// Quiet Muslim-Only Town in N.Y. Founded by Alleged Terrorist
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« on: Mar 24, 2009 04:06 PM »


See the source of this article. No comment.

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http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,510218,00.html

Quiet Muslim-Only Town in N.Y. Founded by Alleged Terrorist
Monday , March 23, 2009

By Rick Leventhal


ADVERTISEMENTHANCOCK, N.Y. —

If you didn't know where to look, you'd probably never find Islamberg, a private Muslim community in the woods of the western Catskills, 150 miles northwest of New York City.

The town, sitting on a quiet dirt road past a gate marked with No Trespassing signs, is home to an estimated 100 residents. There are small houses and other buildings visible from the outside, but it is what can't be seen from beyond the gate that has some watchers worried.

• Click here for video.

Islamberg was founded in 1980 by Sheikh Syed Mubarik Ali Shah Gilani, a Pakistani cleric who purchased a 70-acre plot and invited followers, mostly Muslim converts living in New York City, to settle there.

The town has its own mosque, grocery store and schoolhouse. It also reportedly has a firing range where residents take regular target practice. Gilani established similar rural enclaves across the country — at least six, including the Red House community in southern Virginia — though some believe there are dozens of them, all operating under the umbrella of the "Muslims of the Americas" group founded by Gilani.

Federal authorities say Gilani was also one of the founders of Jamaat al-Fuqra, a terrorist organization believed responsible for dozens of bombings and murders across the U.S. and abroad. The group was linked to the planning of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and 10 years earlier a member was arrested and later convicted for bombing a hotel in Portland, Ore.

Shoe bomber Richard Reid has been linked to the group, along with convicted D.C. sniper John Allen Muhammad. But it is Sheikh Gilani who creates the most controversy and concern.

Gilani has told his followers that "Zionist plotters" plan to rule the world, and he encourates them to leave America's cities and avoid the "decadence of a godless society." Gilani is the man American reporter Daniel Pearl was trying to interview in Pakistan when he was kidnapped and beheaded. The Sheikh was taken into custody and later released by Pakistani authorities; he denies any involvement in Pearl's murder.

Gilani also denies any connection to Jamaat al-Fuqra, as do residents of the MOA compounds, who say the "terrorist" group doesn't exist and was created by enemies of Islam hoping to destroy their communities. Members also deny sending a portion of their earnings to the Sheikh, but a former resident told FOX News that 10 to 30 percent of their income is regularly delivered to Gilani in the form of cash donations.

FOX News attempted to visit Islamberg after earlier efforts to set up on-camera interviews were rebuffed. A spokesman said by phone that residents typically shy away from interviews since they worry their words will be manipulated and turned against them. He accused FOX News of misrepresenting the group and suggested covering an Islamic festival in Binghamton later in the month to celebrate the birthday of the prophet Muhammad. Then he hung up.

Some residents, collecting their mail outside the compound or stopping for a short spell at its edge, spoke briefly of life on the inside. One woman told FOX News she was happy to be "away from the city and away from the drugs and crap that's going on," raising her family safely in Islamberg.

Another resident drove out, dressed in a cap and robe, video camera in hand, and moved so close to a female producer that he actually made contact. The resident kept his camera rolling for the next 15 minutes without saying a word, but he finally began to answer questions.

The man said residents get along with their neighbors and don't trust the media, which he said paints their town as a guarded compound "where no one can enter and exit."

"It's a village," he insisted, "with people of all backgrounds, cultures and races."

He said he was a 20-year veteran of the Air Force, still active in the reserves, who grew up in Brooklyn and converted to Islam while in the service.

"I got awards for 'bridging the gap' between American and Saudi soldiers," he said, noting that he had helped process the bodies when 19 U.S. servicemen were killed in a 1996 terror attack in Saudi Arabia. He said there were many veterans in Islamberg, including one with a Purple Heart citation from Vietnam.

The man denied the existence of Jamat al-Fuqra, and at first denied giving a share of his earnings to Sheik Gilani, but he later admitted that "all churches have tithes."

During the interview, two state police cars roared up, as one of the residents had called the cops, a common occurrence when reporters show up at the gate.

