Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kenyan held in US over terror link Story by NATION Reporter Publication Date: 06/21/2006

A Muslim cleric believed to be Kenyan is being detained in the US on suspicion of having links to a terrorist group, the Nation learnt yesterday.

According to the website by the World War 4 Report, an international human rights lobby, Sheikh Abrahim Mohammed has been in detention in Seattle, Washington, awaiting deportation to either Kenya or Somalia.

The cleric is said to have been arrested in November last year on immigration violations and has since been fighting the planned deportation.

For five years before his arrest, Sheikh Mohammed reportedly led prayers as an imam of the Abu-Bakr mosque in Rainier Valley, Seattle.

And although he has not been charged with any terrorism-related crimes, FBI agents and other witnesses claimed that Sheikh Mohammed had links with terrorists and was raising money for al-Itihaad a-Islamiya, an alleged Somali terrorist group.

Security threat

The imam has been declared a threat to national security in the US and he is expected to be deported.

Efforts to establish from the US embassy in Nairobi whether the cleric would be deported to Kenya or Somalia were unsuccessful. A spokesman for the embassy said information on the issue would be provided later.

However, US immigration prosecutors indicate that the imam is a citizen of Kenya, not Somalia as he had claimed, and accuse him of lying about his identity to gain asylum in the US.
Authorities there claim to have identity and passport-application documents showing Sheikh Mohammed is from Kenya.

His lawyer, Hilary Han, said Sheikh Mohammed applied for the documents in Kenya but is Somali and could have proved it if he had continued his legal fight.
A deportation hearing has been scheduled for later this month.