Sheikh Gilani has emphasized over the years that MOA should assist other Islamist groups fighting the “oppression” from the enemies of Islam, with Kashmir being his biggest passion. He rarely states which groups he has delivered assistance to, but he’s been linked to various groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan including affiliates of Al-Qaeda.

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Pakistan Flag

Gilani previously supported certain Afghan militant groups in the early 1990s that were fighting for control of the country. In recent years, he has hinted at the possibility of fighting the Pakistani Taliban in order to protect Sufi shrines and communities it has targeted.

Very little is known about the extent of Shiekh Gilani and MOA’s material aid to other Islamist militant/terrorist groups. MOA-affiliated sources confirm that he has told U.S.-based followers that the money he receives goes to unspecified “mujahideen” in Kashmir and Pakistan. It is known that MOA members regularly go to Pakistan and some get guerilla training and others deliver humanitarian aid in Pakistan and Kashmir.

In 1990, MOA wrote letters to President Bush that said all able-bodied Muslims are required to participate in jihad against India over its treatment of Kashmir. The group explicitly said it would try to bring Muslim-American recruits to Pakistan.

A classified Canadian government report from 2006 says that Fuqra/MOA members “send regular donations in support of Fuqra jihad activities in Kashmir.”[i] An analyst for a think-tank in Lahore, Pakistan said in 2007 that it is “very clear” that Sheikh Gilani fundraises from the U.S. “for supporting Kashmiri militants.”[ii]

On July 11, 2016, Sheikh Gilani held a video conference with MOA leaders and ordered them to publish a statement that appeared to be an indirect call to jihad in Kashmir against India. It called for an international unified Islamic force to “come to the aid” of oppressed Muslims wherever they are and to “defend” Pakistan and Kashmir.

“[W]e 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,” the statement reads.[iii]

The letter says that MOA will organize political protests, giving the casual observer the impression that it a call to non-violent action. However, the letter calls on Pakistan to “defend” Kashmir and the language would justify a violent jihad to any reader. It contains no caveats or clarifications to suggest a purely non-violent call to action.

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

[ii] Id.

[iii]American Muslims Hold International Teleconference Condemning Genocide Against Kashmiris, Appeal to United Nations.” (2016). Islamic Post.