A radical Pakistani cleric named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani and his followers testify to the holiness of a shrine where miracles allegedly prove his supernatural powers. The shrine isn’t in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia or anywhere in the Islamic world. It’s in York County, South Carolina, inside a commune about 36 acres large called “Holy Islamville,” located on a street named Islamville Way.
It was founded in 1982 by a group called Muslims of the Americas (MOA), led by the aforementioned Gilani. The Department of Homeland Security says it is linked to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani militant group also led by Glani. The State Department describes ul-Fuqra as “an Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.”
Fuqra was behind many assassinations and bombings between 1979 and the early 1990s. Its biggest plot aimed to kill 4,500 Indians in Toronto during the Festival of Lights in 1991. Its destructive capacity first caught the FBI’s attention in 1989 because of a raid on a storage locker in Colorado Springs. They discovered weapons and plans for various attacks, including a scheme to murder Imam Rashad Khalifa in Arizona in 1990. They succeeded, killing him exactly as the seized papers said they would. Two Fuqra members were allegedly involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and dramatic plots against New York City.
In October 1992, Fuqra’s 101-acre compound at Buena Vista, Colorado was shut down. The authorities discovered it was a full-blown terrorist training camp. The members financed their efforts through a web of fake companies and various criminal activities. A poem by Gilani was found that reads: “Come join my troops and army/Says our Sheikh Gilani/Prepare to sacrifice your head/A true believer is never dead/Say ‘Victory is in the Air’/The kafir’s blood will not be spared.” That’s the sheikh who the residents of Islamville and the other MOA compounds view as a representative of Allah that meets with Jesus in heaven, heals diseases, transforms into animals, instantly transports and leaves his body at will.
The MOA says it has 22 “villages” around the country, with its Islamberg headquarters in Hancock, New York being the most notorious. In a secret recruitment tape made by Gilani, he states the purpose of these villages: “We are establishing training camps.” He tells viewers that they “are most welcome to join one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare” by contacting the group’s offices in Pakistan or several locations in the U.S., including South Carolina. That’s Islamville.
The video then shows the type of training being offered: Hijacking vehicles, use of firearms, hijacking vehicles, setting off explosives, etc. Gilani makes it clear that he isn’t just focused on Kashmir. “We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America,” he says. Excerpts from the tape were first released in a film titled Homegrown Jihad and later in The Third Jihad.
The tape was dismissed by some because of its old age and the fact that it was filmed in Pakistan. A law enforcement source later provided me with two more of the MOA’s films. The first showed women living at Islamberg in New York training in guerilla warfare, complete in military fatigue. The second is a propaganda tape where MOA leaders declare America a Muslim country and vow to defend it from foreign and domestic enemies. I gave the films to the Christian Action Network to release to the public.
Ryan Mauro is Family Security Matters’ national security analyst. He is a fellow with RadicalIslam.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.