Oregon Muslim Cleric Hate
Imam told Portland Seven that combat against U.S. was 'legitimate jihad,' court papers say
By Bryan Denson
September 30, 2015
The imam of Portland's biggest mosque collected money from worshippers
after 9/11, sending the Portland Seven to Afghanistan to fight against
coalition forces, the U.S. Department of Justice alleges in its fight
to deport the imam.
Arguments between lawyers for Mohamed Sheikh Abdirahman Kariye and the
Justice Department reveal new details of the government's legal
maneuvers to strip the imam of his citizenship.
As religious leader of Masjed As-Saber, Kariye told several members of
the plot that "Muslims should fight with fellow Muslim brothers of
Afghanistan against Americans" and that this combat was a "righteous
fight ... legitimate jihad," Justice Department lawyers wrote in an
exhibit filed earlier this month in the immigration case.
"Kariye was present when members of the Portland Seven left to go wage
jihad, and he wished them good luck on their journey," according to an
exhibit filed earlier this month in the government's lawsuit to strip
Kariye of his citizenship.
The imam was never charged with any crime related to the Portland
Seven. While people who prayed in his mosque were sentenced to prison
for their roles in the failed plot, Kariye's only U.S. criminal
conviction came in 2003, when he got probation for understating his
income to qualify for state healthcare benefits and using a Social
Security card with a false birth date.
Kariye's lawyers, Nicole Nelson and Philip James Smith, have filed
papers seeking to dismiss the government's lawsuit on jurisdictional
grounds. They argue that federal law requires the U.S. attorney to file
such a complaint, not the team from the Justice Department's Office of
Immigration Litigation in Washington, D.C.
Government lawyers Benjamin G. Mizer, William C. Peachey and
Christopher W. Dempsey argued in a response filed earlier this month
that the law allows them to represent the U.S. in filing the complaint
to strip Kariye of his naturalization.
U.S. District Judge Anna J. Brown is expected to rule on the dueling motions, but it's unclear when.
Brown presides in another civil complaint involving Kariye: He is one
of several plaintiffs in a lawsuit that accuses the FBI and its
Terrorist Screening Center of violating the constitutional rights of
those placed on the U.S. no-fly list, including him.
The exhibit that the government included in its response to the
denaturalization lawsuit accuses Kariye of lacking the good moral
character necessary to remain a U.S. citizen. The document, marked
"sensitive but unclassified, for official use only," was signed last
February by then-U.S. Attorney Amanda Marshall.
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