Thursday, December 01, 2005

Jamaat ul-Everywhere

After my previous posts about Jamaat ul-Fuqra in Virginia (see parts one and two) I received a number of emails with tips and information about other Islamic locations in rural Virginia.

One of my correspondents was a man in Halifax County. He told me about a place in southern Charlotte County called “Muslim Teachers College,” just across the Staunton River from his home. He said that he had been traveling over that way a few years back and had seen the sign for it.

So, following his directions, I mounted an expedition and went looking for the place. I drove up and down Route 607 along the river a couple of times, and couldn’t see any sign for a Muslim college. So, as is my custom, I stopped in at a local country store near the hamlet of Formosa to ask about a nearby Muslim school.

“Oh, yeah, I know where it is,” said the man behind the counter. He gave me directions to it: back the way I had come.

But before I left he asked me what a “Muslim school” was. I told him it was a private religious school, like a Catholic school.

“Oh,” he said. “I always wondered what that was.”

Muslim Teachers College

I drove slowly back down Route 607 towards Randolph, keeping an eye out for the sign, but there didn’t seem to be one. Then, next to a driveway that led up a hill past an abandoned house, I saw what could have been a large metal sign lying face down in the weeds in front of three posts. I turned around and came back. When I put the sign upright against the posts to which it had once been nailed, here’s what I saw:

Muslim Teachers College

The Muslim Teachers College appears to have fallen on hard times. Here’s the sign in its surrounding context:

Muslim Teachers College

The little abandoned house up the hill beyond the sign looks like it has been unused for at least a decade. There are signs on all the trees and fence posts near the driveway that say “NO TRESSPASSING — Dairy Hill Hunt Club, Saxe, Virginia.” In fact, for half a mile on either side of the road, the Dairy Hill Hunt Club has the same signs posted.

I have no idea whether there is any connection between the College and the Jamaat ul-Fuqra compounds in Red House and Meherrin. But, if you look at the map below, you’ll notice that they’re all fairly close to each other, forming a rough equilateral triangle about 25 miles on a side.

Randolph, Va.

And, as a matter of interest, just across the river is the Dominion Virginia Power plant at Clover, a little less than a mile away as the crow flies. The plant is relatively new — it came online in 1995.

Dominion Virginia Power plant

After taking photos of the sign, I tipped it back into its original place and came home to start my research.

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A terraserver aerial photo shows that there’s a lot more to the Dairy Hill Hunt Club or the Muslim Teachers College than is visible from the road. Up at the top of the hill the road branches, and there are several buildings scattered around in the midst of the woods.

Muslim Teachers College

As for the Dairy Hill Hunt Club, a web search for it turned up absolutely nothing for Charlotte County or Saxe. New York State seems to have a “Dairy Hill Hunt Club,” but the one in Virginia does not maintain a web presence.

There’s also not much information available online about the Muslim Teachers College in Randolph, Virginia. There are no maps of the campus, no class photos, no lists of courses, and no student information pages. There’s no alumni association, nor any scheduled reunions. But I did find a few references to the place.

There was an announcement on an Arizona State University listserve:
     Muslim Teacher’s College announces the opening of its demonstration school — The Clara Muhammad Boarding School. This, the latest addition to the college’s educational complex, represents the culmination of several years of research. The curriculum taught in CMBS is strictly based on Qur’an. Qadir Abdus-Sabur, president of MTC said, “We frequently find Islamic schools in North American which teach Arabic and Islamic studies but subjects such as History and Social Studies reflect a Western educational paradigm. There is little regard for Qur’anic moral values.
“Every subject taught in CMBS will reflect a Qur’anic based philosophy of Education.There will be no verbal problems which encourage gambling when studying probabilities, no stories which support weak moral values in reading assignments and yes, there will be prayer in school!”
“Our goal,” said Imam Abdus-Sabur, “is to establish a model school and curriculum which could be duplicated throughout America.”
CMBS will admit a very few select boys in fifth through eighth grade (ages 10 -13) this year. Classes will be less than 15 students each and the academic program will be augmented by a program which introduces the students to a hands-on science program through agricultural projects.
Notice that only boys will be allowed to apply for entrance. And ages 10-13 — so young! They would be studying to be teachers before they even finished middle school. Or were they being selected as practice pupils for aspiring teachers?

