When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke before the United Nations General Assembly on September 23, he caused outrage by suggesting that elements of the U.S. government had carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001. His remarks were widely denounced, but one organization in the U.S. called Muslims of the Americas complimented his speech, raising frightening questions about what is being preached to its members, many of whom live on huge, isolated compounds around the country.
“Many true Muslims, true Christians and true Jews would concur with the President of Iran,” the Muslims of the Americas’ newspaper, the Islamic Post, said. The article also called for an independent investigation into the 9⁄11 attacks and a plan to bring justice to those who carried it out.
The organization also denounced the War on Terror and capitalism as “extensions of colonialism and materialism” that has caused the “mass murders of innocent civilians, usurpation of territories, genocide, increased immortality and ungodliness, and a total disregard for humanity[.]”
Ahmadinejad was positively compared to the Mahdi, the messianic figure in Islamic eschatology who comes to bring world peace and justice. The article said that Ahmadinejad’s call to reform the United Nations to better manage world affairs is like the Mahdi’s “mission…[to create] a global management for peace, security and the realization of human rights.”
The Muslims of the Americas has long promoted conspiracy theories about 9⁄11 that inculpate “satanic” Israeli and Zionist elements of the U.S. government. In another article condemning the burning of Korans, this theme is struck: “The entire world demands an explanation that how come 4,000 Jews never went to work that day [9⁄11],” the article reads. It further claims that five Israelis were seen celebrating the attacks on the World Trade Center.
“The whole world knows that the bombing of the World Trade Center was done by those ‘invisible rulers’ of the United States of America…How is it possible for Osama Bin Laden to have suspended NORAD’s (North American Aerospace Defense Command) intervention for 45 minutes?” it continues. The writers then call on the international community to “crush such elements” behind events like 9⁄11 in order to wage war on Muslims.
The group’s Pakistan-based leader, Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, is ferociously anti-Semitic and so it is not surprising that he regularly states that a Zionist-Satanic conspiracy was responsible for 9⁄11 and not Osama bin Laden, who he describes as a “Saudi activist.” He also accuses Israel of being behind the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and says that Jews are “an example of human Satans.” In another writing of Gilani’s, he says “I have never seen, in the whole of my life or even in the past thousand years, a Jew who will tell the truth.”
This could just be dismissed as the rhetoric of a lunatic fringe, but the Muslims of the Americas has a large network of Muslim-only compounds around the country, some of which are dozens of acres large. The Christian Action Network, where I serve as the National Security Advisor, has obtained two of the organization’s secret videotapes showing that these sites are used for paramilitary training. In the first tape, Sheikh Gilani is seen telling his viewers that those interested in the group’s “training courses in Islamic military warfare” to come to the Muslims of the Americas sites. He and his instructors are then seen training recruits in various guerilla warfare tactics, including the hijacking of vehicles, killing guards, setting off explosives and firearms usage. This video was seen in the documentary about this group called Homegrown Jihad.
The second tape shows female members of the Muslims of the Americas receiving training at their “Islamberg” headquarters in Hancock, NY. They are seen marching in military fatigue, scaling walls, practicing combat with knives and swords, and firing guns into a lake. In a third tape, a spokesman declares that the United States is a Muslim country and they will defend it against all “foreign and domestic” enemies. He says they will never declare jihad on their country but they “will not sit idly by and let our country be destroyed by this hidden hand.”
The Department of Homeland Security has said that Muslims of the Americas is tied to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani terrorist group. In 1998, the State Department’s annual Patterns of Global Terrorism report warned of this connection, describing ul-Fuqra as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” This training and solidarity with Ahmadinejad cannot be taken lightly.
This all means that a Muslim organization exists in the United States that controls large pieces of land for paramilitary training and supports the Iranian regime. Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric may be earning him enemies around the world, but in the Muslim-American community, it has won him a new extremist friend.