AUSTIN, TX (TIP): About three hours away from Austin, Texas, sits what declassified FBI documents say is an alleged Islamist training compound, the Clarion Project reported Tuesday, March 11.
According to the Clarion Project, the enclave in Texas is one of 22 such compounds owned by the group, Muslims of the Americas, an organization linked to radical Pakistani Muslim cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. According to the documents obtained by Clarion, the network is headquartered in “Islamberg,” a community in rural New York.
The Texas compound, located in Brazoria County near Sweeny, is known as “Mahmoudberg.” According to Clarion, a spokesman for the group declared the U.S. to be a Muslim-majority country, a claim easily debunked.Clarion also cited a 2007 FBI report that said MOA members have been involved in at least 10 murders, one disappearance, three firebombings, one attempted firebombing, two explosive bombings and one attempted bombing.
“The documented propensity for violence by this organization supports the belief the leadership of the MOA extols membership to pursue a policy of jihad or holy war against individuals or groups it considers enemies of Islam, which includes the U.S. Government. Members of the MOA are encouraged to travel to Pakistan to receive religious and military/terrorist training from Sheikh Gilani,” the document added.
Local residents have reported gunfire in the area, but that is common in rural Texas. Clarion posted pictures of shells it claims to have found in the vicinity. The compound was also the site of a 2002 shooting incident where one member of the group reportedly shot another. FBI documents revealed that group members did not cooperate with authorities and women wearing veils were not permitted to speak directly with officers.
The organization has been in Texas since the 1980s and maintains an outreach facility in Houston, Clarion added. Authorities also raided a nearly 45-acre “compound” about 70 miles south of Dallas in 1991 after a MOA/Jamaat-ul-Fuqra bomb plot in Toronto was foiled. The organization is allowed to operate in the country, Clarion said, because the State Department has not designated MOA/Jamaat ul-Fuqra as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
“The group is thus permitted to organize in the U.S. until that happens,” Clarion said, even though the State Department has recognized the organization’s terrorist agenda. In 1998, the State Department called the group an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.” “Jamaat ul-Fuqra has never been designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. It was included in several recent annual terrorism reports under ‘other terrorist groups,’ i.e., groups that had carried out acts of terrorism but that were not formally designated by the Secretary of State.
However, because of the group’s inactivity during 2000, it was not included in the most recent terrorism report covering that calendar year,” a State Department spokesman said in 2002. Nevertheless, the FBI is concerned about the organization, and Clarion said the group needs to be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization “before it’s too late.”