The same page gives this contact information:
    Clara Muhammad Boarding School
c/o Muslim Teacher’s College
P.O. Box 71, Randolph, VA 23962
(804) 454-9536 (Voice);(804) 454-6059 (FAX)
Readers should note that the area code for the phone numbers is out of date; Virginia subdivided the 804 code in 2001, and that part of the state is now 434.

Clara Muhammad was the wife of Elijah Muhammad, the founder of the Nation of Islam, and there are a lot of other schools in the United States named after her. This particular one was founded in 1995 (or 1988, according to one source) by Imam Karim Abdel-Shakur, James H. Rasheed, and Qadir Abdus-Sabur. As far as I can tell the school is no longer operating. However, there are still some references to it using the same phone numbers, but with the more recent 434 area code.

The founders turn up at this site, along with two other faculty members:
     Qadir Abdus-Sabur, Ph.D. is president and co-founder of Muslim Teachers College and Adjunct Professor of Educational Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has been actively involved in the Islamic Schools movement in the United States for the past thirty years serving in positions such as Principal of Clara Muhammad School in Richmond, Virginia; Director of Clara Muhammad Boarding School in Randolph, Virginia; Chairman of the Council of Islamic Schools in North America (CISNA); member of the American Society of Muslim?Js (ASM) Board of Education; and Director of Islamic Studies Curriculum Project, International Curricula Organization in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
James H. Rasheed, Ph.D. is co-founder of Muslim Teachers College and a teaching sociologist and researcher. Among his achievements are his B. S. from Virginia Union University, a B. S. from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Ph. D. from the University of Virginia. Research interest includes The Development of Scientific Sociology, The Sociology of Ibn Khaldun, The Sociology of W.E.B. DuBois, and the Philosophy of Science.
Beverly Abdus-Sabur, MLIS--University of North Carolina at Greensboro (Professor)
Sunni-Ali Islam, M.Ed. University of Dayton (Associate Professor)
Khairi Abdul-Shakur, M.Ed. Antioch University (Associate Professor)
Karim Abdel-Shakur is listed here as Khairi Abdul-Shakur, and is not mentioned as a co-founder. So Khairi may be a different person entirely, but there is no other information about him to be found on the web.

The Council of Islamic Schools in North America is directly associated with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). ISNA was courted by no less than Karen Hughes in her capacity as advisor to President Bush. Despite the objection of many domestic terrorism experts, over the Labor Day weekend this year Ms. Hughes addressed the ISNA at its annual convention. According to ISNA,
    “Undersecretary Hughes’ participation in the ISNA Annual Convention signifies the important role Muslim Americans can play in improving the image of the United States in the Muslim world,” said Dr. Sayyid M. Syeed, Secretary General of ISNA.
But not everyone was happy with Ms. Hughes’ outreach effort, and not everyone considers the organization benign. Frank Gaffney, for one, declared this a first-order strategic error, since ISNA is nothing more than a front for Saudi Arabia’s infiltrration of American Muslim groups.

By her actions, Ms. Hughes gave the administration’s blessing to the further weakening of the national fabric by this Islamofascist group. As Mr. Gaffney noted,
     ISNA has for years sought to marginalize leaders of the Muslim faith who do not support the Wahhabists’ strain of Islamofascism, and, through sponsorship of propaganda and mosques, is pursuing a strategic goal of eventually dominating Islam in America.
Two years before 9-11, B. Raman of the South Asia Analysis Group wrote:
     Amongst the organisations in the USA with which the TJ [Tablighi Jamaat] is closely associated are the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Youth of North America (MYNA).The President of the ISNA is Sheikh Abdullah Idris Ali, an American immigrant of Sudanese origin, who is also the Pesh Imam and Khatib of a mosque in New York.
Addressing the convention, Dr. Israr Ahmed said: “…A final show-down between the Muslim world and the non-Muslim world, which has been captured by the Jews, would soon take place. The Gulf war was just a rehearsal for the coming conflict.” He appealed to the Muslims of the world, including those in the USA, to prepare themselves for the coming conflict. [emphasis added]
Tracking down the other founders and faculty members of the Muslim Teachers College produces some interesting tidbits. Sunni-Ali Islam ran a workshop at the Six [sic] Annual Islam in America Conference back in July. His topics? “Islam In American Prisons” and “Educating the Muslim Inmate.”

