U.S. Deports Imam for Supporting Terrorist Group

January 5, 2007

Source: Beliefnet

Wire Service: AP


DETROIT, Jan. 5 - A Muslim religious leader convicted of lying about his ties to a group labeled as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government has been deported, immigration authorities said Friday.

Fawaz Damra, who served as imam at Ohio's largest mosque, the Islamic Center of Cleveland in Parma, was convicted in June 2004 of concealing his ties to the Islamic Jihad when he applied for U.S. citizenship in 1994. He had been jailed in Michigan since then.

Damra, 46, was deported on Thursday to the West Bank, from where he originally hailed, Tim Counts, spokesman for the U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said.

A message seeking comment was left Friday for Damra's lawyer, Michael Birach in Detroit.

Damra, who immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s, became involved in interfaith activities, particularly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A tape, however, was soon made public of a 1991 speech in Chicago in which he said Muslims should be "directing all the rifles at the first and last enemy of the Islamic nation and that is the sons of monkeys and pigs, the Jews."