Let’s Get Serious about Cells in America

This report was published by the Counter-Terrorism Center in 2008. Given the toll-free super highway since 2009 by the Obama administration, the prediction is it is much worse. The report below has citations listed at the bottom. The FBI/DHS are not going to address the truth and neither is the DoJ or the White House, it is time we take what we can and learn, then take action with lawmakers.  If you don’t think this is serious then know what happened just today (Jan. 14).     Ohio Man Arrested for Alleged ISIS-Inspired Attack on US Capitol     The FBI has arrested an Ohio man for allegedly plotting an Islamic State-inspired attack on the U.S. Capitol, where he hoped to set off a series of bombs aimed at lawmakers, whom he allegedly considered enemies.

Christopher Lee Cornell -– also known as Raheel Mahrus Ubaydah -– was arrested earlier today on charges of attempting to kill a U.S. government official.

Government documents say the FBI first noticed Cornell after he voiced support for violent “jihad” on a Twitter account.

Further investigation revealed his intent to attack the U.S. Capitol, and he planned to detonate pipe bombs there and open fire on any employees and officials after the bombs went off, according to government documents.

The FBI and Department of Homeland security issued a bulletin to law enforcement agencies across the country, notifying them of the case.

“The alleged activities of Cornell highlight the continued interest of US-based violent extremists to support designated foreign terrorist organizations overseas, such as ISIL, by committing terrorist acts in the United States,” the bulletin read. “Terrorist group members and supporters will almost certainly continue to use social media platforms to disseminate English language violent extremist messages.”


Evaluating the Terrorist Threat Posed by African-American Muslim Groups

May 15, 2008

The FBI introduction to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) file on Clarence Smith—aka Clarence 13X—reads only, “Smith was the leader of the ‘Five Percenters,’ a notorious Harlem street gang. He was shot to death in 1969” [1]. Yet, as a lyrical sample from Lord Jamar (a prominent Five Percenter and hip-hop artist) reads in his Greatest Story Never Told, “Allah [Clarence Smith] was assassinated in 1969, that case was never solved. His movement survived him, today it’s known as the Nation of Gods and Earths” [2]. The Five Percenters are just one facet of indigenous Muslim evolution in the United States; others, like Jama`at al-Fuqara’, retain ties to Pakistan and are ideological affiliates of militant Salafist groups such as al-Qa`ida. This article will examine trends among three predominantly African-American Islamic movements, at least one of which should be considered a domestic terrorism concern for the United States. It also serves to provide counter-terrorism professionals with knowledge enabling them to differentiate terrorist threats from more benign religious groups.

The Five Percent Nation

Clarence 13X was initially a member of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and attended its Temple Number Seven in Harlem, where Malcolm X preached from 1960 to 1963 [3]. One rumor claims that he left the NOI because he questioned the divinity of Wallace Fard, the founder of the NOI who claimed to bring divine inspiration to Elijah Muhammad. Clarence 13X split with the NOI in 1963 [4]. He adopted the name “Allah” and set to the streets of Harlem to educate fellow black Americans on the Supreme Mathematics, the Supreme Alphabet and the tenets of his movement, which claimed that 85% of men are easily misled, 10% understand some truth but use it for their own benefit, and five percent are enlightened divine beings [5]. Under Clarence 13X, or Allah, the Five Percenters (also called the Five Percent Nation) established a headquarters in Harlem—the Allah School in Mecca—in 1966 [6]. Today, the movement includes Busta Rhymes, members of Wu Tang Clan, Jus Allah and many other high-profile hip-hop artists.

The FOIA FBI file on Clarence Smith reveals some of the details pertaining to their concern over his activities:

“…letterhead memorandums to the Bureau dated 6/2/65, 6/9/65 and 7/9/65, all captioned ‘DISTURBANCE BY GROUP CALLED “FIVE PERCENTERS,” HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY, 5/31/65; RACIAL MATTERS,’ which contained subject under the name CLARENCE 13X SMITH aka ‘Allah,’ and which further reflected that subject was the recognized leader of the ‘Five Percenters.’

