Arrests in Boston
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
The MAS Freedom Foundation is awaiting further developments
related to the arrests, and we will post updates as soon
as they are available.