videotape that was recorded and distributed in the early 1990s, an instructor is seen telling recruits:

“We have to prepare you all to send you to Germany—your passports and other documents you can go through customs…not only you, but even guns, ammo…everything has to go through customs. When you go to Germany, you have to be very careful—undercover—don’t give them any reason to suspect you…be careful.”[7]

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.”

In another scene, Sheikh Gilani is seen telling his militants, “We will be sending you to Germany to train others.  We will make all these documents to make you officers.”


[1] His Eminence El-Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gillani. (2015). Extreme Wahhabism is the Brainchild of British Intelligence Agency. The Muslims of America. http://www.tmoamerica.org/news/515-extreme-wahhabism/

[2] Jilani, Mubarak Ali. (1981). Futuhat-i-Muhammadiyah. Quranic Research Institute of Pakistan: Lahore.

[3] Id.

[4] Andrea Bandak and Mikkel Bille. (2013). Politics of Worship in the Contemporary Middle East: Sainthood in Fragile States. Koninklijke Brill.

[5] Id.

[6] Id.

[7] More information about Sheikh Gilani’s “Soldiers of Allah” tape is available in the section of this website about jihad training camps.

in Activities Abroad and Outside the U.S.