Al-Qaeda Used Tablighi Jamaat to Get Visas: WikiLeaks

Al-Qaeda Used Tablighi Jamaat to Get Visas: WikiLeaks
Some Al-Qaeda operatives used New Delhi-based global missionary movement Tablighi Jamaat to get visas and fund their travel to Pakistan and lived for a while in and around the Indian capital, secret US documents released by WikiLeaks say.

At least three operatives of the banned terror group, including a Somalian financier and a Sudanese recruiter used Tablighi Jamaat (TJ), said to be one of the largest Muslim movement in the world, to further their plans of waging 'jihad'.

Referring to Saudi Arabia national Abdul Bukhary, a "a veteran jihadist", the report prepared by US authorities in-charge of Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, said a TJ member, whom he met in 1985-1986 helped to procure his visa for Pakistan. This was before he took part in the Soviet-Afghan war.

"In 1985 or 1986, while in Jeddah, SA, detainee met two members of Jamaat Tablighi (JT). At some point, detainee traveled with a third JT member to Amman, Jordan, for 40 days. Seven to 10 days after detainee's return from Jordan, he borrowed money from his father to travel to Lahore, Pakistan (PK).

"One of the JT members procured detainee's visa for Pakistan, after which detainee and another Saudi travelled to Lahore," the report prepared July 25, 2007 by a US Navy Rear Admiral rank officer said.

It said they stayed in Pakistan for a month and then traveled to New Delhi, where they stayed at JT headquarters in "Nizam-e-Alden" (Nizammudin) for a month.

"While in New Delhi, detainee was introduced to the leader of the JT and asked to make a life commitment to the organisation. Detainee told JT that he needed to think about it because he did not want to commit his life to servitude, pilgrimage, and missionary work. Detainee returned to Lahore for two weeks and then traveled to Saudi Arabia," the WikiLeaks cables said.

In the report TJ has been put under a category called National Intelligence Priority Framework (NIPF) counter-terrorism (CT) Priority 2A TSE.

"Priority 2A, TSEs have demonstrated intent and willingness to provide financial support to terrorist organisations willing to attack US persons or interests, or provide witting operational support to Priority 2,A, terrorist groups," the report said.

A report on a Somalian detainee Mohammed Soliman Barre prepared on September 1, 2008, says, "JT, a proselytizing organisation, has been identified as an Al-Qaeda cover story. Al-Qaeda used the JT to facilitate and fund the international travels of its members."

It says Barre in 1994 moved from Somalia to Pakistan to find work but had difficulty obtaining a visa, and hence he first went to India, where he attempted to obtain United Nations (UN) refugee status.

"He was denied UN refugee status in India, but he obtained a visa to travel to Pakistan under the sponsorship of Jamaat Tablighi (JT). Detainee stated he had no intention of performing missionary duties or serving with the JT; he just used the group to get a visa," the report said.

JT's mention is also found in a report on yet another detainee, Sudan national Amir Mohammad. Giving a background, the report, prepared on January 27, 2008, says in 1990, after graduating high school, detainee heard a presentation at a local mosque and decided to join the jihad in Afghanistan.

"In early 1991, detainee flew from Sudan to India (IN) via Kenya. On the flight to India, detainee met a representative of the Tabligh movement who told detainee about a large Tabligh centre in New Delhi where he could go for assistance.

"Detainee misrepresented himself as an interested Tabligh candidate in order to obtain a Pakistani visa," the report said.

The Tablighi Jamaat, which describes itself as a non-political, non-violent group interested only in 'proselytising and bringing wayward Muslims back to Islam', attracted US investigators' interest following the September 11, 2001, attacks.

American private intelligence think tank STRATFOR had written a feature on the movement in 2008 and said millions across the world are associated with Tablighi Jamaat and some used it as an instrument to facilitate travel.

It said, "although the TJ organisation unintentionally serves as a front for, or conduit to, militant organisations such as Al-Qaeda, there is no evidence that the Tablighis act willingly as a global unified jihadist recruiting arm."
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