It is based at the 70-acre Fuqra headquarters in Hancock, N.Y. named “Islamberg,” where its sign has been seen at the entrance. The UMCF’s former website explicitly stated it was established by Sheikh Gilani. The chairperson is Khalifa Hussein Adams, a leader of MOA and Islamberg.
UMCF says it seeks to “recognize similarities between Muslims and Christians, diminish differences and seek a new solid foundation of joint respect based on the unchallenged commandments of God and love for the blessed Messengers of God (peace upon them all).”[i]
Statements from UMCF show that it was established to give legitimacy to Fuqra/MOA as a moderate organization and that its outreach to Christians includes anti-Semitism and attempts to convert Christians to Islam.
Forming alliances with Christians against the perceived Zionist conspiracy has always been a central part of the Fuqra ideology and strategy. MOA believes that an Islamic version of Jesus will appear during the End Times war against the Zionist conspiracy and lead the Christian world into becoming Muslim.
In 1994, MOA published a book that urged outreach to Christians because Zionists fear that “the two would recognize their most common opponent, the Jew.”[ii]
The book boasted that, as part of these efforts for a Muslim-Christian alliance against “the Jew,” Sheikh Gilani has joined with former Republican congressman Paul Findley in forming an “interfaith foundation” to “expose and counteract the nefarious designs of the Jews to take over the United States and the world.”
Findley is a harsh critic of pro-Israel influence in the United States and is close to the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), an “advocacy” organization that the U.S. Justice Department has identified as a Muslim Brotherhood “entity.” CAIR was labeled an unindicted conspirator in a Hamas-financing trial. The FBI subsequently banned its offices from using CAIR as a liaison partner because of evidence linking CAIR to Hamas.
MOA uses interfaith partners to bolster its credibility and defend itself as a moderate organization.
Vincent Pierre, a convicted MOA criminal linked to the Colorado and Virginia compounds, reacted to his arrest by having Rev. Joseph Walker of the United Churches of Lycoming County write a letter of character to the El Paso Sheriff’s Office. Walker said that he has known Pierre for three years and is confident that he is an upstanding citizen.
The establishment of UMCF is a maturation of MOA’s historical efforts to build alliances with Christians against the “Zionist conspiracy” and to present a moderate image.
MOA’s interfaith outreach efforts and UMCF’s activity is littered with anti-Semitic propaganda.
The former website for its “Islamberg” headquarters contained a message from Sheikh Gilani to their “Christian brethren” that argued for interfaith unity. Gilani told the Christian readers that “the Jews tried to murder Jesus” and argued that they pose a common threat to Muslims and Christians.
His message was also condescending and an attempt to proselytize. Gilani said, “Muslims and others with common sense don’t believe in the hocus pocus churned out by Pauline Christianity.”
At its 2008 Muslim-Christian World Peace Rally in New York City, a speaker said, “We serve notice to the world, that as Muslims and Christians, we will no longer be duped or manipulated by a ‘hidden hand’ into fighting or going to war with each other.” Another speaker claimed that 4,000 Jews that work at the World Trade Center stayed home on September 11, 2001. An article on the website about the event states that the 9/11 attacks were “Stage One of getting the Western world, on behalf of the Jews, to go to war with the Arab world.”[iii]
On April 21, 2012, UMCF held an event at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. [iv] UMCF chairperson Khalifa Hussein Adams spoke and stated that “[Jesus] is a role model for the Sufis, as opposed to the Jews who deprived him of the honor of being born to a Blessed virgin mother. They also conspired to take his life. He was called the son of an illegitimate birth while his mother was termed a woman of ill repute. Perhaps you are well aware of the fact that the Jews brought false allegations of sedition and rebellion against Jesus son of Mary to their Roman masters. Because of this, they say he was crucified.”
UMCF as Part of Fuqra’s Image Makeover
On April 16, 2011, UMCF held an interfaith event in Owego, New York. The keynote speaker was Muhammad Ali Qadri, also known as Matthew Gardner, the “mayor” of the village in Red House, V.A, referred to as “Ahmabadad West.” He preached that the U.S. may be destroyed by Allah because of the burning of the Quran.[v]
Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro attended the event and described being closely followed, peppered with questions and barred from filming or taking photos. He asked Mayor Gardner about the organization’s anti-Semitism, who replied:
“We are trying not to get into the bashing business anymore. I mean some of this is trial and error when you go into it and the longer we do it, the more we’re finding that certain things are a little bit too offensive…categorically we do not deny anything we said.”
