California Muslim Cleric Deported to Pakistan
Another cleric from the Lodi, California madrasah has been accused of terrorist ties and is being deported.
A federal judge Monday ordered a Muslim cleric deported to Pakistan after his June arrest on immigration charges during a federal terrorism investigation. Shabbir Ahmed, the imam of a mosque in Lodi, California, is likely to be sent back to his home country within two weeks, his lawyer Saad Ahmad said Monday.
Ahmed was arrested for overstaying his visa in June, along with a father and son from Lodi who were charged with lying to FBI agents, and another Muslim cleric and his son. None of the five men have been charged with terrorism crimes.
During a bail hearing last week, an FBI agent testified that terrorist leaders had planned to use Ahmed as an intermediary to pass orders to Hamid Hayat, 22, who the FBI says attended an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan. U.S. Immigration Judge Anthony Murry denied bail for Ahmed and ordered him sent back to Pakistan in a brief hearing Monday afternoon. Ahmed, 39, told the judge he was dropping his challenge to the detention and would agree to be deported.
His predecessor at the Lodi mosque, Muhammad Adil Khan, and Khan’s son, Muhammad Hassan Khan, were also arrested as part of the probe and agreed to be deported in July. Federal immigration officials said Ahmed and the elder Khan had planned to establish a madrassa, an Islamic school similar to one in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi where both taught before coming to the United States. “Evidence presented at last week’s proceeding showed that this madrassa has been used to recruit individuals to engage in jihad,” or Muslim holy war, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said in a statement.
Hayat and his father, Umer Hayat, 47, face charges of lying to investigators, but have not been charged under any terrorism statutes. Both men are U.S. citizens.
Of course, it would be wrong to suspect the attendees of the mosque of being anything but loyal Americans. Islam is, after all, the Religion of Peace.