Pak origin imam, two sons, arrested on terror charges in US

Last Updated: Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 00:12

Washington: A Florida-based imam of Pakistani origin, and his two sons are among five persons
charged by US authorities for providing financial and material
support to the Pakistani Taliban.

FBI agents arrested Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76,
and his son Irfan Khan, 37, in South Florida on Saturday. Both are
US citizens and residents of Miami.

Hafiz Khan is the imam of a mosque in Miami.
One of his other sons, Izhar Khan, 24, has also been
arrested by FBI on terrorist related charges.

Three other individuals residing in Pakistan, Ali
Rehman, aka "Faisal Ali Rehman"; Alam Zeb; and Amina Khan, aka
"Amina Bibi," are also charged in the indictment.

Amina Khan is the daughter of Khan and her son, Alam
Zeb, is Khan`s grandson.

All six defendants are charged with conspiring to
provide, and providing, material support to a conspiracy to
murder, maim and kidnap persons overseas, as well as
conspiring to provide material support to a foreign terrorist
organisation, specifically, the Pakistani Taliban.

Defendants Khan, Rehman and Zeb are also charged with
providing material support to the Pakistani Taliban.

"The defendants are originally from Pakistan. Hafiz
Khan is the Imam at the Miami Mosque, also known as the
Flagler Mosque, in Miami. His son, Izhar Khan, is an Imam at
the Jamaat Al-Mu`mineen Mosque in Margate, Fla.

"The indictment does not charge the mosques themselves
with any wrongdoing, and the individual defendants are charged
based on their provision of material support to terrorism, not
on their religious beliefs or teachings," the Department of
Justice said in a statement.

US Attorney Wifredo A Ferrer said despite being a
spiritual leader, Hafiz Khan was by no means a man of peace.

"Instead, as today`s charges show, he acted with others to
support terrorists to further acts of murder, kidnapping and
maiming," he said.

Ferrer said but for law enforcement intervention,
these defendants would have continued to transfer funds to
Pakistan to finance the Pakistani Taliban, including its
purchase of guns.

"Today terrorists have lost another funding source to
use against innocent people and US interests. We will not
allow this country to be used as a base for funding and
recruiting terrorists," said John Gillies, Special Agent in
Charge of the FBI`s Miami Office.

According to the allegations in the indictment, from
around 2008 through in or around November 2010, the defendants
provided money, financial services, and other forms of support
to the Pakistani Taliban.

All the six charged sought to aid the Pakistani
Taliban`s fight against the Pakistani government and its
perceived allies, including the US, by supporting acts of
murder, kidnapping and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere, in
order to displace the lawful government of Pakistan and to
establish strict Islamic law or `Sharia`.

To this end, the defendants, assisted by others in the
US and Pakistan, conspired to provide and provided material
support to the Pakistani Taliban by soliciting, collecting and
transferring money from the US to supporters of the Pakistani
Taliban, primarily using bank accounts and wire transfer
services in the US and Pakistan.

According to the indictment, these funds were intended
to purchase guns for the Pakistani Taliban, to sustain
militants and their families, and generally to promote the
Pakistani Taliban`s cause.

In addition, the indictment alleges that the defendant
Khan supported the Pakistani Taliban through a madrassa, or
Islamic school, that he founded and controlled in the Swat
region of Pakistan.

Khan has allegedly used the madrassa to provide
shelter and other support for the Pakistani Taliban and has
sent children from his madrassa "to learn to kill Americans"
in Afghanistan.

According to the allegations, the defendants endorsed
the violence perpetrated by the Pakistani Taliban.

On one occasion in July 2009, defendants Khan and
Irfan participated in a recorded conversation in which Khan
called for an attack on the Pakistani Assembly that would
resemble the September 2008 suicide bombing of the Marriott
Hotel in Islamabad.

On another occasion in September 2010, Hafiz Khan
allegedly participated in a conversation in which he stated
that he would provide that individual with contact information
for Pakistani Taliban militants in Karachi, and upon hearing
that `mujahideen` in Afghanistan had killed seven American
soldiers, declared his wish that God kill 50,000 more.

PTI



First Published: Sunday, May 15, 2011 - 00:12

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