The Delaware County, New York, sheriff’s office does not believe there is any credible threat emanating from an Islamic commune within their jurisdiction that serves as the national headquarters for a Muslim organization previously accused of engaging in paramilitary training within the U.S.
Craig Dumont, deputy sheriff of Delaware County, appeared Sunday on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s AM 970 The Answer, where he downplayed concern about Islamberg, a 70-acre rural hamlet that is the headquarters for Muslims of the America, Inc., or MOA.
MOA was founded by controversial Pakistani Sufi cleric Mubarak Ali Gilani.
Dumont told Klein his office has been inside Islamberg on a number of occasions and that he has been “perplexed” by recent news media reports of alleged jihadist training camps.
“It’s kind of perplexing to us,” he said. “All this recent media attention in regard to potential terrorist training camps and things that are going on there. We don’t see it. We just don’t find any of that to be valid at this time. … There are no active threats that we are aware of at this time.”
Dumont said he was aware of an undated YouTube video published by the Clarion Project showing women in military fatigues carrying rifles, marching in formation and engaging in what looks to be paramilitary training. The video was said to have been filmed inside Islamberg.
Dumont, however, stated that “nothing that we have developed or had contact with has made us believe there is any credit to those videos.”
He further told Klein there is no reason to believe Gilani is currently associated with MOA’s Islamburg campus. Gilani has espoused Islamic fundamentalist beliefs and has claimed Israel was behind the 9-11 bombings.
Asked what he knows about the activities transpiring inside Islamberg, Dumont replied: “They have a group of Muslims that just appear to reside there. They participate in the local communities that surround the properties. There are a couple of different villages and towns where their kids go to school. They are members of civic organizations.”
Dumont recognized previous concern by federal law enforcement regarding the property and said his office has been monitoring the situation.
The Clarion Project reported it obtained a declassified FBI report from 2007 that states MOA members have been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
The memo states: “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. Members of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from Sheikh Gilani.”
The document warned, “The MOA is now an autonomous organization which possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.”
MOA says it has 22 “Islamic villages” around the country.
Last week, WND reported John W. Gaissert, the police chief of Commerce, Georgia, near the MOA camp in Franklin County, has expressed some concern about Gilani, who currently resides in Pakistan.
“Their spiritual mentor is Sheikh Gilani, and his concept is to make your enemy your friend and then kill them,” Gaissert said.
Gilani came to America in 1979 and got his start in a mosque in New York.
“And of course the U.S. always seems to back the wrong hound, and when the Afghans were fighting the Russians he recruited 100 men who trained in Pakistan and then fought under Osama bin Laden,” Gaissert said. “In any event he is a radical cleric.”
Yet, the compound on Madinah Road outside of Commerce in a remote area of north Georgia has not had any reported acts of violence.
“You could probably surmise that all these groups are probably on a federal radar screen, but there is no department of pre-crime. We act on intelligence, but until someone commits a crime there is not much to do; we still have a free country,” Gaissert told WND.
“We’ve had no overt acts of violence. That is not to say they are benign, because if you research Jamaat Fuqra in other parts of the country, we have had acts of violence. We have not had any violent acts from the group here, but you have to look at the roots. We have enough information to know there are specific facts that can be stated about this particular organization.”
Sheriff John Carter of Wayne County, Georgia, also told WND there have not been many disturbances coming from an MOA commune within his jurisdiction.
“We haven’t had a lot of crime out there. They have not been unfriendly or rude in any way. They do want their privacy. It is a concern. We’re monitoring them, and I believe they’re monitored federally, although I don’t know that for sure because they’re not going to tell you,” Carter told WND. “But most of the concerns that bring us out there have come from outside the county.”