The Clarion Project has unearthed Federal Bureau of Investigations documents detailing a 22-site network of terrorist training villages sprawled across the United States. According to the documents, the FBI has been concerned about these facilities for about 12 years, but cannot act against them because the U.S. State Department has not yet declared that their umbrella group, MOA/Jamaat ul-Fuqra, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
MOA stands for Muslims of the Americas, which is linked to radical Pakistani Muslim cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. The FBI documents that Clarion has obtained show that the group is headquartered in the well known “Islamberg” compound in rural New York. The facility in Texas is known as “Mahmoudberg.” It’s located in Brazoria county on County Road 3 near Sweeny. Sweeny is in far south Texas, southwest of Houston. The town of about 4,000 is a little under three hours’ drive from the state capital in Austin.
The MOA referred to its Texas commune as “Mahmoudberg” in online instructions for a parade in New York in 2010. A posting on an Islamic message board in 2005 advertised a speaking engagement in Houston by someone from Mahmoudberg.
According to the reports, the commune is seven to 10 acres large, is in an “extremely wooded area” and two or three trailer homes moved there in December 2001. However, ACT members visited the area as part of Clarion’s investigation and interviewed one nearby local who confidently said it is closer to 25 acres in size and spoke of a presence dating back to the late 1980s.
Local residents report hearing gunfire around the compound, but that is common in rural Texas. It could be attributed to hunting, wildlife control, recreational target shooting, or of course training of some kind.
The Mahmoudberg compound was the site of a shooting incident in 2002. One member of the group apparently shot another by accident. Members of the group did not cooperate with a law enforcement investigation of the incident, according to the FBI documents. Women in the group wore veils over their faces and were not allowed to communicate directly with law enforcement officers.
The Mahmoudberg compound is not the only MOA/Jamaat ul-Fuqra connection to Texas, reports the Clarion Project.
On October 11, 1991, a federal search warrant for three suspects was issued after a MOA/Jamaat-ul-Fuqra bomb plot in Toronto was foiled. A nearly 45-acre “compound” about 70 miles south of Dallas was raided. The location may have been near Corsicana, as another FBI document mentions that about seven MOA members purchased property in that area.
The suspects managed to flee on October 5-6 before the raid took place. Their children also suddenly disappeared from school. The feds found four mobile homes, three military, general-purpose tents and six vehicles. Loose ammunition, books on counter-terrorism techniques and weaponry and various items with “Jamaat Fuqra Land” written on them were discovered.
They also found surveillance photos of a post office building and the Greenhead Station in Los Angeles, leading authorities to suspect that attacks on these sites were planned.
MOA activities in Texas continued after the October 1991 raid. TwoFBI documentsfrom 1992 mention that MOA members in the state were using false aliases, social security numbers and birth certificates.
The FBI documents show that MOA members have been involved in at least 10 murders, a disappearance, three firebombings, an attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and an attempted bombing.
The Clarion Project’s full report on the Texas compound is here.
More: As a commenter points out, Gilani is the Islamist whom Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was on his way to interview when he was abducted on January 23, 2002. Pearl was eventually murdered. A 2011 report commissioned by Pearl’s family found that al Qaeda’s 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed beheaded him on camera while chanting “Allahu Ackbar!” British-Pakistani militant Omar Sheikh was convicted of Pearl’s murder in June 2002. He is serving life in prison in Pakistan, and attempted suicide last weekend.