At least I’m assuming it’s the same Sunni Ali-Islam, since he is in Ohio. He also appears in this news release from the Ohio governor’s office, issued on October 28, 2005:
     Governor Bob Taft today announced appointments to the Correctional Faith-Based Initiatives Task Force...
Sunni-Ali Islam, from Columbus, was appointed to the Correctional Faith-Based Initiatives Task Force for a term ending June 29, 2006. Imam Islam has an undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice from Ohio Dominican University; a graduate degree in Education from the University of Dayton and he is a certified Muslim Religious Service Provider III. Imam Islam is currently Founder and Director of the Muslim Alternative School, the Founder and Director of Native Sun and a Muslim Religious Service Provider for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.
Just a reminder to our readers: the conversion of African-Americans to Islam in prison is a prime recruiting tool for Jamaat ul-Fuqra and other violent and fanatical Islamic groups.

Finally, consider a connection between the Muslim Teachers College and another Sister Clara Muhammad School, this one in Philadelphia. According to an Oct. 21, 2004 article in the Philadelphia Daily News,
     Four FBI agents, including case agents Jesse Coleman and Kevin Lewis, were registered as students at the ABE classes at Sister Clara Muhammad School - the program they were investigating for no-show teachers.
Coleman and Lewis were leading the fraud investigation into $224,000 in public money from Community College of Philadelphia for the adult basic education program at the West Philadelphia school.
Yesterday, four agents’ names, including those using aliases, were identified as registered students during the federal fraud trial of Ali, 55, her daughter, Lakiha “KiKi” Spicer, 28, son Azheem “Osh” Spicer, 30 and Eugene Weaver III, 30.
All ABE teachers had to have a bachelor’s degree, according to CCP policy.
Beverly Abdus-Sabur testified that the Muslim Teachers College in Randolph, Va. never issued a marketing degree for Ali’s son, Azheem Spicer.
“We can only give a degree in Muslim education,” she said. The school has not been in operation since the 1998-1999 school year.
So some of the players in this fraudulent scheme claimed to have a bachelor’s degree from the little college in Randolph, Virginia, the one that only has 10-to-13-year-olds as students. Very strange.

In my first Jamaat ul-Fuqra post, Red House resident Shirley told of her discovery, back off the road in the middle of nowhere, of a “Training Camp for Young Muslim-American Men.” Based on the time frame involved, those little boys in Randolph could have graduated to the training camp just a few miles to the north — but, on the other hand, that could just be a paranoid thought.

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Three isolated, reclusive rural African-American Islamic establishments in the hinterlands of Virginia. Two of them associated with Muslims of the Americas, and one with the Nation of Islam. Both connected to Islamic proselytizing in the prisons. Both groups involved, directly or indirectly, with the fraudulent acquisition of public funds. Both involved with the education and training of young people according to the tenets of the Koran.

I’ll leave the reader with a list of unanswered questions.

  • What is a Muslim Teachers College doing on a remote hilltop in Southside Virginia?
  • Did Dairy Hill Hunt Club acquire the property from the college, or are the members of the club a group of Muslim hunters?
  • Why was the college in operation for only four years?
  • Where are the alumni of the college? What did they go on to teach, and to whom?
  • Did the faculty or students of the college proselytize for Islam in the prison system?
  • Was there any interaction between the college and the MOA compounds in Red House and Meherrin?
  • What kind of “agricultural projects” did the faculty and students of the college undertake? Did these projects by any chance involve the acquisition of large quantities of ammonium nitrate?
  • Was the college administration aware that people working in other schools with the same name were fraudulently claiming to have a degree from the Muslim Teachers College?
  • Are we seeing here again the tentacles of the relentless and well-funded Saudi/Wahhabi proselytizing effort? (See Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe in the War on Terror?)

Readers are invited to suggest new questions for this list, and are also welcome to do the investigative work to answer them.

Note: The URL listed above for the cached Philadelphia Daily News article, which was active at the time of my research, is no longer good. For those interested, the entire article can now be found here.


Jesse Clark said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Thomas von der Trave said...

“Our goal,” said Imam Abdus-Sabur, “is to establish a model school and curriculum which could be duplicated throughout America.”

