On October 10, 2005, the UK decided to ban 15 foreign terrorist organizations. Among them was Jamaat ul-Furqan. Obviously, the name is similar to Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Blogger Dymphna notes that she consulted terrorism expert Daniel Pipes who confirmed that they were the same group. I have found other information to support this.
Due to the spelling discrepancy and the potential for separate information related to the UK branch, I began searching for information on “Jamaat ul-Furqan”. As a result, I found more information on the organization and its connections to terror.
As I further research this group and its connections, I am trying to put together a possible picture of how it may be organized. I will post this information in later posts. Note that mine are assumptions or observations based on the open source information that I have been able to gather. Certainly, government agencies may have investigated these leads in more detail and may have arrived at different conclusions, or they may not have made their findings public. Nonetheless, here are my thoughts up to now.
As I see it, Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Furqan is the covert operations arm. Its existence is denied. Just as members of the mafia may deny that La Cosa Nostra exists, we all know that it does. This arm is likely made up of various cells and/or roving operators.
Muslims of the Americas is the public front and represents the U.S. support base. By “support base”, I mean devoted supporters who may not be involved in operations, but still comprise part of the infrastructure and, it is likely they are committed to become operators if necessary. They also contribute financially to the group by working various jobs or operating legitimate businesses. Some of them may perform some operational function (access, intel, etc.) as part of their job (e.g., some of the residents at the Hancock, NY compound reportedly work as bridge and tunnel workers in NYC). Their locations may serve as safehouses for roving operational members. Given traditional cell structures, members may not be aware of the status of these operators.
International Qur’anic Open University is also part of that front and may aid in recruitment efforts. “Religious education” may be the modus operandi for attracting “fellow brothers” to their camps. Following their “training”, they may return home or move on to another area.
Reading the connections and the history of this group, it continues to baffle me that this group was removed from the U.S. State Dept. terror list while they have since been banned in both Pakistan and the UK. Given the Clinton administration’s passive approach to terrorism, I’m not fully surprised. Also, since terrorism was previously considered just a law enforcement issue, the attacks carried out by JF may not have been explicitly associated with terrorism in legal investigations. Murder and white collar crime might just have been assumed to be run-of-the-mill crimes and nothing more. I suppose that after 2000, the focus of the State Dept. has been focused elsewhere. However, the group has since been linked to several high-profile cases that should warrant a reconsideration of their status. And, if the State Dept. is remiss to put them on the foreign terror list, then the FBI or Homeland Security should place them on the domestic list.