“It is noted that records of the Bureau of Special Services, (BSS), New York City Police Department, (NYCPD), reflects subject’s true name as CLARENCE SMITH JOWERS and as CLARENCE SMITH JOWARS, however, for uniformity, subject’s true last name will be carried as JOWARS until such time as investigation determines the true spelling of subject’s last name.

“CLARENCE SMITH JOWARS, aka Clarence 13X, a Negro male, born 2/21/28 in Virginia, city not known, NYCPD # B 612230, resided in Apartment 5E, 21 West 112th St., NYC, from August, 1954, through January, 1964. Subject has Social Security Number 228-28-0034. Subject served in the US Army under the name CLARENCE SMITH JOWARS or CLARENCE SMITH from 10/29/52, through 10/29/54, and had Army Serial Number 51207085. Subject had the rank of Private First Class, served in Korea, and was last assigned to Company ‘F,’ 39th Infantry, Ft. Dix, New Jersey” [7].

The final assignment is peculiar, for coincidence if no other reason. Ft. Dix was the site of the foiled plot by six young Muslim men arrested in 2007 for planning to essentially embark on a shooting spree within the base and kill as many U.S. servicemen as possible [8]. The case is still awaiting trial. Ft. Dix is significant to African-American history, as in 1969 “there were rebellions at the military prisons of Fort Dix, Fort Jackson, three times at Fort Riley, Camp Pendleton, and others. At Fort Dix, one of the prisoner demands was: ‘Free Huey P. Newton, the New York Panther 21, the Presidio 27, and all political prisoners!’” [9]

Toward the end of Clarence Smith’s FBI File, it reads:

“On 11/16/65, [REDACTED] BSS, NYCPD, advised SA that on 11/16/65, subject […] appeared in New York State Supreme Court, NYC, and was found ‘unable to understand the charges against him.’ Subject was remanded to the custody of the New York State Department of Mental Hygiene for an indefinite confinement” [10].

He was assassinated in 1969 in a case that remains unsolved. Curiously, the latter pages of Clarence Smith’s FBI file read: “Subject is a Negro male, born 2/21/28 or 2/22/28, at Danville, Virginia” [11]. At one of Jama`at al-Fuqara’s (Community of the Impoverished, JF) compounds, called “Red House” [12], 24 members of the compound were convicted of firearms violations [13]. Red House sits about 66 miles from Danville, VA, Clarence Smith’s birthplace. The locations of JF’s compounds often appear laden with symbolism, but it is not yet known if the proximity of this compound to Danville has any larger significance.

What relevance do the Five Percenters have to terrorism? There is no material link between the Five Percent Nation (nor fringe groups like the Seas of David) and terrorism, but they are on a graduating spectrum in terms of radicalization. To the extreme of the Five Percent Nation is the highly militant Jama`at al-Fuqara’ that strongly rejects the tenets of the Nation of Gods and Earths [14], and instead adheres to a Salafist Islam akin to that of al-Qa`ida. Members may move toward the more militant and austere Islam of JF if they feel the Five Percenters are ineffective at effecting societal change, or if they can be convinced that their doctrine is blasphemous per Salafist norms.

Jama`at al-Fuqara’

The Salafist Jama`at al-Fuqara’ is a much more potentially threatening group. It could have as many as 30 compounds in the United States and Canada, with affiliates in the Caribbean. At these compounds, members engage in tactical training exercises and weapons training, and explosives caches have been uncovered in at least one instance. Islamberg, in Hancock, NY, is considered to be JF’s headquarters. Paul Williams, who did extensive study on the group, states,

“Though primarily based in Lahore, Pakistan, Jamaat ul-Fuqra has operational headquarters in New York and openly recruits through various social service organizations in the U.S., including the prison system. Members live in hamaats or compounds, such as Islamberg, where they agree to abide by the laws of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, which are considered to be above local, state and federal authority” [15].

Although JF is estimated to be 95% African-American, it is not purely an Afro-nationalist movement in the United States. Its ties to overseas militant Salafist trends clearly run much deeper. Sometime in the late 1990s, Jama`at al-Fuqara’ changed its name to the “Muslims of America” and still operates as such.

