Tablighi Jamaaat (TJ) is an international movement rooted in Southeast Asia that has been called scrutinized for its secrecy and the frequency with which terrorist groups recruit from its membership.[i] It has been described as an “indirect line to terrorism.”[ii]
Fuqra/MOA is linked to T.J., according to B. Raman, who the counter-terrorism division of India’s Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency from 1988 to 1994. He went so far as to say that Fuqra is a “front organization” for the TJ movement.[iii]
One of the founding fathers of MOA, Muhammad Hasib Haqq, said in a deposition that the terminology used for Jamaat ul-Fuqra came from TJ.[iv] A MOA book published in 1994 tried to deny the existence of Fuqra by saying that TJ also uses the Islamic terminology of “Jamaat ul-Fuqra” and “Jamaat ul-Muslimeen.”[v]
One of Sheikh Gilani’s earliest followers was a preacher in Brooklyn for the TJ. He joined Fuqra/MOA in 1980.[vi]
MOA is not openly hostile or supportive of TJ. However, an issue of its newspaper described the movement as “lethargic.”
MOA-affiliated sources say that members seek out Pakistani mosques affiliated with TJ as a second option if they are unable to attend a MOA mosque or religious event.
New York Police Department counter-terrorism investigations indicate that MOA members do associate with TJ institutions. A 2009 NYPD file shows that the Department conducted surveillance on one member of MOA as part of a Terrorism Enterprise Investigation into the TJ.
The file states that Mian Ahmad, a suspect on the terrorist watch list, lived at Islamberg “for some time” and “was and may still be” a MOA member. He was a member of the TJ-affiliated Masjid Zakariyya mosque in Buffalo.
Three other members of the mosque—Farid Bhana, Abdulmuqeet Choudhury and Muhammad Sadruzzaman, are mentioned as being on terrorism watch lists.
Sadruzzaman is named as a suspected member of a terrorist organization. The NYPD document says he led a “jamaat” from the mosque attended by MOA member Mian Ahmad to the TJ-affiliated Masjid Al-Huda mosque in Lackawanna, N.Y. The leader arranged various international trips of concern that included terrorism suspects and involved stays in Lahore, Rawalpindi and Talagan-Multan, Pakistan.[vii]
Those three locations in Pakistan are known as destinations for MOA members, with Lahore being the headquarters of Sheikh Gilani.
The NYPD files also document a significant amount of suspicious TJ-affiliated travel between the N.Y./N.J. and South Africa. TJ travel involving terrorism suspects also took place to/from Pakistan, Trinidad, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Mozambique, Morocco, Sri Lanka, France, the United Kingdom and Canada.
On January 3, TJ scholar, Mufti Muhammad Ameen, author of “Aab-e-Kauthar,” died. MOA immediately honored him with a public statement describing his book as “monumental” and sating, “May Allah bless him immensely.” A former MOA member told Fuqra Files that it is one of MOA’s favorite books to promote. A current MOA member said that MOA members are increasingly friendly with members of TJ in New York.
[i] Alexiev, Alex. (2005). Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad’s Stealthy Legions. Middle East Quarterly. http://www.meforum.org/686/tablighi-jamaat-jihads-stealthy-legions
[ii] Fred Burton and Scott Stewart. (2008). Tablighi Jamaat: An Indirect Line to Terrorism. Stratfor. https://www.stratfor.com/weekly/tablighi_jamaat_indirect_line_terrorism
[iii] Raman, B. (1999). Dagestan: Focus on Pakistan’s Tablighi Jamaat. South Asia Analysis Group. http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/paper80
[iv] The Muslims of America Inc. V. Martin Mawyer.
[v] Target Islam: Exposing the Malicious Conspiracy of the Zionists Against the World of Islam and Prominent Muslim Leaders. (1994). Quranic Open University and Pakistan Foundation for Strategic Studies.
[vi] Jilani, Mubarak Ali. (1981). Futuhat-i-Muhammadiyah. Quranic Research Institute of Pakistan: Lahore.
[vii] “Amended Investigative Statement: TEI # 08/03 Extension #06.” (2009). New York Police Department.