A Texas congressman known for his criticism of the federal government’s handling of the threat of Islamic terrorism called the newly reported existence of a terrorist enclave in his state “appalling.”
Rep. Louis Gohmert, R-Texas, vice chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, criticized the government’s “lackluster” response to the enclave’s parent organization, Muslims of the Americas, which has been regarded by law enforcement officials as a front for a foreign terrorist group.
“This lackluster response to the threat of terrorist involvement is more than troubling – it’s appalling, but typical,” Gohmert said in a statement to the Clarion Project.
As WND reported, declassified FBI documents confirm the existence of an enclave that is part of a network in the U.S. identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a terrorist organization, according to an investigation by the Clarion Project and ACT! For America Houston.
Muslims of the Americas is linked to the Pakistani-based militant group Jamaat al-Fuqra, founded in New York in 1980 by Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani, an Islamic cleric in Pakistan who at one time was in Pakistani custody in connection with the abduction of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.
A 2007 FBI record states members of the group have been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
Outreach to ‘moderates’
Gohmert criticized the State Department for not designating Jamaat al-Fuqra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, even though it clearly fits the criteria.
The government’s approach to al-Fuqra, he said, is part of a pattern of emphasizing outreach with “moderate” Muslims who turn out to have links to foreign jihadist organizations.
“When this administration refuses to go to a Boston mosque to investigate radicalized attendees there such as Anwar al-Awlaki, Abdurahman Alamoudi, or the Tsarnaevs, but instead go to those mosques as part of their ‘outreach program’ to be better friends, then this country is in major trouble,” he said.
Awlaki, who was a lunch guest at the Pentagon shortly after 9/11, became a senior al-Qaida recruiter who influenced jihadis internationally, including three of the 9/11 hijackers and Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan. Alamoudi traveled abroad for the State Department under the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations and helped set up the Muslim chaplain program for the military and prisons. He pleaded guilty to terrorism-related charges in 2004 and is serving a 23-year sentence.
The Tsarnaev brothers, charged with the Boston Marathon bombings, attended the Islamic Society of Boston mosque, which has strong links to the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gohmert said it “is always the federal government’s job to provide for the common defense against those who want to destroy us and our way of life.”
“But this administration seems to think if we figuratively embrace snakes, they won’t bite us,” he told the Clarion Project. “The threat of terrorism is very real and should be treated as such, especially by our law enforcement.”
As WND reported, Gohmert has pressed for an investigation of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence on the federal government, contending a probe is necessary because of the Obama administration’s “horrendous decisions” in backing the so-called “Arab Spring” revolutions in the Middle East.
His concerns were affirmed a year ago by an Egyptian magazine that claimed six American Muslim leaders who work with the Obama administration are Muslim Brotherhood operatives who have significant influence on U.S. policy.
The East Texas lawmaker was one of five Republican Congress members who stirred bipartisan controversy in 2012 by raising concern about Muslim Brotherhood infiltration in the nation’s capital.
Gohmert, along with Rep. Michele Bachmann, R, Minn., and three other Republican House members, pointed to Hillary Clinton’s top aide, Huma Abedin, as a possible Muslim Brotherhood influence on U.S. policy. The lawmakers asked the inspector generals at the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State to investigate, prompting Democrats and Republicans to rush to Abedin’s defense.
However, as WND reported, Abedin worked for an organization founded by her family that is effectively at the forefront of a grand Saudi plan to mobilize U.S. Muslim minorities to transform America into a strict Wahhabi-style Islamic state, according to an Arabic-language manifesto issued by the Saudi monarchy. Abedin also was a member of the executive board of the Muslim Student Association, which was identified as a Muslim Brotherhood front group in a 1991 document introduced into evidence during the terror-financing trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation trial.
The internal memo said Muslim Brotherhood members “must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and by the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and Allah’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”
Muslims of the Americas says it has a network of 22 “villages” around the U.S., with headquarters at an encampment in the Catskill Mountains near Hancock, N.Y., called Holy Islamberg, as WND reported in 2006. An investigative report at the time found neighbors of Islamberg were deeply concerned about military-style training taking place there and frustrated by an apparent lack of attention from federal authorities.
WND also reported in 2006 that Jamaat al-Fuqra has collaborated with major terrorist organizations, including Hezbollah and al-Qaida.
The FBI describes the compound in Texas, called Mahmoudberg, as an “enclave” and “communal living site.” Located in Brazoria County along County Road 3 near Sweeny, Texas, it was discovered by the FBI through a tip from an informant in New York, according to the Clairon Project.
Muslims of the Americas is identified as a terrorist group in the FBI documents obtained by the Clarion Project.
“The documented propensity for violence by this organization supports the belief the leadership of the MOA extols membership to pursue a policy of jihad or holy war against individuals or groups it considers enemies of Islam, which includes the U.S. Government,” the document states. “Members of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from Sheikh Gilani.”
The document also says Muslims of the Americas is now “an autonomous organization which possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.”
A 2003 FBI report states that investigation of MOA “is based on specific and articulate facts giving justification to believe they are engaged in international terrorism.”
In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security privately agreed to list Jamaat al-Fuqra and Muslims of the Americas as a possible sponsor of a terrorist attack on the U.S.
The State Department, however, has not designated it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
In 1998, the State Department’s Patterns of Global Terrorism report described Jamaat al-Fuqra as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” It said that Fuqra members engaged in assassinations and bombings in the U.S. in the 1980s and still live in “isolated rural compounds” in the country.
A State Department spokesman was asked in January 2002 why Jamaat al-Fuqra stopped appearing in the department’s annual terrorism reports.
“Jamaat al-Fuqra has never been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization,” the spokesman said. “It was included in several recent annual terrorism reports under ‘other terrorist groups,’ i.e., groups that had carried out acts of terrorism but that were not formally designated by the Secretary of State. However, because of the group’s inactivity during 2000, it was not included in the most recent terrorism report covering that calendar year.”
The Clarion Project noted that Jamaat al-Fuqra has not appeared since then in the annual report, yet the declassified FBI documents from as late as 2007 discuss the terrorist threat posed by Muslims of the Americas.