It is possible there is some resonance in ideas between followers of the Five Percent Nation and followers of Jama`at al-Fuqara’. George Johnson, Jr., a retired serviceman, security analyst and African-American, said,

“I have never personally known an admitted member of Al-Furqara’. However, some of my Black Muslim friends and relatives who belong to various other Afro-centric and mainstream Islamic sects (NOI, Ansar Allah, 5 per centers, Bilalians, etc.) express some of the same doctrines and beliefs and are sympathetic to Al-Fuqara’s ideas” [16].

Yet, JF’s ideology is drastically different than that of NOI, the Five Percenters, or Seas of David. It was founded by a Pakistani cleric, Shaykh Mubarak `Ali Gilani, in Brooklyn in 1980, when he first visited the United States [17]. Shaykh Gilani’s guiding principle is to “purify” the Islamic umma through violence. One retired intelligence official with expertise on militant Islam explained in September 2007,

“At one point they ran private security firms in NYC and in Karachi, Pakistan. Their spiritual leader was Pir Sayed Gilani who lives in Pakistan, and arranged training for U.S. Fuqra members in the Pakistan camps of the Kashmiri insurgents; some American Fuqra members actually fought in Kashmir against Indian forces. Intelligence shows that Gilani is connected to Pakistan’s ISI and al-Qaeda; the WSJ’s Daniel Pearl was on his way to interview Gilani when he was kidnapped” [18].

A number of JF members have fought overseas, including in Afghanistan, Chechnya, Kashmir, Bosnia and Lebanon. Others in the highly secretive group were affiliated with the Kifah Refugee Center, also known as the Brooklyn Jihad Office [19]. One member, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, an African-American Muslim convert, was convicted of plotting to blow up New York City landmarks in 1993. He provided weapons training to fellow members at the Brooklyn Jihad Office, including El Sayyid Nosair who used that training to assassinate Rabbi Meir Kahane in New York in 1990. According to Hampton-El’s testimony, he had a meeting at the Saudi Embassy in December 1992 where Jamaican-born, Muslim scholar Bilal Phillips gave him the names of U.S. servicemen ready to finish their tours of duty. He was to recruit the men as volunteer mujahidin and paramilitary trainers for an Usama bin Ladin-sponsored insurgency in Bosnia [20].

Bilal Phillips provides more material linkages between these African-American Muslims (typically converts) and militant Salafism. Phillips’ biography on his website reads, “Bilal, who had read Malcolm X’s autobiography, visited one of the temples of the Black Muslims. Though impressed by their organization and the fact that their women dressed modestly, he found their ideology useless” [21]. He seems to have turned toward a much more austere form of Islam. There is still much more to be unraveled pertaining to Bilal Phillips and his connections to Salafist clerics in Saudi Arabia and around the Islamic world.

Seas of David/Liberty City Seven

A more recent manifestation of non-Salafist militancy is the case of the Seas of David, or Liberty City Seven. On April 16, a jury was hung in the case against the “Liberty City Seven,” who were charged with planning an attack on Chicago’s Sears Tower following a 2006 FBI raid on their warehouse and temple in Liberty City, a poor suburb of Miami [22]. This was the second trial against the group; the first ended in acquittal for one man while the jury was deadlocked over counts against the other six.

The group had no firearms, no explosives and no links to a terrorist group when they were arrested. Its leader reportedly roamed the neighborhood in a bathrobe, toting a wooden walking stick [23]. The Liberty City Seven subscribed to teachings that blended Christianity and Islam; the Seas of David, the obscure organized group of which the seven were members, developed teachings partially derived from those of the Moorish Science Temple of America, according to Narseal Batiste, the group’s alleged leader [24].

Where They Are Today

Critical for intelligence and law enforcement officials is the ability to distinguish non-violent, pietistic or spiritualist movements from Salafist-inspired ones that advocate or practice militancy. Today, the Five Percent Nation is largely leaderless, with various teachers propagating the beliefs of Clarence 13X and poses no serious terrorist threat, although gang activity and criminality is a concern. The Seas of David will, in all likelihood, dissipate and pose no further threat. Such movements, however, may serve at times as a gateway to more conservative—sometimes militant—Salafist groups, such as Jama`at al-Fuqara’. The Jama`at al-Fuqara’/Muslims of America deserves a more comprehensive treatment, as the group is clearly one of the most glaring domestic terrorism concerns for the United States.

