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Thursday, January 20, 2005

Tablighi Jamaat: Terrorist Recruiters or Pious Missionaries?

The name Tablighi Jamaat (or Tableeghi Jamaat) is Arabic for the "group that propagates the faith," and its members visit mosques and college campuses in small missionary bands, preaching a return to purist Islamic values and recruiting other Muslim men - often young men searching for identity - to join them for a few days or weeks on the road. The group was founded in the rural Mewat region of India over 75 years ago.

It is also one of the most widespread and conservative Islamic movements in the world. It describes itself as a nonpolitical, and nonviolent, group interested in nothing more than proselytizing and bringing wayward Muslims back to Islam. Some westerners call this a "born again" Moslem movement.

John Walker Lindh the "American Taleban" charged with conspiring to kill US nationals and aiding al-Qaeda joined the Tablighi Jamaat on a proselytizing tour before enrolling in a religious school in Pakistan.

Hindu writers believe the Tablighi Jamaat is very dangerous. Sita Ram Goel in his paper The Tabligh Movement or Millions of Bearded Militants on the March, writes:

The first great achievement of the Tablighi Jamaat was the cold-blooded murder of Swami Shraddhananda. The swami had been lionized by Muslims when he supported the Khilafat agitation during the first Non-Cooperation movement (1921-22). "But as he was closely associated with the suddhi movement... a section of Muslims cherished bitter hatred against him. On 23 December 1926, when the Swami after a serious attack of pneumonia was lying in his bed, a Muslim entered into his room on false pretext and stabbed him with a dagger."

He goes on to say:

The Tablighi Jamaat is busy world wide in recruiting soldiers for Islamic jihãd.

The Tablighi Jamaat is currently legal and very active in the United States. That is why the U.S. government is keeping a close watch on Tablighi.

Conservative commentator, J. Grant Swank, at MichNews.com says this about Tablighi:
It’s a contradiction. How can Islamists say they propagate "the faith" while at the same time not be itching to murder infidels — that is, non-Muslims?

Yet that’s what Tablighi Jamaat advocates say to media. They have been formed to return to Islam’s foundational tenets yet repeat especially to the American press that no one joining the worldwide grouping would even think of furthering terrorism.


However, The 9-11 Commission said this about Tablighi Jamaat:
...peaceful fundamentalist Muslim groups such as the Tablighi Jamaat may help to promote a peaceful message and repudiate terrorist violence.

Some of the U.S. mosques where Tablighi Jamaat is active:

• The Islamic Center/ Masjid AlFalah
42-12 National Street
Corona (Queens), NY 11368

• Islamic Center of Long Island
835 Brushhollow Rd
Westbury, NY 11590

• Islamic Center of Maryland
19401 Woodfield Road
Gaithersburg, MD 20879

• Islamic Center of Greater Toledo
25877 Scheider Rd
Perrysburg, Ohio 43551

• Islamic Center of El Paso
143 Paragon Rd.
El Paso, TX 79912

• Islamic Center of San Francisco
400 Crescent Avenue,
San Francisco CA 94110

• Islamic Center of San Gabriel Valley
19164 E. Walnut Dr.
Rowland Heights, CA 91748

Tablighi The Contradiction [J. Grant Swank at MichNews.com, Jan. 19, 2005]
Tablighi Jamaat [wikipedia.org]
Tablighi Jamaat: Jihad's Stealthy Legions [Mideast Qtrly, Jan. 2005]
A Muslim Missionary Group Draws New Scrutiny in U.S. [NY Times, July 14, 2003] - mirror of NY Times article
The Making of John Walker Lindh [rickross.com, Sept. 29, 2002]
Tablighi Jamaat under US scanner [rediff.com, July 14, 2003]
Islamic Tablighi Jamaat Recruiting Ground For Al Qaeda [parapundit.com, Jul. 15, 2005, with interesting comments]
Converts to Islam seen as growing terror threat [Register Guard, July 19, 2004]

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