Sheik Mubarak Gilani
Amid heightened security after Hezbollah threats and the foiled UK plot, an independent investigator of the Oklahoma City bombing contends a terrorist network allied with the Lebanese group and al-Qaida – allegedly responsible for more attacks on U.S. soil in the past 20 years than any other terrorist organization – remains a danger because of neglect by U.S. authorities.
Jamaat al-Fuqra, a Pakistani-based group with thousands of American members, has worked closely with Hezbollah, al-Qaida, Hamas and others on attacks in the U.S. – including the bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, Oklahoma City’s Murrah Federal Building in 1995 and the 9-11 attacks – but remains conspicuously absent from the State Department’s terrorist list, asserts Oklahoma-based researcher Patrick Briley.
A former investigative aide to the late Adm. Hyman Rickover, Briley has poured himself into the Oklahoma City bombing case for the past decade, concluding the piles of evidence he has passed on to authorities through attorneys clearly points to the controversial conclusion Islamic terrorists used Americans Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols to carry out the plot.
Al-Fuqra, he says, is a key part of an Oklahoma City terrorist network that has participated in major attacks in the U.S. – and most importantly – remains in operation today.
Last month, the FBI said it stepped up its monitoring of Hezbollah operations in the U.S. after the terrorist group issued threats against American interests. But Briley insists that is a “hollow claim,” charging the agency is “not doing enough to stop Hezbollah’s protected helper in the U.S., al-Fuqra.”
Responding to Briley’s charge, FBI spokesman Stephen Kodak Jr. did not specifically elaborate on al-Fuqra but said counterterrorism is “the FBI’s number one priority.”
“The FBI takes all terrorism allegations extremely seriously,” he said. “Each and every allegation with a terrorist nexus is fully investigated and run to its logical conclusion. Detecting and protecting Americans both in the U.S. and abroad against terrorists and acts of terrorism is our number one goal.”
State Department spokeswoman Rhonda Shore, who handles counterterrorism issues, said she had not heard of al-Fuqra. Shore said she would try to find out why the terrorist group is not on the State Department’s list, but she did not reply before press time.
Entrance to Al-Fuqra encampment in Hancock, N.Y., (Courtesy Northeast Intelligence Network)
Middle East analyst Daniel Pipes called al-Fuqra an extremely dangerous and “chilling organization” that has “operated below the radar for quite a few years.”
Pipes, director of the Philadelphia-based Middle East Forum, told WND he could not speak to al-Fuqra’s many alleged connections but agrees the group doesn’t have the law enforcement attention it deserves.
Pipes said he thinks well of the FBI in terms of its classic criminal investigations, which it now applies to counterterrorism. But he is extremely critical of the agency as a political entity, pointing to “embarrassing” blunders. One example, he says is FBI chief Robert Mueller’s overtures to the American Muslim Council’s Abdurahman Alamoudi just months before the Islamic leader was arrested on terrorism-related charges.
The FBI’s top brass, Pipes said, seems to have “no idea of the difference between a moderate and radical Muslim.”
Joseph Bodansky, the former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, has affirmed al-Fuqra operations in the U.S. have been known to the FBI and CIA for more than two decades.
Al-Fuqra’s founder and leader Sheik Mubarak Gilani, Briley points out, is a close associate of 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohmmed, who sent convicted conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to live with al-Fuqra member Melvin Lattimore and attend flight school in Norman, Okla.
Lattimore was involved directly in the 1993 World Trade Center and Oklahoma City bombings and the 9-11 attacks as an al-Fuqra member but is “walking the streets of America,” Briley says.
Gilani at one time was in Pakistani custody for the abduction of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Intelligence sources determined Pearl was attempting to meet with Gilani in the days before he disappeared in Karachi and later was beheaded. Intelligence sources also suggest a link between al-Fuqra and Richard Reid, the infamous “shoe bomber” who attempted to ignite explosives aboard a Paris-to-Miami passenger flight Dec. 22, 2001.
Beltway sniper John Muhammad also has been tied to al-Fuqra, and Briley says there is a lot of circumstantial evidence that links the group to Oklahoma University bomber Joel Hinrichs.
Briley says the upcoming congressional hearings into a possible foreign terrorist connection to the Oklahoma City bombing – spearheaded by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif. – is an opportunity to spotlight the activities of al-Fuqra in the U.S. and find out why the group has been kept off the U.S. State Department Terror list.
“There is a great lack of confidence that the FBI and Department of Justice leadership and supervisors in D.C. will adequately handle this Oklahoma terror network information, since they have been aware of it for two decades and still have not done the right thing,” Briley said.
Entrance to Hancock, N.Y., encampment (Courtesy Northeast Intelligence Network)
Briley says Bodansky, in his role as Congress’ counterterrorism source, made Rohrabacher aware of al-Fuqra’s terrorist activities and believes there was a Muslim connection to the Oklahoma City.
Al-Fuqra has more than two dozen “Jamaats,” or private communities, loosely connected and scattered throughout the U.S. with an estimated 5,000 members.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the group is using Islamic schools in the United States as training facilities, including an encampment in the Catskill Mountains near Hancock, N.Y., called “Holy Islamberg.” According to an investigative report, neighboring residents were deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there and frustrated by an apparent lack of attention from federal authorities.
The terrorist group seeks to counter “excessive Western influence on Islam” through any means necessary, publicly embracing the ideology that violence is necessary to purify Islam. The enemies of Islam, the group says, are all non-Muslims and any Muslim who does not follow the tenets of fundamentalist Islam as detailed in the Quran.
Many of its attacks in the 1980s, in fact, targeted Islamic sects as well as other minority religious groups.
Al-Fuqra openly recruits through various social service organizations in the U.S., including the prison system. Members live in compounds where they agree to abide by the laws of Jamaat al-Fuqra, which are considered to be above local, state and federal authority.
The group has been known to recruit disaffected young men to carry out U.S. terror attacks, including blacks, white supremacists, illegal immigrants and Native Americans as well as inmates.
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