Pakistani newspapers have been following the arrest of 33 Pakistani nationals in the U.S. two weeks ago in a religious visa fraud sweep. Two of the arrested men were Boston area imams (previous posts about the case are listed here. ) Today in an article about the two Boston imams at Front Page Magazine, Patrick Poole reports a familial connection between Imam Hafiz Abdul Hannan and Hafiz Saeed:
"Hannan is also the brother-in-law of the notorious Pakistani terrorist leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, who heads the al-Qaeda financed Jamaat al-Dawa. Saeed, known as the “pious murderer,” is responsible for launching suicide attacks against India’s Parliament House in 2001 and the killing of thousands of Indian soldiers (and their families) over the past decade in what he claims is the “freedom struggle” to liberate the disputed Kashmir region from “Indian occupation.” .... a July 2002 report by the Kashmir Times states that not only is his brother-in-law, Hannan, residing in the U.S., but so are two of Saeed’s brothers – one runs a mosque and another is obtaining a Ph.D. from an American university. Hannan, in addition to serving as imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell’s Chelmsford mosque, is a Muslim chaplain for the state prison system and the Middlesex County Jail."
Today, the Daily Times of Pakistan today confirms the link to Hafiz Saeed and reports that there are even more links between three Massachusetts imams and Saeed:
"Two imams recently arrested for visa violations and released on bail in Boston are related to Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, founder of the Lashkar-e-Taiba, now operating as Jamaat-ud-Dawa .... The two imams, Hafiz Muhammad Hannan and Hafiz Muhammad Masood are relations of Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, Masood being his brother and Hannan being his brother in law. Masood is an imam at the Islamic Centre of New England, Sharon, Massachusetts, while Hannan is an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell, Massachusetts. Another member of the family, Imam Hafiz Mahmood Hamid is the brother of both Hafiz Saeed and Hafiz Masood. Hamid is an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, Massachusetts. Masood’s son, Hassan was also arrested."
"Hafiz Masood came on a student exchange visa to Boston University in 1988 and studied there till 1990, but stayed on, violating his visa status. Hafiz Hannan came to the US and applied for a religious worker visa which was granted. He made his application through one Muhammad Khalil of Brooklyn, New York. In 2004, Khalil was convicted of visa fraud and is currently in prison."
Three imams in Massachusetts are related to each other and to a major Pakistani terrorist? Whiskey, tango, foxtrot?
The Muslim American Society (MAS) is holding a fundraiser Saturday (Dec. 16 at 6 PM) at the Islamic Center of Boston in Wayland, MA to discuss Civil Rights and Civic Responsibilities - Muslim Americans in a Post-9/11 World. It's subtitled: A fundraising reception for your right to practice Islam in America. The speakers will be:
- Mahdi Bray, MAS Freedom Foundation (most recently defending the Six Flying Imams)
- Hossam AlJabri - President, Boston MAS Chapter
- Carl "Don't Talk to the FBI" Takei - American Civil Liberties Union
- Rajad Abu Bakar - Board Member, ICNE
- Imam Masood - ICNE
- Imam Hannan - ISGL
- Imam Basyouni Nehela - ISB
The Islamic Center of New England in Sharon is hosting two ACLU speakers, Nancy Murray and Anjeli Walker, tomorrow (Friday, Dec. 8) at 8:30 PM. The notice says ""The recent arrest of 33 Muslims across 8 states for alleged immigration violations, including 2 local Imams, is a wake-up call for Americans of all creeds." Roger that!
Perhaps the matter of the various familial links will come up for discussion there. Will their many interfaith supporters be there as well?