Jamaat al-Fuqra



    JF Muslims of America.gif
    Status: Active
    AKA: Al-Fuqra, Baladullah, City of God, Community of the Impoverished, Jama'at al-Fuqara, Jamaat ul-Fuqra, JF, Jihad Council for North America, Muhammad Commandos, Muslims of America (MOA), Muslims of the Americas, Soldiers of Allah, The Impoverished, Quranic Open University
    Formed: 1980
    Areas of Operation: Afghanistan, Bosnia, Canada, Caribbean, Chechnya, India (Kashmir), Lebanon, Pakistan, United States
    Headquarters: United States; Hancock, New York 
    Ideology: Religious (Islamic - Sunni)
    Group Size: 200-3,000 members (sources vary)
    Leader: Sheikh Mubarak 'Ali Gilani
    Affiliates: Al Kifah Refugee Center, Al Qaeda, Bait Au Quran, HAMAS, Hiz ul-Mujahideen (HuM), Jaish e-Mohammad (JeM), Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF), Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), National Islamic Front (NIF)


      Organizational History

      Jamaat al-Fuqra (JF) is more commonly known as the Muslims of America since its name change in the 1990s. The group’s principle is the cleansing of the Islamic umma, or Muslim community, through violence.  Members are encouraged to withdraw from the society of unbelievers and create a Muslim community where they are free to practice their faith and conduct paramilitary training.

      JF was founded by Pakistani cleric Sheik Mubarak ‘Ali Gilani, in Brooklyn, when he visited the U.S. for the first time in 1980.  Gilani was well known for his connection to the Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Pearl, who was on his way to meet Gilani in Karachi when the journalist was kidnapped and subsequently beheaded.  ‘Ali Gilani and the spiritual leader of the group, Pir Sayed Gilani, arranged for the training of American JF members in Karachi terrorist group training camps.  Many of these same members fought in the region against Indian security forces. 

      Primarily headquartered in Lahore, Pakistan, the Sunni organization has a significant presence in the United States and openly recruits individuals from prisons and other social service agencies.  Members live in compounds, called hamaats, and abide by the laws of JF, which are regarded above those of the government.  It is believed that JF may have as many as 30 compounds across the U.S. and Canada, although their regional headquarters are believed to be in Hancock, New York.[1] The group was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. Department of State in 1999.  Taking into account the group’s durability, adaptability, and extensive paramilitary training, in addition to their financial and logistical support from Pakistan, the group remains a significant risk to U.S. security. In once instance, Sheik Muburak Gilani is seen on video stating, "We are fighting to destroy the enemy. We are dealing with evil at its roots and its roots are America."[2] Supposedly, the video also claims that JF is teaching Muslim students to use AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers, mortars, and machine guns, and is also training them in the art of kidnapping, assassination, and various forms of sabotage. 


      The JF organization operates in cells.  Each cell is assigned a certain geographic area referred to as a sector, and there were at least five operational cells in the U.S. up to 1992.  Researchers currently believe that there could be up to 30 as of today.[3]  Reflecting the doctrines of the organization, members of JF cells are referred to by different names such as “Soldiers of Allah” and “Muhammad Commandos.”


      Members are trained in a variety of weapons including AK-47 assault rifles, American-made M-16s and M-14 rifles, grenades, and explosives.  Weapons of this variety have been found in large caches used by local cells, and other caches may still be present.  At their various compounds, members engage in paramilitary tactical training with firearms, explosives, and other types of weapons.


      Some of the group’s funding comes from member donations; from 10 to 30 percent of each member’s income is donated to the group.[4] The group has a history of raising money through criminal means, as well, including gun smuggling, money laundering, and fraud.  Some compounds have been known to run a legitimate security business, called Professional Security International (PSI), with locations in New York, Colorado, and Virginia.  Some of the money laundering operations were processed through PSI, and a portion of the funds were tracked to JF members and affiliates who travelled to Pakistan.


      Much of the recruiting in the United States is done in prisons where disaffected African American men are enticed to convert to a radical form of Islam. 

