The Council on American-Islamic Relations is condemning the federal government’s arrest on immigration fraud charges of a prominent imam who once led an anti-Israel “jihad” rally calling for “Zionist blood” that featured Hezbollah flags and also vouched for a Muslim leader later convicted of terrorism.
Imam Ibrahim Dremali – former imam of the Islamic Center of Boca Raton and the Islamic Center of Des Moines, Iowa – was arrested Oct. 6 with his wife, Safaa Rashad Eissa, at their Arlington, Texas, home, according to the Iowa Independent
CAIR’s Iowa chapter posted a statement on Facebook urging supporters to call the office of Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, to help stop the couple’s ordered appearance Wednesday in Des Moines and “have the charges dropped.”
“These ludicrous charges are absolutely the by-product of a vindictive grudge against Imam Dremali and Safah, and will surely find no basis in fact,” the CAIR statement said.
According to the CAIR message, Dremali is suffering from cancer and no longer able to travel the few blocks from his Texas home to services at the local mosque.
The couple was arrested by federal agents acting on a warrant issued by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa. Agents with ICE, Office of Homeland Security Investigations, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Arlington Police Department participated in the arrest, according to an ICE spokesman for the region.
Dremali and Eissa appeared before a federal U.S. Magistrate in Texas and were released on their own recognizance, the Iowa Independent said. Dremali was ordered to surrender his passport and limit travel to the presiding court districts.
Dremali founded the Islamic Center of Boca Raton before becoming an imam in Des Moines. The Investigative Project on Terrorism, or IPT, reported that when Dremali was in Florida his mosque co-sponsored a rally in 2000 that featured Hezbollah flags and chants of “with jihad we’ll claim our land. Zionist blood will wet the sand.”
According to Islam Online, during the rally Dremali “urged the crowd not to be sad for those who were martyred and not to be afraid to die for what they believe in.”
The crowd then joined in a mock funeral procession chanting, “Haya ‘ala al-jihad,” or “Live for the jihad.”
The imam also testified on behalf of a Muslim leader, Adham Amin Hassoun, who was later indicted for “actively recruiting mujahideen fighters and raising funds for violent jihad” and “conspiracy to murder, kidnap, and maim persons in a foreign country.”
Hassoun’s ultimate aim, the indictment said, was to establish “Islamic states under Shariah,” or Islamic law.
At a 2002 bond hearing, the IPT reported, Dremali attested to Hassoun’s “peaceful and generous” character. Hassoun was convicted in 2007, along with “dirty-bomber” Jose Padilla, and later sentenced to life in prison.
Dremali began serving as imam of the Islamic Center of Des Moines in March 2005. He left Des Moines in 2008 to pursue a teaching position in Texas, the Iowa Independent said.
In its Facebook message, CAIR argued Dremali “has been a vital source of interfaith relations and outreach in the Muslim community throughout the U.S., and has worked tirelessly against terrorism, extremism, and Islamophobia, building a solid foundation of friendship, caring and cooperation between the major U.S. religious groups, politicians and civic communities.”
CAIR said Dremali is “only one of a small handful of people who hold Ph.D.s in the U.S. in Islamic Jurisprudence, and is therefore a vital resource for the U.S. in interfaith, national and international relations.”
CAIR, a self-described civil rights group that has more than a dozen former and current leaders with known associations with violent jihad – is trying to keep alive a lawsuit two investigators behind the best-selling expose “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America”
CAIR’s origin as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas is documented in “Muslim Mafia.” CAIR and some of its leaders were confirmed by the Justice Department as unindicted co-conspirators in the trial of the Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, which was convicted of helping fund Hamas.
In its statement about Dremali, CAIR complained that while media and others accuse “moderate Muslims” of not speaking out, the imam “did speak out” and “this “heinous treatment is despite his activism.”
“Imam Dremali’s arrest and persecution teaches a negative lesson for moderate Muslims that will keep them from speaking out against extremists or acts of terror committed in the name of Islam,” CAIR said.
Dremali graduated from Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt – regarded as the preeminent institution of the majority Sunni stream of Islam – according to the Dremali Foundation website.
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