Friday, December 02, 2005

Tablighi Jamaat, Part 1

In the November 22nd news story about the indictment of Jose Padilla, the following excerpt caught my eye:
    “The defendants, along with other individuals, operated and participated in a North American support cell that sent money, physical assets and mujahedeen recruits to overseas conflicts for the purpose of fighting violent jihad.”
This description of Padilla’s modus operandi bears a striking resemblance to that of Jamaat ul-Fuqra. Could there be a connection?

I did a web search on “Jose Padilla”+“Jamaat ul-Fuqra” and found the following material in the Bharat Rakshak Monitor:
     Stern also describes how Al Qaeda-affiliated groups may have sprung up in the US prison system, where converts to Islam offer a promising pool of recruits… The Pakistan-based Jamaat-ul-Fuqra, a “terrorist group committed to purifying Islam through violence”, is said to be active in US prisons. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted and killed while attempting to interview Jamaat leader Sheikh Gilani about his links to the alleged “shoe bomber” Richard Reid. Perhaps more disturbingly for Indians, Stern describes the strengthening connections between violent radicals and the Tablighi Jamaat. The Tablighi Jamaat, started out as a social revivalist organization like the Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Some of the better known Western jihadis such as Jose Padilla, Richard Reid and John Walker Lindh were indoctrinated by the Tablighi Jamaat before they moved on to military training organized by other groups in Afghanistan. The Jamaat is influential in Pakistan, and army officers affiliated with it were arrested in 1995 for plotting to assassinate Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. As many Indians know, the Tablighi Jamaat has also been involved in competitive mobilization with its Hindu counterparts in communally sensitive areas of India (such as Gujarat) which makes its apparent radicalization particularly worrisome for Indian social stability. [emphasis added]
Adding this to my earlier research, we now have Richard Reid, Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh, and John Allen Mohammad all swimming together in the same murky pond: Tablighi Jamaat.

Tablighi Jamaat was in the news recently when the plans were announced for the new mosque to be associated with the London Olympics:
     An Islamic group is proposing to build Western Europe’s biggest mosque in East London in time for the 2012 Olympic Games...
Tablighi Jamaat - a worldwide Islamic missionary group - is proposing the mosque as its new UK headquarters.
The group envisions a futuristic design for the three-storey mosque, with wind turbines taking the place of minarets and an overall capacity of 70,000 when surrounding buildings are taken into account.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

Tablighi Jamaat isn’t a high-profile Islamist group like Al-Qaeda, Hamas, or the Muslim Brotherhood. What do we know about it?

Well, not a whole lot, and there’s a good reason why. According to the South Asia Analysis Group,
    Tablighi Jamaat
  • The TJ has been able to establish contacts and centres throughout the Muslim world. (Comment: By “Muslim world” he does not only mean Islamic countries, but all countries where there is a sizable Muslim community)
  • It has thousands of dedicated and disciplined workers who never question any order from the high-ups. What has helped the TJ to expand (without creating alarm in the security agencies) is its policy of a deliberate black-out of its activities. It does not interact with the media and does not issue any statements or communiques. It believes in human communication through word of mouth. (Comment: It does not bring out any journals or other propaganda organs to explain its policies and objectives. All explanations to its workers and potential recruits are given orally).
  • During its training classes, it claims to have frustrated the efforts of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to penetrate it and succeeded in converting the CIA agents to Islam.
This organization is a paranoid’s dream. You don’t know anything about it because They don’t want you to know! If you don’t see Them, that proves They’re there!

“Tablighi Jamaat” means “Proselytizing Group.” A more comprehensive translation might be “International Association for the Propagation of the Faith.” It was founded, depending on which source you use, either in the late 19th century or in the 1920s in Pakistan. Its goal is to purify and renew Islam throughout the world, without recognizing any borders to the Ummah.

Within the Islamic world TJ draws its greatest success from the marginally Muslim communities, those isolated and neglected corners of the Ummah such as the former Soviet republics of Central Asia. Islam has languished there; its traditions have fallen into disuse, and the poor and ill-educated people there are often only nominally Muslim. They have proved fertile ground for TJ’s proselytizing, and the group has had an impressive rate of success there.

In the lands of the infidel, TJ seeks out the Western analogue of the same people: the underclass. In the United States their preferred strategy is to convert African-American felons in the prison system.

When the Tablighi Jamaat recruits emerge from the Big House, energized by their new-found faith, where do they go? And what do they do when they get there?

We will be examining Tablighi Jamaat in depth in future posts.

To be continued…


MikeZ said...

This is a first-class series of investigative articles. Congratulations!

El Jefe Maximo said...

I need to read back through your excellent series on this. I found the references to the Pakistani military intriguing. I wonder about Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence, and if they could be involved in this organization, or organizations like it.

The whole thing as described smacks of military organization and planning -- the controls on information, the training, the systametic approach to recruitment and counterintelligence. Recall that elements of Pakistini intelligence, or persons in it, helped what became Al Qaeda get going.

Baron Bodissey said...

Jefe --

I'll get a little bit ahead of myself and tell you that, yes, the ISI and the Pakistani military are indeed heavily infiltrated by TJ.

Actually, "infiltrated" is not quite the right word. The affiliation is not hidden, and TJ doesn't control operations. But its mindset is widely shared throughout both groups, which is why we are totally mad if we trust the Pakistanis.

Musharraf cannot control all these elements effectively. I hope we have a serious operational plan for removing or neutralizing their nukes.

Needless to say, a lot of the information I've been gathering comes from sources in India.

Always On Watch said...

Adding this to my earlier research, we now have Richard Reid, Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh, and John Allen Mohammad all swimming together in the same murky pond: Tablighi Jamaat.

