The United Muslim Christian Forum, a friendly-sounding “interfaith” group issued a press release on September 18 demanding the prosecution of the makers of the low-quality Innocence of Muslims film that appeared on YouTube. The Islamist agenda of the group is in written form but if the past is any indication, that won’t stop elected officials and Christian leaders from embracing it in order to prove their tolerance.
The United Muslim Christian Forum (UMCF) is an entity of the Muslims of the Americas, whose members follow a cleric in Pakistan named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani that refers to Osama Bin Laden as a “Saudi activist.” The group says it has 22 “villages” across the country, such as “Islamberg” in Hanock, N.Y. and “Islamville” in York County, S.C.
Gilani also leads Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a group that the State Department said in 1998 is an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” In 2009, I obtained a video of Muslim women receiving guerilla warfare training, complete in military fatigue, at “Islamberg.” This should raise questions about the purpose of Islamberg’s 24th Annual Ladies Summer Camp in July 2011.
The UMCF press release claims that the film is part of a conspiracy involving “media terrorism” to cause war between Muslims and Christians and its content should not be protected as free speech. It quotes an unidentified citizen as saying it is “barbarous treason.”
“Therefore we demand immediate action by the appropriate government agencies to stop this film and bring its perpetrators to justice for this malicious hate speech,” it says.
Anti-Semitism is at the core of UMCF’s drive to forge a Muslim-Christian coalition. Its website states that the 9/11 attacks were “Stage One of getting the Western World, on behalf of the Jews, to go to war with the Arab world.” Gilani says “Jews are an example of human Satans” and that he’s never encountered an honest Jew.
A number of officials and Christian leaders have embraced the UMCF even though this extremism can be easily found with a simple Google search or review of the group’s website. A photo of Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan standing with the UMCF sign is on the home page of the website to this day.
The most recent event held by the UMCF was on April 21 at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. The two Christian speakers were Reverend Sam McGregor of Allison Creek Church and a missionary named Ryan Peters. The UMCF’s main speaker was Khalifa Hussein Adams and the text of his speech is online.
“[Jesus] is a role model for the Sufis, as opposed to the Jews who deprived him of the honor of being born to a Blessed virgin mother. They also conspired to take his life. He was called the son of an illegitimate birth while his mother was termed a woman of ill repute. Perhaps you are well aware of the fact that the Jews brought false allegations of sedition and rebellion against Jesus son of Mary to their Roman masters. Because of this, they say he was crucified,” Adams said.
Adams claims that UMCF’s goal isn’t to convert Christians to Islam, but the text of his speech tells a different story. He says that anyone who believes that Jesus was crucified “must also believe that these Roman and priests were more powerful than God…[and] be prepared to disbelieve in Almighty God, His power and Jesus son of Mary.”
He also made the unbelievable statement that “no Muslim, which you may refer to as an orthodox Muslim, has ever been charged with any act of terrorism within or outside of the United States of America.” He condemned the Muslim Brotherhood and said all terrorist acts are done at the hands of Wahhabists and Shiites who aren’t real Muslims. He said that the members of Muslims of the Americas are the only ones that truly follow Islam.
I heard a similar theme when I attended a UMCF event on April 16, 2011 in Owego, N.Y. One of the speakers was the city’s mayor at that time, Edward Arrington, who is also the chairman of the Deacon Board at the First Baptist Church of Owego. Father Timothy Taugher of Blessed Sacrament Church in Johnson City and Professor Diane O’Heron of Brome Community College, a UMCF board member, also spoke.
The keynote speaker was Muhammad Ali Qadiri, the “mayor” of the Muslims of the Americas site in Red House, V.A. He preached that the U.S. may be destroyed by Allah over Pastor Terry Jones’ burning of the Quran. When I confronted him about his group’s anti-Semitism, he said, “We are trying not to get into the bashing business anymore” but they stand by their statements. His reaction to Gilani’s anti-Semitism was, “it is what it is.” His answer to a question about gunfire being heard at his group’s “villages” was, “What is wrong with shooting your gun in the United States of America?”
The UMCF also held a parade in Binghamton to honor Jesus Christ. According to a local news report, 700 Muslims and Christians attended, with Muslims of the Americas members traveling from as far away as Canada and the Caribbean. An advertisement for the event told attendees not to wear “military-style clothing.”
Advocacy for blasphemy laws and anti-Semitism isn’t what a genuine “interfaith” group is about. The UMCF was created for the sole purpose of making over the image of Muslims of the Americas. The press release and speech at Winthrop University show that the goal is unchanged: To promote the anti-Semitic Islamist ideology of Muslims of the Americas and Sheikh Gilani.
This article was sponsored by the Institute on Religion and Democracy.