Declassified FBI documents confirm the existence of an Islamic jihadist enclave in Texas that is part of a network in the U.S. identified by the Department of Homeland Security as a terrorist organization.
The enclave belongs to the network of Muslims of the Americas, which is linked to the Pakistani-based militant group Jamaat al-Fuqra, according to an investigation by the Clarion Project and ACT! For America Houston.
Jamaat al-Fuqra was 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.
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.
The Texas commune, in a heavily wooded area, is estimated by a local resident who spoke to ACT researchers to encompass about 25 acres. It dates back to the late 1980s, the resident said, which is confirmed by the FBI documents.
The FBI reported in 2007 that one commune resident formerly was a leader at the Muslims of the Americas compound in Badger, Calif., called Baladullah.
In March 2001, a Baladullah member was arrested for transporting guns between New York and South Carolina. Another was charged with murdering a police deputy that caught him breaking and entering a home.
The declassified FBI documents show that the enclave is not the only affiliate of the organization that has operated in the state.
In 1991, after a MOA/Jamaat-ul-Fuqra bomb plot in Toronto was foiled, a federal search warrant for three suspects was issued and a nearly 45-acre “compound” about 70 miles south of Dallas was raided.
The location of the compound corresponds to a reference in an FBI document obtained by the Clarion Project that says about seven MOA members purchased property near Corsicana, Texas.
The suspects fled before the raid, and the children at the compound suddenly disappeared from school. Federal officials found four mobile homes; three military, general-purpose tents; and six vehicles. Also discovered were loose ammunition, books on counter-terrorism techniques and weaponry and various items with “Jamaat Fuqra Land” written on them.
Surveillance photos of a post office building and the Greenhead Station in Los Angeles were discovered as well.
The activities of Muslims of the Americas continued after the October 1991 raid, however. Two 1992 FBI documents say MOA members in the state were using false aliases, Social Security numbers and birth certificates.
Muslims of the Americas is identified as a terrorist group in the FBI documents obtained by the Clarion Project.
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.
“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.”
The Clarion Project said MOA members believe the holiest Islamic site in the country their Islamville commune in South Carolina. Along with Islamberg, other MOA entities include the International Quranic Open University, United Muslim Christian Forum, Islamic Post, Muslim Veterans of America and American Muslim Medical Relief Team.
An FBI report states the Sweeny, Texas, enclave is in an area “so rural it is quite common for residents to shoot firearms for target practice or hunting on private property without interference from law enforcement.”
ACT said that when its researchers were spotted in the area, they were immediately and repeatedly approached. At one point, a commune resident gave them a final warning to leave, despite the fact that they were not trespassing or harassing any members.
“It was definitely very threatening and menacing,” an ACT member said.
Multiple sources confirmed, according to the Clarion Project, that a resident of the commune is a police officer. Another, a neighbor has said, formerly drove trucks for the U.S. Army in Kuwait.
The commune is also linked to a nonprofit called the Muslim Model Community of Texas. Members, the Clarion Project said, travel to Houston to worship at the Muslims of America Dawah (Outreach) Center that is linked to another organization called First Muslims of Texas.
According to FBI documents and a police report, one of the MOA members was shot and killed by another member in 2002.
The report said the death of Salminma Dawood, also known as Terrance C. Davis III, was an accident. He reportedly was shot by another MOA member who “returned gunfire to unknown individuals who were harassing the MOA commune.”
Law enforcement reported they met about a dozen African-American males at the scene of the shooting. About five of the men lived at the commune, and there were an estimated seven women and children who also lived there.
Police said they were denied access to the trailer homes and were not allowed to directly interview the women, who covered their faces.
Local residents told researchers with ACT that they were aware of a few visits by government investigators to the commune. The locals said the MOA members refused to talk. One neighbor said two ambulances were denied entry into the compound until police intervened. The Clarion Project said Brazoria County criminal records show that two residents of Mahmoudberg were arrested in April 2013 and charged with “interference with public duties.” A trial is pending, the Clarion Project said.
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, and it continues to organize in the U.S.
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.
Last year, MOA filed a lawsuit against the nonprofit Christian Action Network for defamation and libel after CAN’s publication of the book “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamist Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.”
The book accuses Muslims of the Americas of “acting as a front for the radical Islamist group Jamaat al-Fuqra.”
Much of the book is based on the investigation of a former NYPD undercover informant who spent eight years posing as a member of the group.
The authors of the book, Martin Mawyer and Patti Pierucci, told Fox News they welcome the lawsuit because it will expose the Islamic group’s activities.
Tied to Daniel Pearl abduction
The Jamaat al-Fuqra leader, 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 in 2002 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 the group, and there is circumstantial evidence that links it to Oklahoma University bomber Joel Hinrichs.
Joseph Bodansky, the former director of the Congressional Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, has affirmed Jamaat al-Fuqra operations in the U.S. have been known to the FBI and CIA for decades.
Gilani was a close associate of 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who sent convicted conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui to live with Jamaat al-Fuqra member Melvin Lattimore and attend flight school in Norman, Okla.