On April 16, the United Muslim-Christian Forum (UMCF) held an interfaith event in Owego, New York, featuring Christian and Muslim speakers, including the mayor of the town. Its Web site proudly hosts a photo of Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan holding a UMCF sign. Far from the model of tolerance it casts itself as, the UMCF is a front for an anti-Semitic, Islamic extremist group named Muslims of the Americas (MOA), and the keynote speaker warned that Allah will destroy whoever supports Koran burnings, and possibly the entire country.
The MOA was exposed in the Christian Action Network’s (CAN) 2009 film, “Homegrown Jihad: Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.,” which shows that MOA “villages” (of which the group says there are 22) are used for guerilla warfare training. The Department of Homeland Security says that the MOA is linked to Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a Pakistani militant group. Both follow Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, a radical cleric in Pakistan. In 1998, the State Department described ul-Fuqra as an “Islamic sect that seeks to purify Islam through violence.”
Shortly after the film’s release, I obtained an MOA videotape showing female members receiving paramilitary instruction at “Islamberg” in Hancock, NY. The group responded with a ridiculous rebuttal video in December 2009, followed by a four-part series in January 2010. Since then, CAN has acquired multiple recordings of gunfire coming from “Holy Islamville” in York County, SC.
The UMCF has been able to recruit some Christians as supporters, even though this information is readily available. Speakers at the April 16 event included Father Timothy Taugher of Blessed Sacrament Church in Johnson City; Prof. Diane O’Heron of Broome Community College (and UMCF board member); and Mayor Edward Arrington, who is chairman of the Deacon Board of First Baptist Church in Owego.
The keynote speaker was Muhammad Ali Qadiri, the “mayor” of the MOA site in Red House, VA. He declared:
[Terry] Jones has started his shameful plan in order to bring about the clash between Muslims and Christians, to destroy both religions and to establish an evil empire. This man is obviously fulfilling somebody else’s agenda which can cause irreparable damage to the peace and solidarity to the USA. We have been chosen by a divine mandate to declare that if any man is allowed to burn the Holy Qur’an the fate of him and his supporters will not be any different from those people who cut the tendons of the she-camel during the time of Prophet Salih (peace be upon him); although only nine people actually cut the tendons, the Almighty destroyed the entire nation. Thus we must pass a resolution to work together.
The Christian Action Network sent me to attend the event, and I heard Qadiri tell the audience that the U.S. government must be forced to end its wars overseas and the drone strikes in Pakistan. He did condemn suicide bombings and al-taqiyya, and said Wahhabists and Shiites are not really Muslims, despite the MOA’s admiration for Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
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