Good neighbors or potential threat? This is a question some are asking about a community in York County located about four miles east of Lake Wylie.
The community is called Islamville and is home to about 200 people who follow a mysterious Pakastani cleric.
They are part of Muslims of America and followers of Pakastani Sheikh Mubarak Gilani. They believe 9/11 was carried out by Jews and all part of a plan to destroy Islam.
While this isn’t a mainstream way of thinking, does it make them a dangerous group?
Dr. Kathryn Johnson is director of Islamic studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She said: “Does it necessarily mean that they have abandoned their commitment to American society? They chose to live in a plain and simple way.”
Still, the blogosphere is full of people who are convinced places like this are really terrorist training camps.
We asked the York County Sheriff if this type of thinking was just paranoia. Sheriff Bruce Bryant said he hoped so.
Those who live here are part of Muslims of America. They follow the teachings of Pakistani Sheik Mubark Gilani. He also founded another group, Jamaat Ul Fuqra.
The Colorado Attorney General prosecuted five members of this group in the early 90’s.
His office described it as a “sect” that advocates the “purification” of Islam by “force and violence.”
The state department considered it a terrorist group, but because of its inactivity, has removed them from the government’s list.
WBTV News asked repeatedly to interview Muslim of America leaders but they declined. Instead, they sent us a DVD copy of their leader speaking.
We asked if there was any reason for people to be concerned about Islamville.
“Obviously, because of some troublesome ties and what have you, certainly I would not be honest with you if I told you they weren’t of a concern to us,” Sheriff Bryant said.
He is also quick to point out they have had few problems.
“Basically, as far as being good neighbors, we have no police reports that would indicate anything different,” he said.