Just thinking out loud here about the relatives of Pakistani terrorist Hafiz Saeed who came to Massachusetts in the past few years. It's really rather extraordinary that three relatives of Saeed made their way from Pakistan to Massachusetts, eventually becoming the imams at mosques in Sharon, Worcester and Lowell. How curious, how bizarre, and what a coincidence! Thought I'd put down what we know about who came when....
The first to come here was Muhammad Masood, Saeed's brother, born in Pakistan in 1958. Masood came to the U.S. in 1987, after receiving a J-1 Exchange Visitor visa. According to the affidavit filed by U.S. Special Agent Thomas Carroll in the Masood criminal case, Masood attended Vanderbilt University in the fall of 1987, and transferred to Boston University in the spring of 1988. Masood has been in the Boston area since that time, attending graduate school, working odd jobs, having kids, and eventually teaching at the Islamic Academy of New England (AINE) at the Islamic Center of New England ICNE) in Sharon, MA. The affidavit provides the details. When long-time imam Talal Eid was essentially forced out of his position with the ICNE in 2005, Masood assumed the position. Masood was arrested last November as part of a nation-wide sweep for religious visa fraud. He initially faced deportation, along with his family, but was recently charged with two felony counts. Masood's criminal case is based on two main things, 1) he did not return to Pakistan for a two-year period as required by the provisions of the J-1 (temporary) exchange visa, but stayed in the U.S., and 2) he apparently lied (under oath) about a whole lotta things along the way. Details on the "inconsistencies" here.
The second family member to arrive was Abdul Hannan, Hafiz Saeed's brother in law (married to Masood's sister). Hannan arrived in the late-1990's, coming to the U.S. through Muhammad Khalil, who is now serving time in prison for visa fraud. Hannan admits that he worked for Muhammed Khalil for some three and a half years, but "we are all human beings, shortcomings can be made." Ain't that the truth. In 1998, Hannan reportedly served in correctional facilities in Cambridge and Lowell (what correctional facilities??) In 2002 and 2003, Hannan was reportedly in Rhode Island, working at several gas stations. At that time, he also worked as a chaplain at the University of Rhode Island Islamic Center. He made his way to Lowell, MA, and became the imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell in 2005. Prior to Hannan, the imam at the ISGL was Sheikh Mohammad Uzair. Not sure what happened to Uzair, perhaps he returned to Pakistan to work at the Muhammad Musa Albazi Islamic University. Hannan was arrested last November 2006 with his brother-in-law Masood. No word on his status.
Word must have gotten back to the family in Pakistan that the pickings were pretty good in Massachusetts. In 2001, a second brother of Hafiz Saeed named Hamid (AKA Muhammed Hamid, Hafiz Hamid, Hamid Mehmud, Hamid Mahmud, Hamid Mehmood and Hamid Qureshi) came to the U.S. to attend a conference on Islamic financing at the Harvard Law School Islamic Finance Center (yes, Harvard has an Islamic Financing Center!). Program Director Syed Nazim Ali reportedly assisted Hamid with a visa at that time. Hamid reportedly returned to Pakistan after six months or so, and obtained a visa to return to the U.S. Getting more careful! He became imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester. Don't know who he replaced. It's good to know the movers and shakers. Not everybody can just walk in and get a job as an imam! In June, Hamid was apparently overcome with homesickness for Pakistan and he left the country in a "sudden departure." Bon voyage, Hamid! Note that according to the Worcester Telegram article, Hamid came here in 1999. I'm not sure which date is correct, 1999 or 2001.
I believe there is another brother in the country working at a university. The imam's life is apparently not for him.
Links to my earlier postings on the Boston immigration imams case here. This is such a fascinating story, I don't know why some enterprising reporter hasn't delved into all this.