Yowza, there's a petition circulating in the Islamic Center of New England community of Sharon and Quincy, Massachusetts, and it packs a punch.
Clearly, some ICNE members are very angry about what their Board of Directors has done over the past few years on three issues: 1) forcing former Imam Talal Eid out, 2) installing Muhammed Masood as imam, and 3) the takeover of the ICNE school (Islamic Academy of New England, IANE) done indirectly by the Islamic Society of Boston. (More on this later, the role of ISB's imam Basyouney Nehela at the IANE.) They believe that the actions of the Board have been illegal. Here is the letter and petition sent to the ICNE Board of Directors.
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Date: March 27, 2008.
To: All members of the Board of Directors
Islamic Center of New England Inc.
Dear Board Members:
I am sending you the petition that was sent to you and on April 14, 2005. You never held a General Body meeting and never resolved the issues raised therein. See Exhibit 1.
I am also sending you the release by the US Attorney office that shows the criminal enterprise you were supporting.
From this release it appears that you were trying to support the visa application of an undocumented person (referring to Muhammed Masood- ed) at the loss of Religious Director of the community (referring to Talal Eid - ed). This is violation of many US Laws. See Exhibit 2.
You can resolve this matter amicably within the community or by further litigation. Let me know what is your choice.
Also you are in breach of fiduciary duty by keeping a house occupied by a non-employee (refers to Masood's family-ed) that was needed for use by the Ladies Auxiliary. This is violation of the tax exempt status and also you have never been authorized by the General Body to waste the resources of the ICNE Inc. You will be held liable for this waste.
Br. Shahadat H. Sarwahrdy
Life member, ICNE Inc.
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This petition was received by the Secretary on April 14, 2005.
To: ICNE President and Board Of Directors
From: ICNE General Members
Re: Special General Body meeting to act on resolutions
We, the concerned community members urge an immediate action to this petition as ICNE bylaws mandate a general body meeting within a prescribed time after the petition is submitted ( Article V111, Section I,Clause 3 )
We appoint :
1. Br. Shahadat H. Sarwahrdy and
2. Br. Zahid Durrani,
as our spokesperson and request the ICNE BOD to hold an Emergency General Body meeting to act on the following resolutions:
A. It is resolved that the members of the BOD who precipitated the resignation of Imam Talal Eid, and those who accepted it without following the rules of business be impeached.
B. It is resolved that the members of the BOD or ex-officio members of the BOD who have misinformed the General Body about their degrees that they did not attain (Names to be filled in at the meeting), be impeached and referred to the authorities for prosecution.
It is resolved that in addition to the members of the BOD, the
spokespersons for this petition (Br. Shahadat H. Sarwahrdy and Br
Z.Durrani) be given access to the ICNE record to year 1992 to determine
the persons involved in taking away the resources of the ICNE
(particularly schools run at ICNE properties) and if deemed necessary
refer them to the authorities for prosecution.
The signature of members is on file with the Spokespersons and also forwarding by registered mail to ICNE Secretary.
Copy to : ICNE President & Secretary ( registered mail)
Copy to All Board members and General Members
(Exhibit 2 below)
Department of Justice
The United States Attorney's Office
District of Massachusetts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: JULIE SANTOS
SHARON MAN CONVICTED OF IMMIGRATION FRAUD
BOSTON, MA - A Sharon man was convicted today in federal court of fraud and misuse of documents required by the immigration laws, making false statements in a matter relating to the registry of aliens, and making false statements to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services ("Immigration Officials").
United States Attorney Michael J. Sullivan, Bruce Foucart, Special Agent in Charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in New England, and Warren T. Bamford, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Boston Field Division announced today that MUHAMMAD MASOOD, age 49, of 74 Chase Drive, Sharon, MA, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Douglas P. Woodlock to five counts of an indictment charging MASOOD with fraud and misuse of documents required by the immigration laws, making false statements in a matter relating to the registry of aliens, and making false statements to Citizenship and Immigration Services.
At today's plea hearing, the prosecutor told the Court that had the case proceeded to trial the Government's evidence would have proven essentially the following:
MASOOD lied repeatedly, both orally and in writing, to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services ("Immigration Officials") concerning facts material to his eligibility to become a Lawful Permanent Resident ("LPR") of the United States, (commonly referred to as the holder of a "green card"), for which he had applied. In an application for LPR status submitted to the Immigration Service on or about December 18, 2002, in a document submitted in support thereof on January 31, 2005, and in interviews conducted under oath by immigration officials in matters relating to the registry of aliens on November 15, 2006, and February 13, 2003, MASOOD asserted that he had left the United States and returned to Pakistan during the two-year period from 1991 through 1993, as required as a condition of his Exchange Visitor visa. Moreover, he repeatedly asserted that, during that period of time, he had served as an Imam at a mosque in Faisalabad, Pakistan. MASOOD also lied about a prior arrest, which was material to the Immigration Service.
The defendant, MASOOD, came to this country as an economics student in 1987 pursuant to a J-1 visa. A J-1 visa is an Exchange Visitor visa, pursuant to a program which offers an opportunity to aliens who reside abroad to come to the United States to serve important interests for both countries. Because of the purpose of this program is to benefit the home country and because the funding for the visitor is in part from the government, there are restrictions on a J-1 visitor from obtaining future U.S. immigration benefits. Particularly, to ensure that meaningful exchange occurs, the Exchange Visitor program has a two-year home country physical presence requirement, which means that a J-1 visa-holder must return to his home country for two years before he is eligible to apply for future immigration benefits. In other words, an alien cannot become a legal permanent resident unless he complies with this requirement or gets a waiver.
The evidence demonstrates that MASOOD left his economics program at Boston University in 1991 without a degree, when his J-1 visa expired. However, instead of returning to Pakistan as he was required to do under the Exchange Visitor program, MASOOD continued to stayed in this country illegally. In 1998, while an undocumented alien, MASOOD became the Imam of a mosque in Sharon. On the basis of that employment, in December 2002, he applied for legal permanent residency, and commenced the series of false statements which are charged in the indictment.
The evidence shows that the defendant lied repeatedly over several years about his compliance with the J-1 visa requirement, and in order to cover-up those lies, told fictional stories about what he did in Pakistan during the two years he was supposed to return to Pakistan. He also told fictional stories with shifting details about how he re-entered the United States. The evidence indicates that the defendant never left the United States after 1990 and that he lived, worked, had children and even received traffic tickets in the Boston area during the time that he claimed to have gone back to Pakistan. The evidence also shows that MASOOD lied about a number of additional facts for purposes of obtaining benefits in the United States such as for housing, public assistance, and a driver's license.
Judge Woodlock scheduled sentencing for May 22, 2008. MASOOD faces up to 10 years' imprisonment for each of the counts charging fraud and misuse of documents required by the immigration laws, and 5 years' imprisonment for the charges of false statements and false statements in a matter relating to the registry of aliens , to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, up to a $ 250,000 fine and a mandatory special assessment of $100 on each charge.
The case was investigated by special agents of ICE and the FBI assigned to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Aloke Chakravarty and Jeffrey Auerhahn of Sullivan's Anti-Terrorism and National Security Unit.