Jamaat ul-Fuqra

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Jamaat ul-Fuqra (alternatively Jamaat al-Fuqra) (Arabic: جماعة الفقراء, "Community of the Impoverished") is a paramilitary organization of mostly African-American Muslims based in Pakistan and the United States. Some of the approximately 3000 members have planned various acts of violence, often directed at rival factions.[1] Two Al-Fuqra members were convicted of conspiring to murder Rashad Khalifa in 1990,[2][3] and others are alleged to have assassinated Ahmadiyya leader Mozaffar Ahmad in 1983.[4][5]

The group itself is not listed as a terror group by the US or the EU, but was listed as a terrorist organization in the 1999 Patterns of Global Terrorism report by the U.S. State Department.[6] It operates two front groups: Muslims of the Americas and Quranic Open University.[7] They also have been known to operate in Canada,[8] and the Caribbean.[9]

Origins and philosophy[edit]

According to a profile of Al-Fuqra by the National Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism (MIPT), the group is believed to have been founded by Pakistani cleric Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani Hashemi in 1980. Gilani, who lives in Pakistan and was questioned there in connection with the abduction of Daniel Pearl,[10] founded the group on a trip to the United States. Members initially engaged mostly in attacks against Indians and Indian religious figures in the US.[11]

The group is separatist, and is described by MIPT and a similar profile in the database of the South Asian Terror Portal as a cult.

Activities[edit]

Although various members have been suspected of assassinations and other acts of terror perpetrated in the 1980s and later,[12] and some members having been charged with conspiracy to commit first degree murder and other crimes,[13] al-Fuqra itself is not listed as a terror group by the US or the EU (it was listed as a terrorist organization in the 1999 Patterns of Global Terrorism report by the U.S. State Department.) [6]

News reports have attempted to connect "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and "Washington sniper" John Allen Muhammad to al-Fuqra, but the connections were not definitive. There are also allegations that Clement Rodney Hampton-El, one of the plotters who planned to blow up various New York City bridges and tunnels, was a member of Al Fuqra.[14] The group has been banned in Pakistan.[15] Jamaat Al Fuqra was also involved in the planned bombing of a Hindu temple in Toronto, Canada in 1991.[16]

Hotel Rajneesh bombing[edit]

The bombing of the Hotel Rajneesh can be positively tied to an al-Fuqra member. On July 29, 1983, Stephen Paul Paster, an al-Fuqra member, set off a bomb at the Hotel Rajneesh, a hotel in Portland, Oregon. This hotel, located at SW 11th Avenue and Main Street, was owned by the Rajneesh religious group and featured the Zorba the Buddha nightclub.[17] Paster had several bombs and homemade napalm in his room, but one of the bombs went off in his hands while he was placing the bombs in the midst of the napalm.[18]

Paster was almost immediately arrested after the bombs went off, as he was one of only two people injured in the explosion, which took place at 1:23 a.m. After the hotel was evacuated two other explosions occurred at 3 a.m. Paster was charged with arson due to the fire which resulted from the explosions.[19] Paster posted $20,000 bail, but fled Oregon and was not apprehended until June 1984 in Englewood, Colorado. In November 1985, Paster was sentenced to 20 years in prison by a Multnomah County circuit judge.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Another Holy War, Waged On American Soil". Newsweek.com. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  2. ^ Fainaru, Steve; Alia Ibrahim (2002-09-10). "Mysterious Trip to Flight 77 Cockpit; Suicide Pilot's Conversion to Radical Islam Remains Obscure". The Washington Post (The Washington Post). p. A17. 
  3. ^ Pankratz, Howard (2002-02-10). "Message spurred kidnap arrest Pakistani sent communique to Va.". The Denver Post (The Denver Post). p. A-08. 
  4. ^ Boland, Mira L. (2002-03-18). "Sheikh Gilani's American Disciples". The Weekly Standard (The Weekly Standard). p. 29. Retrieved 2009-02-14. 
  5. ^ Berthiaume, Lee (2002-05-04). "The untold story of Hasanville's shadowy past: (Part 1)". Ottawa Citizen (CanWest Global Communications Corp.). p. B1. 
  6. ^ a b "Patterns of Global Terrorism: 1999"
  7. ^ "Jamaat ul-Fuqra", South Asia Terrorism Portal
  8. ^ "Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Canada" The Politics of CP, 21 February 2006
  9. ^ "Punishment Terrorism: Questions & Answers--Part V", South Asia Analysis Group, April 8, 2002
  10. ^ "Made in the U.S.A.", USNews, 10 June 2002
  11. ^ "Al-Fuqra", MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Base
  12. ^ "Strange Bedfellows", Southern Law Poverty Center, Spring 2002
  13. ^ "Information Regarding Colorado's Investigation and Prosecution of Members of Jamaat Ul Fuqra", Attorney General's Office, Colorado Department of Law
  14. ^ [1] Made in the U.S.A., U.S. News and World Report, June 10, 2002
  15. ^ "A Junior al Qaeda... Right here at home: Meet al Fuqra", National Review, 31 January 2002.
  16. ^ "Pre 9/11 Massive Terror Plot Targetting 4,500 Hindus and Sikhs in Toronto Forgotten", The Chakra, Sept 2006.
  17. ^ "The Saffron Swami"
  18. ^ a b "L.A. Resident Gets 20 Years for '83 Bombing of Hotel Rajneesh". Los Angeles Times. November 10, 1985. p. 20. 
  19. ^ "Blasts Hurt 2 at Oregon Hotel; Victim is Arrested". New York Times. July 30, 1983. p. 1.28. 

External links[edit]