Christopher Heffelfinger is a researcher and consultant for the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy. He contributed to the Militant Ideology Atlas, the CTC Harmony project, and the continuing CTC-FBI education collaborative at West Point. Prior to that, Mr. Heffelfinger edited two volumes on terrorism (Unmasking Terrorism, with forewords by Michael Scheuer and Gen.William Odom), and also served as editor of the weekly Terrorism Focus. He is a fluent Arabic reader and speaker, having spent time in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. Mr. Heffelfinger lived in Sana`a, Yemen in 2000, and attended the same language school as John Walker Lindh. He also lived and studied with the Naqshbandi Tariqat, where he studied with native speakers refuting militant Salafist ideology through Islamic source texts.


[1] FBI File #100-444636, available at http://foia.fbi.gov/foiaindex/smith.htm.

[2] One site that includes the lyrics from the Greatest Story Never Told is www.lyricstime.com/lord-jamar-greatest-story-never-told-lyrics.html.

[3] Jane I. Smith, Islam in America (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), pp. 101-103.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Mattias Gardell, In the Name of Elijah Muhammad: Louis Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1996), p. 225.

[6] Michael Muhammad Knight, The Five Percenters (Oxford: One World Publications, 2007).

[7] FBI File #100-444636, available at http://foia.fbi.gov/smith/smith1.pdf.

[8] See Troy Graham, “Man who Supplied Guns in Alleged Fort Dix Terror Plot Sentenced to 20 Months,” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 1, 2008.

[9]  “Black GIs, Rebellion and the Fall of the Flag,” Revolutionary Worker #994, February 14, 1999.

[10] FBI File #100-444636.

[11]  Ibid.

[12] Ironically, Red House shares the name of the parliament of Trinidad and Tobago. The building was stormed by Jamaat al-Muslimin, an Afro-Caribbean Islamist movement, in July 1990. The group took hostages, including the prime minister, and announced that they had overthrown the government. See Ken I. Boodhoo, “Islamic Fundamentalism in the Caribbean,” LACC Publications Occasional Papers Series, Florida International University, Dialogue #135, 1992.

[13] Paul L. Williams, “Springtime in Islamberg: Radical Muslim Paramilitary Compound Flourishes in Upper New York State,” Canada Free Press, May 11, 2007.

[14] The Nation of Gods and Earths is the current name of the Five Percenters movement.

[15] Williams, “Springtime in Islamberg: Radical Muslim Paramilitary Compound Flourishes in Upper New York State.”

[16] Personal interview, George Johnson, September 14, 2007.

[17] For more information, see the South Asia Terrorism Portal file on Jama`at al-Fuqara’, located at www.satp.org.

[18] Personal interview, unnamed retired intelligence official, September 2007.

[19] “United States: The Jamaat al-Fuqra Threat,” Stratfor.com, June 3, 2005.

[20] J.M. Berger, “Al Qaeda Recruited Gulf War Vets in 1992, Effort Linked To Saudi Gov’t,” Intelwire.com, January 6, 2004.

[21] For more information on Bilal Phillips, see his official website at www.bilalphilips.com.

[22]  Justin Rood and Vic Walter, “Second Terror Mistrial Hurts Bush Administration, Critics Say Hung Jury Leads to Second Mistrial in ‘Liberty City Seven’ Case,” ABC News, April 16, 2008.

[23]  Ibid.

[24] “Indictment: Suspects Wanted to ‘Kill All the Devils We Can,’” CNN, June 24, 2006.   ***

Let’s look at more. It is time this information gets headlined for the sake of national security.  Informant: Islamic Compounds in America are Training for Jihad by Martin Mawyer, November 2012

In Hancock, NY an Islamic community that sits on 80 acres of land has decided to form its own government.  They call their community: The Town of Islamberg.  They have their own mayor, deputy mayor and five town council members.  None of them are elected, of course.

