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Seattle Imam’s Case In Legal Limbo‎‎

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Seattle Imam’s Case In Legal Limbo


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Northwest Detention Center

SEATTLE, Washington, January 24, 2006 (HOL) – The esteemed imam of a local mosque detained by federal authorities since November 14 th appeared before an immigration court in Tacoma, Washington, this morning. Sheikh Ibrahim Mohamed, a Somali immigrant and the imam of a south Seattle mosque, faced charges of giving false information in this bid to enter the United States over six years ago.

Hilary Han, the Sheikh’s lawyer, wanted to get his client out on bond today, while the prosecution presented the court with a case connecting the Sheikh to “terrorist” activity. Even before such allegations were formally brought against Sheikh Ibrahim, many in the Somali –and in the larger Muslim – community suspected such a scenario. Says a local mosque attendant confidentially to HOL: “If they [federal government] wanted to charge him with immigration violation, then why did the terrorism task force take part of his arrest in the first place? But there’s no way anyone can connect Sheikh Ibrahim to terrorism. The man is a beloved community activist and leader.”

At least one Somali speaker phoned in as a government witness, sources tell HOL. “It’s sad, but the witness is the same person who testified against fellow Muslims in a case before this, right here in Seattle,” said one of the Somalis who came to support the Sheik. Another member of the Somali community was adamant about the Sheikh’s innocence in relation to any connection with terrorism: “He’s not a terrorist. We Somalis left our country because of violence and war, so it doesn’t make sense that we’d support violence anywhere, because we know the pain violent action brings.”

The Sheikh’s case has attracted local media attention and his story has been reported by two newspapers with significant circulation, the Seattle Times and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, as well as by TV news. The region’s last terrorism-related case was back in the December of 1999 when Ahmed Ressam, an Algerian, was caught with bomb-making material as he attempted to cross over from the Canadian border.

After hours of debate today, the judge on the bench adjourned the session, denying Sheikh Ibrahim’s lawyer his request for his client’s release on bond. He set another court date for February 7, 2006, maintaining the Sheikh’s case in legal limbo.

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