A British Muslim arrested in Iraq for running guns to insurgents has ties to an Islamic extremist group with agents operating in the New York City borough of Queens, WorldNetDaily has learned.
The U.S. said this week it is holding Mobeen Muneef, 25, a London native captured by a U.S. Marines patrol unit Dec. 7 in Ramadi, one of the main centers for the insurgency against the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.
Muneef reportedly was detained after being caught passing weapons to insurgents and was in possession of an Iraqi ID card he allegedly admitted was fake. He was carrying an Iraqi pistol and four AK-47s, according to a report.
Sources told WND that Muneef attended several meetings for the UK-based Al-Muhajiroun, a worldwide Islamic fundamentalist group led by London cleric Sheik Omar Bakri Muhammad, who maintains operatives in Pakistan and in Queens.
The group, under intense pressure from the British authorities, said it disbanded in October, but security sources say Al-Muhajiroun leaders still are active in London and the U.S.
Al-Muhajiroun has in the past been suspected of facilitating transportation of British Muslims to fight U.S. troops overseas.
Last April, the U.S. arrested Al- Muhajiroun member Mohammed Junaid Babar, who returned to New York from Pakistan after claiming to have fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. Babar admitted to being a sleeper agent for al-Qaida, aiding in a plot to blow up discos, restaurants and train stations in London.
WND was told an Al-Muhajiroun leader in Pakistan, who appeared behind Babar in a British documentary aired on ITN television network in November 2001, may have been instrumental in arranging for Babar to travel there.
Another Al-Muhajiroun member became a suicide bomber for Hamas, killing three Israelis when he blew up Mike’s Place pizza shop in Tel Aviv in 2003 along with another British Muslim. Israeli security sources say Al-Muhajiroun helped connect the two Britons to Hamas.
Muhammad has hosted Hamas members and is suspected of involvement with Interpal, a British charity connected to Hamas. Muhammad told WND he supports Hamas and has called on the British Muslim community to contribute to the terrorist group and join it.
“We must support Hamas. … We should maintain cooperation among nations so that we can all liberate ourselves together,” Bakri told a group of British Muslims at a meeting attended by WorldNetDaily.
Al-Muhajiroun openly maintains a branch in Queens that claims to be involved in “only peaceful activities.” The group holds closed-door meetings and study sessions at a mosque in Jackson Heights, Queens, led by an older cleric identified as Sheikh Choudray.
The Queens branch youth leader, Abu Yousuf, a U.S. citizen who says he attended a “camp” in Sudan and takes computer courses at the City University of New York, speaks at university events throughout New York City usually sponsored by the Muslim Student Association.
At one Al-Muhajiroun event at Queensborough Community College sponsored by the MSA and attended by WND, a Muhajiroun speaker working with Yousuf said, “We reject the U.N., reject America, reject all law and order. Don’t lobby Congress or protest because we don’t recognize Congress! The only relationship you should have with America is to topple it!”
The speaker continued, “The so-called terrorists are the only people who truly fear Allah. … They are the only worthy causes, and the mighty superpower only fears them.”
In a private interview with WND, a Queens based Al-Muhajiroun leader said he would be “absolutely honored” to give up his life in a “martyr operation” against American civilians. The leader warned that “a jihad is coming to America because of the moves of the Bush administration.”
It is unclear how involved Muneef was with Al- Muhajiroun, but sources say he attended several meetings of the group in local mosques in London and has met with Muhammad. He originally told U.S. interrogators he was brought to Iraq by a humanitarian organization, but sources say he couldn’t produce any credentials for verification, only a fake Iraqi ID. And he later tested positive for gunpowder residue, which indicated he had a weapon in his possession.
Muneef was being held at the Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, but was transferred last week to the Bucca Detention Facility in the Iraqi capital.
“He is part of a larger group of foreigners participating in suspicious activities,” said a U.S. official.
Another British-Iraqi national, captured by British troops in November in southern Iraq, is being held at the Shaibah military base on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.
Muneef’s case is scheduled for review in March before a six-man Combined Review and Release Board in Baghdad.