Some analysts are suggesting Philadelphia, the historic city of “Brotherly Love,” is where the nation’s next terrorism attack will happen.
Middle East Forum terror analyst Hillel Zaremba said one reason is that the city’s mosques – one website lists 24 in the metropolitan area – are tied to a larger network.
“Many of them have ties to Islamist organizations. They have had, I use had, because they’ve gotten smarter and have scrubbed a lot of their websites of the references,” Zaremba said. “But there are very troubling indications of the kinds of things they believe in and the causes they support – that would lead one to believe that they are from a hardline, Islamic worldview.”
Zaremba points out that what goes on in the mosque has a lot to do with the radicalization process.
“You can say a lot of things about the training. You can say a lot of things about infidels, you can say a lot of things about the whole Israel-Palestine, the Palestinian nexus,” Zaremba said.
“You can have ‘Reliance of the Traveler.’ You can have a copy of that in your mosque and it’s certainly helping to develop an atmosphere, in my mind, an attitude that contributes to someone going over and becoming violent,” Zaremba said.
John Guandolo is a former FBI counterterrorism specialist and terrorism analyst. He’s also president of Guandolo and Associates, and has said, “‘Reliance of the Traveler’ is the single most authoritative book on Islamic law.”
Dave Gaubatz, co-author of “Muslim Mafia,” said that he’s researched Philadelphia mosques and confirms that the city’s locations present a very real danger.
“They rated very high for the likelihood for future terrorist attacks,” Gaubatz said.
Zaremba adds that recent events provides further evidence for the direction the city’s Muslim community is taking.
“We know that from time to time there have been arrests of troubling individuals, of people who have been deported. There have been arrests of people who were involved in terror plots that didn’t quite get off the ground,” Zaremba said.
Zaremba lists one specific.
“The so-called Fort Dix group did pray at a local mosque (in Philadelphia),” Zaremba said of the Islamists who were convicted of conspiracy after being caught allegedly planning an attack at Fort Dix, N.J.
Zaremba said when an arrest is announced, the local imams swing into damage control.
“They go around and say they could never have gotten that from us. They say they don’t know who radicalized them,” Zaremba said. “I guess it was just by osmosis that these people picked that up.”
An indication of how radical some of Philadelphia’s mosques may be is the existence of an Islamic youth program that has been described as a Muslim version of the Boy Scouts.
Zaremba says the mosques call them “Jawala Scouts.” The group was incorporated in 2005 by the United Muslim Movement. The UMM recruits young boys as young as the age of seven.
Zaremba says the boys have been photographed doing military drills and wearing camouflage.
“If you just type in Jawala Scouts Philadelphia, you can find pictures of kids going out camping with paintball guns,” Zaremba said. “What does that mean? My brother belonged to the Boy Scouts. They went out camping. Did they take guns with them? I don’t think so.
“Why are you drilling kids in camouflage and training them to use guns?”
Zaremba emphasizes that paintball alone may not be that significant. However, it’s the picture that emerges when you put together the pieces.
“People can ask why we’re making a big deal out of this. Why, because they’re training with guns and because they’re Muslim?” Zaremba said. “Yes, as a matter of fact.”
Zaremba’s assessment also involves the preaching and teaching in the mosques. He cited one website in particular.
“One of the websites had an FAQ section and it asked about jihad. The site said they reject the use of violence except in cases where holy sites and places are threatened,” Zaremba said.
He explains that the statement is important because the uniformity in Islamic teaching and how Islam defines the word “holy place” and “threatened” whether it’s overseas or in the United States.
“Those are code words. What do they mean? If you’re in Israel, that could mean the Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and that is a provocation to Muslims because they’re not in Muslim hands,” Zaremba said. “Forget about Jerusalem. As far as Hamas is concerned, the entire nation of Israel needs to be eliminated and restored to Muslim control.
“This mosque in Philadelphia was giving a kind of a ‘carve out’ for violence because they believe that any Muslim site they believe is threatened qualifies,” Zaremba said.
The website Muslim Philly Ads lists a mosque that is affiliated with the United Muslim Movement, the group that sponsors the Jawala Scouts.
The list on the site also says one of Philadelphia’s mosques is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and another is a Salafist mosque.
International Christian Concern’s Middle East Specialist Aidan Clay says the Salafists are pro-jihad and among the most radical of the Islamic sects. He says that if you want to see Salafists in action, simply follow what’s taking place in Egypt.
“Salafis are very militant. They pledged to stay out of Egyptian politics prior to the revolution, but since [then they have] won one-fourth of the seats in Egypt’s November 28, 2011 parliamentary elections,” Clay said.
” Salafis have been responsible for at least two major attacks against Christians in Egypt since the revolution. They take Islamic texts very literally and would prefer to bring the Muslim world back to the dark ages, living as Muhammad did,” Clay said.
“Many Salafis justify the murder of non-Muslims that do not offer complete submission, including the payment of a special tax called jizya,” Clay said.