Sheikh Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, founder of al-Fuqra [pictured at right, wearing fatigues and an Afghan cap, in a screen capture from an old recruiting video called "Soldiers of Allah"], is no exception.
He operated out of a mosque called the Yaseen Masjid on Brooklyn's Van Sicklen Avenue. [I'm told the site is now, ironically, a Christian school]. From here, fighters were recruited to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets. Many of the jihadis that returned from that war are now leading scores of new recruits to join a new war against the US.
B Raman, a former Indian intelligence official, has written much about the jihadi groups primarily based in Pakistan. In a paper written for the South Asia Analysis Group entitled "New Crop of Afghan-Returnees", he speculates that a cycle is being repeated.
The Afghan war of the 1980s against the Soviet troops gave birth to what came to be known as a crop of Afghan returnees----mainly Arabs, Pakistanis and others, who had fought in Afghanistan. After the withdrawal of the Soviet troops, they spread to other countries in the Islamic as well as the non-Islamic world and created havoc through acts of terrorism.Notice that he included the Fuqra among the list of groups that have sent fighters to Afghanistan in this most recent conflict.
The present US-led war against terrorism in Afghanistan has given birth to a new crop of Afghan returnees---consisting largely of trained Pakistanis belonging to terrorist organisations such as the HUM, the HJI, the LET, the JEM, the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), the Fuqra etc, who managed to survive the US air strikes and have returned to Pakistan.
The old wave of international terrorism, which culminated in the terrorist strikes of September 11, 2001, in the US came largely from this first crop of Afghan returnees.
A new wave of international terrorism, of which the attack on the Indian Parliament (December 13, 2001), the attack on the security personnel outside the American Information Centre in Kolkata ( January 22, 2002) and the kidnapping of the WSJ journalist (January 23, 2002) are the beginning, would largely come from this second and new crop of Afghan returnees.
The international coalition against terrorism has to closely monitor and neutralise the activities of the new crop.
Recently, I chatted with the former Gilani follower who goes by the pseudonym "Fuqra Hater" and I asked him about reports that Gilani had again sent fighters to Afghanistan. Here is what he had to say:
FH: Since Khalid [Khawaja] is an Afghani, he travels back and forth. Gilanis are well known in Afghani regions as well.No doubt Gilani, having an intimate relationship with elements of the ISI in Pakistan and others in Afghanistan, has access to covert networks of recruiters and operatives to mask such activities.
CP: I read an article by an Indian named B. Raman - he has written about Fuqra several times. He said they had fought recently in Afghanistan.
FH: This is true. They always recruit poor Afghani boys and Paki boys.
CP: So, Gilani is still recruiting jihadis to fight US/Coalition troops?
FH: Yes. But you see, undercover. As you state in your blogs, things are fronts. Where do you think some of the money goes?
I wonder if Gilani might have had another motivating connection. One Mohammad Gilani, a general in the communist-era military, served as chief of the Taliban air force. A cousin, perhaps?
I do know that an organization in the US linked to followers of Gilani, which I will soon post more about, virtually defended the Taliban in a public press release (emphasis mine):
...the Secretary of State was heralded as a mistress of deception through the release of daily misinformation concerning the Taliban's treatment of women in Afghanistan, which was instrumental in the propaganda offensive leading up to the war of aggression that was launched in that nation.If Gilani has recruited fighters to attack US troops, as has been claimed by a former Fuqra member and a former high-level Indian intelligence official, then hopefully the good folks at CENTCOM will exploit their intel sources in an effort to confirm this.
Meanwhile, may God Bless the American military, the now-free people of Afghanistan, and may light continue to be shed on our enemies.