On March 14, a group called the Muslims of the Americas (MOA) held a parade in Binghamton, New York, under the banner of its “United Muslim-Christian Forum.” The event sought to bring together Muslims and Christians with mutual respect for Jesus Christ to celebrate the birthday of Mohammed. New Yorkers shouldn’t be fooled by the group’s public relations effort, as the Christian Action Network, where I serve as the national security advisor, has thoroughly documented its extremism.
Last year, the Christian Action Network released “Homegrown Jihad,” a documentary about how this group has dozens of isolated communities, including its well-known “Islamberg” headquarters near Hancock, New York that is over 70 acres large. Secret videotape showed the group’s radical Pakistan-based leader, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, training some of his followers in a range of violent jihadist tactics and making a pitch for followers to receive his guerilla warfare training by going to his Muslims of the Americas sites.
I was later provided with two more tapes, one showing the group’s female recruits receiving such training at “Islamberg” and the other espousing their propaganda, including a declaration that the U.S. is now a Muslim country. These clips were put together into a YouTube video that has since received over 140,000 hits. The evidence we have presented has failed to stop government officials from embracing this group.
The website of MOA’s United Muslim-Christian Forum proudly displays a photo of Binghamton’s Mayor Matt T. Ryan holding their sign. This sort of outreach effort by the MOA is not new. The “Islamberg” website has photos of a picnic they had with Christian neighbors, and in August 2008, the FBI and New York State Police gave awards to the group’s Muslim Scouts of America. In 2005, an FBI Special Agent gave them a note of appreciation.
In 2004, FBI Special Agent in Charge Leslie Wieser spoke at the graduation of the Muslim Scouts of America at “Holy Islamville” in York County, South Carolina. The website also lists three other FBI Special Agents, the York County Sheriff, and Mayor Eddie Lee as being present at the graduation. Over the past year, I’ve received recordings from a nearby resident of the sound of gunfire coming from the site.
A local news report says that over 700 Muslims and Christians attended the parade from “as far as Canada and the Caribbean,” showing the extent of the MOA infrastructure and the devotion of its members.
The Creeping Sharia blog found an advertisement for the event on Scribd.com, asking for donations and people to help bring Christians to the event. It named various other MOA entities including the International Quranic Open University, Islamic Post newspaper, the Muslim Boy Scouts, the Hands to Hands charity, Muslim Vets, and the American Muslim Medical and Relief Team. The MOA has boasted of this last entity’s involvement in relief efforts in Pakistan, particularly after an earthquake in 2005. The Pakistani government apparently views the group with suspicion and is refusing to grant visas to two of its doctors previously involved in those efforts.
The document also mentioned two other MOA sites: “Aliville” in Odum, Georgia and “Mahmoudburg” in Texas. It is unclear where “Mahmoudburg” is located, but it is probably in Houston. A Muslim message board refers to a lecturer from there speaking at an event in Houston in 2005. One of MOA’s Da’wah Centers is listed as being in Houston, and other sources have identified a site as being in the city.
Aware of the attention on them, the advertisement for the parade told attendees not to wear clothing that “resembles nonbelievers,” not to speak to members of the press, and not to wear “military-style clothing.”
The Muslims of the Americas are trying to forge links with Christians based on Islam’s belief in Jesus Christ as a prophet that will one day return to earth. Sheikh Gilani explains his stance on Christianity on the website of “Islamberg.” He states that the Koran is the only evidence that Christ ever existed, and says that “the Jews tried to murder Jesus, son of Mary.” His desire to ally with Christians is at least partially based on his anti-Semitism.
Members of the Muslims of the Americas follow Sheikh Gilani as a liaison with Allah. His history of giving his followers paramilitary training, conspiracy theory preaching, and anti-Semitism makes his group unsuitable as a partner for the government and the Christian community. While not all members necessarily believe in violence or receive such training, the beliefs of their leader who they so passionately follow are not to be embraced.