Authorities eye Catskills commune

June 4, 2007 at 12:31 PM
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KINGSTON, N.Y., June 4 (UPI) -- Authorities have their eye on a Muslim commune in New York's Catskill Mountains where neighbors say residents are undergoing military-style training.

The New York Post Monday reported that Islamberg, a remote 70-acre commune in Tompkins, N.Y., is the headquarters for Muslims of the Americas but is also believed to be a cover for Jamaat al-Fuqra, a radical group founded by the Pakistani cleric Mubarak Ali Gilani.

The compound is under scrutiny because of reports of training and gunfire there, the newspaper said.

A resident who would not give his name denied that anything illegal was happening at Islamberg.

"This is my country," the resident told the Post. "I love this country. I did a year in the bush in Vietnam for this country."

Gilani used to preach at a Brooklyn mosque and has returned to Pakistan. The group he started still operates in rural areas, the Post said.

Gilani is the Muslim cleric that Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was trying to meet when he was kidnapped and killed in Pakistan in February 2002.

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