Local police told FOX News there has been plenty of rumor and innuendo over the years but very little trouble. The FBI's Albany Division said the agency has an open discourse with the residents of Islamberg. They've visited the compound but won't discuss whether there are any ongoing investigations.

That has not dispelled the worries of some watchdogs. Robert Spencer, director of Jihad Watch, says the group is making a concerted public relations effort to present a benign face and hide its violent past.

"I think we need to be very much on guard about every member of these compounds," he said. Though Spencer admits there is nothing inherently wrong with living in isolation, he stressed that "they're not at all open to visitors, they're not at all open to scrutiny and there's an abundance of evidence of sinister goings-on."

Spencer offered no evidence to back his misgivings, but suggested political correctness may be hampering investigations. He says the group's connection to Sheikh Gilani is reason enough to be concerned that they're planning for "something on a larger scale and longer term," to "further the causes of the global Islamic Jihad", something MOA has repeatedly denied and scoffed at in the past.

Residents call it a peaceful place to raise a family away from the pressures of the city, and maintain that the group is woefully misunderstood.

"I used to work customs when I was overseas and I come here and get harassed at the grocery store and the bank. A clerk claimed my military ID was invalid because I'm Muslim," the resident told FOX News.

Critics, lacking an eye into the cloistered community, still wonder whether it's something more.

Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

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« Reply #1 on: Mar 24, 2009 10:15 PM »

Interesting... never heard of this place at all. I did hear of a "ultra-sufi turkish founded type of farm" kind of thing going on somewhere near here. But this whole story just sounds so odd... and the whole headline as usual ridiculous scandalmongering.

We've visited some christian compounds in the catskills. Ultra christian groups who's roots are from germany and who want to keep their values and ideals and live on their own. They have their own school, farms, housing as well. Why don't they ever profile those groups??

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« Reply #2 on: Mar 25, 2009 01:38 PM »

http://www.islamberg.org/
Yep, they exist...been a media bone for us for many years.
Some of their kids even go to our school even though they have their own.

I used to have fun with them because they would never give a white Muslim salaams. So I would always give them salaams just to irritate them! (ok.. I know immature...but it used to tickle me)

Generally they stay away from our masjid- except at Ramadan. Many sisters work in our city so they are a common site for the general public.  By common site meaning- they are African American and always wear jilbabs which are so beautiful. Most of the women are tall and svelte and have a regal appearance about them.

Unfortunately they have almost a shirkish ideal towards their sheik. Sometimes the comments the kids come out with in class will shake you to the core. Every picture the paper has had of them- they are marching in military form, or shouting in a terrorist looking way. Once the paper did a nice story on them.  Our masjid does not support or acknowledge or endorse them in any way.

Lately they have gotten permission to have a parade, once a year, celebrating Prophet Muhammad's saw birthday. It's quiet scary for the general public. They make signs in dripping red paint- all Islamic words- but terrible dawah because the white folk here only see a bunch of black protesters shouting a foreign language and carrying blood looking signs. The women are all signing nasheeds... or chanting... again in a foreign language (Arabic).  I believe it is going to be this coming weekend... the newspaper always has a field day...

But in my opinion they bring it upon themselves. Last year I tried to explain to them how their parade is actually viewed by the public and they almost crucified me for not wanting the people to hear about Prophet Muhammad saw.

"Allah surely knows the warmth of every teardrop... " Jaihoon
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« Reply #3 on: Mar 25, 2009 02:06 PM »

Crazy - I tried visiting islamberg from our companies computers - our filters blocked the website with the following message:


Your organization's Internet use policy restricts access to this web page at this time.
 
Reason:
 The Websense category "Militancy and Extremist" is filtered.
 
 
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
URL:
 http://www.islamberg.org/
 
 

Your heart will not truly open until you understand Surah 21 : Verse 92  (Al-Anbiya: The Prophets)

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« Reply #4 on: Mar 25, 2009 08:18 PM »

REallyyy Thats interesting... I wonder if the NY masjids try to do a outreach program with them.  If Imam Siraj Wahaj knew Im sure he would do something.
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