Following the arrests in Canada, we are seeing news stories describing a "new" focus by authorities on "homegrown terrorists". Other stories are relating that the homegrowns in Canada actually conducted their training in rural areas on Canadian soil.
My friends, this should not be any surprise, because this trend has been going on in our countries for years. Unfortunately, in a pre-9/11 world, we viewed a great deal of terrorist activity as petty crime. We did not connect dots. Even high profile cases were treated as isolated occurrances. Add to all this the politicization of the War on Terror and we have found ourselves not getting the type of news we should. Oh, and political correctness has played its part as well.
The truth of the matter is that a terrorist infrastructure has existed within our borders for over 25 years. As has correctly been noted in the news, the Islamofascist threat does not stem from one group, but from many groups who share common inspiration, common goals, and common connections.
One such group was founded on the streets of Brooklyn, NY by a radical and militant Sufi mystic from Pakistan known as Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani. He is the founder of the terrorist group al-Fuqra. Believed to be made up of several hundred operators, they have been described as "extremely covert", "one of the most elusive terrorist groups operating within the United States", and have been known to conduct "brazen surveillance".
In the United States, the organization has a large support base estimated at around 5,000 followers called the Muslims of the Americas, which serves as a front. The common explanation for Gilani's presence in the US in the early 80's was that he was recruiting mujahideen to fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. However, the ideology of the sheikh and his American followers called for purification of Islam through violence. That meant that Hindus, Hare Krishnas, and even other sects of Islam were also targets of jihad. Before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan even took place, attacks were launched on these groups, on US soil. Thus began a history of more than twenty-five years of homegrown terrorism in the West. Cold, calculating, and covert, they plotted and planned attack after attack. Year after year, they preyed on the disillusioned and recruited more followers. And they trained, yes - trained for jihad - right here among us.
And they still do. This very summer, members of this group from all over the country will converge at the rural headquarters in upstate New York for their annual training retreat. Helicopters will likely fly overhead surveilling their activities. And, they will wave back, secure in the fact that "the system" will protect them. Because, when the war involves homegrowns, the rules are much more complicated. And so, we have found ourselves seeking out foreign terrorists that are plotting and planning, yet left vulnerable to "fellow Americans" with a knife in our back.
The timeline below was compiled by the ADL. I have made additions based on my own research.
A Violent History: Reported Incidents Linked to Al-Fuqra
August 31, 1979: San Diego, California - Attack at a Hare Krishna temple.
November 21, 1979: Queens, New York - Attack on an Iranian (Shi'ite) mosque.
September 1, 1982: Tempe, Arizona - Attack on the Islamic Cultural Center.
July, 1983: Portland, Oregon - A hotel owned by the Baghwan Shree Rajneesh, an Indian guru, was firebombed by a member of Al-Fuqra. Three pipe bombs were placed in a room on the fourth floor of the hotel by Stephen Paster, who is said to be one of the organizers of Al-Fuqra in the United States.
August 8, 1983: Canton, Michigan - A leader of the Muslim Ahmadiyya sect, Dr. Mozaffar Ahmad, is shot to death. The Ahmadiyya Center of Detroit is set on fire shortly afterward. William Cain, an Al-Fuqra follower from Akron, Ohio was identified as Ahmad's murderer. Both he and an accomplice, Calvin Jones were killed in the fire.
June 16, 1984: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - The Hare Krishna Temple of Philadelphia is firebombed.
June 17, 1984: Seattle, Washington - The Integral Yoga Society, a Hindu religious institution, and the Vendanta Society, a Sikh religious institution, are bombed. Stephen Paster of Englewood, Colorado was later arrested in connection to the bombing. After searching his car, police found a .12 gauge firing device and a "shopping list" of the materials required to build a radio-controlled explosive device.
June-July, 1984: Kansas City, Missouri - A defective bomb is found at the Vedanta Society.
August 1, 1984: Seattle, Washington - A member of the Seattle Vedanta Society, John Liczwinko, is attacked.
August 1, 1984: Denver - A Hare Krishna temple is firebombed, causing $150,000 in damage. James Williams and Edward Flinton, two members of the Al-Fuqra sect, were charged with conspiracy-to commit murder in March of 1993 in relation to the incident.
