Jihadists Making Themselves at Home in Philadelphia
The state of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia in particular), the home of the Liberty Bell, is attracting Islamists peddling a softer, slicker form of jihad. These Islamists are careful not to raise alarm lest they jeopardize their long-term goals. It’s not clear what is attracting the groups, but staying true to the Keystone State nickname, Pennsylvania is becoming a common congregating point for Islamists.
An article I recently wrote, "Muslim Enclaves U.S.A.," went viral and brought enormous reaction. One of the stories contained in the piece was about a music producer, Kenny Gamble, who converted to Islam and is now going by the name of Luqman Abdul Haqq. He has been accused of trying to create a “black Muslim enclave” in Philadelphia. Joe Kaufman, chairman of Americans Against Hate, investigated Gamble further and discovered that he owned the United Muslim Movement’s (UMM) first mosque in Philadelphia in 1994.
Interestingly, he found that the Jawala Scouts, a group that teaches young Muslim children combat techniques and firearms use while dressed in military fatigue, was registered in 2005 under the same address as the UMM. Kaufman found that the email contact for the Jawala Scouts appears to be that of Gamble. However, the Jawala Scouts is reported to be the creation of another organization called the Sankore Institute of Islamic-African Studies International (SIIASI), which consists largely of former felons who are seen on the SIIASI website showing off swords and guns. The group was founded in Sudan and had its offices raided in 2006 by the FBI. Its director is virulently anti-American and condemns “pacifist imams” who oppose waging jihad against democracy.
The connections laid out by Kaufman show that three groups are very closely tied and all their efforts should be seen as part of a single campaign. In other words, the effort by Gamble to make a “black Muslim enclave” in Philadelphia is done in conjunction with the anti-American, pro-jihad SIIASI and the Jawala Scout effort to give Muslim children paramilitary training. When those three components are put together, the picture of what they hope to ultimately bring to Philadelphia is not pretty.
But the conspiracy is even bigger than that. Gamble sits on the Shura council of the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), another group consisting largely of black Muslims that is led by the notorious Siraj Wahhaj. Also in a leadership position was Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the leader of a black Muslim extremist group called Ummah, until he died after opening fire on the FBI. The government says he too preached violent jihad, trained his followers, and sought to create a Muslim state within the U.S. Imam Abdul Alim Musa used to be a high-level MANA official, but his name has been removed. Imam Musa is the pro-terrorist leader of As-Sabiqun, another black Muslim group with a published program to establish enclaves in the U.S. -- a plan that Gamble and his cohorts seem to be following.
This network isn’t alone. An extremist group called Muslims of the Americas, which is a front for a Pakistani militant group called Jamaat ul-Fuqra, has been very successful in creating enclaves dozens of acres large around the country that are used for paramilitary training. From the beginning, it has looked at Pennsylvania as a target. According to an article in the Journal of Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security International written by Larry Martines, the director of the Nevada Department of Homeland Security, Fuqra members linked up with other terrorists at a camp near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to “help Muslims in Bosnia.” Videotapes submitted as court evidence against five Fuqra members who planned a bombing of a Hindu temple in Toronto in 1991 showed that the cell traveled to the camp in Pennsylvania to practice firearms and create explosives.
Since then, the state has been in the sights of Jamaat ul-Fuqra/Muslims of the Americas. In June 2004, Muslims of the Americas members from all around the U.S. and Canada assembled in Philadelphia for a conference held under the name “Islamic NAAT Group.” A law enforcement source provided me with copies of the pamphlets which proved without a doubt that this was really an MOA event. Strangely, with the exception of a 20-strong male security force, the conference was attended by women who sang songs inside. The source emphasized that the men had to have gone somewhere unknown.
In the Christian Action Network’s documentary about MOA, Homegrown Jihad, the filmmakers discover a new compound being built in Wayne County in an area they would never have found without precise directions. Neighbors report gunfire coming from the site and when the filmmakers find it, they see a desecrated American flag hanging off the side of the building. It was full of holes created by bullets or possibly knives.
In July 2006, pressure from the residents of Villanova resulted in the cancellation of an event in August for Muslim youth. Previous events had been advertised as the “Youth Jihad Camp” before the 9/11 attacks and were organized by the Foundation for Islamic Education (FIE). The group is tied to Muslim Brotherhood fronts like the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Muslim American Society, and the board of trustees is located in Saudi Arabia. FIE has been criticized for hosting speakers for its events who are involved in the Brotherhood networks, preach anti-Semitism, support suicide bombers, and speak in support of and have ties to terrorist groups.
Another organization with significant ties to Pennsylvania is the Council on American-Islamic Relations. The need to create a new group with a clean record that could pursue the Islamist political agenda was discussed in a secret meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 between members of Hamas and leaders from the Islamic Association of Palestine (IAP). The IAP was later shut down for acting as a front for Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. The following year, participants in that meeting birthed CAIR. Today, the organization is listed as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, another charity found to have been financing Hamas.
Although no Muslim Brotherhood ties to the Muslims of the Americas have been found aside from setting up a booth at the Islamic Society of North America conference in 2008, the Brotherhood's affiliates have been tied to other mentioned Islamist components involved in the Muslim enclave effort. They are tied to MANA and defended Imam Abdullah after his death, painting the incident as an episode of FBI misconduct. The Brotherhood network has helped host Imam Musa on college campuses, and the legal officer for the Jawala Scouts is a CAIR official. The Brotherhood might not have put major resources behind the effort to establish Muslim enclaves in the U.S., but they can still be counted upon as a friend of the effort.
Eastern Pennsylvania is also home to a man named Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish preacher who has received considerable attention this year. He came to the state shortly before the Turkish government prosecuted him for trying to undermine its secular foundations. He was acquitted in 2006 but he has remained in the U.S. He denies having a connection to the Justice and Development Party that now governs Turkey, but experts say he has at the very least inspired many of its members, and we see what that has brought. In 1999, he was recorded telling his audience to delay “until you have brought to your side all the power of the constitutional institutions in Turkey.”
He has been recorded telling followers to “work patiently” and “creep silently” into positions of power and bide their time until “conditions are ripe,” but says his adversaries took the comments out of context. However, he told those listening to him they “must discard the thoughts and the feelings that I expressed here.”
He is not shy about opposing secularism, but he does speak in favor of democracy (albeit an Islamic version) and condemns violence. He was one of the few Muslim leaders to criticize the Gaza flotilla for not arranging the arrival of aid in coordination with Israel. From his home in Pennsylvania, he manages a network of thousands of schools and businesses with a budget of approximately $25 billion, making him one of the most powerful Muslims in the world.
This doesn’t even address direct cases of terrorism, such as the blonde-haired, blue-eyed, female convert in Philadelphia who went by the name of “Jihad Jane” as she planned to participate in killing a cartoonist in Sweden who mocked Mohammed in 2007.
No, it’s not always sunny in Philadelphia.
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