Muslim leaders at an encampment in the Catskill Mountains called “Islamberg” have been granted a permit by the city of Binghamton, N.Y., to hold a parade Saturday in honor of Muhammad’s birthday.
The holiday, called Milad-un-Nabi, will be celebrated by a group of families who live at the nearby property owned by Muslims of the Americas Inc.
Entrance to Hancock, N.Y., encampment (Courtesy Northeast Intelligence Network)
The city has scheduled the parade for 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the downtown area, including its main street. A report in the local Press & Sun-Bulletin said the celebration previously held on the group’s own property this year is being expanded.
“We’re trying to do an interfaith thing, we’re reach out to the community to do a program based on unity,” Maryam Rahim, a spokeswoman, told the newspaper. “We haven’t been very well known. …We want everyone to come out and celebrate, may ask questions.”
City spokesman Andrew Block said the group secured the appropriate permits to hold the celebration, and the city will close down one lane of the downtown’s main street for the parade.
Other events will be held in front of the old Broome County courthouse, officials said.
Rahim told the paper some Muslims claim the celebration is not important, but others classify it alongside Eid-ul-Fitr, the observance that concludes the month of Ramadan for Muslims.
The newspaper said Muslims of the Americas was formed in the 1980s when several families migrated from New York City to make a new start. There now is a mosque and a private school on the land.
However, others describe the location as a training facility for the Pakistani terrorist group Jamaat ul Fuqra.
As WND reported,
a covert visit to the encampment found neighboring residents deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there but frustrated by the lack of attention from federal authorities. The visit was conducted by the Northeast Intelligence Network, which worked with an Internet blogger, “CP,” to publish an report.
The neighbors interviewed, who asked not to be identified, said in the report compiled only two years ago they feared retaliation if they were to make a report to law enforcement officials.
“We see children – small children run around over there when they should be in school,” one neighbor said. “We hear bursts of gunfire all of the time, and we know that there is military-like training going on there. Those people are armed and dangerous.”
The resident said his household gets “nothing but menacing looks from the people who go in and out of the camp, and sometimes they yell at us to mind our own business when we are just driving by.”
“We don’t even dare to slow down when we drive by,” the resident said. “They own this mountain and they know it, and there is nothing we can do about it but move, and we can’t even do that. Who wants to buy property next to that?”
Jamaat ul-Fuqra, or “community of the impoverished,” was formed by Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani in New York in 1980. Gilani, who refers to himself as “the sixth Sultan Ul Faqr,” has stated his objective is to “purify” Islam through violence.
Sheik Mubarak Gilan
Gilani also is the founder of a village in South Carolina called “Holy Islamville.”
“Try to walk down the street where their community (Islamberg) is and you will be greeted by a man armed with a rifle. I have witnessed this on more than one occasion (even prior to 9/11) on Roods Creek Road when passing by slowly as I headed out to the Cannonsville reservoir,” said a nearby resident who also asked for anonymity.
Fox News previously reported the compound has remained shrouded in mystery and fear, partly because it sits near the huge reservoir system that provides New York City with most of its drinking water.
The report said New York State police authorities confirmed they’ve had the group on file for years.
“They are training for war, either for war here in this country or against our troops,” said one neighbor.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra itself 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 ul-Fuqra, which are considered to be above local, state and federal authority.
An investigation of the group by the Colorado Attorney General’s office in the early 1980s found several of the communities operate covert paramilitary training compounds, including one in a mountainous area near Buena Vista, Colo.
Muslims of the Americas Inc., a tax-exempt organization, has been directly linked by court documents to Jamaat ul-Fuqra. The organization operates communes of primarily black, American-born Muslims throughout the U.S. The investigation confirmed members commonly use aliases and intentional spelling variations of their names and routinely deny the existence of Jamaat ul-Fuqra.
U.S. authorities have probed the group for charges ranging from links to al-Qaida to laundering and funneling money into Pakistan for terrorist activities. The organization supports various terrorist groups operating in Pakistan and Kashmir, and Gilani himself is linked directly to Hamas and Hezbollah. Throughout the 1980s, JF was responsible for a number of terrorist acts across the U.S., including numerous fire-bombings.
Gilani was at one time in Pakistani custody for the abduction of American journalist Daniel Pearl. Intelligence sources have determined Pearl was attempting to meet with Gilani in the days before he disappeared in Karachi. Intelligence sources also suggest a link between Jamaat ul Fuqra and Richard Reid, the infamous “shoe bomber” who attempted to ignite explosives aboard a Paris-to-Miami passenger flight Dec. 22, 2001.