Well, seeing as how the school appears to be defunct, the good imam's goal would seem unlikely to be achieved.

Still, it would be interesting to know to whom the property now belongs. County records office, maybe?

Always On Watch said...

Not exactly in a rural part of Northern Virginia and not exactly fallen on hard times, but the Islamic Saudi Academy is another possibly subversive organization. Read about it here.

What is law enforcement or DHS doing about places such as JF and ISA? Sweet little, as far as I can tell.

We have barbarians within the gates!!!

PS: I am still appalled that Karen Hughes cuddled up to ISNA.

Baron Bodissey said...

Always on Watch -- I am appalled, too. What are we fighting for, if we have to make nice with these people in order to do it?

Rick Ballard said...


With Farrakan's group the best starting point is always fraud. Figure out how the government could have been bilked and you're on your way.

Great investigative work - be careful about that group, they don't play nice at all.

Do you know anyone that works for a title company in the area? Even if not, most counties have automated titled searches to the point where an hour at the recorder's office can turn up title and lien holders pretty easily.

Baron Bodissey said...

Andrew -- what the Baron really needs is to give up his job and take up investigative blogging full-time.

Until then, other things can be done. The Charlotte County Sheriff's department & land records come to mind...

Gryffilion said...

There seem to be two possibilities here:

1) The place really is defunct and owned by Dairy Hill, whatever that might be--Muslim hunters, Christian hunters, Agnostic hunters, etc. In that case, what made them shut down, and when did it happen? Google still has their number with a 434 as the area code--so technically they're still on the charts. Is it possible that the place operates as a switchboard of sorts...a router or hub, if you will? And if not, what would happen if you called that number...? *cue spooky music*

2) They aren't defunct at all, and Dairy Hill is either a front for the MTC or it IS the Muslim Teacher's College laundering money through fake property purchase (although I'm not an expert on laundering, per se, so I'm not sure how that would work). In that case, it's still active and doing...well, agricultural projects? B.A.'s in education? Don't know much about bureaucracy, but it seems to me that Randolph, VA is pretty damn far out of the way and out of the loop for any kind of legitimate educational institution. Most colleges have a lot more info about them online, even the religious ones. The long driveway, the isolated location, the dearth of information, and more importantly, the fraud that seems to surround MTC like Pigpen's cloud of dirt--all of these smack of some sort of dirty enterprise taking place. Whether or not it's violent, I don't want to hazard a guess, but I'd stake my silk ties and my new BMW that those guys are really up to any sort of "peaceful educational activities."

Gryffilion said...

And about what Rick Ballard said, I'd tend to agree. The guys at Red House most likely represent the muscle (patrolling the gates of their compound with AK-47's like the peace-loving folks they are). The MTC folks, associated as they are with that benevolent organization, the Nation of Islam, are less likely to be that overt or show any outward signs of violence. After all, they've got to keep the money and the students flowing (students of God-knows-what), and it would be a strategic error on their part to destroy that ability by violent acting-out.

Then again, there was a lot of post-Cold War theorizing about such things right up until September 10th, 2001, too. So what do I know...

Charlottesvillain said...

Just a word on rural hunting clubs. It is common for local hunting clubs to acquire hunting rights to a property without acquiring ownership. They are often informal groups of local men looking for a place to hunt (as more and more places forbid it.) The contract probably entitles them to exclusive right to hunt on the property (in season) in exchange for fees probably sufficient to cover the property taxes. Such clubs often put up their own posted signs to enforce their "claim" on the property.

They would have no need for a web presence, being wholly local in nature, and my guess is they would have no relationship with this particular landlord other than that described above. Pure speculation on my part, however, based on my own experiences as a landowner in Buckingham County, VA

Robert Pearson said...

Baron, just want to express my appreciation for this superb piece of journalism; as I posted today "This is the story that the Time Out and Postless should have done."

Let a thousand bloggers go forth and do likewise!

Baron Bodissey said...

Charlottesvillain --

I'm very familiar with how hunt clubs work. It was not at all surprising that we didn't find them on the web, and they're probably just a bunch of Charlotte County good ol' boys who bought or are leasing the property from NOI. But, if that's true, I doubt that there's anything sinister currently going on at the top of that hill; otherwise, the locals would be fully aware of it.

I just wondewr what went on there between 1995 and 1999.