They even boast that their “town” provides departments of education, medical, finance and land development services.

This Islamic compound has truly become a city-state.  Though not recognized as a legitimate township by the City of Hancock, this Islamic community nevertheless enforces its own laws on the “citizens” within its borders.  They do so by using the iron fist of Sharia law.

I interviewed a member of this camp, which sits deep in the Catskills Mountains of upstate New York.  The Islamic group that has established this camp is part a network known as Muslims of the Americas (MOA), which has documented links to Al Qaeda.

MOA has established similar villages in nearly three-dozen locations nationwide, with other prominent camps found in Texas, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, California and Tennessee.

The man I interviewed, Ali Aziz, painted a shocking picture of what life is like to live inside these camps and how many of their members engage in terrorist training activities. Aziz, an Egyptian Muslim, worked as an undercover informant for eight years for the New York Police Department (NYPD). During that time, he lived on MOA camps and worked closely with MOA leadership, all the time supplying the NYPD with information about illegal activity on the camps—including guerilla combat training.

Aziz was drawn into the life of an informant after police arrested him years ago on a passport violation. Aziz was fluent in both English and Arabic, and he had been an Olympic Judo athlete.

“I knew the martial arts,” he said, “which (MOA) liked. I could teach them Arabic. I could teach them how to read the Quran.”  He was welcome with open arms by MOA members and its leaders.

I have visited the outside of the Hancock compound a couple times and flown over it once. It’s typical of virtually every other MOA camp. It’s in a heavily wooded area off the beaten path, with mostly battered trailers and homes and a couple of newly constructed buildings thrown into the mix. It has dirt roads lined with old cars, new cars and junk cars. Wooded debris, discarded scrapings and demolished buildings can be seen throughout the area, giving it an unsightly appearance from above.

It has its own graveyard, similar to those found on other camps. And the property has a couple of small lakes which have been used as “open areas” to shoot their weapons across. Not surprisingly, Hancock also has a guard shack to intercept unwanted visitors.

By all accounts, Hancock—which now calls itself “The Town of Islamberg”—is the camp that houses the leaders of MOA and makes decisions for the rest of the camps throughout the United States.

Aziz provided this shocking information: MOA has created a secret jihadist army, similar to a guerilla-trained militia, that is ready to attack American citizens “at one word” from their leader, Sheikh Gilani.

One of the main purposes of the camps is to provide guerilla training for the young men—and in some cases the women—to be prepared for jihad. A videotape that I obtained exclusively shows MOA members being trained on the Hancock camp, shooting guns, pretending to attack with knives, practicing slitting throats, and strangling victims. This chilling video is proof that MOA compounds have been used to train Islamic terrorists for combat.

Aziz confirmed that the camps have stockpiles of illegal weapons.

Aziz also confirmed what my research had already shown: That the MOA’s policy was to encourage members to collect as much public assistance as possible, and the more children they had the more assistance they received, much of which is returned to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan.

Aziz explained that the residents of the MOA believe that their top leader, Sheikh Gilani, is able to travel through space and time, and that he spies on them at all times. This fear helps keep them from disobeying the strict laws of MOA and the “town” leaders.

“They think Gilani will turn them into a monkey,” he said.

MOA members are to follow Gilani’s orders blindly and without questioning. Gilani teaches his followers that “jihad” is their purpose in life. Aziz confirms that four generations of MOA members have been brought up on these camps—taught from birth to distrust Americans and to prepare for jihad. The young men are trained to be criminals. Aziz calls them “modern warrior slaves.”

For some in the MOA camps, they’ve never known any other life, said Aziz. Their schooling, where there is schooling, is laughable, possibly even criminal. In the York, South Carolina, MOA compound children are taught in a storage shed. Local authorities are fearful of even discussing how these children are taught and what they are being taught.

The most vulnerable and emotionally abused on the camps are women. “They are insecure,” Aziz said of the women. “They don’t know anything. They don’t know about the outside world. They depend on everything from a man.”