August 1, 1984: Overland Park, Kansas - Srinivasu Dasari, a Hindu physician, is kidnapped and presumed dead.
August 1, 1984: Tacoma, Washington - Three East Indians are shot to death in a suburb of that city.
February 1, 1985: Leetsdale, Colorado - Fire breaks out at a power station.
June 22, 1985: Houston, Texas - Attack on a local mosque.
June 26, 1985: Englewood, Colorado - A member of Al-Fuqra named Stephen Paster is arrested for the second time after having jumped bail subsequent to his arrest in 1983 for allegedly bombing the Rajneeesh Hotel in Portland, Oregon. He was arrested on charges of arson, "type-2 bombings, possession of a type-2 bombing device, and flight from prosecution." Paster was subsequently sentenced to 20 years in prison in Oregon. He served just four years and then moved to Pakistan. There, he reportedly trained jihadis in bombmaking in cooperation with the ISI.
July 5, 1985: Rockford, Illinois - Attack on the Vat Thothikalam Lao.
December 1, 1985: Rockford Illinois - Attack on a Laotian temple.
May 28, 1986: Bethany, West Virginia - Attack on Randall Gorby, who is linked to the Hare Krishna temple in Philadelphia.
September 17, 1988: Augusta, Georgia - A doctor is shot to death in front of Humana Hospital.
September 16, 1989: Colorado Springs - Law enforcement officials discover a cache of bombs and ammunition in a storage locker. Among the items found were an assault rifle, a sawed-off shotgun, a "bag full" of revolvers, silencers, a footlocker "filled to the top" with ammunition," a crate of black powder, three pipe bombs "fused and ready to blow," homemade hand grenades and mines, home-cooked plastic explosive, bags of electric wiring, fuses, mercury switches and timing devices. Also found in the storage locker were "Fuqra-type" documents and photographs, of the Jewish Community Center and the Hare Krishna Temple in Denver. Other items included documents for creating false identifications, a large photo of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, and target silouettes labeled FBI Anti-Terrorist Team, Zionist Pig, Delta Team, and SAS (British Special Air Service), as well as surveillance information on various infrastructure and military targets.
January 31, 1990: Tucson, Arizona: Imam Rashid Khalifa, leader of an area mosque is stabbed to death by members of the al-Fuqra sect. In February of 1993, conspiracy charges are filed against Edward Flinton and James Williams of Colorado for having plotted the murder. The actual perpetrators of the murder have yet to be found.
March 30, 1990: Quincy, Massachusetts - Attack on the Islamic Center of Quincy.
December 31, 1990: Colorado - Five members of Al-Fuqra are reported to have illegally collected and cashed $355,000 in checks from a Colorado state workers' compensation insurance fund. Four of them, Vicente Rafael Pierre, James Williams, James Upshur, and Edward McGhee were arrested in October of 1992. A fifth member, James Childs, is still at large.
January 11, 1991: San Diego, California - Attack on the Islamic Cultural Center of San Diego.
October, 1991 - Toronto, Canada and Brooklyn, New York - Five members of Al-Fuqra are arrested at Niagara Falls at the Canadian border and charged with conspiracy to commit murder by plotting to bomb a Hindu temple and an Indian theater in Toronto. Two of the arrested men, Khidr Ali and Glenn Neville Ford are from Toronto, Canada and Caba Jose Harris, Robert Junior Wesley and Tyron Junior Cole are from Texas. Among the documents in the possession of the men were "detailed aerial photographs and floor plans of the two sites," and included assignments for a "recon team," a "hit team" and a "guard team." One part of the overall plan was to enter one of the buildings through a men's restroom window, and another part of the plan suggested that a woman member of the group should plant a bomb in the women's restroom of the building. Videotapes of the interiors of the buildings were also found in the possession of the men.
