For the second time a federal judge has denied a Muslim group’s suit against Christian Action Network, ruling Thursday, Aug. 6, that the group did not prove it has standing to bring the action.
The group which has twice attempted to sue CAN for defamation is known as The Muslims of America (TMOA). The leaders of the group alleged that CAN President Martin Mawyer defamed a Muslim-American organization they were previously associated with, bearing the similar name of Muslims of the Americas (MOA), by the publication of Mawyer’s book “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamic Terrorist Training Camps inside America,” published in 2012.
TMOA also sued Mawyer’s co-author and CAN’s editorial director, Patti A. Pierucci. The book quickly became an Amazon best-seller and Mawyer was featured in several interviews on Fox News following its publication.
Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy, sitting in the Northern District of New York, handed down the dismissal on Thursday, Aug. 6, writing:
“The balance of equities do not weigh in favor of granting this motion (to proceed to trial).”
The first lawsuit was dismissed in 2013 after the same judge determined that TMOA did not have standing to sue on behalf of MOA. Although TMOA later got a court order from the New York Supreme Court granting them permission to serve as “successor” to MOA, Judge McAvoy essentially ruled on Thursday that the action was too little, too late.
Mawyer said he is gratified by the decision. “We have twice emerged victorious from the attempts by TMOA to destroy our organization through ‘legal jihad’ and intimidation,” he said. “No matter how many times they try to sue us, they will never be able to prove that MOA – the group we wrote about in our book,’ was NOT a terrorist organization.”
“Twilight in America” documents the 30-year history of MOA – a Muslim organization founded by a Pakistani cleric named Sheikh Mubarik Ali Gilani, in the 1980s. MOA was a front group for a radical Islamic organization known as Al Fuqra (meaning “community of the impoverished).
MOA/Al Fuqra had dozens of terrorist-training camps scattered throughout America at one time. Today, TMOA claims to have 22 camps. The group is headquartered in Hancock, N.Y., with enclaves in Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas, California, Michigan, and other states.
Al Fuqra was listed on the State Department’s list of terror groups at one time, following a string of Islamic terror attacks in the United States, including the first World Trade Center attack in 1993.
MOA members have been convicted of crimes ranging from gun crimes, drug crimes to welfare and white-collar crimes – including a massive worker’s compensation fraud prosecution in Colorado in the 1990s that sent several members to prison.
The result of that investigation, conducted by Colorado forensics expert Susan Fenger, was the discovery of what she described as “the four faces of Al Fuqra:”
- The first face was the militant Islamic lifestyle members led on the MOA compounds. “That is the face they put to the public,” Fenger said.
- The second face focused on income from food stamps, welfare, worker’s compensation, student loans and subcontracting as construction workers. Later, MOA members devised multiple other sources of income, including drug and arms trafficking.
- The third face was the establishment of front groups like security firms that appeared to operate as legitimate companies but were actually used to gain access to sensitive targets in the United States and to gain firearm permits.
- The fourth face was terrorism. It included covert activities that have been carried out over the years, and documented guerilla combat training carried out on many of their camps, including their headquarters in Hancock, N.Y.
In 2014 the FBI declassified documents that confirmed the MOA organization was being monitored closely by federal authorities. One document stated that “The MOA is now an autonomous organization which possesses an infrastructure capable of planning and mounting terrorist campaigns overseas and within the U.S.”
A 2003 FBI report stated that “Investigation of the Muslims of the Americas is based on specific and articulate facts giving justification to believe they are engaged in international terrorism.”