Jewish Charity Bolsters Imam

April 10, 2007

Author: Kristin Erekson

Source: The Jewish Advocate

Religious leaders on the South Shore are helping to ease the financial burden of an imam who was arrested last year as part of an ongoing investigation into a visa fraud scheme.

Rabbi Barry Starr of Temple Israel in Sharon, the Rev. Deborah Cayer of the Unitarian Church of Sharon and Janet Penn, executive director of Interfaith Action Inc., teamed up three weeks ago to form a campaign to raise money for humanitarian assistance for Imam Muhammad Masood.

Masood, the former spiritual director at the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon, and his son, Hassan, were detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Nov. 15. The Pakistan natives were two out of 33 individuals who were questioned about the immigration ploy, which allegedly helped large numbers of illegal aliens fraudulently obtain religious worker visas to enter or remain in the states, according to a statement released by ICE.

“We have known [Masood] to be a very good man who cares about the community and his family,” said Starr, who would not reveal how much money has been raised so far for the imam. “It became clear that he was not going to be able to work and earn money, and that was an issue. This is the kind of thing we would do for any clergy person.”