In Brooklyn, the FBI and local police discovered weapons in an apartment inhabited by an alleged leader of the group, Wilfred Savary, a.k.a. Mustafa Muhammad Abd al-Rashid - "Abdu Rashid." Savary was the owner of the Chevy Suburban that the five men were using to cross the Canadian border into the United States. Nine loaded semi-automatic assault weapons and a "large quantity" of ammunition was found in Savary's apartment, the most notable of which was a rifle with a scope. In October of 1993, the trial of the five alleged Al-Fuqra members began in Saint Catharines in Ontario, Canada amid heavy security.
March 4, 1992 - The New York City Department of Investigation issues a memorandum condemning an unauthorized, covert investigation carried out by law enforcement officers near an Islamic compound. The memo says the officers' actions were based on "irrational fears". We now know this location to be the US headquarters of Jamaat ul-Fuqra. One year after this report, the World Trade Center was attacked. Several members of Fuqra were caught mixing explosives in a related plot and charged in the conspiracy. They had been reportedly been trained at the compound in question.
October 8, 1992: Al-Fuqra Compound, near Buena Vista, Colorado - An arsenal of attack weapons is discovered in a search of a remote compound run by members of the Al-Fuqra sect. Hidden in an old mine shaft were 30 semi-automatic weapons and "several thousand rounds of ammunition" discovered by law enforcement officials in a raid on the compound. The assault weapons included AK-47, M-16 and M-14 rifles. Four members of the sect were charged with fraud: Edward Ivan McGhee, James L. Upshur, James D. Williams, and Vicente Rafael Pierre. A fifth member, Chris Childs, is still at large. Documents discovered at the compound revealed the group's intended targets in Denver, Tucson, and Los Angeles. Thirty members of the Al-Fuqra sect were at the compound at the time of the raid - one man, "three or four women," and the rest children.
February, 1993: Pennsylvania - FBI officials search for weapons at a shooting range suspected of being used by Al-Fuqra members. Two Al-Fuqra members from Colorado were arrested in 1992 near the site.
June 24, 1993: New York - Eight men are arrested in connection with a plot to bomb four sites in New York City, including the United Nations, FBI headquarters, and the Holland and Lincoln tunnels. Among those arrested is Clement Rodney Hampton-El (a.k.a. "Rashid" or "Dr. Rashid"), who is reported to be a member of Al-Fuqra.
August 3, 1993: New York - A gang of ten gun and explosives dealers are arrested in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island for allegedly selling illegal weapons. The gang was led by a group of African-American Muslims who claimed inspiration from Sheikh'Umar Abd al Rahman. A member of the group, a private security guard named Lamont Holder (a.k.a. Masoud Shaheed) reportedly offered to obtain pipe bombs from a person he described as "a friend of 'Rashid"' (i.e., Clement Rodney Hampton-El). After Hampton-El's arrest in June, Holder lost hope of obtaining the pipe bombs, saying that "Rashid's" arrest cancelled the possibility of securing them.
December 1993 - Khartoum, Sudan - Sheikh Gilani attends conference hosted by Hassan al-Turabi. The guest list is a who's who of global Islamic terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.
1994 - 1999 - Jamaat ul-Fuqra listed in US State Department's annual report, Patterns of Global Terrorism.
1990s - Small cadres of operatives are sent from the US to Pakistan to get jihadi training, administered by Pakistan's military and intelligence service and then return to the US.
1996 - York, South Carolina - Edward Flinton, co-conspirator in the 1990 death of Dr. Rashad Khalifa and member of a Colorado Fuqra cell known as the Muhammad Commandos of Sector 5, is captured by US Marshals. He is scheduled to have a parole hearing in December 2006.
2000 - Lynchburg, Virginia - James D. Williams, co-conspirator in the 1990 death of Dr. Rashad Khalifa and leader of the Muhammad Commandos of Sector 5, is captured by US Marshals. He is scheduled for a parole hearing in 2030. His estimated release date is 2063.
2001 - Baladullah, California (near Fresno) - James Hobson, resident of the Fuqra-linked compound known as Baladullah, was arrested by U.S. marshals and charged with smuggling guns between South Carolina and New York. Hobson, also known as Umar Abdussalam, was the son-in-law of Musa Abdussalam, an elder at Baladullah.
