America’s Islamic Ribat Problem – The Stream

We were recently introduced to the Arabic term ribat. Historically, it referred to those areas where invading Muslims, having been halted or pushed back, maintained a presence and created a base whence they continued waging jihad on the non-Muslim frontier.

Gaza can be seen — and indeed portrays itself — as a modern day manifestation of the ribat: bordering against Israel, Hamas and other jihadists use it as a frontier base from which to attack the infidel.

Embryonic ribats also proliferate all across Western Europe: in several major cities, Muslim enclaves have formed. There, Islamic culture and “radicalization” prevail — including forms of sharia; there, the European infidel host society and their ways are unwelcome.

It is, in short, a takeover by a militant demographic that has absolutely no intention of assimilating but rather in forming Islamic outposts — ribats — in the heart of Europe.

What about America? Is this same ribatist dynamic evident?

In fact, it is. Even if at a slower — and therefore intentionally downplayed — rate than in Europe.

Yes, We Have Our Muslim Enclaves as Well

There currently exist a number of Muslim-majority enclaves all throughout the U.S. One site purports to list 35 “Muslim enclaves in America.”

Nor is this a new situation. Since 2004, Daniel Pipes has been keeping track of the establishment, and troubling aspects, of these Muslim neighborhoods.

Over 13 years ago, researcher Ryan Mauro gave several examples, including Gwynn Oak, which was “created in Baltimore, Maryland, consisting of Muslim immigrants and African-American converts.” According to its Muslim leader, this and other enclaves are solutions to the problem that “Muslim communities are ruled by Western societal tenets, many of which clash with Islamic norms.” Accordingly, “the Gwynn Oak enclave follows specific moral rules based on Islam and people there speak Arabic.”


After mentioning a few more seemingly innocuous examples, Ryan adds that “Far more radical groups than these are now taking the lead in promoting and creating Islamic enclaves on U.S. soil.” One of these is Muslims of the Americas, which, as of 2010, admitted

to owning at least 22 “villages” around the country that are dozens of acres large and operate under names like “Islamberg,” “Holy Islamville,” and “Aliville.” These Muslim-only lands are open to outsiders solely during planned outreach events and sometimes to journalists.

This group has received considerable media attention due to allegations that its isolated compounds are used for paramilitary training, an accusation bolstered by a videotape released by the Christian Action Network. On that tape, a speaker is seen declaring the U.S. a Muslim country and pledging that Muslims of the Americas will defend American Muslims from foreign and domestic enemies.


Another collective aspiring to create autonomous Muslim regions in the U.S. is called the Ummah. On October 28, 2009, the FBI tried to arrest one of its leaders, Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah, for his involvement in criminal activity alongside some of his followers. A shootout ensued that took the life of Abdullah and one police dog. Like Muslims of the Americas, Abdullah offered his flock martial arts training and, in some cases, firearms instruction. He also had his own armed security team and preached war against the U.S. government and solidarity with bin Laden, the Taliban, and Hezbollah.

Enclaves That are Ribats?

Not only do these all sound like ribats on U.S. soil, but the clannish hostility seems only to have worsened since. Written in 2017, one article laments how,

By now, many Americans have heard the horror stories coming from certain areas in Michigan, specifically Dearborn and Hamtramck, which have become inundated with Islamic migrants and communities.

In fact, Hamtramck is listed as a majority-Muslim city, and is governed by only Muslims, while Dearborn is considered the “Muslim capitol of the US,” at over 50% Islamic, and is home to America’s biggest Mosque.

The annual Arab-American Festival in Dearborn was permanently cancelled a few years ago after Christians were beat up and had rocks thrown at them by Muslims at the festival. The lawsuit that resulted from the attack rendered the festival impossible to insure after that and forced its cancellation.

While trying to give the rosiest spin possible to Hamtramck — which is more than half Muslim and has an all Muslim city council — even a politically correct BBC report from 2021, admits, at the very end, to certain “conflicts” between the city’s Muslims and non-Muslims. These include loud, public calls to Muslim prayers; a ban on bars and alcohol near mosques; lack of female participation in politics; public segregation of the sexes; and the one thing the BBC found most “alarming”: a rejection of homosexual flags and events.

Most recently, and rather unsurprisingly, the Muslim mayor of Hamtramck declared “no peace” with Israel.

The ribat phenomenon naturally goes hand in hand with Islam’s growing presence in America. As of 2020 there were about 4.5 million Muslims. As for mosques in America, they have gone from 1,209 in 2000, to 2,106 in 2011, to 2,769 in 2020.

Muslims Who Resist ‘Melting’ Into the American ‘Melting Pot,’ Prefer to Institute Sharia

But if America is a great melting pot, why should any of these findings be troubling? Because of all groups, Muslims do not “melt” into the greater mass — meaning that Muslims are especially prone against assimilating. Why? Because Muslims have a very distinct worldview, in many ways antithetical to the modern West’s.

A 2015 poll, for example, revealed “ominous levels of support” among American Muslims for jihad and Islamic law, sharia:

[O]f 600 Muslims living in the United States, of those polled a significant minority embraces the supremacist notions that could pose a threat to America’s security and its constitutional form of government. … [A] majority (51%) agreed that “Muslims in America should have the choice of being governed according to shariah.” … More than half (51%) of U.S. Muslims polled also believe either that they should have the choice of American or shariah courts, or that they should have their own tribunals to apply shariah. … [N]early a quarter of the Muslims polled believed that, “It is legitimate to use violence to punish those who give offense to Islam by, for example, portraying the prophet Mohammed.”… Nearly one-fifth of Muslim respondents said that the use of violence in the United States is justified in order to make shariah the law of the land in this country.

In short, America, like Europe, has a growing, if more subtle, ribat problem.

Raymond Ibrahim, author of Defenders of the West and Sword and Scimitar is the Distinguished Senior Shillman Fellow at the Gatestone Institute and the Judith Rosen Friedman Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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