Arrests in Boston

Washington, DC: An email message received from Boston states: The Muslim American Society Freedom Foundation has just been informed that two prominent Muslim leaders, Imam Hafiz Masood and Imam Abdul Hannan, were arrested this morning in Boston, in connection with the arrests of dozens of Pakistani immigrants by Immigration and Customs officials and local police.
The arrests were made for alleged violations of immigration laws by numerous individuals who are charged with fraudulently entering the United States as religious workers when they were, in fact, employed as taxi drivers, gas station attendants, and in other occupations.
While all the facts about the arrests are not yet known, we do know that Imam Hafiz Masood, a respected leader and Imam of the New England Islamic Center in Sharon, Massachusetts, has been in the US since the early 1990's. He and his family went this morning for an interview with immigration officials, driven to the appointment by Imam Hannan, where they were arrested. The two Imams and Imam Masood's eldest son still remain in custody.
About one year ago, Imam Masood, who is applying with his family for permanent residence in the country, was informed that his application papers were completely in order and that it was perfectly legal for him to work in the Unites States as a religious teacher.
Many members of the Boston Muslim community are naturally concerned, and even fearful, in the aftermath of these arrests. Hossam Al-Jabri, President of the Muslim American Society Boston Chapter, noted, "He (Imam Masood) has always been a voice of peace and wisdom, and I hope that immigration officials will be sensitive to his leadership position in the community, and ensure that appropriate measures are taken to bring a fair and speedy resolution to this issue."
Imam Abdul Hannan of the Islamic Society of Greater Lowell, has served as a leader in the Lowell Islamic community for many years. His arrest has also drawn the attention of civil rights organizations: "On the surface, this appears to be yet another action unfairly targeting the local Muslim community," said Nancy Murray, Director of the Boston ACLU's Civil Liberties Task Force. "We're looking to get more information."
Attorney William Joyce, who serves as the lawyer for Imam Masood, was even more blunt in his assessment of the treatment of his client." I'm extremely troubled by the way this came about, and I believe that Imam Masood and Abdul Hannan will both be vindicated. The way this all came about is a disgrace. They (immigration officials) wouldn't go to the Cardinal's residence and arrest him for an immigration technicality."
The MAS Freedom Foundation is awaiting further developments related to the arrests, and we will post updates as soon as they are available.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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