Close Your Eyes and Think of Sheikh Gilani

Sheikh Mubarik Gilani

An organization known as Jamaat ul-Fuqra (“Community of the Impoverished”) was founded about 1980 by a known terrorist, the Pakistani Sufi Sheikh Syed Mubarak Ali Hasmi Shah Gilani. Over several decades JuF has established a network of dozens of rural training compounds across the United States and Canada.

I have written extensively on Jamaat ul-Fuqra in the past. For more on this group and its activities, see the Jamaat ul-Fuqra Archives. The first post in the series describes my initial visit to Red House in October 2005 — which seems like a million years ago now — and contains a lot of background material on Sheikh Gilani and Jamaat ul-Fuqra.

The group was incorporated in 1985 as “Muslims of the Americas” (MOA), and is also known as “The Muslims of America”, as you can see from the photo of the sign at the top of this post, which stands at the entrance to the MOA compound in Red House.

Sheikh Gilani and his followers seem unconcerned about consistency of wording and spelling: the organization is sometimes also known as “Jamaat al-Fuqra”. The Sheikh himself spells his surname variously as “Gilani”, “Gillani”, “Jilani”, or “Jillani”, and his principle forename as “Mubarik” or “Mubarak”. These orthographic variations helped make my initial Internet research more difficult, forcing me to search repeatedly using different combinations of spellings.

Regardless of the spelling, the Muslims of America have been and remain the same organization, made up largely of African-American converts (many of them recruited in prison) who are devoted to their Sheikh in Pakistan, and are reportedly required to send him 30% of their income.

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