May 16, 2011

UNBELIEVABLE! This is Political Correctness Gone Too Far! The Feds Raided An Amish Dairy Farmer Commando Style! Now I Learn That The Feds Respectfully Arrested An Iman With Terrorists Ties!

The Miami Herald
written by Julie K. Brown
Saturday May 14, 2011

As dawn prayers were spoken just after 6 a.m. Saturday, FBI agents surrounded Miami’s oldest mosque, then banged on the door.

A man opened it. The agents were there with an arrest warrant.

The Muslim man explained that they were in prayer and could not be interrupted. He returned to praying. The agents, who had taken off their shoes before entering the mosque, waited quietly.

“No matter what kind of emergency, we do not break the prayer,’’ explained Shameem Akhtar, a mosque member who was there.

When the prayer was finished, agents arrested Hafiz Muhammad Sher Ali Khan, the 76-year-old imam of the Miami Mosque, more commonly known as Flagler Mosque. They charged that he and his family had funneled more than $50,000 to Pakistani terrorists over the past three years.

The imam spoke in a Pakistani dialect to others in the room as he was escorted out.

The idea that the soft-spoken, sickly prayer leader could have been involved in a conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap terrorist targets seemed unbelievable to those who knew him. Members explained that Kahn lived with his wife in a tiny apartment near the small mosque, which was built 40 years ago from a converted house.

At the imam’s tiny apartment, an older woman in a white scarf hesitated to answer the door when reporters showed up. She indicated she did not speak English.

“What a stupid thing,” said Arif Baig, 50, of the arrests as he brought his two children to a Koran class at the Flagler Mosque on Saturday. “He’s poor. He doesn’t have money to send over there.”

Khan “has nothing to do with [the Taliban],” Baig said. “It’s just because he has a beard and is from that part of the world.”

But federal documents detail how Khan, two of his sons, his daughter and grandson conspired to help the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist organization that has killed an untold number of Pakistani citizens, government officials and U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan. The family “endorsed” the violence perpetrated by the Taliban, according to the federal indictment released Saturday. Tape-recorded phone conversations caught Khan discussing a strategy to shoot and kill Pakistani officials and called for an attack on the Pakistani Assembly. He also lent support for a school that trains children to kill Americans, authorities said.

Also arrested Saturday were Khan’s son, Izhar Khan, 24, imam of the Jamaat Al-Mumineen Mosque in Margate; another son, Irgan Khan, 37, of Miami. Three others living in Pakistan are also charged: Khan’s daughter, Amina Khan, and his grandson, Alam Zeb; and one other non-family member, Ali Rehman.

Muslim leaders and mosque members spent much of Saturday trying to make sense of the arrests. “Every time I attended his mosque, the sermons never had a political tone. He came across as a 76-year-old grandfather talking about virtues and what to do and not do within the religion,” said Mohammad S. Shakir, the director of the Miami-Dade Asian Advisory Board who is active in the community.

The Muslim Communities Association and Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations held an afternoon press conference to publicly condemn any support of terrorism or violence.

“Islam as a faith does not promote, advocate, or condone terrorism,’’ the statement said.

Kahn came to Miami from New Orleans and has been an imam at Flagler mosque for the past 14 years, according to Asad Ba-Yunus, spokesman for the Muslim Community Organization.

Membership isn’t consistent, and members have complained that Kahn could not speak English. Others who knew him said younger members had trouble relating to him, but he was respected by older members, whom he would speak to about religion and salvation. He was originally from the northwest part of Pakistan, a border region plagued by violence, Shakir said.

At the Margate mosque Saturday evening, two police cars sat out front as worshipers trickled in and out, speaking little and shielded by umbrellas from the dreary night’s steady rain. The light green mosque with a dark green trim keeps a low physical profile in the Broward suburban neighborhood.

“They are hard-working people who have tried to integrate and have been living here for quite some time,’’ Farhan Abid, 33, said of Khan, his wife and sons.

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