Muslims Decry Move to Seize Houston Mosque

November 13, 2009

Author: Moises Mendoza, Mary Flood and Lindsay Wise

Source: The Houston Chronicle

The U.S. government on Thursday moved to seize more than $500 million in assets from a New York-based foundation accused of being a front for the Iranian government, including a building that houses the Islamic Education Center of Houston.

The news provoked confusion and anger among Houston's Shia Muslims, many of whom worship at the center's mosque or send their children to an Islamic school that occupies the same large white building at 2313 S. Voss.

Faheem Kazimi, chairman of the board of directors, said IEC leases its building from the Alavi Foundation but no other connection exists.

“The Islamic Education Center is a nonprofit, independent organization, not affiliated with any other organization,” Kazimi said.

The 97-page civil forfeiture lawsuit filed by federal prosecutors in Manhattan alleges that the Alavi Foundation, which files federal taxes as a charitable foundation, is illegally funneling money to the government of Iran.