Update: Ohio Imam Ordered to Resign

January 21, 2004

Source: The Plain Dealer


On January 21, 2004 The Plain Dealer reported that "leaders of the area's largest mosque have ordered controversial cleric Fawaz Damra to step down as imam after his arrest on charges of failing to disclose links to terrorist groups. The Board of Trustees of the Islamic Center of Cleveland voted 10-5 Monday to place Damra on a paid leave of absence while he addresses the criminal charges. But the imam rejected the board's request that he take leave voluntarily, and at least one board member said Damra's backers are gathering support to put the decision to a vote of the general membership. In a statement released Tuesday, mosque leaders said they put Damra on leave 'as a result of the distractions' stemming from his arrest last week... Damra declined to comment Tuesday, but at a rally last Friday at the mosque, attended by about 250 supporters including Christian clergy and leaders of other Islamic groups, Damra criticized what he called the 'blatant targetting' of Islamic leaders by the government."