WSOC Channel 9 News in Charlotte, North Carolina has sparked controversy in the area after airing a report largely based on the Christian Action Network’s accusations against the Muslims of the Americas organization, which has an isolated community in York County. CAN accuses MOA of being an extremist group that trains some of its members in how to carry out acts of violence.
Last year, the Christian Action Network released a documentary named “Homegrown Jihad” that claimed that MOA is led by a radical Pakistan-based cleric named Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani. The documentary claimed that the MOA sites were used to provide his followers with paramilitary training, and the film showed excerpts of a tape where Sheikh Gilani is seen providing such training and inviting Muslims to join his sites in the United States.
In December, CAN posted a YouTube video with clips from two other videos, one of which showed female members of MOA firing guns and being given paramilitary training at the group’s “Islamberg” headquarters in New York.
“We don’t have any training camps, and we’re not shooting any guns. I’m telling you Sheik Gilani is not involved in terrorism,” Ali Rashid, a member of the compound called Holy Islamville, told WSOC Channel 9.
The news report confirmed that the neighbors of the compound have expressed concern.
“One neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified for this story, said she has seen Islamville residents with M-16 and AK-47 rifles in the wooded area where her property meets the compound,” the report said.
However, WSOC reporter Jim Bradley to walk around the compound on his own and he did not see any evidence of terrorist training at the site. Bradley also quoted the York County Sheriff as saying they did not believe Holy Islamville is being used as a terrorist training camp.
The report confirmed rumors that “many” Holy Islamville residents have moved out of the community to other areas nearby.