I'm glad to hear our new President is committed to the Cause, but while we're all focused on the Dems renewed vigor in the Long War overseas, we have a wee little problem developing right here in the U.S. While we've been killing jihadists over there, they've slowly and quietly been increasing their presence over here.
Back in November of 2008, KMSP Fox 9 in Minneapolis/St Paul broke the story of the Somali jihadists living in the Twin Cities area (archive link courtesy of Free Republic):
Young Somali men are vanishing off the streets of the Twin Cities. More than 20 have left in the last few months, and the community fears they’ve gone back to Somalia to fight in a holy war.Now it appears the NY Times is on the case with a similar story of recruitment of young Islamic youths in Minnesota (NY Times embedded links removed):
They’re known in the Somali community simply at The Missing. More than 20 young Somali men, between the ages of 17 and 22, who have left the Twin Cities in the last few months, without a single word to their families.
The families and community leaders believe the men have gone back to fight in a bloody civil war, in which Al Quiada is a major player.
WASHINGTON — The FBI Director, Robert S. Mueller III, said Monday that a Somali-American man who was one of several suicide bombers in a terrorist attack last October in Somalia had apparently been indoctrinated into his extremist beliefs while living in the United States.
The problem is not nearly isolated to the Twin Cities area, and neither is it isolated to the Somali Islamic population.
Fox News recently released a video report on 35 suspected camps suspected of indoctrinating and training Islamist militants scattered across the U.S. belonging to the group Muslims of the Americas, which is an offshoot of Jamaat ul-Fuqra:
For the uninitiated, Jamaat ul-Fuqra is a terrorist group formed in 1980 by Muslim Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. The stated mission of the group is to "purify Islam through violence."
Within 10 years of its formation, Fuqra's communes in the US attracted many Muslim converts-including some of those recruited in prisons. The JF is said to comprise of some 1,000 to 3,000 members in the US. Secrecy is the hallmark of the outfit and cadres are reportedly well versed in the use of aliases. The Fuqra’s structure is well concealed behind front outfits and consists of a network of safe houses and cells. Furthermore, the JF founder as well as cadres consistently maintain that it does not exist. JF members occasionally travel abroad for ‘paramilitary and survivalist training’ under Gilani's supervision.
Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, who also calls himself the sixth Sultan Ul Faqr, is the chief of JF. Jamaat ul-Fuqra is headquartered in Hancock, New York.
Although Gilani, the reclusive chief of Fuqra resides in Lahore, Pakistan, most JF cells are located in North America. Fuqra members have purchased isolated rural properties in North America to live as a community, practice their faith, and insulate themselves from Western culture. The group has set up and funded rural communes that the US authorities allege are linked to murder, bombings and other felonies throughout the US and Canada. Currently, there are half a dozen Fuqra residential compounds in rural hamlets across the US sheltering hundreds of cadres, some of who have reportedly trained in the use of weapons and explosives in Pakistan.
Muslims of the Americas, a tax-exempt group established in the US in 1980 by Gilani, operates communes of primarily black, American-born Muslims in many states in the US, including in Binghamton in New York, Badger in California, York in South Carolina and Red House in Virginia. JF is reportedly linked through court documents to the Muslims of Americas. There is also a road in the name of Sheikh Gilani in the vicinity of Virginia. The cult houses between 100 and 200 people, many of them women and children in about 20 huge trailers. There is also a Virginia newspaper, the Islamic Post, founded by Sheikh Gilani.
The following is courtesy of Jihad Watch and the Canada Free Press about a visit by CFP in May 2007 to the camp located at "Islamberg", New York:
Islamberg is not as benign as a Buddhist monastery or a Carmelite convent. Nearly every weekend, neighbors hear sounds of gunfire. Some, including a combat veteran of the Vietnam War, have heard the bang of small explosives. None of the neighbors wished to be identified for fear of "retaliation."
"We don't even dare to slow down when we drive by," one resident said. "They own the mountain and they know it and there is nothing we can do about it but move, and we can't even do that. Who wants to buy a property near that?"
The complex serves to scare the bejeesus out of the local residents.
"If you go there, you better wear body armor," a customer at the Circle E Diner in Hancock said. "They have armed guards and if they shoot you, nobody will find your body."
At Cousins, a watering hole in nearby Deposit, a barfly, who didn't wish to be identified, said: "The place is dangerous. You can hear gunfire up there. I can't understand why the FBI won't shut it down."
Islamberg is a branch of Muslims of the Americas Inc., a tax-exempt organization formed in 1980 by Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, who refers to himself as "the sixth Sultan Ul Faqr," Gilani, has been directly linked by court documents to Jamaat ul-Fuqra or "community of the impoverished," an organization that seeks to "purify" Islam through violence.
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. Additional hamaats have been established in Hyattsville, Maryland; Red House, Virginia; Falls Church, Virginia; Macon, Georgia; York, South Carolina; Dover, Tennessee; Buena Vista, Colorado; Talihina, Oklahoma; Tulane Country, California; Commerce, California; and Onalaska, Washington. Others are being built, including an expansive facility in Sherman, Pennsylvania.
JUF and Muslims of the Americas have been implicated in multiple terrorist incidents both here in the U.S. and abroad, including bombings in the Pacific Northwest in the early 1980's, an attempted bombing in Toronto in 1991, and a member convicted in complicity of the 1993 WTC bombing. Daniel Pearl was on his way to interview Gilani when he was abducted and murdered in 2002. Gilani was questioned and released following Pearl's murder.
In other words, this is a very serious terrorist organization with infrastructure and facilities spread across the U.S. that has a history of keeping their jihad below the radar. They are active, and they are training, and the threat of an attack similar to the terrorist incidents in Mumbai is no longer looking like just a possibility, but an inevitability.
With the focus on our actions overseas, this group and other smaller, similar groups have flown under our radar for far too long. These are threats that need to be dealt with immediately and emphatically. We need to recognize that not only is Al Qaeda not the only terrorist threat to the U.S., they may not even be most dangerous terrorist threat to the U.S. International terrorism in general has a constant ebb and flow to it, with groups evolving, some becoming more prevalent as others fade. Al Qaeda has been the bogeyman of America since 9-11 with good reason, but they are not the only game in town and we ignore the others at great peril.
As our commitments abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan transition, we need to refocus some of our energies here, within our borders. The Obama administration has two choices: continue the current rhetoric to take credit for advances made overseas under former President Bush's watch, or adapt to a changing world that's including rapidly increasing threats here on our own soil. It is no longer a question that the rise of these groups on the North American continent is a failure of the previous administration. A new question appears: is the current administration more interested in taking credit for the previous administration's successes, or correcting its failures?