      One member, Clement Rodney Hampton-El, testified that he met with Muslim scholar, Bilal Phillips, at the Saudi Embassy in 1992 in New York City where Phillips gave the JF trainer names of U.S. soldiers returning from their tours of duty.  These soldiers were to be recruited as mujahideen and paramilitary trainers to aid in a Usama bin Laden-funded insurgency in Bosnia.


      Law enforcement authorities believe Jamaat al-Fuqra to be responsible for a more than a decade’s worth of assassinations and bombings.[5]  The group was linked to firebombings of the Hare Krihsna buildings in Philadelphia and Denver in the early 1980s.  In 1991, five followers were arrested for plotting to blow up an Indian theater and Hindu temple in Toronto.  The group was linked to the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, and both Richard Reid, the infamous shoe bomber, and D.C. sniper, John Allen Muhammad, are connected to the JF.  The terrorist organization has also targeted rival religious factions. 

      JF members have been found guilty of various monetary-related criminal activities, in addition to their terrorism-related violent incidents.  One cell in Colorado was charged with fraud for processing fake workers’ compensation claims through their group-run security firm.  The formation of the security firm allowed members to acquire licenses for automatic weapons. 

      In 1993, one African-American Muslim convert, Hampton-El, was plotting to blow up various landmarks in New York City.  Before he could put his plans into action, he was arrested and charged.  Hampton-El was also found to be supplying weapons training to members with the al Kifah Refugee Center, also called the Brooklyn Jihad Office, one member of which took his newly found skills and assassinated Rabbi Meir Kahane in 1990.


      • Insight, newspaper




      JF Attacks.jpg

      Map which depicts JF attacks across the US, with noted compound locations.[6]


      JF Training II.jpg

      Still image taken from Jamaat al-Fuqra training videos.[7]

      JF News Image.jpg

      Image of JF leader, Sheik Mubarak ‘Ali Gilani, on a top news story.[8]

      JF Map of Compounds.jpg

      Map of attacks and JF community locations in the U.S.[9]

      JF Islamberg.jpg

      Jamaat al-Fuqra community in Hancock, NY.[10]

      JF Training.jpg

      Still image taken from Jamaat al-Fuqra training videos.[7]

      JF Mecca Circle.jpg

      Street sign on the JF compound called Aliville outside of Odum, GA.[11]

      JF Sign.jpg

      Sign depicting the Muslims of the America's run International Quranic Open University in New York.[12]


      1. Heffelfinger, C. (2008, May). Evaluating the terrorist threat posed by African-American Muslim Groups. CTC Sentinel, 1 (6). Retrieved from [1]
      2. Shaidle, K. (2009, February 24). New documentary claims dozens of Muslim compounds in America. The National Examiner. Retrieved from [2]
      3. South Asia Terrorism Portal (n.d.). Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Retrieved from [3]
      4. Leventhal, R. (2009, March 23). Quiet Muslim-Only town in N.Y. founded by alleged terrorist. Fox News. Retrieved from [4]
      5. Hosenball, M. (1994, February 28). Another holy war, waged on American soil. Newsweek. Retrieved from [5]
      6. McLeod, J. (2007, June 13). Fox News reports Islamberg fears as "unfounded." Canada Free Press. Retrieved from [6]
      7. The Jawa Report. (2009, December 4). New Jamaat al-Fuqra/Muslims of America domestic terror training videos to be released. Retrieved from [7]
      8. World News Network. (n.d.). Muslim terrorist training camps in America. Retrieved from [8]
      9. Christian Action Network. (2009, October 29). Jamaat al-Fuqra terrorist training compounds inside the United States. Retrieved from [9]
      10. Park, M. Y. (2007, June 12). Islamberg: A terror compound in New York...or misunderstood neighbors? Fox News. Retrieved from [10]
      11. Constantinople Again. (2007, March 24). Aliville: Jamaat al-Fuqra in Odum, GA. Retrieved from [11]
      12. Northeast Intelligence Network. (n.d.). Jamaat ul-Fuqra training compound inside the United States. Retrieved from [12]

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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Islamberg
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       JF Map of Compounds.jpg
      Jamaat al-Fuqra map of locations
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Mecca Circle
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Muslims of America sign
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra news coverage
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Sign
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Training
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      Jamaat al-Fuqra Training
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