Many of the women are forced into polygamous marriages at very early ages, marriages that take place inside the camps. Aziz calls them “silent” weddings. Though such “silent” weddings are standard throughout all the villages, not all marriages are illegal.

More than 90 percent of the women are on state benefits, Aziz claims, with a portion of this money going back to Sheikh Gilani in Pakistan. “They have so many kids,” he said of the women. “Eight kids. Nine kids. They have to raise them and they don’t have a lot.”

Not a lot of money. Not a lot of housing. Frequent brutality from their husbands. And a lot of kids. That’s a woman’s fate on the camps.

Because of their seclusion, lack of education, forced marriages, fear of beatings, dependency on men and their religious slavery to Sheikh Gilani and his male lieutenants, women in the camps are stripped of any independent desire to flee. “After four generations,” Aziz said, “they are living in their comfort zone.”

Discipline on the camps is ruthless, and is executed as both punishment and to intimidate followers from ever leaving.

“This is one thing I want you to really believe,” Aziz told me in one of his most distressed moments during the interview. “If somebody breaks a command, you could be tied to a tree and hit with sticks. This is crazy.”

Members are beaten for such violations as cursing, disobedience to the leaders, lying, using birth control or even watching programs on TV they’re not supposed to watch.

“Sometimes they do a crime,” Aziz said, explaining that a “crime” is doing something forbidden by Sheikh Gilani. “Sometimes they do a crime like that and they lash you. I gave the NYPD some tapes of evidence of kids getting beat, women tied to trees, stuff like that. That put me in a bad situation because I exposed these abuses.”

“I saw a 50-year-old woman tied to a tree and getting beaten … This is what I think is the biggest disgrace, the abuse. The only thing is, nobody on the camps says anything. Of course they’re afraid.”

“Some people are there because they’re scared,” Aziz said. “They don’t know what to do. They have their children there. They’re scared of the wrath of Gilani. … They are so controlled, so brainwashed. It’s crazy.”

Welfare fraud is rampant. Aziz said that children on the Hancock compound learn at an early age that it’s OK to commit crimes against non-Muslims and engage in scams. “A lot of them do welfare fraud. They do all kind of scams.”

Drug dealing is also common and is used as a source of income for MOA. “The drug money goes back to Gilani,” Aziz said, referring to their terrorist leader who rules them from Pakistan.

“I gave the NYPD enough information to shut the camps down,” he said.

That evidence included: The sexual abuse of women.  The physical abuse of children. The failure to educate girls. Such criminal activity as drug running, welfare fraud and illegal weapons.   And worse.

Ali said, “I would get into trouble if I told you everything I was providing the NYPD.  It would violate my immunity.  I was providing information to the NYPD about people who committed some very serious crimes. I’m talking about…” And then he stopped and asked, “What is worse crime you can commit?”

Ali never answered that open-ended question, riffed with imaginative answers.  But he left no question about the goal of MOA and their city-states that they are forming across America.

“The ultimate purpose,” Ali said, “is to be ready when the time is right.”

“You walk up to them and ask them, ‘What do you want to do?’ ‘I want to fight for Gilani.’  That’s what they want,” Ali said.  “It’s not good.”

Martin Mawyer is the Founder and President of Christian Action Network, a non-profit public advocacy and education group based in Lynchburg, Virginia. He began his career as a freelance journalist and has authored several books, including “Silent Shame,” “The Pro-Family Contract With America,” “Pathways to Success,” and his most recent, “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.” He has produced a number of documentary films, including Homegrown Jihad, Islam Rising, Sacrificed Survivors and America’s Islamic Threat. Mawyer has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor, Hannity, Larry King Live, Pat Robertson’s 700 Club, NBC’s Today Show, Entertainment Tonight and Fox and Friends.  His latest book, “Twilight in America,” co-authored by Patti A. Pierucci, details the activities of Islamic terrorist training camps scattered throughout the United States. It can be purchased atTwilightInAmerica.com, or Amazon.com in book or Kindle version.

– See more at: http://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/2012/11/16/informant-islamic-compounds-in-america-are-training-for-jihad/#sthash.vMBft3Qd.dpuf


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Denise Simon