Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Jamaat Al-Fuqra: A blast (and blaze) from the past

While reading through a very dated FBI domestic terrorism report I came across a reference to an Ohio-based Islamic terror attack I had never heard of before. Unfortunately, the organization responsible for the series of attacks in August 1983 that left one innocent Muslim man dead in addition to two of the terrorists responsible is still very much alive and active in the US today.

The organization in question is Jamaat Al-Fuqra, which has been responsible for more terror attacks in the US than all other terrorist groups combined. Al-Fuqra, headed by Pakistani Shiekh Mubarak Gilani, operates a number of compounds throughout the US. One law enforcement estimate states that Al-Fuqra members are suspected in at least 10 unsolved assassinations and 17 firebombings between 1979 and 1990 targeting Muslim minority sects and other religious institutions.

It is during that period that the attacks in question, led by an Akron man, occured. An ADL report on Al-Fuqra describes what happened:

August 8, 1983: Canton, Michigan — A leader of the Muslim Ahmadiyya sect, Dr. Mozaffar Ahmad, is shot to death. The Ahmadiyya Center of Detroit is set on fire shortly afterward. William Cain, an Al-Fuqra follower from Akron, Ohio was identified as Ahmad’s murderer. Both he and an accomplice, Calvin Jones were killed in the fire.
The Ahmadiyya are a small, peaceful Islamic messianic sect that are actively persecuted in Pakistan and elsewhere. Many followers have taken refuge in the West, including large populations in the US and Canada, fleeing violence from Islamic extremists.

What isn’t mentioned in the ADL report, but is included in the FBI report, is that Cain and Jones made phone calls to law enforcement falsely claiming responsibility for the assassination and another attempted fire in the name of the “Jewish Defense League”. The gun that killed Dr. Ahmad was recovered from Cain when his body was found.

While this terrorist attack has long since been forgotten, Jamaat Al-Fuqra is still a very active organization. In light of its lengthy history of violence (the Beltway snipers are said to have been associated with Al-Fuqra), the US government would do well to FINALLY officially designated the group a terrorist organization.

Here are a couple of videos with background on Al-Fuqra and their US operations. The first is by Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News, and the following two reports aired recently on WBS-TV (ABC) in Atlanta.

Part I of the WBS report

Part II of the WBS report

WBTV in Charlotte also recently reported on a new Al-Fuqra compound being built in South Carolina (Part I, Part II).