Tablighi Jamaat was in the news recently when the plans were announced for the new mosque to be associated with the London Olympics.

I was consumed with Thanksgiving obligations when the London mosque story broke, but I thought there was a connection with JF. Then I said to myself, "Don't go imagining things like bogeymen under the bed." I should've known better!

Stephen King couldn't dream up anything scarier than what I'm reading these days on the blogs.

Superior investigative work here, Baron!

El Jefe Maximo said...

"Removing or neutralizing their nukes." Yeah, I hope Baron. Most God-awful rugged country in the world, that the British never really controlled. If the Paks lose their nukes, and more importantly, ar seen to have lost them, I wouldn't give a plugged nickel for the continued existence of an independent Pakistan, let alone the life of any Pakistani leader who let us get them.

If Pakistan and the US did come to a parting of the ways, I suspect the US plan for dealing with Pakistan would amount to egging the Indians on to wreck Pakistan in some way, shape or form.

blert said...

That primer: is the jihadi holding a pistol in his right hand as he looks down the road to travel?

Outstanding research....

Truly scary.

ik said...


Here is an article on Tablighi Jamaat that every American should read

Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad's Stealthy Legions>
by Alex Alexiev

Although the article above sounds like paranoia - reality is actually much worse. TJ has been radicalising Indian Muslims for a long time now.

Slightly OT
Here are three more articles which cover the underworld link with the terrorist threat (good coverage of Mumbai underworld) - there is just one mistake in those articles it syas that Dawoods empire runs into hundreds of millions of dollars - It is actually multiples of Billions of dollars.

Paying for Terror

A Godfather's Lethal Mix of Business and Politics

An Unlikely Criminal Crossroads

India has been saying these things for years but no one was listening earlier (not complaining - just pointing out)

By the way I did not know whether you had a blog during the Daniel Pearl incident but here is some info on it. The man arrested for Daniel Pearls killing Omar Saeed Sheikh had sent money to Mohammad Atta

Excerpt from this article
"Omar sent a draft for $100,000 to Mohammad Atta, one of the men who crashed an aircraft into the World Trade Center in New York. The draft, sources say, was sent in the summer of 2000 employing a pseudonym. Atta is thought to have returned $15,600 through the hawala channel just before the attack. The FBI believes that Omar met Atta during one of his visits to Kandahar and knew of the plans for the September 11 strikes.

Further investigations revealed that the money transferred into Atta's account was actually provided to Omar by former ISI chief Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed. These findings apparently proved to be the proverbial last nail for Mahmood who was subsequently sent home on October 8, 2001 by General Musharraf. As things stand, Omar's appeal against his conviction has not been heard so far, as the hearing on the appeal is being repeatedly postponed on one ground or the other. "

The above article is also on a
but the site seems to be down


THE DANIEL PEARL'S CASE: Questions & Answers

Here is some more stuff which you will find very interesting
The Guilty Men of 9/11

PAKISTAN & 9/11---I

Sorry about posting all these links together - I was meaning to for some time but just got the time.

ik said...

el jefe - about your first question - read the links I posted above.

about your second post - all of Pakistan is not a rugged country There are 4 states in Pakistan. Punjab(1) and Sind(2) are flat and very fertile because of the Indus river. Baluchistan(3) is a desert. Noth West Frontier Province (NWFP) (4) is very rugged just like you said.

I am not sure if you know this but B. Raman was former head of counter-terrorism for Indian Intelligence (RAW). Here is an interview with him. He is very sober and reliable and very analytical.

ik said...

Here is a western link which is similar - unfortunately it is in Al Guardian

Baron Bodissey said...

ik --

Yes, I have the Alexiev article. It's in my pile of Tablighi Jamaat materials, to be used in future posts.

And thanks for letting me know about B. Raman -- I wasn't aware of his background. All I knew was that he wrote an excellent and informative article.

I'm printing out the material in the links you list, to add to my pile of reading.

I've also found the Bharat Rakshak Monitor to be invaluable -- I'm just beginning to make my way through some of its very comprehensive material.

TJ seems to me to be the elephant in the terrorist room. All the trails lead right up to it.

And the Indians are on the front lines. They can't afford the kind of laxity and make-believe that is SOP for the USA -- the consequences for them are too severe.

Baron Bodissey said...

blert -- I thought maybe he had a knife in his hand. Or maybe it's just a curling iron...

Always On Watch said...

I just read the Alexiev piece. What to say?

The web is extensive, isn't it?

ik said...

I think those are prayer beads in his hand.

Also for your info - maybe you already know this - Bharat is the Indian name for India.
India is what the west calls us. Hindusthan is what the Muslim world calls us.

Anonymous said...


What a fascinating article by Alexiev. I had no idea of the connection of this organization to the Nation of Islam.

Excellent series Baron.

Baron Bodissey said...

ik -- No, I didn't know that "Bharat" meant India. Is it the same in all languages on the subcontinent, or just in Hindi?

I know that our word "India" comes from Latin via the Greek, which in turn came through the Persian. It's based on the Sanskrit word for river, "sindhu" (particularly the Indus), from which the Persians derived their name for the region.

The transformation of "S" to "H" is peculiar to Greek and related dialects in Indo-European languages. Cf "Super" --> "Hyper" and "Sept -->"Hept".

ik said...

Baron - I think it is Bharat in all languages (Bharat is short for BharatVarsha - land of King Bharata)

We call the Indus river - Sindhu - The ancient Persians called us Hindus (people living beyond the Sindhu/Hindu river) which became "Indios" for he greeks (I think) The real name of the "religion" is "Sanatana Dharma" (Eternal Dharma)
We called the Greeks - Yavana (our word for Ionian - I read somewhere)

Number 7 said...
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