Florida Imams arrested for aiding Pakistan Taliban
Three Pakistani born US nationals .including the Imams of two Florida mosques, were arrested on Saturday on charges of financing and supporting the Pakistani Taliban. These three were among 6 charged in a U.S. indictment that accused them of “supporting acts of murder, kidnapping and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere” carried out by the Pakistani Taliban, which Washington calls a terrorist organization.
The indictment was announced by the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida and local FBI agents at a time when U.S. relations with Pakistan are strained over the U.S. raid that killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. On Saturday, Pakistan’s parliament condemned the raid. Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan, 76, and his son, Izhar Khan, 24, were arrested in South Florida. Another son, Irfan Khan, 37, was detained in Los Angeles.
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, Florida. The 3 others who were also charged, are Ali Rehman, Alam Zeb and Amina Khan, were living in Pakistan and still at large. Amina Khan is the daughter of Hafiz Khan and her son, Alam Zeb, is his grandson.
“The defendants sought to aid the Pakistani Taliban’s fight against the Pakistani government and its perceived allies, including the United States, by supporting acts of murder, kidnapping, and maiming in Pakistan and elsewhere,” said the indictment released by the U.S. attorney’s office in Miami. Reuters
If all are convicted they face 15 years in prison for each count of the indictment, which is 4 charges.
“Let me be clear that this is not an indictment against a particular community or religion. Instead, today’s indictment charges six individuals for promoting terror and violence through their financial and other support of the Pakistani Taliban,” the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Wifredo A. Ferrer, said in a statement.
The Pakistani Taliban is classified as a “designated foreign terrorist organization” by the U.S. government.