When asked about the gunfire heard at MOA communes, he said, “What is wrong with shooting your gun in the United States of America?”[vi]
In October 2012, UMCF called on the U.S. government to essentially institute Islamist blasphemy laws by prosecuting people for alleged “hate speech” against the religion of Islam, specifically the makers of a YouTube video mocking Islam titled The Innocence of Muslims.
Its press release claimed that it was an act of “media terrorism” and “barbarous treason” aimed at inciting conflict between Muslims and Christians. UMCF said that it is not protected by the First Amendment and “Therefore we demand immediate action by the appropriate government agencies to stop this film and bring its perpetrators to justice for this malicious hate speech.”[vii]
Dawah Under the Guise of Interfaith Outreach
The former Islamberg website had a message from Sheikh Gilani to “Christian brethren” that argued for a Muslim-Christian alliance against Jewish adversaries. The outreach clearly doubled as a way to proselytize, demonstrating the ulterior motives behind the effort.
The message attacked the legitimacy of Christians, claiming that Christians have no authentic evidence that Jesus was crucified. Gilani blamed Christianity for a moral decline in the West because it legalizes sinful actions, rather than prohibiting them as a theocratic Sharia Law would.
In 2014, a UMCF Tumblr account announced an interfaith event. The next post was a statement by Sheikh Gilani about how the Prophet Muhammad had used “kind words” to proselytize to the “enemy Pharoah.”
UMCF’s Extremist Friend
The UMCF had Dr. Ali Mazrui as a speaker at a January 8, 2011 event honoring Jesus.[viii]
In 2003, Mazrui was detained in Miami after arriving from Trinidad and interrogated for seven hours about his possible links to terrorism.
Mazrui has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and said in 2002:
“There is also suspicion that some members of the Bush administration in collusion with Israel are more than ready to plunge the Middle East into turmoil in the hope that the final outcome would be to the territorial advantage of Israel and the strategic advantage of the United States. All this is part of the emerging external sadism of the United States, a readiness to hurt others abroad.”[ix]
Mazrui is known for anti-American sermons, including speaking in support of the Iraqi insurgency in 2007 in order to “make Americans pay the price when they misuse their power.” He also has had links to the Muslim Brotherhood, depicted Islamist terrorists like Hamas and Al-Qaeda as freedom fighters and appeared to legitimize the 9/11 attacks in comments to a reporter.[x]
[i] “About UMCF,” UMCF website, http://www.umcforum.org/about-umcf/.
[ii] 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.
[iii] “UN: Muslim-Christian Rally for World Peace,” UMCF website, June 22, 2008. http://www.umcforum.org/latest/un-rally.jspx
[iv] “Winthrop University (Byrnes Auditorium), UMCF website, http://www.umcforum.org/calendar/winthrop-university-byrnes-auditorium/.
[v] Junaid, Nafisah Umm. “United Muslim Christian Forum Celebrates Milad-un Nabi 2011,” Islamic Post, May 25, 2011. http://www.islamicpostonline.com/article/united_muslim_christian_forum_celebrates_milad_un_nabi_2011
[vi] Mauro, Ryan. “Confronting Muslims of the Americas,” FrontPage Magazine, July 27, 2011. http://frontpagemag.com/2011/ryan-mauro/confronting-muslims-of-the-americas/
[vii] “American Muslims Revile Anti-Islamic Film: Clear Attack on Muslim-Christian Unity,” UMCF website, http://www.umcforum.org/.
[viii] “United Muslim Christian Forum Spreads Peace in America at 2nd Annual Celebration of Jesus Son of Mary,” Islamic Post, February 5, 2011. http://www.islamicpostonline.com/article/united_muslim_christian_forum_spreads_peace_america_2nd_annual_celebration_jesus_son_mary
[ix] “MPAC Exposes Steve Emerson’s Self-Serving Distortions,” MPAC website, January 28, 2004. http://www.mpac.org/issues/islamophobia/mpac-exposes-steve-emersons-self-serving-distortions.php#.UPM-iyc8B8E
[x] Mauro, Ryan. (2014). CAIR, ISNA Praise Radical, Further Exposing Their Own Extremism. Clarion Project. http://www.clarionproject.org/analysis/cair-isna-praise-radical-further-exposing-their-own-extremism