(Tacoma, Washington) Last November, 39-year-old Somalia-born Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed was arrested by federal authorities for allegedly being in the U.S. illegally. Mohamed is the imam of the Abu-Bakr Mosque and leader of Seattle's Somali community.
The deportation hearing for Mohamed is currently in progress at Immigration Court in the Tacoma Tideflats' Northwest Detention Center. On Friday, during the third day of the proceeding, an FBI agent testified that Mohamed is also the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation for allegedly diverting funds from his mosque to terrorist groups.
From The Seattle Times:
Agent David Rubincam testified in the immigration case against Abrahim Sheikh Mohamed that officials believe Mohamed was smuggled into the U.S. through Mexico to help raise money for the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF), which wants an independent state for ethnic Somalis in Ethiopia.
Note the words "smuggled into the U.S. through Mexico
Rubincam testified that a confidential source told the FBI in 2003 about questionable financial dealings at the mosque -- that money to rebuild the mosque was being diverted overseas to the ONLF and to an organization called AIAI, Somalia's largest militant Islamic organization. Rubincam said the FBI put Mohamed under surveillance that year.
Mohamed is also accused of authorizing young men from his mosque to attend jihadist training.
In the immigration case, federal officials say Mohamed lied to obtain legal asylum status after his arrival in the U.S. in 2000, falsely claiming to belong to the persecuted minority Tumal clan. Rubincam testified on Friday that sources have told the FBI Mohamed belongs to the dominant Ogaden clan.
In Mohamed's defense, attorney Hilary Han complained that Mohamed's accusers are confidential sources, therefore, they can't be confronted. The veracity of one FBI source, Peter Coleman, was also questioned since he was a convicted felon and a paid informant. Coleman had testified
that he attended the mosque and heard Mohamed talk of holy war and praise Osama bin Laden.
In the meantime, the Somalian community has been mobilized to protest outside the detention center.