For over two years, I've been following the relatives of Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, three of who were imans at Massachusetts mosques. Saeed's brother-in-law Sheikh Hafiz Abdul Hannan is still the imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell. Lately Brother Hannan has been branching out to a mosque in Manchester, New Hampshire. Watch out, neighbors to the north! I've raised the question several times in the past: "Have these folks (Masood, Hamid or Abdul Hannan) been raising money for LeT in mosques in Massachusetts?" Looks like they have, according to an article today in the Times of India:
"For all the protestations that the Jamaat-ud-Dawa is a charitable organisation and Hafiz Mohammed Saeed is an injured innocent, it's clear that the organisation and Saeed's family, in particular, have been in the crosshairs of US government for several years and a couple of Saeed's family members are already in US custody."
"As the Lashkar-e-Taiba grew in stature, profile and links to violent terrorism in Pakistan, curiously, its amir Saeed's family kept making tracks to the US to live and work there over the past decade.
"Over the years, LeT aka Jamaat-ud-Dawa has morphed from an ISI-sponsored terror outfit against India to become a global jihadist organisation with increasing ties to Al Qaeda."
"...Saeed's family had been making determined tracks to the
US -- to live there as imams and preach and raise funds for
"The evidence for that came in bits and pieces. The first to land in the US was Muhammad Masood, Saeed's brother, who arrived in 1987 on a J-1 exchange visitor visa. He lived in the Boston area, working odd jobs until he started teaching at the Islamic Academy of New England at the Islamic Center of New England in Sharon, Massachusetts. Masood was arrested in November 2006 and charged with visa fraud and other unnamed crimes."
And who hired Masood to be a teacher at the IANE? According to my sources, Islamic Society of Boston imam Basyouney Nehela hired Masood. Many members of the ICNE were very unhappy that Nehela essentially took over their school. But that's another story.
"The second family member to arrive was Abdul Hannan, Saeed's brother-in-law (married to Masood's sister). Hannan arrived in the late-1990s, coming to the US through another member of their organisation, Muhammad Khalil, who is serving time currently in a US jail. By 1998, Hannan himself was in jail, also in Massachusetts."
"He was out by 2002, and for the next couple of years
floated around another US state, Rhode Island, also as an imam, before
returning, as imam to Massachusetts. Hannan was again arrested in November 2006
with his brother-in-law Masood. So far, there were two members of Saeed's family
in US jails."
"The third member, another brother of Saeed named Hamid arrived in the US in 2001 for a programme at Harvard University."
According to Miss Kelly's sources, Hamid was sponsored by Syed Nazim Ali of Harvard's Islamic Finance Project.
"He (Hamid) returned to the US later in the year and became an imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Worcester. In October 2007, Hamid was deported to Pakistan, on visa irregularities. (Ed note: I think not, Hamid skedaddled out before he was deported). But one of the reasons, said sources, was that the US discovered that he used to run a safe house for LeT terrorists in Moon Chowk, Lahore, and that his imam activities in the US were all about teaching jihad to youngsters there."
"By 2003, LeT offices were visible in California and Virginia. After the 2005 earthquake in Pakistan, international organisations also discovered that the LeT had become an outsourcing centre, their terror training camps were also used to train other terrorists from other groups."
"...Bruce Riedel, a close foreign policy aide to US president-elect Barack Obama and author of the book `The Search for Al Qaeda', told TOI, 'Mumbai demonstrated that Al Qaeda's ideology of global jihad has been adopted by LeT. The targets were Qaeda's targets: Israel America and India. I suspect that Qaeda may have had a hand in the planning given the longstanding and close ties between the two.' "
"...Hussain Haqqani, currently, Pakistan ambassador in the US, wrote in his book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, 'They have managed to fly under the radar of the global network of law enforcement and still maintain their global links. But they have a grandiose ideological agenda and the capacity to wage violence, which makes them very dangerous'."
Back in November 2006, when Muhammed Masood and Abdul Hannan were initially arrested, fellow blogger Solomonia and I started a petition in support of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement folks. A Muslim person from the Islamic Center of New England (ICNE) in Sharon wrote to me:
"Many muslims from the ICNE community wanted to sign your petition but are afraid."
At the time, I wondered if it was exaggeration. But given who Muhammed Masood and Abdul Hannan are related to, I don't doubt it anymore. As I was told, "These people are lethal, and we have many relatives back in Pakistan."
Tell me again why Abdul Hannan is still here in the U.S.?
Tell me again why Masood's family is still living at the ICNE's 52-acre estate in Sharon, MA?
Do Masood's interfaith supporters still feel all warm and fuzzy about their charming imam?
According to my sources, since returning to Pakistan, Masood has traveled to Dubai and is presently in Malaysia.