September 20, 2001 - Red House, Virginia - Ben Benu, Vincent Pierre, and his wife, all linked to a Fuqra compound in Red House, were arrested for illegally buying guns.
August 21, 2001 - Dunlap, California - Fresno County Sheriff's Deputy Erik Talen was fatally shot while responding to a burglary. The suspect, 20-year-old Ramadan Abdur-Rauf Abdullah of Binghamton, New York, surrendered after a six-hour standoff.
January 2002 - WSJ Journalist Daniel Pearl is kidnapped and beheaded in Pakistan. He had attempted to gain a meeting with Sheikh Gilani, founder of al-Fuqra. He had been investigating a possible connection between the shiekh and shoebomber Richard Reid. The existence of a connection is still unclear.
January 16, 2002 - Baladullah, California - Gateway Academy, a system of charter schools in California, based at the Baladullah compound, has its charter revoked. They are investigated for defrauding the State of California for over $3 million. They had applied for several million more after inflating their enrollment numbers. Following the investigation, the sizeable compound, which included a firing range and an airstrip, was all but abandoned.
March 13, 2002 - CBS' 60 Minutes II features a report on Sheikh Gilani. The reporter interviews Khalid Khawaja, a close associate and relative of the shiekh through marriage. "I am telling you, Osama doesn't have many people in America," Khawaja says. "But here (in Pakistan), he has lots and lots of followers there and followers who are, I am telling you, I am sure of one thing, Osama does not have even one of his followers as committed as Sheikh Mubarak Gilani. Osama does not have even one as committed as the least of his people."
December 16, 2002 - York, South Carolina - Malik Hussein, a member of the Sudanese Parliament, visits Holy Islamville, a community linked to Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Hen then travels to Lahore, Pakistan and declares his allegiance to Shiekh Gilani. Hussein has strong ties to Hassan al-Turabi, also of Sudan. Turabi was an ally of Saddam Hussein and is a long-time friend and benefactor of Osama bin Laden. A 2005 article in The Weekly Standard labeled Turabi "the pope of terrorism".
2003-2005 - Jamaat ul-Fuqra is listed in the DoD handbook, A Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century, in a section called "Terrorist Threats to Combatant Commands". They are listed in the area of responsibility for NORTHCOM & CENTCOM with an asterisk denoting a history of anti-US activity.
July 3, 2003 - In an article for the Asia Times, a former Indian intelligence official says sources indicate that Iyman Faris, the al-Qaeda operative convicted for plotting attacks on the Brooklyn Bridge and other targets, had at one time been associated with Jamaat ul-Fuqra.
December 2003 - 786 Security, a Fuqra-linked security firm in Brooklyn, is raided by the IRS for failure to pay taxes. The owner of the company and high-ranking Fuqra member, Hussain Abdullah, admits to a local news reporter that he owes approximately $300K in federal and $40-50K in state taxes.
November 14, 2004 - York, South Carolina - US Marshals arrest Tabari Malik Shabir in a traffic stop on Flintlock Drive (near Holy Islamville). He was indicted by the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in April 2004 and had been a fugitive for seven months. He was charged with Posession and Attempted Posession With Intent to Distribute 57 kilograms of Cocaine.
March 31, 2005 - The New York times cites a report from the Department of Homeland Security outlining current terrorist threats. The article stated, "Other predicted possible sponsors of attacks include Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani-based group that has been linked to Muslims of America...."
December 16, 2005 - Andrea Mitchell of NBC News reports on the NSA terrorist surveillance program saying, "A former intelligence official tells NBC News tonight that the people most likely to be swept up in this are listed in a Homeland Security database...called Muslims of America."
January 5, 2006 - The Asia Times reports that Ghulam Mustafa, head of al-Qaeda's Pakistan operations, is a member of Syed Mubarik Ali Gilani's inner circle.
April 5, 2006 - Having served 12 years for their plot to bomb targets in Toronto, Fuqra members Barry Adams, Amir Mohammed Ahmed and Abdul Baqqer are deported from Canada.
[Click here to see a full archive of my posts on this group]
I will have more in the coming days including additional information on their presence in Canada.
Stay vigilant, America. Stand on guard, Canada. Together, we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.