Gates of Vienna has an extremely interesting article on the Jamaat ul-Fuqra, a controversial Islamic organization with compounds called Jamaats "scattered throughout the United States and Canada, notably in Colorado, New York, Tennessee, Georgia, and Virginia". What happens in these compounds? Newspaper articles have connected Jamaat ul-Fuqra to the Beltway Sniper, the killers of Daniel Pearl and shoebomber Richard Reid. And it seems that despite various raids since 9/11, the compounds are still out there. So what does Gates of Vienna do? Mosey on down to Red House, Virginia to get a look at one the Jamaats close up.
After waiting in line at the counter, I asked the proprietor if he had heard of Jamaat ul-Fuqra, an Islamist organization. He looked at me blankly. I mentioned that they had a compound near Red House, on Route 615. ... He seemed reluctant to give further information on the subject, perhaps not wanting to gossip to a stranger about his (presumably well-armed) neighbors and customers. However, outside the store I struck up an acquaintance with a local woman named Shirley .. she proved to have a wealth of local lore on the subject. ...
Shirley said that there are other Jamaat locations besides the compound. One of her hobbies is historical research, and recently she was tracking down old homesteads in the wilds of Charlotte County. Her maps led her down a back-country lane, a non-state route through the wilderness that required a four-wheel drive to negotiate. When she neared the old homesteads she was looking for, she was surprised to find an establishment with a sign that identified it as a "Training Camp for Young Muslim-American Men."
Some men came out to ask local historian Shirley what she was doing. After listening to the rest of Shirley's story, Baron Bodissey drove up the road to take a look at the Red House compound for himself.
Along the way I passed the Red House Volunteer Fire Department, the Mt. Zion Baptist Church, the Beautiful Zion Baptist Church, and numerous modest little houses, double-wides, and trailers, with pickup trucks and boats out front and dog kennels in the back, the normal human landscape of rural Southside Virginia. As I came around a bend I saw the compound ahead. There was a big green sign near the road in Arabic and English, with a little cinderblock guardhouse next to it flying an unidentifiable flag. Beyond the entrance numerous trailers were scattered across the hillside, fairly close together in fields of waist-high unkempt weeds. No one was in sight.
I noticed the road sign at the entrance: “Sheikh Gilani Lane,” just as described in the South Asia Terrorism Portal article.
Read the rest at Gates of Vienna.